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Slaves and masters! – Ephesians 6:5-9

Slaves and masters! – Ephesians 6:5-9
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 2, 2017

There are times when employees may feel they are slaves or just a cog in one big giant machine only good for what they can turn out for the “man” but to equate our boredom or nasty bosses to actual slavery is a bit much. Real slavery is no laughing matter and it still exists in many countries of the world today; most notably within those that are predominately Muslim or socialist. While slavery was the predominate thinking for much of the world’s history Christianity has played a huge role in ending this horrendous system of slaves and masters.

Jesus taught that God views all people equal and while Paul and others addressed slaves and masters they knew that God so loved the whole world and that Jesus came to save all mankind. Within those nations who were influenced by Christianity the ungodly system of slavery would eventually be done away with. We can find the seeds to its destruction in how Paul addresses the attitudes of slaves and masters here in Ephesians. Let’s take a look at what Paul wrote and how it should affect our lives today…

READ: Ephesians 6:5-9

So should people view Paul’s statements here in Ephesians as an endorsement of slavery? Absolutely not! Instead we can discover that what mattered most to Paul was how one conducted themselves as a believer. And here in this truth Christians can find that…

I. No matter their position in life believers are to consider themselves as servants of Christ! (Vv. 5-6)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

1. Slaves in Paul’s day had a harsh existence. They were property considered a thing that could be bought, sold, or destroyed at a whim. Yes, some slaves who served well could become part of a family and in fact receive the same rights and privileges as their masters if the master decided to give them their family’s name. In fact some slaves rose in rank and advantage even higher in society than their own masters! Yet we must look at the deeper truth Paul was trying to give his readers here. We must remember that both slave and master would hear his words. And so Paul began by telling them, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart”. He knew that slavery was harsh but he also knew that people could serve outwardly yet harbor hatred toward those who are over them. So again he mentions “respect” (literally trembling) and “fear” and “sincerity (single-mindedness) of heart”. We forget in our day and age because we put a deeper emphasis on personal fulfillment rather than being called by God. Paul wrote the Roman church that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son… And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30 NIV) This is why Paul told slaves to obey their masters “just as you would obey Christ”. Paul was not endorsing slavery but rather teaching new believers how live their faith in difficult circumstances. They were to “Obey” their masters “not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” This is a good truth for all Christians because no matter what their position in life is believers are to consider themselves as servants of Christ!

EXAMPLE: When my father had to leave for weeks and sometimes months in order to earn a living for our family he would remind us kids, “Mind your mother just as if I were here while I am gone.” We knew that no matter whether he was home or away we had to be obedient to our Mom just as if he were home. Slaves in Paul’s day could have seen their newfound faith and freedom in Christ as an excuse to be disobedient to either their believing or non-believing masters. But Paul reminds them that no matter their position in life believers are to consider themselves as servants of Christ!

Some folks see their job as something they have to do in order to pay the bills but this attitude can make your work drudgery for you. The same is true when one is saved by faith and called to serve the Lord. We can begin to see our service as drudgery; however Paul reminds us that…

II. No matter our position in life Christians are to serve enthusiastically! (Vv. 7-8)

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

1. Enthusiastically is a word that comes from several Greek words that literally mean “in God’s essence” and was originally used by the Greeks to describe manifestations of divine possession but was later used to describe the believer’s life in Christ. Paul writes that new believers were to “serve wholeheartedly” literally from their very beings that now had been changed by their faith in Jesus! In his letter to the Colossian church Paul would remind them to put off any evil in their lives by remembering to put “off your old self with its practices” and instead “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:8-10) And remember he had just taught them that “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV) The reason for Paul was obvious because when the believer served their masters, bosses, parents or others this way it was as “if you were serving the Lord”! It is easy to go through the motions of just doing your job or your chores but when one does this it is only because they do it as if they were serving “men” and not Jesus. For the believer serving Jesus should never be a chore. The Christian’s attitude should be changed because of their faith in Jesus. We are to live our lives by a different set of values and attitudes because “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) And we know “that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” Paul is not enforcing a “works” mentality but rather reminding them that our final reward is different than what the world gives. The world rewards us by our status but God sees us as his new creation. No matter our position in life Christians are to serve enthusiastically!

EXAMPLE: One of the best pieces of advice my father imparted to me in the last days of his life had to do with how I did my work whether it was at school, home, or a job earning money. He related that I would probably do a lot of different things in life just as he had but in all those jobs he learned that if one wants to be successful in life you have to have the right attitude. He related, “Go to work, do your best, do more than what is expected of you, be honest and trustworthy and don’t get involved in gossip.” A believer’s motivation in life is not to be money, prestige, power, or position. Paul would say that no matter our position in life Christians are to serve enthusiastically!

