TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet

December 7, 2016

We first see God acting as prophet for Himself in Genesis 1 where “… God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” We see God choose prophets throughout the Old Testament. A prophet is a spokesman or speaker for God. Generally, it is accepted that a person is one who speaks for God by divine inspiration. In the bible, many have titled books in the Old Testament as Major and Minor Prophets. According to traditional Protestant positions, twelve Minor Prophets are identified. In order of their occurrence in the Bible, they are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They’re described as “minor” not because they’re less important than the books of the Major Prophets, but because they’re shorter in length (most of them can easily be read in a single sitting). The books that are considered to be Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Similarly in regards to length, Major Prophets are termed as such because they are lengthier and cast a correspondingly longer shadow on Old Testament history and theology than Minor Prohets. TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet

Again, A prophet is a spokesman or speaker for God. As we could easily expect, there have been and will be many who claim to be a prophet, so the dilemma is who is a true prophet. One of the most poignant examples in the bible is with Isaiah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. It is an enthralling demonstration of the faithfulness and power of God. You should read it. In it, the people, God’s people, were hardened in their hearts because they had chosen to follow Ahab in the worship of a false god – Baal. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” That really is what it boiled down to – either the prophet is from Jehovah, the One True God, or he is not. In that account in 1 Kings 18, God demonstrated who was the true prophet because God acted on behalf of what Isaiah stated. TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet

Jesus, like the prophet Isaiah, made prophecies. We see a number of them in Mark 13. The first has to do with the temple in Jerusalem. TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

In the post TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols, it was evidenced that some 40 years after Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple that it occurred. There are many, many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Let’s look at one of the first in Genesis.

Prophecy
Genesis 3:15
 (NIV) 

15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Fulfilled by Jesus Christ
Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Matthew 1:18
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 2:14
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet. People have spent years aligning and verifying such prophecy and fulfillment by Christ. Jesus told His disciples that the temple would be destroyed and it was. Perhaps my greatest experience with Jesus fulfilling prophecy was His destruction of the power of death in my life. Jesus saved me from my sin and the power of sin. Truly, where I had no control, through Jesus, I have power to say NO! to sin and experience victory over it. Titus 2:11-12 conveys that but my life affirms it. Titus 2:11-12 says, “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet. Have you been able to experience victory over sin and death? Truly, only through Jesus Christ can you experience victory over sin and death. TRUST Jesus as Savior and Lord to experience Him fulfilling prophecy in your life.

TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols

December 5, 2016

In Exodus 20, God said, ““I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols

From Adam and Eve to the Israelites up to this very nano-second, God expects to be worshiped by His creation, man. This is what He expresses there in Exodus: 1. He is God. 2. Worship me only. 3. If you worship someone or something else, I will act to discipline and direct you back to me. 4. If you worship me, I have nothing but love for you. TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols.

TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols was reiterated by Jesus in Mark 13. Listen to what Jesus tells the disciples.

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

The disciples expressed some wonderment over the size of the stones that made up the temple. Some estimates have the temple that they saw as large as 500 yards by 400 yards. That is five football fields by four football fields. That is a huge area. Some stones that made up the temple were 50 feet wide, 25 feet high, and 15 feet deep. The size of the building or stones did not amaze Jesus. He was not enamored by it after all everything that had been created was created by Him. God never intended anything other than Himself to be worshiped by man. The biblical order of things are that man worships and honors God. When that expectation is not met, we can expect all types of disorder and ultimately we can TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols. 

Jesus said, ““Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”” NOTE: This was another prophecy that Jesus made in the presence of the disciples. Since they knew Jesus to be true to His Word, the disciples asked when would that occur. He responded, but we know it to have happened 40 or so years after Jesus prophesied it. In an uprising against Roman rule, the Romans decided to destroy the temple since it was seen as the center of Jewish activity and pride. It also had been overlaid with gold which had melted into the seams of the stones when flaming arrows set it ablaze. Supposedly, it was the place that God was to have met with them. God allowed the temple to be destroyed because it became an idol for the Jews. They had rejected Jesus and were pursuing  God through their own ideas and means. God has a prescription for how man should worship and follow Him. When it ceases to be about God and becomes about man, we can TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols. 

