Hidden Treasures Matthew 13:44-46

Matthew 13:44-46
Jesus has used parables to teach His disciples about the response they will receive, the culture of unbelief they will work in, reassured them the results will be worth their effort. Now He wants them to know the value of what they have found.

They need to know the value of the Kingdom of God, first for themselves but also for those they will call to enter in it.

People often dream of finding treasure. The Picasso in grandma’s attic, the Gold nugget in the backyard, the winning lotto ticket found on a sidewalk. But if you are one of those lucky few to make such a find what would you do to attain it.

Bill gates is one of those lucky few. Gates knew of a person who had developed a system to place programs for a computer onto a disk drive. Gates went to IBM and told them he could provide them with this system. He negotiated a contract where IBM paid a license fee for the system. With the money he got from IBM, he bought the system for them man who invented it. Gates knew of something valuable, figured out how to sell it and then went out and bought it. Microsoft was born.

Jesus wanted the disciples to know that the Kingdom of God is worth everything they have or ever would have. In Matthew 19 the Disciples put the question to Jesus “We have left everything to fallow you, what will we have?”  “Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.   29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.   30But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Jesus wants the Disciples to know that what they are giving their life for is more valuable than anything this world could ever offer. This is also their message to the people they would preach to. This is more valuable than anything else.

The second part of this set of parables is the cost. Jesus is up front about the cost. To get this wonderful gift of forgiveness, and the Kingdom of God it is going to cost you everything.

As evangelist we often emphasize that Heaven is a free gift from God and we leave out that there is a cost. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book The Cost of Discipleship, called it “cheap grace.” To enter the kingdom, you must leave everything else behind. In the USA friends might leave you, you may need to leave your job, you may lose your reputation as people say you have intellectually sold out. Your faith may cost you your family. In some groups they even hold a funeral for you. And in some countries, it might just cost you your life.

There is nothing easy about being a Christian if you truly understand and pay the cost. So, as you invite someone to believe in Jesus, remember what your asking them to do.

This left me with a question. “Have I really paid the cost?” “Have I really left everything behind for the Kingdom, or have I been trying to change the price tag?”

I pray you will take time to reflect on these questions. Have you placed the right value on the Kingdom? Are there things you need to leave behind, changes that need to be made? As you go out into all the world and share the Gospel, remember it’s value to you and to those you share it with.

Mark 8:34- 38
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
For what can a man give in return for his life?
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

 

The Power of Small Things

Matthew 13:31-33 “Small Beginnings”

“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Another question the followers of Jesus had on their mind is addressed in our passage today. “how can we make a difference? Rome is so big, and we are so small, our temple rulers so powerful, how can we make a difference?”

This is the same question we have today. How can we do something for God? We are so small, we are so old, we don’t have the resources others do.

Mustard seeds are 2mm in size, yet mature mustard plant reach 20 feet high and 20 feet around. Leaven is yeast, only a small amount is needed to change all the dough into bread. Through this small group of people, God would change the world.

The Jews were looking for an army to fight great battles, lead by the Messiah. As they traveled from place to place Jesus told their little groups that they could change the world, not with weapons but with faith. How could they have known that their little group would encompass the world.

Small things can grow to make a difference.

Giant Sequoia trees start out as a seed the size out an oatmeal flake, but grow into the largest trees on earth, 280 ft tall and 28 ft in diameter. Tiny things can bring amazing results.

In 1776 a small group of people defied England and became the United States. That small group would become the most powerful nation on earth.

In 1974 the tiny nation of North Vietnam brought the mighty USA to its knees in defeat.

There is great power in small things.

Perhaps you have been or are where the disciples are. Jesus, our church is to small, we are to old, how can we make a difference, what could you possibly do with us? I know I have.

Zec 4:6 says “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

Phil 1:6 Says “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

We may not see the possibility, we can not understand how it can happen, yet God is doing great things through our little faith. Keep believing, keep serving, because it is not our age or size that matters, it is our faith and God Spirit working in us that makes great changes in our world.

“Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord”

The parable of the Weeds Matthew 13:24-30 36-43

The parable of the weeds Matthew 13:24-30 36-43

What are the types of seed being sown in the world?

How often do we wish we could just get rid of the bad people?

When do we finally know the weeds from the wheat?

Is there a connection to the parable of the sower?

What connections can you make to the other parables in Matthew 13?