We see that Paul’s view on how Christian slaves were to conduct themselves was radical. It was radical because of the change that occurred in the life of a believer when God comes to reside in them through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore those in charge who were saved were to be radically different as well. We discover that…

III. Christians in charge are not to be prejudice in any way! (v. 9)

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

1. Equality between sexes, races, or ages is not found in baseless reparations, false apologies, or in making idiotic excuses. You cannot force someone to not be racist, xenophobic, or chauvinistic. Sure you can legislate, make laws, and try to teach social justice but that will never change the inner person who is evil in nature. Paul intrinsically understood this because he had experienced it himself. In fact he had been an evil “enforcer” for his mentors to try and stamp out the early Christian faith. In the Book of Acts we learn that while the followers of Jesus were preaching and teaching others about the love of God expressed in Jesus, Paul “was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2 NIV) However Paul was changed “As he neared Damascus on his journey” when “suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” (Acts 9:3) Paul would later say that Jesus “appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:8) and he would confess “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV) Just as Paul had been changed he now says, “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way” as they had been treated by God. They were placed in charge for a reason just as they had come to faith for a reason and so they were told “Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” Jesus saw both slave and master as the same. Paul would write, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28 NIV) Christians in charge are not to be prejudice in any way!

EXAMPLE: Atheism is the antithesis of faith. We see its outcome in socialism and communism where mankind is exemplified and faith in God is disdained. Hundreds of millions have been murdered by the atheistic movements found in the Nazism of Germany, the communism of the Soviet Union, China, North Korean, Cambodia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cuba, and other nations. Atheists believe morality is derived from the social norm but if the social norm is already inwardly and utterly corrupt and evil then your morality will be corrupted as well. This is why many in our day think that society needs to change its moral core from one influenced by faith in God to one based on faith in mankind. We see its outcome. Morality is in a constant state of flux and depends upon how one feels about their self in the moment. Paul says believers are to be influenced by the change that God has done in their very beings; their souls. Christians in charge are not to be prejudice in any way!

Conclusion:

No matter their position in life believers are to consider themselves as servants of Christ! No matter our position in life Christians are to serve enthusiastically! Christians in charge are not to be prejudice in any way!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The Rich Life! – James 5:1-6

The Rich Life! – James 5:1-6
By pastor Lee Hemen
August 10, 2014

In the movie Little Orphan Annie the bad guys sing a song called “Easy Street.” They sing about a pie-in-the-sky place they think only rich folks enjoy. They blame all of their hard times on their not getting rich quick and how the wealthy keep them from doing so. Social Democrats have used class envy since the Great Depression. However, this is nothing new. There are several false theologies regarding distribution of wealth that are rampant in today’s world. One comes from the days of Jesus and James whereby folks incorrectly thought that if you were well off, then you were being blessed by God. This false doctrine still exists in the teachings on so-called Christian television. They teach that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to their ministries will always increase one’s material wealth and health. It has been called health and wealth, name-it-and-claim-it, blab it and grab it, or positive confession. Based on false interpretations of the Bible, often with emphasis on the Book of Malachi, they teach that the Bible is both a spiritual and material contract between God and man. If we have enough of the right kind of faith in God, he will deliver on his promises of security and prosperity. Confessing these promises to be true is perceived as an act of faith, which God will honor. Robert Tilton, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Hagin, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyers and Paula White are just a few of the false heretics that promote this kind of ungodly theology.

Then there are those within some denominations, such as Unity, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, and Disciples of Christ that teach Liberation Theology. Most churches and denominations that belong to the National Council of Churches support Liberation Theology. It is also seen as a political movement that began in the Roman Catholic Church in South America in the 1950s. It is a theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ as liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described as, “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”. It promotes open borders, illegal immigration, and redistribution of a nation’s wealth through political or forceful means. Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism, which it often is. It secularizes the teachings of Christ and deems him as a liberator for the poor and downtrodden. Liberation theologians specifically target the disparities between rich and poor in the existing social and economic, political and corporate structures. They believe that Jesus’ gospel taught the redistribution of property and wealth. Nothing could be further from the truth. On August 4th the Vatican announced it was lifting its 29 year old ban on several radical priests who promoted and taught Liberation Theology. Pope Francis himself is a Liberation theologian and proponent.

Then there is also Black Liberation Theology which seeks to liberate people of color from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christianity as a theology of liberation. It views people of color as an “oppressed community” and the Gospel as a means to social, economic and political liberation. According to James Hal Cone, one of its founders, if God is not just, if God does not desire justice, then God needs to be done away with. Liberation from a false god who privileges whites, and the realization of an alternative and true God who desires the empowerment of the oppressed through self-definition, self-affirmation, and self-determination is the core of Black Liberation Theology. Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is the church most frequently cited by Cone and others as the best example of a church formally founded on the vision of Black Liberation Theology. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, President Obama’s pastor for decades, who married him and Michelle and baptized his daughters has preached racism and anti-Americanism in his sermons, articles, and statements, and finally under public scrutiny caused then-Senator Barack Obama to distance himself from his former pastor. Sadly, to the detriment of our Nation, and the alienation of diverse groups, much of its theological teachings have found their way into recent public policy.