What are the idols in your life? What demands your time and consumes your thoughts? Time and thoughts are true indicator of what may be leading you in the wrong direction. Our thoughts and time should have a balance and obvious focus on the Word of God and worship of God. You have to make the assessment of your thoughts, time and talent i.e. money. They will lead us to what is of ultimate importance in our lives. TRUST: God Destroys Our Idols. 

 

You Have Been Saved By Grace

December 3, 2016

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You Have Been Saved By Grace is the title of today’s post. I took a departure from Mark today to respond to my brother’s request to have a conversation with Him about a verse. The depth of all that is contained in this verse could not be captured in conversation later today. Plus, I don’t know it all. Furthermore, You Have Been Saved By Grace is part of Ephesians 2:8 which says, “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”

The Greek word used for grace in this passage is charis (khä’-rēs).  Strong’s translates charis (G5485) in the following manner: grace (130x), favour (6x), thanks (4x), thank (4x), thank (with G2192) (3x), pleasure (2x), miscellaneous (7x). In Ephesians 2:8, it can be said that it is “to endue with Divine favor or grace,” Endue is to endow or to clothe. This tells how salvation is granted to man. It is by grace. It is God’s favor. In Christendom, you will see and hear it expressed as God’s unmerited favor meaning that it cannot be earned. Paul underscores that by stressing that salvation is not from yourself. It is nothing you did which is reiterated in many verses but particularly in Ephesians 2:9, 2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 3:4-9.  Salvation is a gift of God. We do not earn gifts. They are given out of the love, kindness and means of the giver. You Have Been Saved By Grace

The Greek word used for saved is sōzō which means to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. Specifically, it means to rescue from the destruction resulting from God’s wrath being unleashed on those who know Him not. People do not believe that God will unleash His wrath on those who rejected Jesus as Lord, Savior and Son of God. However, we are told by Jesus “24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) Jesus saves. Acts 4:12 tells us “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

You Have Been Saved By Grace through faith. The Greek word for faith is pistis (pē’-stēs) which the KJV translates Strong’s G4102 in the following manner: faith (239x), assurance (1x), believe (with G1537) (1x), belief (1x), them that believe (1x), fidelity (1x). Hebrews 11:1 defines faith for us – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJV), Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV), or Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (NASB & ESV). Furthermore, we learn that for by it (faith) the people of old received their commendation. Whether Old Testatment or New Testament, it is faith that man receives commendation by God as Hebrews 11:6 conveys – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Strong’s tells us that in relating faith to Christ it is a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God. It is that trust that Christ is the Messiah and through Him Jehovah has provided salvation from the wrath of God for man’s sin. It is Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension that affords us the opportunity to be saved. Since Christ rose, we too can rise from the dead and join Him in the place He prepares for all who trust and follow Him. Even in that, it is God who gives us the measure of faith to trust and follow Christ. Our faith is not ours other than through grace.

If you have been saved, You Have Been Saved By Grace – the unearned favor of God

TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering

December 1, 2016

There is a lot of rhetoric these days regarding impropriety of judging other people. There are common colloquialism that show the pervasiveness of that position. Have you heard the phrase “Don’t judge me bro”? Recording artist, Chris Brown, has a song titled Don’t Judge Me. You may have even uttered those words to another whom you deemed unworthy of judging your thoughts, beliefs, words or actions. Despite that, there is one who is worthy to be our judge, Jesus. Our passage today reveals that we can TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering.

Mark 12

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering. Again, Jesus shows His divinity by being aware of what they were trying to do. We see throughout the Gospels Jesus convey that He knows and judges the thoughts and motives of man just as the written Word judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering. There is no doubt that what we give monetarily is important, but for the follower of Christ, we know that our lives are the offering that Jesus cares the most about. Just as in this passage, what we give monetarily reveals the attitude and motivation that we have toward Christ’s Lordship in our lives. Remember Mark 12:33, it says, “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Of that man, Jesus affirmed that He answered wisely regarding the kingdom of God. About the widow, Jesus said, “she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Contrast what He said earlier about the teachers of the law – “40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers.” Furthermore, we know Jesus condemned them for taking advantage of widows or those who could least afford to provide support to the teachers. TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering

TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering. What is Jesus saying about our offering whether monetarily or with the offering of our hearts? Do you love Him with all of your heart? Do you choose Him over yourself or others? In comparison to the widow in the text, do you love Him out of your poverty or your wealth? If we are honest with ourselves, God will reveal to us where we fall short on loving Him, but rest assured we can TRUST: Jesus Assesses Your Offering.  We cannot Disregard, Discredit, Deceive or Debate that TRUTH.

TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy

November 29, 2016

As children, we are encouraged to live by universal principles of honesty, hard work, respect, and fairness. We all like the concept of being fair, but it is a lot harder to apply in daily life. None of us want to be on the end of being disfavored, but all of us want favors. So do we really want fairness in our lives? I would say only when it is unfavorable for us. It is a bit hypocritical to clamor for fairness only when it is unfavorable for us. We are not upset when the favor falls on us. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy

Despite that, we should TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. In terms of those ruling over us or who have authority, Jesus provides commentary about how we should respond. Let’s look and see what He had to say.

Mark 12

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Jesus’ warning was against the teachers of the law who were supposed to represent the truth of God to the people; however, Jesus condemns how they have behaved. They have the appearance of doing good, but at the heart of their actions, they are out for themselves rather than taking care of those who are most vulnerable. The reference to the long robes has been noted as they do not engage in any work of consequence and effort to assist anyone. Their penchant for desiring respect in how people greeted them is another indicator of their selfishness and hypocrisy. They want respect but are not respectable in their interactions with those whom they desire respect. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. They want the most important seats and places because they know that they are not really all that important. They know they are a farce, but that does not discourage them from those behaviors nor those impure desires. None more offensive than preying on widows. Instead of truly praying for widows, they preyed on widows using their position to teach lies and exact money from them by manipulating their thinking.

TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy and the consequences of their actions. The Word says, “These men will be punished most severely.” Likewise, those of us who should serve and lead will be required by God to give account on how we led people. Did we lead pretentiously or sacrificially? Jesus is the model of the teacher and leader who led sacrificially which is opposite of how the teachers of the law led. They led for themselves and about themselves.

How are you leading? Are you out for yourself or are you out for those whom you lead? Is it about you or is it about God Almighty? Are you more concerned with you look or how you look at God? Jesus serves as our ultimate model, but the Word is filled with many others who served God with right motives – out of service to Him for the good of those whom He had given us. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. Let’s pray that we do not fall into the trap of serving ourselves. Remember, “These men will be punished most severely.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

November 28, 2016

Over the past few days since Thanksgiving, I have truly reflected on the blessing of having a relationship with Jehovah through Jesus Christ. In John 14:6, Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus knew who He was, but many people did not and still do not know who He is. It was His mission to reveal to mankind that He was God’s means for man to enter into a personal relationship with God as He intended for man before man’s fall. Adam’s trespass created division and separation from God for all mankind. Jesus’ incarnation, death and resurrection affords us the opportunity to know God. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. In Mark 12, we see Jesus sharing that truth with authorities/power structure and others in the temple. Like many of man today, they were unaware of the person of Jesus or His identity.

Mark 12

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

The large crowd listened to him with delight.

Jesus taught by framing questions from the knowledge that people had. He used their knowledge to lead them to a greater understanding of the truth.TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. In the text today, Jesus references Psalm 110:1 in the question that He frames for the authorities. The question was “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? Jesus knew that the Lord David was speaking of was Himself, but the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders did not know who He was. The disciples themselves had recently found out Jesus’ true identity. If you will recall Mark 8, Jesus first asks His disciples“Who do people say I am?”. Then, He asks the disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus asked them not to share that with anyone at that time. Despite that, TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth.

Jesus was concerned that the leaders and teachers of the day did not know who He was. He wanted them to know, so He asked them who He was, but they were not given the understanding of this as Peter had been. When asking about the Messiah, Jesus knew who He was the Messiah, but the people did not. He asked the question to reveal to their lack of understanding of who He is.

Do you know who Jesus is? Do you know that He is the Messiah? Do you know that salvation is found in no one else? Do you know that He invites you to know Him? He reveals that many times, but one poignant time was in John 14 where He was sharing more with His disciples about His the purpose of His coming. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. The question is “Do you want to hear the truth?” If you do, open the Word of God reading it with the intention of hearing what He has to say to you. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth

November 25, 2016

In response to Jesus, we saw the people in verses 1-12 demonstrate TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. In verse 13-17, we see people reveal TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Today, in verses 18-27, we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth. Today,in verses 28-34,we see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

So far in the passage from much of the power Jewish power structure or authorities of the day, Jesus has endured efforts to disregard, to discredit and to deceive Him. Now, we see an attempt to debate Him, but as with the other attempts, Jesus, through His teaching, disses them too. He disarms them all.

