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Carol's Bible Study teaching: Profiles in Greatness Part 9.
In the wake of a general election that has left many Christians devastated and discouraged what should be the response of God's people? Pastor Ron demonstrates from Deuteronomy 6 how financial and lifestyle losses may actually help the call for spiritual awakening in America. He proposes a four part plan for where we go from here.
People often view the church as being judgmental and hypocritical. However, Jesus denounces both in Luke 6 and calls His followers to live with integrity by following His word and deeds.
Carol's Bible Study teaching: Profiles in Greatness Part 8.
Chapter 17 Verse 9 • Jesus makes a statement here in prayer to the Father. A statement that intrigued Wesley and Moody and Spurgeon…a statement that haunted Martin Luther…”I pray for them.” Why so important? Why so profound? Because you see it is Jesus and Jesus alone who makes intercession between man and God. • Romans 8:34 tells us “it is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.” • Hebrews 7:25 says, “He (speaking of Jesus our High Priest) lives to make intercession for man.” • 1 Timothy 2:5 concludes the matter telling us, “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” • Why do I bring this up? Because in the world today, about 3B people believe the way to God is through self. 1.6B people believe the way to God is through Mohammad. Out of the 2B people in the world today who claim to be Christian, 1.3B of them believe the way to God is through Mary. • Jesus says here, “I pray for them” and man we need it! It’s crazy! Self proclaiming Christians praying to the dead and petitioning a goddess. Goddess? Yes, goddess. Not the mother of Jesus. She doesn’t hear prayers. She doesn’t intercede for the living. The Bible is clear. Then who are they praying to? Why? Where did it all come from? • The garden! The serpent there twisting and warping God’s Word and tempting Eve with God-like power and authority…he said there in Genesis 3:5, “in the day you eat of it you will be made to be like God.” So where did all of this Mariology come from? Satan kept his promise…in a dark, horrible, devastating way... • Mariology, Queen of Heaven worship did not originate with the Roman Catholic Church. Its origins are all the way back. ALL the way from the Garden, man. And then progressing through time recorded for us as early as ancient Mesopotamia…all the way back to the period right after the flood that we find in Genesis Chapters 10 and 11 when a cunning, mighty and evil hunter named Nimrod ruled a city call Babylon. • According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Nimrod was executed by Shem (son of Noah and father to the Jews). However, after his death, Nimrod’s wife Semiramis came up with a clever plan to retain power and position. She became pregnant. That sounds like an odd plan, you might say, but listen the reason it worked is that she claimed to the people that she had seen her late husband Nimrod in a vision ascend into the sun and his name changed by the heavens to Baal. • She then went on to tell the people that he had physically appeared to her in his god-like state and impregnated her without touching her but he did it with the rays of his glory. Therefore she had been impregnated miraculously and the baby growing inside of her was half god, half man. • Her clever plan worked and she was worshipped thereafter as the Queen of Heaven. Tammuz, her soon to be born son, was also worshipped as a god. There is so so much more to this story that would just knock your socks off! Just a couple of other tidbits before we move on… • After she convinced the people of her cunning lie, she then claimed the moon was actually a goddess that went through a 28 day cycle and was “fertile” when full. In fact she herself had descended from the moon in a giant moon egg that fell into the Euphrates during the first full moon after the spring equinox and it was at this time that the sun god, Nimrod or Baal had impregnated her with Tammuz. • Interestingly enough, what do we even today celebrate on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox each year? You got it, Easter. And what do we do? We paint…eggs! And even more shocking, another name for Semiramus through the ages was Ishtar which is precisely where we get the name Easter. Now march 9 months from Easter and what do you have? Christmas! Amazing stuff isn’t it! • This crazy, false and blasphemic worship of Nimrod (or Baal), Semiramus and Tammuz has continued throughout the ages and throughout nations and cultures. The heathen trinity as its called because it follows the father-mother-son pattern has promulgated with such characters as Osiris, Isis and Horus; Zeus, Diana and Dionysus; Jupiter, Venus and Cupid…and even today, in its most offensive false form as the father, the son and the mother…but ALL from the same origin. • All the way back to Satan’s attempt to keep man out of fellowship with