Why do I bring these examples up for your consideration today? Simply because many over the centuries have misused the passage of Scripture from James we will consider today. James wanted his readers to live the rich life in Christ not as a means of material, political, or social liberation but of personal stewardship. Let’s discover what James wrote and why.

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. (James 5:1-6 NIV)”

If we just focus on these verses of James we will come away with a convoluted view of what he was trying to teach his readers. It is well known that Martin Luther had problems with this book. He called it a “right strawy epistle.” But it is only “strawy” to the degree it is tough in its teaching. Like Jesus’ teaching on the mount, there are enough needles in this haystack to prick the conscience of every dull, defeated, and decadent Christian in the world. Here is a “right stirring epistle” designed to exhort and encourage, to challenge and convict, to rebuke and revive, to describe practical holiness and drive believers toward the goal of a faith that works. James is severely ethical and refreshingly practical. Lest we forget, the purpose of James is to exhort the early believers to Christian maturity and holiness of life. This letter deals more with the practice of the Christian faith than with its precepts. James told his readers how to achieve spiritual maturity through a confident stand, compassionate service, careful speech, contrite submission, and concerned sharing. He dealt with every area of a Christian’s life: in what he is, in what he does, in what he says, in what he feels, and in what he has. This is the rich life for James.

Notice that the first three verses here describe what has occurred to all of their ill-conceived schemes and hording of their wealth: “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. (James 5:1-3 NIV)”

James bluntly rebukes his readers by saying, “Now listen, you rich people!” Instead of rejoicing at how intelligent or practical they had been they should “weep and wail because of the misery” that was about to happen to them! They had spent their entire lives plotting how to get rich and stay rich but their “wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten” their fine clothes! James knew that no matter how hard one tries to take it with them, they cannot do so. And for the believer in Christ to not use what he has been blessed with in life for the glory of God, was a sin for James. James is not preaching some redistribution of a person’s possessions, but rather the good stewardship Christians are supposed to practice in life! A person’s wealth is not good to them after they are dead, only the pagans believed that! We are not only to reap what we have sown in life; we are to sow what we have reaped as well! We are to share the goodness of God that we enjoy with fellow believers around us. Christians are to take care of one another. A holy life is marked by a servant’s heart. There is a reason why Jesus taught, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)” True liberation in life does not come from the redistribution of another’s wealth but from our own liberation in Christ whereby our hearts are changed! When our wealth has rotted, our clothes have been eaten by insects, and our gold and silver wasted and corroded what good are they? James warns, “Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.” Like Paul, James knew we should be careful how we build our lives in Christ. Paul would warn, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:11-13 NIV)” James would warn his readers, “You have hoarded wealth in the last days.” James is implicitly asking them, “What in the world are you doing with your wealth now to further the kingdom of God?” Jesus, in the Apostle John’s vision in Revelation, remarked to the church at Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Revelation 3:15-18 NIV)” Now, let me ask you, “Are you living the rich life God desires of you?”

James continued his warning by relating, “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. (James 5:4-6 NIV)”

We forget that our sins will find us out. We will have to give an account of all that God has blessed us with in this life and how we used it to further for his kingdom or not. Proverbs reminds us, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’– when you now have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27-28 NIV)” the neighbor here was fellow Hebrews, for us it would be our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, lest we forget, Jesus reminded an expert in the law, after he correctly answered that we are to love God completely and our neighbor as ourselves that our neighbor is the one whom God lays in our daily path that could use our assistance. It is the parable of the Good Samaritan where a man is robbed, beaten, and left for dead in a ditch. Both a priest and a Levite passed him by after seeing him. But the Samaritan, an outcast himself from Jewish society, saw him and took pity on him. Took him to an inn and paid for his recovery. Jesus asks the expert in the law, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Now, let me ask you “Have the cries of your neighbors reached the ears of the Lord Almighty?” Rich living, liberation in a believer’s life begins when we willingly use what God has given us to invest in the lives of others who do not know him!