Mark 12

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth. One of the teachers of the law indicates that this person has been well trained and is now teaching and training others in the Mosaic Law. We can fully surmise that this person would have been an expert in his day. In fact, the text tells that he made an assessment of Jesus’ response to Sadducees. “Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”” The teacher of the law recognized the soundness and authority of Jesus’ response about the resurrection, so he decides to enter the fray of challenging Jesus’ authority. Remember, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him in Mark 11:28 asking 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” … “And who gave you authority to do this?” Rather than give them a simple response as they wanted to use against Him, Jesus demonstrated His authority. Despite that, we see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

In the verses today, TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth is observed in the question asked by one of the teachers of the law. He asked “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Up to this time, we have to remember that God’s Word was considered what we now call the Old Testament of which the law or Mosaic text was highly esteemed. In another attempt to trap Jesus, the teacher wanted Jesus to respond in a way that demeaned or decrease the value of the law. Jesus, being omniscient, was aware and used His response to defeat this attempt to Debate the Truth. By virtue of the question from the teacher of the law, Jesus was supposed to choose among the commandments the one that was the most important. Jesus did not respond accordingly. His response morphed the guided question into the proper perspective and position. Essentially, Jesus redefines the pursuit of God. He positioned His response akin to 1 Samuel 15:22 which says “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LordTo obey is better than sacrifice,  and to heed is better than the fat of rams”. The most important law is love manifested in love for God then love manifested for mankind. For Jesus had already said “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. ” (John 14)

Again, Jesus had triumphed over His challengers by teaching them not by demeaning, beating or over powering them through force. He simply loved them. He loved them enough to overlook their evil intentions to not only teach them the truth in Word but also in deed. TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth, but Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is what He is. He just lived what He is and thus triumphed. His desire for us is live in love and triumph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth

November 23, 2016

In this passage of Mark 12, I have been pleasantly engaged by the Spirit of God. In fact, this morning I arose later than I normally do. After eating breakfast, the Spirit called to me asking if I was going to come back to the Word for Him to give me the other titles for the rest of the passage. I stalled for a moment. Then the Spirit of God said to me, “what on Sports Center will not be repeated, but what I have to say will not be.” I turned off the television; opened the text; read the text, and asked the Spirit to speak to me. My ignoring what I should be engaged in first this morning was tantamount to what was doing in the verses I read. We can TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth.

I sat and ate thinking that I could just go on this morning without giving God the time He deserved first in my life. I was trying to deceive the truth, but I really was deceiving myself. Thank God that He did not allow me to languish in that self-deception. He pursued me just as we see Jesus pursuing people in the text and teaching them.

Mark 12

18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too.23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

In response to Jesus, we saw the people in verses 1-12 demonstrate TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. In verse 13-17, we see people reveal TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Today, in verses 18-27, we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth. On Friday, Lord willing, we will see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

How do we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth in the passage (18-27) today. First, let us make sure that we have a common understand on deceive. I agree with dictionary.com‘s definition of deceive which is to mislead (to lead or guide wrongly intentionally or not) or falsely persuade others. In the verses reviewed today, how does man Seek to Deceive the Truth, Jesus Christ?

First, the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. Their first error was coming to Jesus rejecting the truth. They did not believe in the resurrection; yet, the response that they sought to evoke from Jesus hinged on the resurrection. God was particular about Mark including that fact about the Sadducees, so we could learn how we come to Jesus in error. The second error they made was being ignorant about what happens for believers in the resurrection. I presume they did not seek to find out because they rejected the truth/reality of the resurrection. How many people will make this same mistake about God? They don’t believe in Him, so many other positions will be forfeited because they fail to believe in Him. Lastly, the final error I see, I am sure there are more, is that under estimated who Jesus is – they did not count on Him being God who is able to identify their errors and point them out to them using the scriptures which they initially came to Jesus under the guise of believing. TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth 

Jesus was masterful, pun intended, in His response to them. First, He listened. That is the hope anyone has who does accept Christ as Lord and Savior – Jesus is willing to listen. By His grace, He then responded. The Sadducees had attempted to Deceive Jesus because they themselves were deceived, but because of His mercy and grace, Jesus listen and taught them again. He gave them an assessment of how they arrived in their condition.  24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? This is true for us all – we are in error because we don’t know Scriptures or the power of God. When I reflect, that is so true. When not in out right rebellion, I make poor decision because I either don’t know the Scriptures or I fail to remember or recall the power of God. This was the error of their ways and led to them being deceived. TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth and are themselves deceived. 

