Set thy House in order

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death, and Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, thus saith the Lord, set your house in order, for you shall die and not live (Isaiah 38:1)
These are heavy tidings. You get sick and a prophet of God comes and say set your house in order this it you will die and not live. Many of us would have die from we hear this. These are things you must do. In preparation for death is to make your relationship with God right, and that is really what it meant by set thy house in order.
So Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and prayed unto the lord Remember now O thy God, I beseech thee, how I have walked before you in truth and with a complete heart, and have done that which is good in his sight. And Hezekiah wept then came the word of God that saith thou hast heard thy cry and thou will add fifteen years to your life.

In the name of Jesus who has removed death’s sting and defeated death for us, so changing the nature of death for the Christian, that we can even safely say with Paul.; I desire to depart and be with Jesus, which is better by far(Philippians 1:23)
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep .if I die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take. Many of us may remember these familiar lines. Many people don’t think about death very much because we’re so busy with life. Day to day activities, a rushed schedule, and heavily committed lifestyles leave little or no time to think about life, death and beyond. Yet in spite of the joy we have in carrying out our daily activities, we also live in realization that some day we have to face death. In other words some day we will die.

Brothers and sisters the reality we face today is that death is sure. Romans 6:23 says for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord. what this saying to us because we are all sinners we need to face death. But if we remain faithful we shall have eternal life. I am encouraging us to claim the gift and not the wage. the wages come with consequences but the gift is a reward from god which is eternal life. When we will not take anything but if we die with Christ we will have eternal life. Many of us think that when God tells us to put our house in order it is to refurnish our house but it is not so it is to renew a relationship with God. God will have to say to us before we die set your house in order for you shall die and not live. Many of us today knows that our house is not in order and it needs to get in order now. When sis Brooks was going to die God said set your house, fix your house in order for you will not live but die. My brothers and sisters I want to let you know that death has come for sis Brooks but if her house was in order it is quite fine. Death does not have the victory if we set our house in order. The song writer says” no grave can hold my body down no grave can hold my body down, when the trumpet of the lord shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise no grave can hold my body down” No grave cannot hold your body down when you have set your house in order. My brothers and sisters we must cry out to God when we are going to die and long before we die. Not to say to him don’t let death pass my way but for him to let you set your house in order in the right way. When we know that our house is set in order we wont worry if death comes our way but we know that our house would have been in order. Have you ever read a book and it’s a good story and you’re enjoying it, and then you get to the ending and you’re so disappointed and heart rending because the ending was no good? You finish the book and say, what a bad way for the story to end. What if our life has a bad ending? What if our whole life is good and then ends up horribly. What would be a bad ending to life? Dying with regrets? So to avoid this set your house in order. I emplore each and every one of us to SET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER. FOR YOU WILL DIE.



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15, NIV

TODAY’S WORD: Everyone has opportunities to get upset and be frustrated every single day. Sometimes it’s the little things—we can’t find the car keys, traffic is backed up, somebody was rude, or what should have taken an hour ends up taking four hours. Something happened and now you are frustrated and all bent out of shape. There will always be something that can sour your day, but if you are going to live in victory, you have to maintain the right approach. You can’t let the little foxes spoil the vine. In other words, don’t let the little things in life spoil the harvest God has for your future. 

I’ve heard it said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond.” Make sure you respond to life with an attitude of faith and expectancy. Sure, things may irritate you, but don’t let that irritation last into the next moment. Let it go. Don’t try to control everything around you. Instead, release it to God knowing that His plans are for your good, and He is leading and guiding you in the path of blessing.??

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, today I choose to hold on to peace. I won’t let the little things upset me and steal my joy and peace. I choose to trust You and praise You for what You are doing today and in the future of my life in Jesus’ name! Amen.


