Archive for December, 2012

Face To Face (III John)

December 31, 2012

“I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink.  I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” III John 13

The year of our Lord, 2012, is just hours away from being no more.  Yes, another year has gone and we are one day closer to the moment when we will stand face to face before our Lord.  Question, “Are there anythings you need to get straight before you meet Him?”

Here in our last day of our 2012 More for Christ readings we find ourselves in III John.  If you have been following along this year, you have now completed reading through the entire New Testament.  Praise be to His name!!!

John is writing to a church that he loved and was in many ways very proud.  Here we find special leaders mentioned and we also find specific ministries being mentioned.  Follow the suggested outline:

1.  We see the fullness in John’s heart, Vs: 1-4

John rejoices in the flock walking in the truth.  This was his greatest joy in seeing the flock obeying the Word Of God.

2. We see the focus in John’s heart, Vs: 5-8

John was focused on the care of those who were traveling evangelists (We would call them missionaries today).  John challenged to church to care for these traveling evangelists.  In doing so they were sharing in the spread of the gospel.

3.  We see the frustration in John’s heart, Vs: 9-12

There were those who were not walking in the truth.  They were clearly identified by their lack of love for those traveling evangelists.  Very quickly we discover their self-focus (Vs:9-10).  John assures the church that he will deal with this failure when he comes.

As I read this one chapter book, I could not get away from the fact that someday we will stand before our Lord (Romans 14:12/ I Cor. 5:9-10).  On that day we will give account for how we have handled two things:  1) Gods Word  2) God’s work

In this accounting I honestly asked the Lord to show me any error in both accounts.  Certainly I have been reading every day and I have been seeking to live out what He has written.  But there are things I have failed in.  So I repented and I sought to know how to walk in everything he has said.

Certainly I have been working in his fields.  I have led a team internationally and I have proclaimed his world in many places here in the US.  But again, the Lord reminded me of those places and times when I had not.  “Dear Lord help me to fully engaged in my focus on not only personal sharing but also in partnering with those who do.

In conclusion I want to offer you several resolutions for your consideration in 2013:

1.  Read through the entire Bible in 2013 (We have a reading plan online at kingsbaptist.net

2.  Pray every day for your walk and for your witness.

3.  Sacrificially partner with your church to financially give to the IMB and other mission partnerships.

4. Seek with all of your being for Christ to be formed in you.

God bless you in 2013 for His glory.  

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Who is doing the Talking (I John 4)

December 28, 2012

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  I John 4:1

There are times when I wonder, during a conversation, “Who is doing the talking?” Allow me to explain, “I have been in conversations with people who were simply sharing what someone else had said to them.  They were not sharing what they had discovered as truth, but what someone had led them to believe.”

Here in I John 4, the Apostle John is fully convinced that Jesus is the Son of God who has come to be the payment for our sin (2:1-2).  Christ’s impact on His followers lives is amazing.  They cease living in sin and now concentrate on living for the Savior.  This life is seen in how they love others.

Here in chapter 4 we discover two things:

1.  The truth of our love, Vs: 1-6

Those who have met Jesus will confess what he says about himself, “Every person that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”  We are able to see the light (John 1:9-11).  Our Lord has brought us to the light and we speak as one who is in the light.  We are able to conqueror those who are talking from the dark.

2.  The testimony of our love, Vs: 7-21

One can clearly see the impact of Christ in such a person’s life.  It is easy to see who is doing the talking.  Such a person loves because they have been loved by God, Vs: 7-12.  Such a person has been liberated, Vs: 13-19.  Life is radically different.

When you encounter such a person, you know who is doing the talking.  Question, “Who is doing the talking in your life?”  Is the Spirit of God leading or are you leading?  This morning I want to challenge you to consider what you are saying and I want to challenge you to consider why you are saying what you are saying?  Finally I want to challenge you to commit to the voice of God.  Allow His voice to be heard and heeded in this coming new year.

Keep in mind, “when we talk out of our old life, we will damage, discourage, and distract people from the truth.”

Keep in mind, “when we talk out of our new life, we will direct, delight, and deliver the truth of the gospel.”  The choice is yours brothers and sisters.

See and Share The Love (I John 3)

December 27, 2012

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are.”  I John 3:1

“I could tell you were a Christian.”  This comment was made to me by a person who I recently meet at a Basketball game.  This person had never seen me before and they may never see me again, this side of heaven.  But in that brief encounter I was blessed by a person who could see Christ being formed in me.

