Glad Tidings

July 23, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Luke | 3 Comments
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And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:1

The word translated as “shewing the glad tidings” is euaggelizo, the same word that can be translated as “preach the Gospel.” Jesus and His Disciples were not preaching about how to get nicer material possessions, or how to have a happier marriage, or how to be a better parent, or how to be healed from physical illness, or how to have “your best life now,” or how to “make every day a Friday.” No, they were preaching the Gospel!

Was this an isolated occurrence of evangelism for Jesus during His earthly ministry? Of course not.

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

Luke 1:19

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10

The birth of Jesus was not separate from the Gospel. It was PART of the Gospel. The “peace on earth” that Jesus came to bring was not the kind of peace where people start being more polite to their neighbors. No, it was peace between God and man: God and SINNERS reconciled. Reconciliation is not made between friends or people who are already on the same team. Reconciliation is made between enemies. I’m sorry that your favorite department store or retailer suddenly wants to take “Christ” out of “Christmas,” but I’m a lot more concerned that some churches wants to take the GOSPEL out of Christmas!

The angels preached the Gospel, and John the Baptist preached it:

And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

Luke 3:18

Jesus preached it:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:18

And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Luke 4:43

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 7:22

In the books of the Bible which the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write (Luke and Acts), he makes a point of highlighting the ministry of women, and here we learn that the Gospel ministry had been supported by financial giving from the beginning.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Luke 8:2-3

The Greatest Miracle

July 9, 2018 at 11:45 am | Posted in Biblical Greats, Luke | 1 Comment
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John the Baptist received from his disciples some news about Jesus’s ministry.

And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

Luke 7:18

John’s disciples considered themselves REformers (as opposed to the Pharisees who thought of themselves as CONformers, and Jesus’s disciples who were TRANSformers). John was doubting Jesus because he wasn’t seeing any reformation.

And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Luke 7:19

Doubting can be a sign of unbelief, but not always. You can still have faith in God but be perplexed over what He is doing. As Oswald Chambers once said, “Doubting is not always a sign of unbelief; sometimes it’s a sign that a man is thinking.”

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Luke 7:22-23

The Greek word translated as “offended” in Luke 7:23 is skandalizo, from which we get the English word “scandalized.” It was originally the word for the bait in a trap – the enticement to fall into peril. The Person and ministry of Jesus should cause us to stop and think – but not to stumble and turn away. Jesus stressed the miracles He was doing so that John’s disciples could see the “transformation” which happens to individuals rather than the “reformation” which happens to governments.

I think sometimes we do a disservice in making converts believe that they are joining a club rather than entering into a personal relationship with the Savior. Healing the centurion’s servant was a great miracle. Raising the widow’s son from the dead was a great miracle. But Jesus was about to do an even greater miracle. He was about to save a sinner. That’s the greatest miracle because it meets the greatest need: forgiveness. It accomplishes the greatest result: eternal life. It cost the greatest price: the sacrificial death of Christ on the Cross.

A Compassionate Centurion and Contradictory Crowds

May 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Luke | 3 Comments
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Compassion has been defined as YOUR pain in MY heart. We can learn some lessons about compassion in Luke Chapter 7.

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

Luke 7:1-3

This centurion had compassion for his servant.

And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

Luke 7:4-5

It was unusual for a Roman soldier to be favorable to the Jews, but this one had even built a synagogue at his own expense.

Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

Luke 7:6-7

Humility was not a characteristically “Roman” attribute, but this centurion did not feel worthy to have Jesus in his house.

For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Luke 7:8-9

The centurion had both compassion and humility, but Jesus was impressed by his FAITH.

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Mark 6:5-6

Jesus MARVELED at the faith of this gentile, and at the unbelief of the Jews in Nazareth. Also, the centurion identified with Jesus’s right and power to command. The centurion commanded soldiers, but Jesus commanded diseases. Alexander the Great once ruled the world, but was killed by a tiny virus.

And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

Luke 7:11-12

Two crowds met: Jesus and His followers, and the widow of Nain and the mourners of her son. In which “crowd” would you place yourself? Are you mourning what has been lost? Or are you cheerfully on your way to enjoy what has been gained, and to tell others what can be gained?

Next, two sons met: The widow’s son was dead but was destined to live; the Son of God was alive but was destined to die.

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

Luke 7:13-14

Jesus experienced the widow’s pain in His heart.

Finally, two enemies met: Jesus, the Life, and our “final enemy,” death.

And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Luke 7:15-16

The boy sat up (salvation) and spoke (profession). These are symbols of the two signs of new life which true Christians have received in Christ: awakening and speaking.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:9-11

Hindsight is 20/20

December 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 7 Comments
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“Hindsight” means looking back, or looking at something after the fact. Often we get into a difficult spot and look back and wish we had known what was going to happen, thinking that, if we had known, we would have done things differently. I experience this quite often when I find myself sitting in a traffic jam. “If only I had taken that exit I flew past five miles ago!”

The expression “Hindsight is 20/20” refers to the way that our foresight is often severely limited or blurry, although we seem to have perfect vision when it comes to evaluating our actions once we have already seen the consequences. Attributing 20/20 hindsight is our way of resigning ourselves to our current situation while forlornly wishing we could have seen the future.

God, unlike us, has “foresight” that’s better than 20/20. He always knows what to expect.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

Many times the enemies of God will experience hindsight, and, if you think it’s frustrating for you, as a child of God, when you wish that your foresight had been as accurate as your hindsight, imagine how it’s going to be for those who didn’t believe the Word of God.

Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.