He’s coming in glory

The opening chapter of Revelation sets the tone for everything else that will happen in the book. Rev. 1:1 tells us that this book is “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 1:7-8 says, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindred’s of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” This book is about Jesus and about His return to this earth to rule and reign.
        Revelation chapter 5 takes us into Heaven. God is shown holding a book that is sealed with seven seals, 5:1. A search is made in heaven and in earth to find someone worthy to open the book, but no one is found, 5:2-3. John weeps at this news, because he desperately wants to know what is written in the book, 5:4. John is told not to weep because the Lamb of God is worthy to take the book, Rev. 5:5-7. When the Lord takes the book from the hand of God, Heaven erupts into praise and worship because the Lord Jesus has been found worthy to take the book and to open the seals, Rev. 5:8.
         You see, Satan is called “the god of this world”, 2 Cor. 4:4. He may be the “little g” god of this world today, but he is not worthy to retain his grip on the world. This world belongs to Jesus, and to Jesus alone! The day will come when He will take possession of this world away from Satan.
        This world is belongs to Jesus because of three great truths.
         It is His by right of Creation – He made it!
         It is His by right of Calvary – He redeemed it!
         It is His by right of Conquest – He will retake it!
The entire book of Revelation has been leading us to this great moment we will consider together today. The whole purpose of the Tribulation Period, chapters 6-18, is to prepare the world for the coming of the King. The passage we are about to look at today speaks of that great moment in the future when Jesus will return to this earth is power and glory to claim what is rightfully His. The first time Jesus came to this world, He came as a Redeemer. The next time He comes, He is coming as a Ruler! The first time He faced a Cross; the next time, He will wear a Crown. The first time He came there was a Tomb; the next time He comes there will be a Throne


The tongue that curses

The book of proverbs speaks about many thing as well as the topic of cursing and why it is prohibited. There are several verses in the book of proverbs which speaks on the topic of cursing, these verses include:
Proverbs 6: 12, A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.” Proverbs 21: 23, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 4:24 “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” proverbs 10:32“The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the forward tongue shall be cut out.” Proverbs 15: 1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 30:11 “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” Proverbs 20:20 “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” Proverbs 27: 14 “He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.” Proverbs 30: 9 “Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 29:24 “Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.”
The tongue is said to be a muscular organ in the mouth that is covered with moist, and pink tissue called mucosa. Its vital use is for chewing, swallowing and for speech. (Hoffman). According to Ellen G. White in the book, The Voice in Speech and Song, “It is with the tongue that we offer prayer and praise to God. With the tongue we convince and persuade. With the tongue we comfort and bless, sooth the bruised, wounded soul. With the tongue we may make known the wonders of the grace of God. With the tongue also we may utter perverse things, speaking words that sting like an adder.”
In James 5:3 it is clearly explained that the tongue is a little member that is seen as a fire able to set the body on blaze and thereby corrupt the whole being. Furthermore, in Psalms 109: 17-18 it is clear that a life that is full of misery allows one to curse because of this misery it is made known with their degenerate speech. Thus, God keeps them unhappy by cursing them because of their curse words used in their speech.
Cursing is a well-known theme that can be found in proverbs as well as the reasons why people curse and the consequences that comes after. For example, proverbs 21: 23 which states “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” This verse simply means if you rule your speech you will save yourself from trouble. Your mouth and tongue are two of your greatest enemies. If you will keep them under control and only speak the right words at the right time, your life will be blessed. Thus, God’s ideal for his children is Godliness and Godlikeness therefore, we must be careful of the words that proceeded from out of our mouth because words can heal, hurt, build or destroy.


Satan the Deceiver

Revelation 20:1-3,1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
This morning I want to remind us how powerful Satan is. He is not to be taken lightly in our lives. Satan is a deceiver and he is the master of it.
Lets take a look at what is going on.
I.       In verse 7, Satan is bound for 1000 years.
A.    The bound, nothing can get out. Look at verse 3.
B.    Satan can’t temp anyone from within the bottomless pit.
C.    Peace on earth for 1000 years.
D.    Technically we can only be temped two ways.
1.     One is Satan, this is from without.
2.     The other is from with in. Our old nature which is changing if one is saved.
II.     Than Satan is released after 1000 years.
A.    Satan goes out temping people again.
1.     Remember, these people have not been temped for 1000 years.
B.    People have been born who have never been temped by Satan.
1.     They will fall to his influence.
III.    As the sand are of the Sea, that is how many people will turn from Christ and serve Satan.
A.    There is no way anyone can number how many people that will be. But it will be a lot.
B.    These people lived 1000 years in perfect Pease, which the earth has never experienced.
C.    This shows us two things, Satan is powerful and how wicked our hearts are.
1.     Jeremiah 17:9,9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
2.     I thank God that through Jesus Christ that can change.
D.    This is how powerful Satan is.
1.     We take it for granted whom Satan is and what he can do.
E.     People here are just not deceived, they are going out to battle for Satan.
1.     This will show that a lot of people will be submissive to Christ, but never get saved during the 1000-year reign of Christ.
2.     That is what is happening today.
a)     People go to church, some every Saturday and will never get saved.
b)     They have the outward appearance of a Christians, but no change take place inside.
Conclusion:  I hope this gets you thinking today that we need the power of Christ each and every moment of every day. Than we can battle against Satan through the help of Christ doing the a work in us.
Please don’t take Satan for-granted.