In the parable of the sower Jesus answered why doesn’t everyone understand and come to believe in Jesus? In this parable Jesus tells us the answer to another question we have. Why doesn’t God just kill all the evil people, why not get rid of all the bad people?

The enemy, Satan, has sown weeds in with the wheat. It is obvious to everyone that there are weeds in the field. So, the works ask, “do you want us to go pull the weeds?” It seems like the easy answer. It is often pointed out that the weeds in this passage are a wheat look alike called tares. Since tares and wheat look much the same, it would be impossible to separate the two.

Get me weed pulling in the garden and there is danger. I just don’t have the ability to tell weeds from flowers. This last year we thought we had a volunteer squash plant. The leaves looked like the squash plant we bought, and it was growing strong. By the time we figured out it was not squash it was quite big. Later it bloomed, and we found a holly hock.

We think we know weeds. They are easy to spot. I hear people say it so often. Weeds are not the same color as us, weeds don’t speak the same language as we do. When I was growing up weeds had long hair and wore blue jeans and sandals. The whole basis of ethnic cleansing comes from the idea of pulling out all the weeds. Weeds are Jewish, Weeds are Irish, Weeds are Italian, weeds come from Mexico, China, Africa. We think we know weeds and we are going to rip them out. But our parable warns against this.

If we accept the idea that the weeds in the parable are tares, the wheat look alike. The parable is telling us that we can’t tells weeds from wheat. We may think we can, but God says we can’t.  Since “all have sinned and fall short.” And God proclaims that “there are none that are righteous not even one.” This means everyone starts out a weed and needs to be transformed by God into wheat.

Ask yourself, at what age should God cut the bad people out? How about ten years old? Is it not obvious by ten who is going to turn out a weed? Where might you be if God weeded at age ten? How about twenty? Surly you can tell by twenty? If God weeded at twenty would you have made it? I know a person who waited until she was over 70 to come to Jesus. The fact is that we can’t not tell who the weeds are.

The parable tells us the reason you do not pull the weeds is that you will damage the wheat. Even if you could tell who the weeds are, in the process of pulling the weeds you damage the wheat.

Even if the weeds are obvious, the hate and prejudice against the weeds infects the young wheat. Our nations hatred of those who are different, is damaging our young people. Our young people can never become the beautiful image of God they are meant to be because hate and prejudice have damaged them.

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,   45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.   46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?   47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?   48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

God says He will sort weeds from wheat at the end of time. Treat everyone as potential Wheat. The person you want to attack because they are different and don’t look like you, may be one of God’s treasured Wheat plants.

Introduction to parables

One of the ways that Jesus taught was the use of parables. Parables are stories or witty sayings that teach a spiritual truth. There are about 39 of them in the Synoptic Gospels but not a one in John’s Gospel. The word Parable comes from the Greek words “Para” which means beside or around, and “Ballo” which means throw. Parable means to throw beside or around, or place beside. A parable is a word picture that illuminates a profound spiritual lesson.

John Macarthur says that Jesus makes a shift to using parables as a response to opposition from Pharisees. Jesus used parables as part of His set of teaching tools. As Jesus traveled about He would use many different methods to teach and parables where a regular part of His teaching style.

Some people would say that Jesus used parables to help explain spiritual ideas and make His teaching easier to remember. Our passage today says that parables actually hide spiritual truth from those are not given the meaning. Matthew 13:11-15 says “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes      and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”

Jesus is saying that spiritual understanding of the parables is given to some and not to others because God wants things hidden from them.

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Yet parables are not cryptic, like a coded message you take every other word or letter while reading backward. They also do not have secret associations like nursery rhymes “Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow? with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.” Mary being bloody Mary, Mary the first of England. Silver bells and cockle shells refer to torture implements used on people she hated and murdered. Pretty maids all in a row are the graves of miscarriages, because she bore no heir to the throne.

A better way of understanding a parable comes from Peter, Paul and Mary’s statement of rock and roll music, “but if I really say it, the radio won’t play it, so I lay it between the lines.”

Take Perter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” To some it’s just a song about a boy who grew up. To others it’s about the death of joy in life. The tragic loss of our joy that is still waiting there in the cave for us to return. I will tell you it has nothing to do with smoking marijuana.

Think about this poem by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

To some it is just a picture of a man on a ride who took the time to enjoy the woods, but what it is really about is depression, and the writers desire for death which seems inviting but to far off for his liking.