This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Just Wondering…

Just Wondering…

By Pastor Lee Hemen’

July 19, 2014

 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33 NIV) For we know that our old self was crucified with him… (Romans 6:6 NIV) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds… (Ephesians 4:22-23 NIV) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace… (1 Peter 4:10 NIV) The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11 NIV)

 

What is up with all the “selfies” people take? What does this say about us? We go to different places and then stick a cell phone in our own faces, snap an intimate shot of our facial imperfections and nose hair to share with thousands of others. We cannot even see what is behind us because the whole focus of the picture is us! I am not speaking to the world here but to believers who say they love Jesus and want to live for him. Could this modern-day electronic digital affliction be problematic of what we have allowed society to implant in us? Perhaps this is true. If we take the snapshot selfishness into our church membership, our relationship with Christ, or our spiritual growth what we will end up with is a lot of the focus being on us instead of the big picture – namely God’s kingdom. Couldn’t we take one picture of our nose hairs and simply lie to others about where we are in our selfies? Are we so focused on ourselves that we do not serve, we do not seek ways to grow God’s kingdom, or we have become static in our spirituality? Perhaps we need to take the cell phone out of our faces and take a snapshot of our lives in Christ instead. Would we like the hairs and imperfects we would see there? If so, then what will you do about taking so many selfies instead of sacrificially serving the Savior? Makes one wonder…

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The Holy Life! — James 1:22-27

The Holy Life! — James 1:22-27
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 18, 2014

Some believe that global warming is the biggest threat to the world today. In fact, many of the major news organizations came out on Monday saying that the Antarctic is losing its ice sheet and “there is nothing we can do about it!” Yet, according to the National Snow and Ice Data, Antarctic ice is growing at a rapid pace never seen before. Some thought, in the 1970’s, that the greatest risk we faced was global cooling! Some thought we would all starve to death by the 1990’s and yet there are more crops being grown than ever in the history of mankind. Every year brings dire warnings of MERS, SARS, AIDS, the Nile Virus or some other disease that is going to wipe us off the face of the earth. Yet, as I look at mankind and especially the life of Christians today, I believe that the greatest global threat we face is ungodliness seen as a normal part of the Christian faith.

The holy life is no longer seen as hip or something one should embrace in their faith walk. Some actually think that because they have once placed their faith and trust in Jesus, they are now as holy as they need to be. They have their lifeguard Jesus and do not need to worry about how they are drowning in their sin. Nothing could be further from the truth! Hebrews reminds us to “Make every effort to… be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV) And, Peter would admonish, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV) What then is the holy life? James relates some simple concepts that can help us to understand the holy life better, let’s discover what he teaches…
READ: James 1:22-27

He did not care what he had done, he did not care he had hurt others, and he did not care that he had to serve hard time for it as well. Thinking he could get better treatment, he began to serve in the chapel and it was there he discovered his imprisonment was not just physical, it was spiritual. While incarcerated, he found freedom in Christ. James teaches us that…

I. The Holy life responds to God’s Word! (Vv.22-24)
1. Herein is a primary problem of Christianity today; people do not do what the word of God says. It was present in James’ day as well. What is truly astonishing about this is that this is one of the first New Testament letters written concerning the Christian faith. Yet, we find James very bluntly telling his readers, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The wording here means to delude oneself or to deliberately fool oneself into thinking something that was simply not true! His fellow believers were not doing what they had just heard they were supposed to do in order to live holy lives! Like delusional dolts, they listened to the fine sounding words of the gospel, left their wonderful worship and their study of God’s Word and immediately forgot what they were just taught! Can you imagine such a thing? Many of the moral and ethical problems we face in our day are not the fault of politicians, the world or satanic influence; rather, they distill down to individual believers not doing what the Word of God says! We have thousands of churches full of folks listening to fine sounding sermons doing nothing with what they hear! We suffer from spiritual dementia! We can still walk, talk, and feed ourselves but we no longer recognize what holiness is supposed to look like. We have become blinded by the selfish faith we put on everyday rather than living a sacrificial life God desires! James declared, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” We are very religious, but spiritually worthless. Jesus disgustingly told the self-centered religious folks of his day, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24 NIV) Following Jesus is more than a simple confession. Isaiah said that a person like James describes “feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’” (Isaiah 44:20 NIV) Too many Christians excuse their ungodly lifestyles and hold onto its filth rather than holiness. Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NIV) Far too many live in spiritual dementia! James teaches us that the Holy life responds to God’s Word!
EXAMPLE: Jesus rebuked those in his day who thought of themselves as holy but did not respond to the Word of God before their very eyes by telling them, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart (meaning the person’s totality) the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 NIV) Well, guess what? Out of the overflow of one’s life, the totality of what a person is in Christ flows one’s holiness or not. James teaches us that the Holy life responds to God’s Word!