The Marvelous Grace of God



The Cathedrals quartet sings one of the greatest songs I have ever heard about the grace that saves a wretched sinner like myself:

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs,
Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise,
For it was grace that brought my liberty,
I do not know just why he cared to love me so 

He looked beyond my faults and he saw my need
I shall forever lift my mines eyes to Calvary
To view the cross where Jesus died for me,
How marvelous the grace that caught my fallen soul

He looked beyond my faults and he saw my need.
I shall forever ever lift my eyes to Calvary
To view that Cross where Jesus died for me,
How marvelous Oh the grace that caught my fallen soul

He looked beyond my faults and saw my need. What a classic song about the grace of God.

If you are looking for the classic statement of the grace of God in the New Testament it is found in this passage. Grace – God’s Riches at Christ Expense. 


It is said that, years ago, during a British Conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world gathered together and debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. So, they began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? No, other religions had different versions of God’s appearing in human form. Resurrection? No, again other religions had accounts of return from death.

The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the ruckus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions.

Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. “The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to be against every instinct of humanity. 

The Buddhist 8-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish Covenant, and the Muslim code of law, each of these offer a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.” 

When it comes to the grace of God, it is, without question, one of the most unlimited, and sad to say, most unappreciated attributes of God Himself. It seems as if the longer that we are saved, the more familiar we become with grace; thus, the more careless, and callous toward it. 

But, I submit unto you today, that Grace in God is God mercy pitying, God wisdom planning, God power preparing and God’s love providing.

Grace in Christ is saving grace suggested by Jesus, sanctifying grace suggested by Christ, sovereign grace implied by Lord, and satisfying grace by the little word our. 


  1. What did grace bring? Notice that only the grace of God brings salvation; the law did not do it and philosophy is unable to do it. 

