Tuesday, April 22, 2008
To the amazed and afraid group, He said:
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
"and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was prophesied, told about before hand, THOUSANDS of years before Christ was even born.
(God talking to Satan)
And I will put enmity
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
The sending, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was more than just God doing something great for us, it was God telling mankind He would do something great and then doing it.
Salvation through Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all Scripture.
And because Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies, it is only through HIS name that repentance and forgivness of sins can be preached TO THE WORLD.
Jesus Christ is God's answer to sin and the only one through which we can be saved.
".......He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."
Jesus' last words on the cross. What was finished? His life? Why is this significant?
The New Testament was originally written in Greek. In the original Greek, the word 'finished' is translated 'teleo' which is an accounting term meaning to complete or pay, as in a debt.
Jesus clearly uses an accounting term to describe the end of His death. why? The Scriptures teach that the death of Christ was a sacrificial death. Sin had to be punished. SIN HAD TO BE PUNISHED and we deserved the wrath of God but God sent His son and, on the cross, Christ took that punishment for us. The payment for sin was payed by Jesus Christ on the cross.
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
Jesus Christ declared that His death was a payment.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Jesus made this statement at the last supper with His disciples. He was going to be arrested, beaten and crucified soon. He was preparing His followers for His death but also trying to explain to them that He would see life again and that after that He would return to the Father.
This statement is clear and simple: Not only was Jesus going to defy death and be reunited with His Heavenly Father but He was going to make a place where His followers would be reunited with Him and The Father. There is a Heaven and Jesus promised it to all those who put their trust in Him.
Jesus Christ promised that all who trust in Him will be reunited with Him and the Father in Heaven.
"Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves."
"And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" Matthew 21:12, 13
Twice during His lifetime (as far as it is recorded) Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem and chased out the men in the temple who sold animals and exchanged money.
These men would sell "acceptable" sacrifices at a higher rate to people who needed them to offer to God. They would also exchange currency for foreigners who needed to tithe, adding extra fees.
They were using the house of God to make money.
When Jesus Christ cleared these men out He was quoting Scripture, notice "as it is written.."
The Scriptures He quotes are from Isaiah 56:7 ("My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.") and Jeremiah 7:11 ("Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes ?")
Both of these verses are verses that are spoken by GOD. Yet Jesus is referring to Himself.
Jesus claimed the authority to clear out the house of God because it was HIS HOUSE.
Jesus Christ, in clearing out the temple and quoting those Scriptures, claimed to be GOD.
The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
"Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
"but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
Jesus promised a water that would quench thirst. It was not a literal water like the water of the well but something that would quench man on the inside, in the spirit.
Every human being, regardless of who they are or what they have, has a thirst inside of them, a void, an emptiness. The woman Jesus was talking to was trying to fill her void with relationships. (John 4:17, 18)
This living water Jesus was talking about was the Holy Spirit of God which is given to those that repent of their sin and trust Jesus Christ.
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:37, 38
According to Jesus Christ, this same Holy Spirit will satisfy the void inside of you.
Jesus Christ says that He can fulfill the emptiness of man.
Monday, April 07, 2008
"There is within man that desire to know God. That desire to have fellowship with God. There is within man a vacuum that only God can fill. And if you deny the spiritual nature of man, then man can never be satisfied because this deep-down spiritual thirst will always be haunting him, telling him there's something more. There's something more. There's something more. And I feel this dissatisfaction with life. I have a thirst that I can't define. I know it's there. I know that life hasn't yet brought me fulfillment. I know there's got to be more than to life than what I've yet experienced. And I have this frustration and this is what Solomon went through. That's what he is describing. "Emptiness, emptiness, all is empty and frustrating." He's talking and the phrase is used some nine times, "Life under the sun, it is a frustrating existence."
As we get in the first part of the chapter here, they're just... life seems to move in cycles, and this, according to psychologists, is the cycle of life. And you think, "My God, is this all there is? Stop this crazy merry-go-round. I want off. I'm tired of it." And that's what Solomon came to. "Vanity, vanity; all is vanity." And frustrating. And it all comes from the denial of the spiritual nature of man. It is living life on the human plane apart from God. For the gospel of Jesus Christ comes into this cycle. And the gospel of Jesus Christ comes to me. Now, when I'm in the neurotic behavior pattern it is so often that people say, "Hey, man, you better go see a shrink. You're crazy. You're doing nutty things. You better get some help."
And so I go to a head shrink and he sits me on the couch and he gives me a series of tests and he seeks to determine what I'm feeling guilty about. And then he starts to talk to me. "Now, when you were a little boy, did your mother tell you that you shouldn't tell lies? And did she teach you that it was wrong to cheat? Well, you see, these are a part of the old Puritan ethic. They're part of the old Victorian system and everything is really relative. You've got to face the fact that there are certain situations in which it is perfectly proper to tell a lie. You shouldn't feel guilty about this, you see." And he tries to remove your guilt by telling you that it's not wrong. It's not guilty. Everybody's doing it so you've just got to join the crowd and realize that the part of that old Puritan ethic by which you were trained is the thing that's your hang-up today.
But Jesus Christ comes to me and says, "Hey man, you are guilty. That's bad news. That's wrong. But I love you. And I took your guilt and bore your guilt when I died on the cross. I took all of your sins, all of your guilt, and I paid the penalty for it. Now, if you'll just believe in Me and trust in Me, I'll forgive you." Hey, that's something no psychologist can do, is totally erase that guilt feeling. Take away this haunting feeling of guilt. But Jesus Christ and the gospel does. It's the greatest thing in the world for removing the guilt complex. If that's all the gospel did, it would be fantastic. But it does much more than that.
It comes back to the very beginning. Frustration, where it all started. And we hear Jesus on the last day of the great day of the feast as He is standing there on the Temple Mount crying to the crowds, "If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me, and drink. For he who drinks of the water that I give, out of his innermost being there will flow rivers of living water. And John said, 'This spake He of the Spirit'" (John 7:37-39). That third dimension of man that man in his educational processes today is seeking to deny, and by his denial has created all of this confusion in our society today.
All of the frustration that people experience results from the denial of the Spirit. And Jesus is saying, "You have a thirst for God in your spirit. Come to Me, come to Me and drink." And so this frustration where the whole thing started, Jesus comes to me and not only does He fill my life, does He fill that spiritual void, but He keeps pouring in until it begins to pour out from me. And my life is no longer just a sponge, thirsty, seeking to grasp for the draw, but my life now begins to flow out with that love and that grace of God's goodness that He has bestowed upon me. And now as David said, "My cup runneth over" (Psalm 23:5). My life is an overflowing cup. No longer going around with this cry and thirst and frustration within, but now the fulfillment and the fullness of God within my life as my life overflows God's goodness and grace.
So you look at life on just the human level as Solomon is looking at it, you look at man like an animal as Solomon does, you deny the spiritual dimension of man, that which places him apart from animals and above the animal kingdom, and you're opening Pandora's box to all kinds of psychological ills. You're opening to a life that can never be filled, a life of vanity and vexation of spirit. And so we are looking now through the eyes of Solomon at the world under the sun, apart from God. Man on the animal plane. And man at the highest on the animal plane is hopeless. It is not until you interject the spiritual plane and bring man into the divine plane that man can have any hope for a fulfilling, enriching, complete life."
Pastor Chuck Smith.