She wanted more in life. She had thought of herself as a “good person” and thought she loved the Lord, but there was something missing and she knew it. A harmful relationship soon ended and she had to confront the fact that she was not living her life as God desired her to. She had compromised her faith and what she believed in a hope that this would bring her happiness by excusing her ex-boyfriend’s ungodly life. She opened the Bible and as she studied it and began to apply what she read to her daily walk and she knew she had to live her faith out loud. James teaches us that…

II. The Holy life lives their religion! (Vv. 25-27)

1. The simple unvarnished truth is that Christians need to begin to live a godly lifestyle! James knew that “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward!” (Psalms 19:7-11 NIV) The answer to the ills of the world is the Word of God! The answer for weak-willed believers is to follow their Lord and be holy! James wrote, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom (the Word of God found in the gospel), and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” Again, Paul would remind us, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13 NIV) Love here is sacrificial action, holy living! John wrote, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16 NIV) Holy living demands sacrifice and we do not like to sacrifice anything! We want the sacrifice of Christ; we want others to sacrifice for us; but we balk at giving anything of ourselves away at all! However, holy living also recognizes the delusion! It confesses the sin of selfishness! John would teach succinctly, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth… If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:6, 8-10 NIV) James continues, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Whether it is your mouth, your habits, or the way you live, James is telling us we need to live lives of holiness, not just fool ourselves and say we are holy. In fact he goes on to teach, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Holiness has an outcome. It is more than concerned for others, it acts! Holy living is more than feeling good about oneself; it keeps itself from being polluted by the world! James knew that the holy life lives their religion!
EXAMPLE: Paul was harsh and much of today’s politically correct world does not like what he wrote concerning holy living, but what he taught is true. He wrote, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ‘Everything is permissible for me’–but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’–but I will not be mastered by anything… Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-12, 19-20 NIV) James knew that the holy life lives their religion!

Conclusion:
James teaches us that the Holy life responds to God’s Word and James knew that the holy life lives their religion!

This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Hebrews 3:1-6 Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!

Hebrews 3:1-6 Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 15, 2012 AM

There are some things in life that are better than other things. Peanut butter and jelly is better than plain bread and butter; homemade cookies are better than cheap store-bought ones and college football is better than pro football any day of the week! Of course some may disagree with my assessments, but there is one arena where we cannot disagree as to what is better and that is in the spiritual assessment between God’s Messiah and God’s Messenger. That is between Moses the messenger and Jesus the Messiah.

The writer of Hebrews continues in his evaluation of just how much grandeur Jesus is than people’s old views of spirituality. The old contract was finished and the new one has come into service. In his assessment between Moses and Jesus the author of Hebrews makes it very plain that there simply is no contest between the two individuals. It is almost like watching a boxing match or smack down wrestling. Let’s discover for ourselves just why Jesus is better than Moses is as we look at “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!”

READ: Hebrews 3:1-6

My father and I used to sit and watch the old professional wrestling shows on TV when I was a kid. Guys like Gorgeous George and the Masked Marvel were the stars of the era. The author of Hebrews gives us a blow-by-blow assessment between Moses and Jesus. It almost is like a Smack Down wrestling match. It’s “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!” The bell rings and we discover that…

I. Jesus Is the Builder! (Vv. 1-3)

“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” (Hebrews 3:1-3 NIV)

1. Notice we are called “Holy brothers” and all people are considered such “who share in the heavenly calling” of Jesus Christ! In fact, we are admonished to “fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Why would the author tell us that? Because Jesus is the main messenger “apostle” of God’s gospel to mankind and he is the “high priest whom we confess!” Both Moses and Jesus were faithful to God, but only one was both “the apostle and high priest whom we confess!” We can never confess Moses only Jesus! But also notice that verse 3 says that Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses in relation to God’s house. And the answer is obvious: Jesus is the builder of the house and Moses is only a part of the house! Look at what he writes in verse 3: “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” In other words he is saying: Jesus is to the people of God as a builder is to a house. Moses is simply one of members of God’s household. Therefore Jesus built everything Moses based his life’s purpose on! Jesus built the Law of Moses in the first place! Now think about that for a moment. Certainly “Moses was faithful in all God’s house” but Jesus was the Heavenly high priest and apostle who made the house! Before Moses was born Jesus was with God in the beginning and when Moses hiked up the hill to receive the Law of God, Jesus had already written it! But more than this: Jesus is the one who brought us a heavenly calling from God and made us a way to God that is far better than the temple or the law! On him hangs all our hope of heaven. If we have any confidence this morning that our sins are forgiven and that we will persevere in faith and attain heaven, this confidence depends on Jesus who is the builder of the house of God!

EXAMPLE: As the Olympics are about to begin, we don’t have any difficulty realizing that only one person is worthy of more glory than all the others in their perspective competitions. There’s more glory in gold than in silver, and more honor in silver than in bronze. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than every gold medal winner of the Olympics as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus as God’s apostle and high priest made the gold, the competitors, and the house! Jesus is the builder of the house! Round one goes to Jesus!