Committing Your All to Jesus

Scriptures: Romans 12

Jesus has always demanded one’s all in following him. He never made an exception. If he ever did, it. Jesus recognized that. He will not accept a partial commitment. He didn’t then; he doesn’t now. The apostle Paul provides a theological framework for what it means to follow Christ totally and the consequential changes it makes in a person’s life.
This sermon will remind the hearers that God expects unconditional surrender. But once made, a metamorphosis takes place that changes a person into the real life they seek.
Have you ever done the hokey pokey? It’s that little song and dance that tells us to put our left arm or right leg or some other body part of our body into the circle, shake it, and then “turn yourself about.” It’s an active and sometimes tiring little exercise that ends with the command, “Put your whole self in …”
When I think of that song and dance, I’m reminded of another instruction. This one is from the apostle Paul, he writes: “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). “To present your bodies” is Paul’s way of saying, “Put your whole self in.” The song and dance routine we call worship involves offering our whole person to God. That’s more difficult than the dance routine.
Most of us understand the idea of giving an offering of money at church. There are plates and envelopes, and we put our money or our check in an envelope and drop it in the plate. It represents an acknowledgement of God’s blessings in our lives; it represents our commitment to the ministry of the congregation; it is a part of our worship; it’s a way in which we open up the windows of heaven so God can bless us even further; it represents for many an antidote to materialism. While a few could use some encouragement, most of us understand what it means to make an offering to the church. But all of us without exception need some help with the idea of offering ourselves to God, to put our whole self in.
We can’t put ourselves in an envelope. We can’t climb into the plate when the usher comes by and say; “My offering to God today is myself.”
Most people do not come into a worship service prepared to give our whole selves over to God. We brought sins that need to be confessed and cleansed before we leave. We brought questions that need answers and problems that need solutions. We brought burdens that need lifted and anxieties that need to be dispelled—and frustrations and depression and boredom and preoccupations, all kinds of distractions. May I say that for most of us it would be easier to take out our checkbook and double our offering and put it in the plate than it would be to turn ourselves over to God.
But dare I say that we have not worshiped until we have given ourselves to God. Worship is the total commitment of the total person for the total life. Anything less is not genuine worship.
Real worship is not merely the offering of elaborate prayers to God. Neither is it inspiring liturgy or splendid ritual. Nor is it making large donations. Nor is it singing majestic songs of praise, or listening to a sermon. Real worship happens when we confess sin, turn from that sin, and then offer ourselves completely and wholeheartedly to God.
Would one dare not give themselves wholeheartedly when they encountered the presence of God? Would one not fall at his feet giving him their all, if they were caught up in his splendor and holiness? Would one not put their whole self in, if they felt the love and power of God Almighty?
I. We offer ourselves to God because of His mercy (v. 1)
Paul presents God’s mercies as his strongest argument for giving ourselves to God. “I urge you,” Paul said, “by the mercies of God . . . to present your bodies” (Rom. 12:1). When we recognize what God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ, the only response is to give ourselves completely to him. Jesus is the grace-giver. The dead-raiser. The one who saves us.
We are sinners. That sin has deathly consequences. But while we were still sinners Christ died for us. He took our place taking upon himself the consequences and punishment of our sin so that now there is no condemnation for us. We are saved from the fires of hell to the eternal presence of God. That is an act of grace and mercy. It is the ultimate gift. Never forget it.
That should be motivation enough for us to give our whole lives to God. If reflecting on God’s mercies doesn’t move us, then we are in trouble? Where would we be without God’s love and forgiveness? Where would we be without God’s presence in our lives? What kind of hope would we have without him? Let’s think for a moment about our situations. Consider our family, our friends, our job, and our church. Do we deserve those on merit alone? If we are honest with ourselves suddenly we begin to realize the wonder of God’s mercies.
The movie Tender Mercies is about a country-western composer and performer who was an alcoholic. He had finally gotten to the place where he couldn’t function. His band members left him drunk in a motel in east Texas. He sobered up and got a job in the service station motel where they had dropped him. He came to know the love of a godly woman who introduced him to the God who revealed himself through Jesus Christ. The movie shows him being baptized in this little east Texas Baptist church. Then you see the wholeness that comes to his life, the recovery of trust in himself and others, and the reclamation of his gifts. They named the movie right, Tender Mercies. The tender mercy of God had rescued him and rebirthed him. He was a new creation.
While you and I may not write songs, and while our band has not gone off and left us drunk in some motel, the truth is that each of us could have a biography written about ourselves that could be called Tender Mercies. And based on the mercy of God, in view of his grace, we give ourselves to God. That is reason enough.
II. We offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (v. 1)
Paul said “… to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Rom. 12:1). The expression “living sacrifice” is set against the backdrop of the Old Testament sacrifices. While the Old Testament worshiper offered an animal, the New Testament worshiper is to offer himself or herself. Just as the people of Israel presented their animal sacrifices to the priests we are to hand over our bodies to God. Out of celebration for what God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ, we give ourselves to him. When Paul uses the term body he is implying the whole person, or the physical means whereby the whole person is expressed. This presentation can be seen in much the same way that a defeated general of an army would hand over his sword, thereby demonstrating the surrender of his whole being.