I was blessed in two ways: 1) Christ has redeemed me from my sin. (I John 3:5).  I could never be anything different apart from the grace of God.  2) Christ is using me for His glory (I John 3:17-19).  Only in Christ can we do things of eternal value.

Brothers and sisters, our More For Christ readings are so filled with the impact of Christ on the life of the Child of God.  Notice two things as you read the chapter:

1.  See the Love of God, Vs:1-10

In God’s love He has adopted us as His children (3:1-3).  Because of this love we are God’s children now and we will be like Him forever.  In God’ love we find strength to be committed to God (3:4-10).  Our lives are now radically different.  We seek to be pure in our walk with Christ.  This purity flows out into daily practice of righteousness.  These things only happen because His love has been poured out in our lives.

2.  Share the Love of God, Vs: 11-24

John reminds us of how evil deeds destroy love (3:11-13).   John reminds us of how love must define our lives (14).  This love was defined by Christ (16).  Because of this love our lives are impacted in two distinct ways:  1) We become givers (Vs: 16-18).  2) We become productive in our prayer life (Vs:21-22).

Dear brother and sister I plead with you to grasp the truth of this passage.  When God’s love is poured out into our lives we must receive and we must reside in this love.  Once this happens we now reach out in righteous ways so that the world may see Jesus and the world may come to Jesus.

Truly this should be the top new years resolution for your life and for my life.  For further study, consider Psalm 111.

Headed toward a new year (I John 2:13-29)

December 26, 2012

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming,”  I John 2:28

Yes, it is true, “In a few days we will celebrate the beginning of a New Year.”  This mornings More For Christ readings reminded me of the importance of finishing this year strong in the Lord.  Here are three strong reminders:

1.  Beware of the trap of the World, Vs: 15-17

2.  Beware of the trap of false teachers, Vs: 18-19

3.  Beware of deception, Vs: 20-27

Oh, there is a fourth:

4.  Beware of His Coming, Vs: 28-29

Brothers and sisters the Scriptures are clear, “As we approach the coming of the Lord, times will get worse and worse (I Timothy 4:1).  Certainly we have been living in the last days since the beginning of the Church, but never more closer to the end than we are today.

Look around us.  The world has infiltrated the church along with false teachers who are deceiving many.

As we head to a New Year, I remind you of this fact, “We have an anointing of the Holy Spirit.”  There is no reason to fear.  The Lord is for us, with us, and before us.  In him we can grow and go for His glory (2:12-14).  This very day, I can say, “I have confidence in the future because I know who holds the future in his hand.”

Getting To Know Jesus (I John 1:1-2:12)

December 25, 2012

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”  I John 1:6

Let me be one of the first to wish every reader, “Merry Christmas!” Today is a celebration of joy for Christians everywhere.  Today we remember, we rejoice, and we reach out with the message of God with us (Our Immanuel).  Today we pause from our busy life to reflect on all we have been given in Christ.

Our More for Christ readings give us great reason to reflect on Jesus.  John begins his first epistle with a reminder (1:1-4) of his first hand knowledge of the life and ministry of Jesus.  John’s love for Christ did not diminish over time.  His love led him to write so that we could get to know Jesus.  Follow the outline of the text:

1.  John wrote about the righteous of our Savior, Vs: 5

He is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

2.  John wrote about the unrighteousness of men, Vs: 6, 8, 10

We are so different from Jesus.  We are born as sinners, which prohibits us from getting to know Jesus.  We have no fellowship with Him.  When we say we have fellowship without dealing with our sin problem, we are lying.  When we say we have no sin, we again are lying.  Finally, when we say we have no sin, we are accusing Jesus of lying.

3.  John wrote about the only way the two could be reconciled, Vs: 7, 9

Only by the blood of Jesus Christ can a sinner be reconciled to God.  This happens each time a sinner confesses their sins to God.  In that moment the blood of Christ is applied to their sin and they are cleansed.

This is a cause for great praise on Christmas day and on every morning!!!  Once the blood has been applied you and I can now get to know Jesus.  I John two teaches us that we will not be perfect.  This is why Jesus is our advocate (2:1-2).  Daily we will advance in our faith (2:3-6) and we will develop an attitude of love (2:7-12).