Here is my own parable; The Bible is like a doll kept in a display case or a tool kept locked in a box which gives no joy or use to anyone unless it is taken out and read” Where is your Bible? On a shelf, in a box, will you bring it to church, to study? Is it handy at home so you can quickly make use of it?

So, a parable has meaning that you can only get through the work of the Holy Spirit. Everyone may get a surface meaning but there is something that lies beneath that only the Holy Spirit can give you.

This tells us more than a surface reading of the parable is required to get the full meaning of it.

Parables also have layers like and onion. New ideas come to us as we look at it from different angles. The Parable of the lost son has something new to say as you take the Father’s perspective of the event, or the brother who stayed home, then it does if you only look at it from the lost son’s perspective.

So, the intent of looking at the parables Jesus told is to dig deeper into them and have the Holy Spirit reveal their deeper meaning.  I pray that you will enjoy our look at the parables of Jesus.

 

 

Mark 12:41-44 “respect to God”

Mark 12:41-44 “respect to God”

Mark 12:41-44       “And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

1/64 of a day’s wages $15.00 X 12 = $2.80

If you could picture Jesus and the disciples sitting near the offering funnel at the temple, It’s a large metal funnel which lead to a box for the offerings. People are bringing in their offering and putting it in. All the offerings are coins, so this is a noisy place. Some have said that the rich would often use the smallest coin to make it a show of their offering al they put it in. But we do know it was obvious that some people put in large sums of money, perhapse they even have servants carrying their offering. With great show they put it in rattling the coins on the metal funnel. No one is paying much attention to the poor widow who tries to avoid the show as she puts in two small coins, they don’t even make a sound. Jesus uses this event to teach something about giving. Her two small coins are worth about $2.

The point of Jesus’ teaching is clear, some gave out of their abundance, while she gave all she had to live on. The rich’s offering made a great show but the widows offering was a sacrifice. Jesus says the widow’s sacrifice meant more to God than all the money the rich gave. This principle was taught by David in 2 Sam 24:18-25, where David remarks “I will not offer unto God that which cost me nothing”

Gen 4:3-6  “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?”

This is the very first offering we see in the Bible and it tells us that some offerings are acceptable to God while others are not. So, what makes our giving acceptable to God.

There are five principles about giving to God in the Bible.
Obedience, respect, sacrifice, priority, intentional.

Obedience
While Abraham was the first to tithe as an offering to God, the ordinance is given in Deut 14:22-29. A Tithe of all they earn for the year belongs to God and is to be given to the temple. God considers one tenth of your income His. An offering or gift to God starts above that 10%. In Malachi 3:6-10 God says that by not giving the tithe the people are robing God. Imagine a person whipping out their gun and stealing your money, and then they ask you for a favor. God said the people were robbing God and then expecting Him to help them.

Jesus affirms tithing in Matt 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

So, tithing is an obedience issue. In our giving are we obeying God

Which brings us to the second principle of giving, priority.
In the story of Cain and Able, Able brought the first born of the flock, in Deut 14 the tithe comes first. You make your offering before you take something out of it. In 1 cor 16:2 Paul encourages the Corinthian believers to set aside their offering first. When we give our tithe, we give it making God first in priority. Malachi says bring in the full tithe and see that God will bless the rest.
So do we make our giving a priority or what’s left over.

The next principle is respect or honor.
Does what we give to God show respect to God? We tip a waiter or waitress 10 – 20% as a show of respect for their service to us. In fact, this practice got it’s start in the Bible. In Malachi 1:6-14 God says; “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.

They dishonored God by bringing the leftovers that nobody wanted. By giving our best we show respect and honor to God. In our offering we are telling God what we think of Him. Put what you give in perspective by comparing it to your other expenses. It’s sad to say that many will show more respect to their waiter or waitress than they will to God.
So does our offering show respect and honor to God?

The next principle of giving is that it should be intentional
In 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
So, have you sat down and intentionally determined your giving or is it an after thought on Sunday when you open your wallet and see what’s in there?

The last principle is sacrifice
David said, “I will not offer unto God that which cost me nothing” The widow gave all she had to live on. Does our giving really cost us, can we feel it, what do we have to sacrifice to make our offering to God?
So, is our giving truly a sacrifice?