But more than that, like a wrestler pinned to the mat and as the hand of the referee comes smacking down in the final count we quickly learn that…

II. Jesus Made Moses! (Vv. 3-4)

“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:3-4 NIV)

1. We learned above that “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses” because “just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” The inference here is also to be a transition into the next point the author is making, namely that Jesus made Moses! In fact, as we resume we discover that verse 4 continues this notion by stating, “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” And since Jesus is God, he made everything including Moses! Make no mistake about this theological fact, Jesus is God and not some other god in embryo or little created god-man. Jesus related, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV) “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58 NIV) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV) And both Paul and John referred to Jesus as “God and Savior” and “true God and eternal life”! (Titus 2:13 & 1 John 5:20) Jesus is the builder of the house because he is God! Now stand back and again consider the ramifications for our lives. If Jesus made Moses, the temple, and the Law of God, that means he made you and he made me! If this is true, then Jesus wins this bout with Moses simply because he made it all possible in the first place!

EXAMPLE: It would be as if the Olympic decathlon athletes were all gathered together in the locker room bragging about which one was the greatest, and Jesus comes in and quietly listens. One brags, “I threw the javelin farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Another says, “I put the shot farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Still another boasts, “I jumped higher than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” And then Jesus standing in the corner calmly states, “I made wood for the javelin, the minerals for the shot put, and the field you practiced on. In fact, and I made all of you. I made your arms, your legs, and your hearts and therefore I am the greatest.” Just as the author of Hebrews writes that Jesus made Moses and therefore Jesus is greater than Moses. Round two goes to Jesus!

The match is almost over. The crowd is in anticipation of who will win the bout. And as if hurdled to the ropes of the ring, the opponent learns…

III. Jesus Is the Son; Moses Is Only A Servant! (Vv. 5-6)

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (Hebrews 3:5-6 NIV)

1. There is a difference if you are an employee of the boss or the boss’ son! Here we learn this truth anew. Moses was a servant in the house of God and Jesus is the Son over the house of God. The difference between a servant and a son is that the son, by inheritance, owns the house, and is Lord over the house, and provides for those in the house out of his wealth. But a servant doesn’t own anything in the house, and the servant obeys the word of the owner! The servant receives his provision from the owner. So again, Jesus, as a son, is superior to Moses in these three ways: 1) he owns the house of God; 2) he rules the house of God and 3) he provides for the house of God! By contrast Moses is just hired help in the house of God! He doesn’t own it; he doesn’t rule it; and he doesn’t provide for it from his wealth. He only sweeps the floor if asked to do so! So consider Jesus in relation to Moses. The writer of Hebrews wants us to apply this superiority of Jesus to ourselves! He relates, “And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” The church is the house of God today! The redeemed members are the church and Jesus is the owner, the ruler, and the provider of his church, his household! He’s the son; we are the servants. He is our title-holder, our Master, and our source for all things! We are his house, his people, and partakers of a heavenly calling “if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant, round three goes to Jesus!

EXAMPLE: Wouldn’t it be surprising for all of us as we watched the Olympics and during the medal ceremony the person who won the gold medal Greco-Roman Wrestling did not show up for the presentation but instead someone else took their place? They dramatically announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, I worked hard, followed all the rules, and I am a nice guy so I deserve the gold medal!” We would demand the medal got to the one who actually won it! This is what the readers of Hebrews were struggling with concerning their faith. They thought they deserved their salvation because they followed Moses and all the laws, but like being placed on the ropes in a wrestling match they discovered Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant!

Conclusion:
Moses hoped in the law of God. Many in Jesus’ day hoped it was sufficient to save them if they routinely followed it to the letter. Let me ask you, “What are you hoping in this morning?” We discovered Jesus is the builder, Jesus made Moses, and Jesus is the son; Moses was only a servant!

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Luke 22:14-20, 24-27, 31-34 – We need to remember!

Luke 22:14-20, 24-27, 31-34 – We need to remember!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 1, 2012 AM

We were moved when a little boy was last seen at his school and disappeared. Many vowed to never forget. We were saddened by the loss of innocent lives and destruction of September 11th, 2001 and vowed to never forget. Like Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Tsunami, or the sinking of the Titanic there are those who were so shaken, affected, and moved that they said they would never forget. But time moves on, memories fade, and people die. Hearts and wounds are healed, yet for some of us we try to remember and place these events in perspective. We realize that we need to remember.

In a much greater way, the Lord’s Supper serves as a call to remember. As believers participate in the Lord’s Supper, we recall the sacrifice Jesus made so we could be freed from the guilt of our sins. Every time we share this ritual meal together, we proclaim that His death has changed our lives and behavior forever. Our challenge, as this week’s study demonstrates, is to remember what Jesus did in such a way that it impacts our lives, particularly in promoting a servant spirit in expressing humility.

