Monday's Mini-Messages 2016

Exodus 16:3 - "And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." The People of Israel wanted deliverance from Egypt, but they wanted it on their own terms. They did not want to have to suffer any hardships, nor did they want to forsake the earthly pleasures of Egypt. Likewise, many today want the Salvation which God promises, but they do not want to forsake the pleasures of the world, nor suffer the reproaches which accompany being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. However, all who will approach God on His terms, regardless of the self-denial and reproach, will find it worthwhile when they enter into the "promised land."

Isaiah 5:20 - "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil..." Due to the diminishing influence of the Bible in our society, it is not uncommon for some people's moral compass to be skewed. For instance I have witnessed people judge others rather harshly for using the words their and there or your and you're incorrectly and pronouncing certain words like Aldi, mischievous or Illinois incorrectly. However, when it comes to a woman ending the life of a child in their womb, they do not want to tell others what to do. This seems to be an example of Matthew 23:24, "...which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Let's get back to judging righteously rather than calling good evil and evil good.

2 Corinthians 10:7 - "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?" Years ago my home pastor and I were talking about all of the Christian publications switching to glossy covers. I made the comment that the Sword of the Lord would be next (it has always had a traditional newspaper look), to which my pastor replied, "I hope not." He understood it was not a glossy cover or fancy look that made a magazine useful; it was its content. Unfortunately style is often emphasized over substance today, which is why we elect eloquent politicians who can speak and look great, but who do very little of substance. Likewise, media outlets treat Hollywood celebrities as subject experts, when all they have ever done is pose beautifully and act like someone else. Maybe we should more highly esteem people of substance even if they might be boring, not so attractive, poor public speakers and non-charismatic.

2 Corinthians 10:7 - "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?" Years ago my home pastor and I were talking about all of the Christian publications switching to glossy covers. I made the comment that the Sword of the Lord would be next (it has always had a traditional newspaper look), to which my pastor replied, "I hope not." He understood it was not a glossy cover or fancy look that made a magazine useful, it was its content. Unfortunately style is often emphasized over substance today, which is why we elect eloquent politicians who can speak and look great, but who have done little of substance. Likewise, media outlets treat Hollywood celebrities as subject experts, when all they have ever done is pose beautifully and act like someone else. Maybe we should more highly esteem people of substance even if they might be boring, not so attractive, poor public speakers and non-charismatic.

John 7:24 - "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In this passage, Jesus admonishes us to judge righteously, not superficially or according to first appearances. For example, someone might conclude that King David was a terrible man because he was guilty of both adultery and murder. However, God called him a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22). Perhaps God says this about David, in spite of his transgressions, because he was quick to repent. Be cautious about judging anyone by a handful of events. There may be more to the person than you know.

James 1:2-3 - "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." Many truths of scripture cannot be universally applied to all men. The truth found in these passages is one such example. Notice it is addressed to the "brethren," not everyone. The saints are admonished to rejoice when their lives are tested and met with many different trails. This is not a normal response to difficulties, but it much easier to do when we understand that they produce patience in us (i.e. endurance). For example, an athlete will push himself during his training to try and ensure he does not grew tired during a real event. Likewise, the trials a child of God faces cause him to grow spiritually and enable him to confront even greater trails without growing weary in well doing.

2 Chronicles 18:7 - "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me..." King Ahab hated the prophet Micaiah, but it was not because Micaiah did anything wrong to him. Instead, it was because he told him the truth. Many times when people are scripturally reproved they will attack the messenger rather than address the substance of the reproof. It reminds me of what Galatians 4:6 says, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" The next time we are rebuked scripturally, we should not yield to the temptation to attack the person who delivered the message, but deal with the content of their instruction.

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 - "...take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others." If we heard everything everyone has ever spoken about us behind our back, we might be tempted to respond rather harshly. However, our text would caution us against acting too hastily, as we have probably often said things about others that we did not really mean.

Ruth 1:6 - "Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread." On the surface this passage might not seem to exciting. However, consider that Ruth left her friends, family, familiar surroundings and home to go into a land that she had never seen. She did this based upon what she had heard; that God was blessing Bethlehem. The end result was her being provided for abundantly (including finding a husband and having a child which would be in the lineage of Jesus Christ). There is an important application to be made from this text: God has revealed to men the means of salvation and blessing through Jesus Christ. And while you cannot confirm this truth through sight, will you act in faith based on what you have heard and be saved? If so, like Ruth, you will be blessed eternally.

Proverbs 29:16 "When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall." When sin is acceptable and more readily available, men feel more at liberty to follow their lower nature. Therefore, it is not that men have become more wicked in our modern era, but since sin does not bring the same stigma it once did, men are not as restrained as they once were. However, whether sin is acceptable or not by a society, it will eventually be judged by God.