We do not all give the same amount, but we should make equal sacrifice to God. Will our offering be pleasing to God? If you follow these principles of giving it will.

a church with a mission

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.” 

Prov 16:1-9

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the spirit.

3 Commit your work to the Lord,

and your plans will be established.

4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,

9 The heart of man plans his way,

but the Lord establishes his steps.

 

  1. What is a purpose statement
    1. Not a slogan like “To know Christ and to Make Him known”
  2. Not a theological statement like the “Essentials”
  3. A single sentence that conveys the essence of what you are about
  4. The statement is flushed out in other documents
  5. It is a reminder of your purpose

 

  1. prayerful
  2. John 16:23&24 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
  3. 1 Thess 5:17 pray without ceasing
  4. Matthew 21:13 “He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ (Isa 56:7)
  5. To raise prayer that it is part of our identity

 

  1. family
  2. 1 Cor 12:25-27 “25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
  3. Mark 3:33 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
  4. deeper level of connection
  5. spend time with each other
  6. care for each other
  7. “You go We go”

 

  1. desires to please God
  2. It’s not about me, not about you, not even about us, it’s about God
  3. When we make decisions, when we set goals.
  4. Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

 

  1. By being the hands and feet of God
  2. Matthew 28:18-20 ““All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  3. We do not want to be spectators, we want to be players.

 

  1. Serving others
  2. John 13:12-17 “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
  3. 1 Peter 4:10 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”
  4. Ephesians 2:10, 1 Tim 5:10, Titus 2:14
  5. We want to be people who care and serve others

 

  1. Teaching the Word
  2. teaching others from the Word, the Bible.
  3. 2 Tim 2:2 “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
  4. We do not proclaim do goodism, or politically correct ideas or our ideas
  5. We teach the Bible.

 

There has been so much time put into reading and searching scripture. Listening to teachers and speakers about church revitalizing and growth, organization and planning. Out of all the study and research, your session has developed this statement as our mission, our identity, not of who we are but of who we believe Jesus wants us to be.

 

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.”

A Church With A Mission

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.” 

Prov 16:1-9

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the spirit.

3 Commit your work to the Lord,

and your plans will be established.

4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,

9 The heart of man plans his way,

but the Lord establishes his steps.

 

  1. What is a purpose statement
    1. Not a slogan like “To know Christ and to Make Him known”
  2. Not a theological statement like the “Essentials”
  3. A single sentence that conveys the essence of what you are about
  4. The statement is flushed out in other documents
  5. It is a reminder of your purpose

 

  1. prayerful
  2. John 16:23&24 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
  3. 1 Thess 5:17 pray without ceasing
  4. Matthew 21:13 “He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ (Isa 56:7)
  5. To raise prayer that it is part of our identity

 

  1. family
  2. 1 Cor 12:25-27 “25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
  3. Mark 3:33 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
  4. deeper level of connection
  5. spend time with each other
  6. care for each other
  7. “You go We go”

 

  1. desires to please God
  2. It’s not about me, not about you, not even about us, it’s about God
  3. When we make decisions, when we set goals.
  4. Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

 

  1. By being the hands and feet of God
  2. Matthew 28:18-20 ““All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  3. We do not want to be spectators, we want to be players.

 

  1. Serving others
  2. John 13:12-17 “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
  3. 1 Peter 4:10 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”
  4. Ephesians 2:10, 1 Tim 5:10, Titus 2:14
  5. We want to be people who care and serve others

 

  1. Teaching the Word
  2. teaching others from the Word, the Bible.
  3. 2 Tim 2:2 “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
  4. We do not proclaim do goodism, or politically correct ideas or our ideas
  5. We teach the Bible.

 

There has been so much time put into reading and searching scripture. Listening to teachers and speakers about church revitalizing and growth, organization and planning. Out of all the study and research, your session has developed this statement as our mission, our identity, not of who we are but of who we believe Jesus wants us to be.

 

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.”

 

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 “Planning to Win”

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.”