Brothers and sisters celebrate this day and all it means.  But at the same time commit your every moment to getting to know Jesus better!!!

Merry Christmas from My family (Sherry, Beth, Keith, John, and Kings Baptist Church) and from me!!!  

For The Rest of Your Life (John 21)

December 24, 2012

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me.” and he said to him, “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”  John 21:17

Just one more day and Christmas will be here.  This evening I will gather with our Kings family and hopefully with other seekers of truth to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  For me, this will be my twentieth year in leading a Christmas Eve service.

I thought this morning, “Where have the years gone and how many years will I have left before I actually stand before the one who came to purchase my redemption?  What will I say to Jesus when I see Him for the first time?”

In John 21 we discover a story from the life of John that occupied his mind so much that he under God’s anointing wrote about it.  Jesus has died, been buried, and now has risen from the dead.  John’s fellow disciple, Peter, has led John and 6 other disciples to go on a fishing trip.  This is familiar territory for these men.  But as often is the case, the old way of life holds nothing for those who look back.

I encourage you to read this chapter with a heart to discover what God has for you (for the rest of your life).

1.  The Disciples are reminded of the love of their Lord, Vs: 7-14

Here Jesus gives these men grace in providing a great catch of fish for them. Jesus gives these men compassion in providing a meal for them.  Jesus shows theses men mercy in inviting them to sweet fellowship by the sea.

2.  One disciple is restored to his life work before the Lord, Vs: 15-17

In this encounter Peter is confronted with His sin.  But he is afforded the opportunity of a second-change with the life work his lord has given him. Peter is challenged to feed and tend the church.  His life would end with martyrdom.

3.  Every disciple has a particular life work for the Lord, Vs: 18-25

Both Peter and John had unique callings.  They were to focus on their personal calling and leave the others to themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I come away from this passage with a renewed zeal to be faithful to God’s calling upon my life.  So as I go to the Christmas Eve service, I will give my best to proclaim His Word and I will light a candle to remind myself of what I am to do for the rest of my life.

I challenge you to discover God’s call for the rest of your life.   I also challenge you to light a candle in honor and commitment to that call.

From the Cradle to the Cross (John 18:28-19:11)

December 20, 2012

“You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given from above.”  John 19:11

Imagine being able to say about every second of your life, “I did it my way.”  Certainly that is impossible for your life and for my life.  The reality is life is filled with many uncertainties and many moments that are beyond our control.

I can remember this happening several Christmas’s ago. It was the year of the Wii video game craze.  Our boys only wanted one of these games.  Sherry and I waited until it was too late to look for one and there were none to be had.  We bought accessories, games for the Wii and even had written out and i.o.u. to put with the gift.  But a week before Christmas a lady in our church called our home and said, “I am in Target and believe it or not they are just placing on the shelf the game you want.”  This was truly a gift from the Lord.

In a much greater way we will be celebrating the gift of Immanuel in just 5 days. Here in our More for Christ readings we discover not the cradle but the cross.  Here is a simple outline of our verses:

1.  A meeting with Pilate, 18:28-40

Jesus was accused and then acquitted by this man, but the Jewish pressure caused him to cave in.

2.  A morning of pain, 19:1-11

Here we see Jesus enduring unbelievable abuse.  He was flogged and he endured a crown of thrones placed on his head.

Here we see Jesus enduring unbelievable rejection.

But through all of this one thing rings true, “Jesus was in control of it all.”  From the cradle to the cross our Lord was over and in it all.  This Christmas season brings great joy to my heart in knowing that my God is also in control of all of my moments as well.  This is a gift to those of us who feel the pain of fear and the pressure of the unknown in our present circumstances.

Celebrate his sovereignty this Christmas season.  Celebrate his supreme love for you this Christmas season.  Celebrate his sweet fellowship this Christmas season.  Be assured from the cradle to the grave God is in charge of your moments.  Bottom line, “You can trust that he is doing it all his way, which is for His glory and for your good!”  

The Night Time of your life (John 18:12-27)

December 19, 2012

“The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching,”  John 19:19.

Here in Kentucky the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.  This is the time of the year when things seem to almost become discouraging because of so much night-time.  Certainly this does not compare to parts of Alaska during the night times there.  But metaphorically speaking, “Many people face long periods of night times in their lives.”