Romans 1:20 - "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made." You may not be able to see God directly, but you can see Him indirectly in the "things that are made," (i.e. the creation). The beauty, complexity and order of the universe all point to the truth that there is a God. And while the creation reveals Him in a general way, there is not enough revelation to save you. For that, You must turn to the Bible.

Mark 14:3 - "...there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his (Jesus) head." You might think that such an act of devotion would have been praised. However, just the opposite occurs. The woman is criticized and not by the unbelieving, but by the disciples of Jesus Christ. They argued the ointment could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. When you act in complete devotion to Christ and give your all to Him, don't expect it to be met with universal praise amongst the saints. Instead, expect to be labeled as radical, extreme and even negligent. However, be of good cheer, like the woman in our text, you will be commended by the Saviour.

2 Corinthians 5:10 - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." As the 2016 Rio Olympics are under way, I am reminded of this passage. The Greek word translated "judgment seat" is bema. It is understood by many to refer to the podium of Olympians, where they receive their awards. The Judgment seat of Christ is not a judgment for the lost, but for the saved; it is where the saints will be rewarded for their labors. So, as with Olympians, each one who sacrifices much and labors continuously for the lord, will not go unrewarded. So, go for the gold!

Mark 12:44 - "For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." Jesus watched as many gave to the treasury at the synagogue. Some cast in large amounts of money, but it was a widow woman who gave a measly two mites who was commended. The reason she was singled out above everyone else is because she gave all she had; she kept nothing back. Sometimes we judge our actions based on what we give to the Lord. However, a better measurement is how much have we kept back. Have you given Jesus Christ all of you? Have you given him your finances, your time, your dreams and your all. Have you given Him your life?

Proverbs 23:17-18 - "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off." According to this passage and many of the Psalms, it is a temptation of saints to envy the lives of sinners. This is because they exercise little, or no , restraint, indulge in the temporary pleasures of sin, make no sacrifices for the Savior and outwardly appear happy. However, we must no look only at outward appearances and this temporary world. The fun and indulgence will one day come to an end, but the expectation, or hope, of the saints will not disappoint. Do not make the mistake of exchanging eternal riches for temporary pleasures.

Proverbs 21:7 - "The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment." When we hear the word judgment we may often associate it with a judge determining guilt or innocence. However, in the context of this passage, it means making a determination of whether or not the activity one is engaged in is right or wrong. A failure to judge ones actions and motives in light of the Bible will often lead to destruction. Therefore, we should be vigilant in asking ourselves whether or not God approves of our conduct. This is the same type of things that is meant when Proverbs 21:3 says, "To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice."

Proverbs 19:16 - "He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul..." A Pastor will normally spend a lot of time trying to convince his congregation why they should live their lives according to God's word. However, all of us should WANT to live our lives according to the principles of the Bible, as it is always in our best interest.

Proverbs 14:34 - "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." People will most often advocate for certain financial or political polices in order to improve the overall condition of a country. However, regardless of the policies implemented, they seem to do very little to make the improvements desired. It is not primarily the economic or political polices which bring about the blessings of God upon a people, instead it is righteousness. So, perhaps, we should seek the Lord and His Word, rather than the secular approach.

Mark 8:33 - "...thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men." Jesus revealed to His disciples what the future held for Him, which included suffering, rejection and death. Upon hearing this, Simon Peter rebuked the Lord and emphatically states, "this shall not be!" Peter had much grandeur ideas for the future of His Master and himself. Other scriptures bear out that Peter was looking for triumph and exaltation not suffering. When many people find out the requirements of true discipleship (self-denial, sacrifice and service), they become uninterested in following the Saviour. They are more interested in the things of man, such as prosperity, power, position and popularity. Do we savour the things of God or the things of man?

Mark 7:24 - "...he could not be hid..." Even though Jesus was in a unbelieving Gentile city behind closed doors with an attempt made to conceal His whereabouts, HE COULD NOT BE HID. Likewise, there is a concerted attempt by the world to hide Jesus from public life. The evolutionists try to conceal Christ; the atheists try to conceal Christ; the humanists try to conceal Christ; the sodomites try to conceal Christ; the progressive politicians try to conceal Christ; the immoral reprobates try to conceal Christ. Walt Disney, federal and state office buildings, the Supreme Court, and public schools all try to conceal Christ, BUT HE CANNOT BE HID! Even neglectful saints CANNOT HIDE HIM. If Christ cannot conceal Himself from the world (as in our text), NOR CAN ANYONE OR ANYTHING ELSE. He is too Big and the need is too Great.