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 “Planning to Win”

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-14 “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

  1. There is a judgement, an accounting
  2. We have not done well
  3. Failing budget
  4. Decreasing number on session
  5. Decreasing numbers at church
  6. Little or no children
  7. There is no use pointing fingers at the past
  8. How do you want to go out?
  9. “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got”

Phil 3:14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

  1. What is our goal
  2. Sessions hard work
  3. Our mission statement
  4. The Bulls
  5. Uneven floors
  6. How we use it
  7. As a foundation to build all else upon
  8. As a reference to evaluate our work
  9. Prayerful
  10. Family
  11. I want it all
  12. Billy Bean “I want to ring every last drop of baseball out of you, and you want to stay in the show”
  13. I want to ring every last drop of what God has to offer in this life
  14. Willow Slew
  15. Marinette waterfalls
  16. Mora’s dragon
  17. I want to see everything of the Christian life

This is why we have a mission statement. This is why we have a goal. Not just because there will be an accounting in the end, but because we don’t want to miss a thing in life today.

“We are a prayerful Family that desires to please God by being the hands and feet of Jesus through serving others and teaching the Word.” 

“Jesus and the man on the cross” Luke 23:32-43

We finish our study of how Jesus ministered to people with a look at Jesus on His worst day.

How do we act on our worst day? When it’s all gone wrong. The cars broken down, the Dr. has bad news, the nursing home calls, someone says something hurtful about our age, body shape or color. People mock your faith and trust in God. Where is God on your worst days?

I had a day like that yesterday. I found it hard to breathe, I was tired and exhausted, and every time I tried to pick up something I would drop it or nock three other thing off the shelf. I would say my ability to deal with people was impaired. Best thing to do is hide and wait for tomorrow to come.

I would say that on Good Friday we are seeing Jesus at His lowest point. He has been betrayed, abandoned, beaten, ridiculed, falsely accused, and spit on. He has listened to the crowd cry out for Barabbas to be released and He to be crucified. Finally, He is nailed to a cross, lifted up for all to see in the company of two criminals. Even one of them mocks Him.  Jesus can’t hide and wait for tomorrow. So how does Jesus act?

Two statements from the cross tell us so much about Jesus.

The first is found in Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” As Jesus looks down from the cross and sees the people who crucified Him, people mocking Him, those who deserted Him, people who rejected Him and called for His death, you might expect some curse to be laid out on them, but Jesus forgives them. No matter how difficult we have made things for God, how disobedient we have been, no matter how much we have hurt God by our actions, Jesus looks down from the cross and says, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

The second statement from the cross is “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” This is Jesus’ response to one of the two criminals who ask for help. With all Jesus has been through and going through this fellow has the nerve to ask for a favor. Excuse me Jesus, I know your feeling down, tired, betrayed and busy dying and all but could you just help me out here?

You might expect a “to late pal” or “really? Now? Really?”, “you had your chance.” But Jesus comes back with this amazing statement, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

So, what does this tells us, how can we use or apply what we see here?

First, is that, no matter what we have done, how disobedient we have been, no matter how big the mistake, Jesus is ready to forgive us. The only limit to Jesus’ ability and willingness to forgive is our ability to ask. You may think you have things in your life that have made acceptance and forgiveness impossible. But this is not true. Ask for forgiveness, believe in your heart and Jesus will forgive you.

Second, is that it is never to late for you to call out to Jesus for forgiveness. This criminal uses the last of His breaths to ask Jesus for forgiveness and receives it. You are never to old, to far gone, or to lost for Jesus. Jesus specializes in desperate situations.  So, whatever your situation is today, Jesus desires to pour out His grace upon you.

It may be that you have pushed Jesus way, put Him off, for 80 years or more. It may be that you have just gone through the motions going to church for 50 or 70 years. Or it may be that you’re just getting started in life. No matter the time or circumstances, Jesus is ready to forgive, pour out His grace on you.

The Bible says “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old life has passed away, behold, a new life has come.”

I started by saying that Good Friday was Jesus’ worst and lowest day. How could a day get any more difficult for Jesus? But there is a day that bring Jesus even more sorrow and pain than He experienced that day. By far the most difficult thing for Jesus, the most painful time for Him, is the day you reject the love He offers you.

If you rejected Him a thousand times, He is still holding out His love to you. If you have played religious, churchy game and never really sought Jesus’ forgiveness, you still can today. It is not to late and you not strayed too far.

It is as simple as a prayer. And if you would accept Jesus forgiveness today, I ask that you repeat this prayer today as I lead us in it.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the many things I have done wrong, for the times I have hurt you, or turned you away. I accept your forgiveness today, I ask you for a new life, starting right now. Show me how to live and help me to do what you desire, each and every day. Thank you for saving me today and always, amen.