Nahum 2:8

Nineveh repented under the preaching of Jonah, but after a while the Ninevites went back to their old ways, and when Nahum and the other prophets warned them, they prophesied that, when they were conquered, their commanders would order them to stand, but they would be like water draining out of a pool, and they would not “look back.” In other words their hindsight would be a reproach to them.

Spiritually speaking, we don’t have to wait for 20/20 hindsight to evaluate the outcome.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

When you get discouraged, when you don’t have peace, go ahead and cheat a little, and get out your hindsight ahead of time. We are in Christ, and He has overcome the world.

Sometimes we get a little discouraged because what we expect doesn’t happen. Even John the Baptist got a little discouraged. People heard him say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” but they forgot what had to happen to a lamb for it to take away sin.

And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Luke 7:19

Did you ever wonder why God doesn’t let us see everything that’s going to happen? Some people think it would take all the fun out of life if there were no surprises, but the reality is that God, for the most part, wants us looking forward, not looking back. A famous quote, often used at the commencement of a new venture undertaken on the foundation of an old establishment, says, “Hats off to the past, coats off to the future.”

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:59-62

A farmer trying to plough straight rows and looking back would do a terrible job. When we say, “Let’s get moving,” generally speaking, we are looking forward. It’s hard to grow in Christian maturity if you’re always looking back. Remember Lot’s wife. (A husband once said, “Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. My wife looked back and turned into a mailbox.”) Looking back is a sign that we’re still yearning for the things of the world, the things of the flesh. We’re not supposed to fondly remember those things anymore. As Christians, we’re looking ahead because we’re following what we love. We’re following Jesus.

Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

II Timothy 4:10

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

********************************
The world behind me, the cross before me;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Attributed to S. Sundar Singh

Hindsight may be 20/20, but, as believers, we’re not worried about our hindsight. We’re too busy following… and looking back may lead to turning back.

Spending Time with the “Right” Kind of People

March 15, 2013 at 10:29 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 12 Comments
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I suppose I can understand the temptation. You are scrolling down your Facebook feed, checking up on all your friends and relatives, oohing and aahing over the latest baby pictures and commiserating with the complaints about the weather… and suddenly you see it. Someone has shared what looks like an ad from an old-timey magazine with a drawing of a lady in a sunhat sipping an iced tea above a paragraph of prose so catchy and inspiring you feel like you just can’t help yourself from clicking “share!” Before you even realize you are doing it, you have posted something like this:

Free yourself from negative people. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and like-minded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live.

I don’t know how to transliterate the sound of one of those buzzers that go off when someone guesses incorrectly on a television game show, but just imagine it here. Unless you are not a Christian, that is. If you’re not a Christian, these kinds of mushy self-help slogans and pop psychology tripe are perfectly understandable. If you’ve never trusted Christ as your Savior, you can stop reading now – or better yet click here for something that will help you tremendously.

Now, for those of you Christians who are still reading, I know it’s asking a lot, but let’s try to think before we “share.” The Bible says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, not the removing of your mind.

Should you “free yourself from negative people?” Not according to the Bible.

Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:11-16

Should you “spend time with nice people who are smart, driven, and like-minded?” Not if you want to be like Jesus.

The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Luke 7:34

Is life really “too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you?” If you are selfish, and your goal in life is to make yourself “happy” with a false circumstances-dependent happiness, then it sure is! However, if your goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ, and to love and serve difficult, suffering, and miserable people, then those are precisely the type of people you want in your life.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:5-7

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

Is “being YOU the only way to truly live?” Silly me, I thought the way to truly live was to die to self and have Christ the Lord live through us.

And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luke 9:23-25

For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.

Philippians 1:21

There is no easy “like” button to click when it comes to sanctification.

How Much Is Enough?

January 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Posted in Luke, Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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The Lord Jesus was well-known during His earthly ministry for spending time with the “wrong crowd:” He was, at times, in the company of prostitutes, publicans, and outcasts. However, in addition to ministering to “open sinners,” there were some occasions when He also fellowshipped with “secret sinners.” One such occasion is recorded in Luke 7, where Jesus had been invited to a meal at the home of Simon the Pharisee.

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

Luke 7:36

In those days and in that culture, hosts and guests dined together in somewhat of an “open-air” setting, where passers-by could observe and even barge in unannounced.

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Luke 7:37-38

Simon was shocked and offended by this behavior. He was offended that an obviously sinful woman would intrude on his time with the well-known Prophet of Nazareth, and even more shocked that Jesus would not rebuke her. What Simon was willfully ignoring, however, was that this woman was not the only sinner present. Simon – just like the woman, and just like everyone else present except for Jesus, and just like you and me and everyone you ever have known and ever will know – was a sinner, too. Here is how Jesus responded to the woman’s egregious and shameless show of love and worship toward her Savior:

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

Luke 7:47-48

The key difference between the woman and Simon was not that one was a sinner and one was not. The difference was that one recognized the magnitude of her sin and one did not. Do you realize how great and terrible and inexcusable your sins against your loving and patient and giving God have been? Those who realize how much they have been forgiven will love much. Those who minimize their sin will love the Forgiver of those sins but little. Give yourself a quick test: Going to church is one of the easiest ways to show your love to God for what He has done for you in Christ. How do you feel about doing it? Is going to church something that you do if you don’t have some other obligation, if the weather is nice, and if your back doesn’t hurt too much?

Appreciation for forgiveness = greater love and grateful service.

Minimization of sin, or forgiveness taken for granted = little love and begrudging service.

How much have you been forgiven, and how much did it cost your Forgiver?


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