Consider Jesus in our More For Christ readings:  Jesus has finished his time in the upper room and now he is in a familiar place with his disciples.  Notice what happens:

I.  Jesus is bound in the night, Vs: 12-14

II.  Jesus is belittled in the night, Vs: 15-24

III.  Jesus is betrayed in the night, Vs:25-27

Brothers and sisters this was the night of all nights in regard to hard times at night.  But I have good news, “The darkness could not overcome the light.” John 1:5.  Our Lord and Savior went through the darkness for you and I.  We have life because of this night.

I was reminded of the writer of Hebrews who wrote, “We have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weakness.” Hebrews 4:14-16.  This Priest calls for us to boldly come before him and pray.”  

This High Priest is the one who went through the night for us.  His name is Jesus Christ.

I certainly do not know what particular night things you are facing.  Maybe you are facing the night in your marriage, your finances, your ministry, in your relationships, or some other area of life?  However there is something I do know, “Because of Christ you can overcome and walk through the night!”

This day call out to Him.  Place all of your weight on Him.  Rest a while because He is sovereign over even the night.

For further reading consider Revelation 16.

The Danger of Unity (John 17:20-18:11)

December 18, 2012

“That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also be in us, so that the world may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  John 17:21

Everyone wanted it, but no one was willing to do what it would take to have it.  Everyone knew how to define it and everyone boasted of its value, but no one was willing to do it.  Everyone knew it was the key to overcoming their problems, but at the end of the day their family and their church were unwilling to do it.

Brothers and sisters the very thing people wanted, defined, and knew was the key is simply “Unity.”  Unity is very important to any family and to any church.  But unity is a dangerous proposition.  Allow me to explain.

In John 17 Jesus is concluding His High Priestly prayer.  In this prayer he has prayed for the following: 1.  Himself, Vs:1-5 2.  His disciples Vs: 6-20 3.  Those who would become disciples.  Follow the process of unity:

1.  The gospel would spread through their witness, Vs: 20-25

As these disciples united the gospel would go forth in great power and love.  The world would clearly see God at work.  The fact is, only a true God could bring such different people together and cause them to become selfless.

2.  The gospel would spread because of Christ work, 18:1-11

Here we see Jesus betrayal and Jesus obedience to the work of the cross.  Jesus willingly is arrested and Jesus willingly will go to the cross.  This is the power of the gospel.

Unless Christ went to the cross you and I could not be saved.  Without the cross unity with God and with people would be impossible.  I praise God for the cross. However I also understand the great need for taking up my cross and following Christ.

Unity comes at a great price.  One must crucify the flesh to be united with others.  This day I found great conviction in my life.  I fall so short in being selfless.  My prayer was very simple, “Lord help me to learn and practice selflessness for your glory.”  Maybe this needs to be your prayer as well.

For further reading consider, Philippians 2:1-11.

The Hour Has Come (John 16:29-17:19)

December 17, 2012

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,”  John 17:1

In a few short days the world will be faced with a decision: “What will they do on Christmas day?”  Certainly there will be many different traditions that will be remembered.  At our house, we will read the Christmas story and then we will open presents.  Sadly, there will be many places in the world where Christmas will not be celebrated.  But still yet, the hour has come (Jesus did come to this earth, John 1:1-5).  And the hour did come (Jesus died on the cross) even though Satan had been fighting this day since the beginning of time (Genesis 3:15) (Revelation 12:1-5).

Here in John 17 we read Jesus prayer to His Father concerning this hour and those who would be affected by this hour.  As you read this chapter you will find Jesus praying even for you!  This prayer must be viewed from the eyes of the one who prayed:

1.  Glorify your son that the son may glorify you, Vs: 1-5

Our Lord is the giver of eternal life and He is glorified as the one who has eternal life.

2.  Protect your children that you have given to me, Vs: 6-10

We become God’s children because of God’s grace.  Once we are God’s children we have the ability to obey his commands.  We now become overcomer’s because of His grace.

Brothers and sisters, because this hour has come, you and I experience a threefold blessings:  1) We are secure in Christ, Vs: 15.  2) We are being sanctified by Christ, Vs: 16-17.  3) We are blessed to share Christ with others, Vs: 18-19

Question, “are you experiencing these blessings?”  If not, I encourage you to consider even more what the hour of his coming, death, and resurrection really mean!

For further study consider I Corinthians 15, Revelation 19