God! But Jesus says here, so so clearly, “I pray for them!” We don’t need a reverend or a priest or a goddess or an angel or a patron saint…all we need is Jesus! In fact, check this out…so cool…the last recorded words of Mary in the Bible are found in John 2:5 where she said, “Whatever He says to you, do it!” Let’s honor the mother of Jesus for real (she doesn’t want our prayers or our worship or our adoration!) Her desire is that we would listen to Jesus! • Oh there is so so much more to the story. So much more to talk about like the origins of how the mystery Babylonian queen of heaven religion became mixed into Christianity legally by Constantine or how Mohammad selected his own god in the polytheistic temple and how Buddha, Crishna…all of these characters came to be…but suffice it to say, for the sake of continuing in our study, all you need is the one mediator, the eternal intercessor, the true Savior…Jesus Christ! • And Jesus continues here and says “I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” Jesus is specifically, at this moment particularly, focused on this special group, His disciples. The world, or kosmos, in the Greek which literally means this whole system, all the drama, all the mess…ruled by the fallen one of heaven (as we learned back in Chapter 14 verse 30) is perishing. Jesus never came to save this world system, He came to save His children…those that would choose Him over it…disciples… Chapter 17 Verse 10 • Again, as we saw last week, the word doxazo in the Greek. This thought that the love and the purpose and the grace and the mercy of God the Father shown through Jesus and now Jesus flows that thought right on through to His disciples. Powerful. • Powerful in that this statement of Jesus coupled with the earlier verses 1 and 4 give us our job descriptions as Christians. True followers, genuinely, without and beyond doubt, sincerely and actually born again by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit…our lives should put on display for the world the peace and the power…the agape…completely “other” type of love…grace and truth in righteousness…of God. • I wonder if you were to apply for the position of Christian as detailed and described by Jesus and Paul and John in 1 John, would your resume fit the bill? I wonder does it even concern you? Do you even care? Do you think that you will just slide right by and barely, just barely, make it into heaven? You know, I’m not so sure anyone just barely makes it. I’m not so sure that anyone appears in heaven and says “yesssss, whew!” • Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:20, “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the religious leaders and the teachers and scribes, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” • A story is told of a pastor that was concerned about the spiritual state of his church. One Sunday he announced that someone dear to him and dear to the church had suddenly and tragically died and that the funeral would be held the following Sunday at the church instead of regular service. Folks looked around and all together could not readily identify who it was that had died. • As the week progressed, each of the members reached out to their friends in the church inquiring as to who had died. No one knew and so the next Sunday, filled with curiosity and concern, the place was packed. The folks that came every Sunday were there, plus the ones that would come every other, or every third Sunday. Even those that only came on holidays were there on account of the stir. • As they entered the sanctuary of the church, a closed coffin was seen. After the pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited the people to come forward and pay their final respects. • All the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin and at last find out who had died. As they peered into the coffin, passing by, some appeared filled with guilt, others had eyes full of tears, and still others were pale, as if they’d seen a ghost. In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror. • At last count there were in excess of 2000 life insurance companies in the US alone. We make such provision for our money but we so often sleep with eyes sealed shut through our moments and days and weeks and lives giving no thought to the certain fact that one day, our lives will be required of us as it says there in Luke 12:20. And Jesus was very clear, the Bible is very clear, and so I would like to be very clear…Jesus said in Matthew 10:38, “whoever does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” In other words, for real…for really real, has not chosen Jesus. • Jesus says Father…I have showed them…and now I pray for My followers who will show the world! Please be honest. The truth will make you free. Have you chosen Jesus? Does your life resume fit the job description of His disciple as He says “I am glorified in them…” Chapter 17 Verses 11 – 12 • The Son of Perdition of course speaking of the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. You