Look at your life to see where you may be deceived. Click the link to learn more about being deceived. verses on being deceived

Whether intentionally or not, remember TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth

TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth

November 21, 2016

In the post TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth, we saw how the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders sought ways to disregard the TRUTH, Jesus and His Word. Now, we see the next step is TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth.

Let’s move to the following verses in Mark 12.

13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.

In response to Jesus, we saw the people try to disregard the Truth in verses 1-12. Now in verses 13-17, we see people try to discredit the Truth. By Truth, remember I am referring to Jesus and His Word. Ib John 14:6, Jesus declares “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Remember, John 1 tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Knowing this, it sets the foundation for people responding to Jesus as God and the Word of God.

When chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders saw that they could not disregard Jesus because of the people, we can see from their responding actions that we can TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. If one cannot disregard Jesus, he/she seeks to discredit Him. In the passage above, the Pharisees and Herodians (ruling family empowered by Roman leaders) engage in the fray to resist Jesus as Lord and God. Their actions are symbolic of how all mankind respond to Jesus. If one cannot disregard Jesus, the next tactic is to discredit Him.

Jesus shows His divinity by being aware of what they were trying to do. We see throughout the Gospels Jesus convey that He knows and judges the thoughts and motives of man just as the written Word judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Because people want to be lord of their own lives, we can TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Despite that, Jesus’ divinity and authority supercede whatever actions man takes.

Jesus asked them “Why are you trying to trap me?” This is His statement to them that I know what you are trying to do, but I am still God – watch this. He asks them to bring Him the coin. Then, He displays His superior wisdom in His response. Consequently, in response to TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth,  it also conveys that Jesus’ efforts are not altered or halted by man’s efforts. Look at how they respond to what Jesus shows them – they were amazed at him.

TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth; however, God has a plan to respond to that as well. He simply demonstrates His divinity in a greater extent. Are you seeking to truly respond to Jesus or are you seeking to disregard or discredit Him? If so, your fate will be the same as the Pharisees and Herodians. You will be amazed at Jesus and without excuse when judges you at the final judgement.

TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth

November 18, 2016

There has been a lot in the national media lately about a “reckless disregard for the truth”. Yourdictionary.com quotes Webster’s New World Law Dictionary for reckless disregard. Reckless disregard is defined as an act of proceeding to do something with a conscious awareness of danger, while ignoring any potential consequences of so doing. Reckless disregard, while not necessarily suggesting an intent to cause harm, is a harsher condition than ordinary negligence. Proving a defendant’s “reckless disregard for the truth” is the standard for success of a plaintiff in a suit for libel. TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth

That is true in a court of law, but in God’s court, Jesus will not have to prove anything. A person’s life will be on display. His/her actions will be the testimony. Since God is omniscient, He will not display our lives against the truth for Himself but for us. Jesus, the judge, will evaluate each person by their response to truth. He Himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) In Mark 12, Jesus provides a glimpse of how we will see our lives against the truth and how we can TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth.

Mark 12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

The Word tells us “Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them.” They were consciously an keenly aware that Jesus had not only been speaking of them but condemned their behavior against the truth. Jesus was conveying that God had reached out to them and had given them the truth, but they were disregarding God’s truth and way. We know in Mark 11 that Jesus condemns their behavior in the temple. It was that condemnation that caused them to ask in verse 11:28″“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”” TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth.

Like the men in Mark 11 and 12, we too know the truth; yet TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. God has shown us that He knows our thoughts and motives. He judges and will judge them. Despite that, we persist in doing our own thing because we can TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. A mere refusal to accept the truth is akin to an ostrich sticking his head in a whole despite the imminent danger surrounding it. We cannot successfully attempt to ignore unpleasant facts or situations. We see in the passage the people tried to ignore Jesus by rejecting God’s efforts to reach out to them.

TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. Are you living in constant denial of Jesus, the TRUTH? We all will be judged for how we respond to God. Don’t continue living in disregard to the truth.