Romans 3:20 - "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." A biblical understanding of Justification would alleviate a lot of confusion about how man is saved. The theological definition of justification is "a judicial act of God whereby the sinner is declared righteous." Righteousness is not something man possesses inherently, but is something which God must impart unto him. God does not impart righteousness on the basis of man's deeds, but on the basis of his faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Mark 6:22-23 - "...Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." After dancing for Herod, a young woman was promised whatever she wanted, up to half his kingdom. So, what did she request? Did she ask for houses and lands? Did she ask for gold, silver and riches or shoes clothes and a shopping spree? Did she ask for half the kingdom? No, instead, at the bidding of her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist. This account teaches us a lot about men and women. It demonstrates how an immoral woman can cause a man to act very carelessly and likewise shows how bitterness can cause a woman to act in an extremely irrational manner Hebrews 12:15 (the mother was angry about John the Baptist pointing out her sin). Sin will often produce the same results in our lives. Our carnal desires can cloud our judgment and cause us to act in a way that is not in our own best interest. So, beware of lustful desires and bitterness.

1 Timothy 1:9 - "...the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners..." The Purpose of laws is to restrain the base nature of mankind. We would not need laws, if men were naturally righteous. All of which testifies of the truthfulness of the Bible and the existence of God.

Mark 5:25-26 - "And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." Mark chapter 5 records Jesus' interaction with three different individuals. Each of them faced a hopeless situation. 1) A man possessed with devils was unable to be tamed, 2) Jairus' daughter was sick and she would die while Jesus was in route to her house, and 3) a woman with an infirmity, who had spent everything she had in an attempt to be healed. Likewise, each of us is born into the world with a hopeless situation. We are sinners and unable to do anything about our situation. We can try reformation, religion and an assortment of other methods to relieve the guilt of our sin, but all to no avail. There is only one method by which we can justified in the eyes of God; we must trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

Vomiting Dogs and Wallowing Hogs - 2 Peter 2:21-22 - "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." You can clean up a pig and put a pink ribbon on its tail but it is still a pig, and given the chance it will go right back into the mud. Likewise, you can domesticate a dog and teach it to sit, bark and roll over, but it is still a dog and will continue to act like one. Likewise, many people reform their lives for a short time, but since they were never really regenerated (born again), they eventually return to their old way of living. This type of behavior comes with a stern warning: "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of rightesouness..." Do not reject the light which God has given you, because to whom "much is given, of him much is required," Luke 12:48.

Who's Your Daddy? Romans 6:16 - "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" It is fairly easy to determine whether or not you are the servant of sin or of Jesus Christ. If you obey your old nature when it tells you to lust, covet, hate, steal, boast and such like, then you are the servant of sin. However, if you refrain from these things in obedience to God, then He is your master. So, "Who's your daddy?"

2 Peter 2:8 - "(For that righteous man (Lot) dwelling among them (Sodom), in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)". Lot did not look saved, nor did he act saved, but he was saved, as God calls him just and righteous. And while Lot was saved, he was carnal. Notice the following characteristics Lot shared with carnal believers: 1) They are Led by sight (Genesis 13:10, 2 Corinthians 5:7), 2) They Lack Separation (Genesis 13:12, 2 Corinthians 6:14), and in the end, 3) They Lose all their sustenance, (Genesis 19:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:15).

Romans 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." What is it that shapes our thinking? Is it the entertainment industry, secular music, public education or political figures? Romans 12:2 tells the saints not to be conformed to the values and behavior of our culture, but rather allow the Bible to shape your thinking.

2 Chronicles 7:14 - "If MY PEOPLE..." Sometimes whether or not something is considered progress is a matter of perspective. For instance: if you have a biblical world view, define right and wrong by the Bible, and believe progress is conforming in a greater way to biblical precept, then the sexual revolution, a woman's right to chose to abort a baby, and the normalization of deviant sexual practices are not viewed as progress. However, the move away from biblical standards is not primarily the fault of politicians and judges, rather the blame lies with the churches in America. Therefore, the solution to fixing the moral direction of our country will not be found in Washington D.C. , but in the pulpits and sanctuaries across our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 - "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

When Jesus was questioned about His association with "publicans and sinners" in Mark 2, He said, "...They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." In Jesus' response He likened sin unto sickness, sinners unto patients and Himself unto a physician. Do you see yourself as righteous with no need for a Saviour (like the religious rulers of Jesus' day), or do you admit you are a sinner? It is not just the harlots, drunkards and thieves who need to repent of their sin. We all need to repent.

Romans 4:3 - "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Romans 4:3 quotes one of the most significant statements in all of the Bible. It is so significant that it is elaborated upon in three books of the New Testament (Romans, Galatians and James). The first three chapters of Romans declares all men to be sinners and then it answers the question "How can a sinful man be justified (declared righteous) in the eyes of a holy God?" The answer is simple: through the means of faith. The Bible's illustration of saving faith is found in chapter four and it explains what Abraham did to be declared righteous by God; "Abraham BELIEVED GOD and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Have you believed the record God has given concerning His Son Jesus Christ? It is the only means by which a sinner can be declared righteous by God.

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