know a simple meaning of the word perdition is loss. You search the scriptures and you know what you’ll discover? Judas always referred to Jesus as Teacher, but never as Lord. And so interesting, what finally got Judas? Yes pride and lust and envy and anger plagued him, no doubt. But what finally got him? Money. What great great loss. • Loss to who? Judas, yes of course but to Jesus also! He is not willing that any should be lost! How broken hearted He must have been to be betrayed by one of His closest…How humble He is for the years of service and unconditional love that He offered to Judas while ministering and traveling and living with him… • I wonder if ever, maybe in the glow of a fire while traveling, Jesus would be sleepless, distraught with grief just watching Judas sleep, His child… Chapter 17 Verse 13 • Notice Jesus says here, “but now I come to you.” At first pass we read this as an action…that Jesus is leaving them and going to the Father and that is correct, but there are a few other ways to look at this that are profound. • Have you ever prayed, “Father we come before you?” Or “Lord God I come to you raising up this circumstance or that person?” Well look at what Jesus says here…”I come to You.” In other words Jesus is proclaiming His desire at the very throne of God the Father. His longing as He has learned experientially the love of a son to a mother, the love of a brother to a brother, the love between friends…and what is His request? • All their confusion, all their fear, all their pain would be transformed into joy fulfilled! And so cool, Jesus says here that it is “His joy.” What joy did He have? What joy did He have as He prayed this? The joy that had been with Him the entire 33 years that He tabernacled among men…the joy of fellowship with the Father! • Psalm 16:5-9 says, “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” • Jesus was a man of sorrow, aquainted with grief (Is 53) yet joy was His strength (Neh 8:10). It was this fullness of joy in fellowship with the Father that Jesus referred to when He said to His disciples, “I have food to eat (something that is completely satisfying) that you know not of.” (John 4:32) • This is not the first time Jesus has talked about our joy, your joy, their joy being full. Just a few breaths ago in Chapter 15 He said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and your joy may be full!” (John 15:11) In His instructions He told them, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full!” (John 16) Therefore a miserable and joyless Christian is a self-contradiction! • A joyless Christian is one without communion with the Father! Other objects have engaged his or her heart and the consequence is dejection! What’s the remedy then? Repent! Put away those things which hinders your communion with Him and make regular use of the means that in His grace He provided for us. His Word, prayer, be filled with the Spirit and live unto the Lord dwelling constantly, spending your thought equity on the glorious future that awaits us as you spread the Word, man…telling others of the joy and unsearchable riches that are to be found in Jesus! • One other last item of note here…one other practical truth that if applied, if believed…will set you absolutely free! We can shorten here what Jesus prays to reveal to us a spiritual truth that very few truly discover. But those that do…they taste of a deep liberty and fellowship that is found in a secret place…a secret revealed by the life of Jesus…look again at verse 13…Jesus says, “I come to You that joy may be fulfilled.” • May I submit to you that He’s speaking to the cross? Without Jesus going to the cross for you and for me…we’d be lost. Our sins would be upon us and our very existence…hopeless. • Maybe today you are joyless…maybe today you are depressed, dejected…maybe even low on hope…are you willing to go to the cross for them? Are you willing to lay “you” down and glorify the Father to them? Are you willing, in other words, is it your will, just as it is the will of Jesus, just as it is the will of your Father in Heaven…the One and only true God…is it your will to place them so far ahead of you in importance and priority even to the point of laying down your own life? • Very few know the Lord in this depth of joy…joy? You just said that I was going to die? You just said I don’t get anything and they get everything…yes I did…which is exactly what we got from Jesus…everything as He died there that day on the that cross… • I wonder are you willing to take up your own cross…the unsearchable riches and fulfilled joy of the Lord is found…at the cross.
Two days before what many have called the most important election of a lifetime Pastor Ron encourages listeners to pray for revival as the only real hope for our nation. The message includes quotes from Billy and Franklin Graham, Abraham Lincoln, as well as audio clips of Ronald Reagan and Henry Blackaby calling on Christians to pray fervently for spiritual awakening in America.