READ: Luke 22:14-20, 24-27, 31-34

From the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, His disciples had swirled through a whirlwind of activity. Jerusalem bustled with the thousands of visitors flooding the city to celebrate the Passover festival, the Jewish religious highlight of the year. The Master had single-handedly cleared the temple complex of animals and traders. He had converted it into a place of healing and teaching garnering hostility from the religious establishment. Jesus was intent on fulfilling His mission. He knew that crucifixion awaited Him, but His followers were clueless. They could only think about the coming holiday. However, we soon realize that…

I. The Lord’s Supper is more than a ritual! (Luke 22:14-20)
1. Ceremony becomes common place, when it becomes routine! — Leeferism
1) Jesus infused the Passover with new meaning, a meaning His disciples would grasp only after His death and resurrection. The Passover traditionally included roasted lamb and bread made without yeast. Wine was also poured into cups and drunk at several points during the meal. As they reclined at the table Jesus tells them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” It would be the last Passover Jesus would share with His disciples. The next time Jesus would enjoy the Passover, its meaning would be fulfilled “in the kingdom of God.” Rather than giving new meaning to the meat of the lamb, Jesus used the cup and the bread. Jesus included amazing teachings in the few words He spoke about the contents of the cup. Jesus offered thanks to God as the Giver of all good things. The best of all good gifts is salvation, symbolized by the Supper. Because of Jesus’ pattern, Christians always pray and thank God before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. In some denominations the Supper is also known as the Eucharist, the word in the original Greek for giving thanks. Jesus invited all those present to share it among themselves, therefore Christians have called this Communion, a reminder that we share with each other as well as with the Lord Jesus when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Then Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Jesus knew His blood was about to be shed or poured out. He also knew His body would be sacrificed for our sins. God’s gift of salvation was given by God’s provision of His Son. This passage helps us remember that the meaning of the Lord’s Supper is not limited to participating in a ritual. Among other things, it points us to Christ’s death in its past value; its present value; and its future value. The Lord’s Supper is more than a ritual!
EXAMPLE: We can do something so much that it becomes second nature to us. Like driving here this morning for some of you; you get behind the wheel, turn on your car, and check out until you are parking here in the parking lot! The same thing can happen with our spiritual lives as well. Prayer, reading the Word, or observing the Lord’s Supper can become routine instead of the spiritual observance it is supposed to be. In the denomination I was raised in, there was a lot of things we did that became so much ritual. You went through the motions so much that the actual meaning became lost in the ceremony. Observing the Lord’s Supper js to be more than a ritual!

Immediately after participating in the Lord’s Supper, the disciples began to argue and dispute with each other. Their concern was the all-so-human pride as to who would have the most prestige and power. In all likelihood they were thinking about Jesus in terms royalty. After all, He had been welcomed into the city a few days earlier as King (19:37-38). Unfortunately, such disputes are not as rare among believers in churches today as they should be. Like Jesus’ first disciples, we can find it easy to forget the significance of the Lord’s Supper. However we realize that…

II. Greatness comes through serving! (Luke 22:24-27)
1. The Christian motto should be: “Ask not what you can do for me, but what can I do for you?” — Leeferism
1) “A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” We know that this was not the first time they had wanted recognition. James’ and John’s mother had come to ask special privileges for her two sons in Jesus’ coming kingdom. (Matthew 20:20-21) And they had argued about who would be the greatest (Mark 9:34) and for Him to do whatever they asked (Mark 10:35-37)! Jesus immediately challenged such thinking as contrary to the values of His kingdom. In a secular mind-set those with military or political power love to dominate, to swing their weight around. Jesus reminds them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.” Jesus warned, “But you are not to be like that.” One antidote for those who dispute over greatness is intentionally to serve with all humility. Instead of acting like the greatest, act like the youngest. Rulers in such places as Egypt and Rome assumed the title Benefactors, a display (often empty) that they were admired by their subjects. Even in church and religious life, a dangerous tendency exists to enjoy being flattered, to crave attention and fame. Instead of exerting the authority of one who leads, try serving instead. Jesus was urging what is best called “servant leadership.” It is as rare today as it was in Jesus’ time. Jesus demonstrated servant leadership, leaving the greatest example imaginable. He lived and ministered among the Twelve as the One who serves. He was about to die as the Suffering Servant. Earlier that very evening He had reversed the normal expectations of the guest of honor at a dinner. Although Jesus was at the table as an honored guest, He had taken up a towel and had served the disciples by humbly washing their feet (John 13:1-17). Consider how God might be calling you actively to bring Jesus’ teaching into the situation. How can you be a servant leader? Remember that greatness comes through serving!
EXAMPLE: We all love to be recognized. My child is an “honored student” or a slap on the back or pat on the head we all enjoy. It borders on the height of arrogance however for someone in power to demand recognition that is not deserved. How awful is it then when those who have been redeemed not by anything they have done but by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, seek recognition for service that is to be sacrificial as well. We are reminded by Jesus’ own words to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” and in fact Jesus reminds us that “pagans run after all these things.” (Matthew 6:32-33) And that “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” If we as Jesus’ disciples want to be great in His kingdom we must learn to be the servants of all. We are to remember that greatness comes through serving!

In that upstairs room with Jesus and His disciples, unseen spiritual forces of darkness hovered. The struggle between good and evil, between the holy and the profane, is never just a matter of flesh and blood. Satan lurks to entrap the unsuspecting heart and twist it to his profane ways. Jesus offered Peter a lesson that night that all believers need to take to heart and apply. We need to remember that…

III. Satan wants you to fail! (Luke 22:31-34)
1. Satan’s fishes with the lures of the world! — Leeferism
1) Good old Simon Peter. He must have been feeling self-confident and mature at that moment. After all, Jesus had given him the honor of getting the Passover meal ready. Further, Peter had just participated in the first Lord’s Supper. At just this time Satan attacked. Jesus surely got Peter’s attention by the double address, “Simon, Simon.” Jesus had used the same device earlier to get Martha’s attention (Luke 10:41). Was Simon alarmed to learn that a supernatural tug of war centered on him? On one hand prowled the enemy, Satan. He would soon attack Peter and the other disciples (the Greek word translated you in verse 31 is plural). Satan wanted to ruin their faith and their testimony. He wanted them to stumble and fail. On the other hand was the Lord Jesus. He had already prayed for Peter. He knew that the enemy’s main strategy is to destroy faith. Jesus is more powerful than Satan. His prayers would prevail, and after a time of backsliding and sin, Peter would return to fellowship and usefulness. After he had turned back, he would know how to strengthen other believers. One of the ways Peter later did this was to write inspired epistles. In one of them he wrote, “Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But this lay years ahead. Jesus had to burst Peter’s bubble of boasting. He knew that before daylight, which the rooster signals with his crow, Peter would fail bitterly. He would deny his Lord three times. Have you faced failures because you underestimated Satan’s strategies against you? If so, you are not alone. Other believers by the multiplied thousands have been through similar experiences. Always remember that Satan wants you to fail in your faith, but Christ is more powerful than the enemy of our souls!
EXAMPLE: Satan is so slick. He desires to destroy your relationship with the Lord and sadly it is often easier than we realize. Satan never attacks where we are spiritually, emotionally, or psychologically strong. Like the roaring lion he is described as, he looks for our weakness, lays in wait, and grabs us by the throat when we least expect it. He always attacks from the bushes, from a hiding place. He often camouflages himself as something wonderful, delightful, or that which we desire the most. Always remember that Satan wants you to fail in your faith, but Christ is more powerful than the enemy of our souls!

Conclusion:
More than a ritual, the Lord’s Supper calls believers to remember Christ’s death for their sins. When believers argue among themselves or compete for greatness, they contradict the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. When believers are overconfident of their spiritual maturity, they open themselves up to satanic influences.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Today’s Thoughts… You deserve what?

Today’s Thoughts… You deserve what?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
February 20, 2012

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)

“I deserve this” is probably one of the most ungodly phrases a Christian can utter. It is the antithesis of just about everything Jesus taught, lived and died for. Yet we find it creeping into the theological and casual conversation of believers. Evangelicals have readily been sold a bill of theological goods concerning what they do deserve. Some think that God was so lonely that he created mankind for fellowship. This is so patently false, as to boarder on being heretical. If God who is completely holy, loving, all powerful, all knowing, and all present would lack anything is laughable. God is complete in of himself and needs nothing or no one else to make himself complete, that notion is a human concept based on our insecurity.

What then do we “deserve,” if anything? We deserve birth because God knew us before we were born and gave us this tremendous gift of life. (Psalm 139:13-16) Life is sacred. We deserve death because this is not only the ultimate outcome of our life it is also the ultimate outcome of our sinful nature. (Romans 3:10 & 6:23) And what we therefore do in-between those goal posts of birth and death relates what we believe. (Matthew 7:16-23) We deserve eternity because we are eternal beings. We will exist for eternity with our Creator or we will exist eternally separated from his presence. We therefore have a choice on how we will spend eternity. (John 3:16-18)

Jesus willingly gave his life that we might live. If Jesus willingly did that for us, shouldn’t we want to live our lives as Jesus would want us to? You know, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life!” Paul said it best when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

Now, dear child of God, what do you really deserve?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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