In this act of consecration we give not our dead bodies, but rather we make a living sacrifice. A “living sacrifice” sounds like an oxymoron. A living sacrifice is more difficult to give than a dead sacrifice. A living sacrifice means something to us. It has intrinsic value. Dead sacrifices have no value. They don’t mean anything to us. Living sacrifices cost us something. Dead sacrifices cost nothing.
There were two “living sacrifices” recorded in the Bible. These two examples give us a clue as to what it means to offer a living sacrifice. Both were acts of worship. The first was Isaac. He willingly put himself on the altar and would have died in obedience to God’s will, but the Lord sent a ram to take his place. Isaac “died” just the same—he died to self and willingly yielded himself to God’s will. When he stepped off the altar, Isaac was a “living sacrifice.” The second was Jesus. He was the perfect “living sacrifice,” because he actually died as a sacrifice, in obedience to God’s will.
The story is told of an aged pastor of a little Scottish church. He was asked to resign because there had been no conversions in the church for an entire year.
“Aye,” said the old preacher, “it has been a lean year, but there was one.”
“One conversion?” asked an elder, “Who was it?”
“Wee Bobbie,” replied the pastor.
They had forgotten a lad who had not only been saved but had given himself in full consecration to God. It was “Wee Bobbie” who, in a missionary meeting when the plate was passed for an offering, asked the usher to put the plate on the floor. He then stepped into it with his bare feet, saying, “I’ll give myself—I have nothing else to give.” Wee Bobbie became the world-renowned Robert Moffatt who, with David Livingstone, gave his life to healing the open sores of the continent of Africa.
“What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?” asked a woman to her pastor.
Holding out a blank sheet of paper, the pastor replied, “It is to sign your name at the bottom of this blank sheet, and let God fill it in as he wills.”
That is what Paul had in mind when he instructed the Roman church “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices.” That is what Robert Moffatt did. That is what is expected of each worshiper.
III. We offer ourselves to God all the time
Living implies life. Life is an everyday experience. Offering ourselves to God is not something that should be contained within a sixty-minute worship. A living sacrifice is a sacrifice that is alive and continuous in action. This means worship occurs not just in the sanctuary but in our whole world. This means that worship moves away from just this hour to all the hours of our lives, and it moves away from one activity of coming to worship to all of our activities: each relationship, each task, each opportunity, each problem, each success, each failure.
True worship is our personal linking of faith and works, the offering of everyday life to God, and it isn’t something that takes place only in church. Real worship sees the whole world as the temple of the living God and every common deed as an act of worship. Real worship is the offering of everyday life to God. A person may say, “I am going to church to worship God,” but he or she should also be able to say, “I am going to the office, the school, the garage, the garden, the field, to worship God.” To truly know who and how you worship, let me see you in your office, let me hear you speak in your business affairs, let me know how you treat your neighbors, let me know how you earn your money, how you save it, and how you spend it. Worship affects everything we do and everywhere we are.
It never ceases to amaze me that we have developed a kind of selective Christianity that allows us to be deeply and sincerely involved in worship and church activities and yet almost totally pagan in the day in, day out business of our lives. And what is even sadder is that most of us never realize the discrepancy.
Worship is not just a church activity; it is a life activity. Worship is not a sometime thing; it is an all-the-time occurrence. Worship is not a once-a-week event. A. W. Tozer wrote, “If you will not worship God seven days a week you do not worship him on one day a week.” (John Blanchard, comp., More Gathered Gold, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press, 1984, p. 344.)
Sometimes we mistakenly think that we must always withdraw to a church building to worship. Too often we have sought to protect our spirituality by developing a ghetto mentality and a greenhouse environment. But that is not always healthy. Let’s not interpret worship as isolation and separation. True worship is offering God one’s self, and all that one does every day with it, wherever we might be.
I love what James Pike said, “When someone says “Oh, I can worship God anywhere,” the answer is, “Do you?” (James A. Pike, Beyond Anxiety, 1953. Cited in The Treasury of Religious and Spiritual Quotations: Words to Live By, Rebecca Davis and Susan Mesner, Eds., Pleasantville: Reader’s Digest, 1994, p. 638)
IV. We offer ourselves to God through transformation and renewal (v. 2)
We demonstrate our commitment by refusing to conform to this world by being transformed through renewed minds. Paul stated, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). When we give ourselves to God it is reflected in how we live. Believers stay in the secular world without being trapped by it and molded by it. We live as holy people. People who are distinct, separated from the ways and the wiles of this world. We live as nonconformist people. People who are not chameleons, that is, people who do not take its being and likeness from its surroundings. We live as transformed people. People who have been metamorphosed on the inside.
Worshiping people are changed people. It is reflected in their walk, their talk, and their personality. When we give ourselves to God we live, not as self-centered, but a Christ-centered life. The world seeks to pressure our mind from without, but one who has given themselves wholeheartedly to God allows God’s Spirit to release his power from within.
This happens when Christ comes into a person. She becomes a new person; her mind is different, for the mind of Christ is in her. Rather than allow the world to squeeze us into its mold; we allow Christ to shape us into his likeness. Worship is a molding process. We are to be to Christ as an image is to the original. For example, I don’t do the things Jesus would have done; I find myself wanting to do them. I don’t go around trying to do right things; I become the right sort of person.
The primary goal of worship is transformation. The only way transformation can occur is to give ourselves totally to God so the mind and power of Jesus Christ can indwell in us. And when that happens, every moment, every activity of life, we are like Jesus. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The simplest person, who in his integrity worships God, becomes God.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Over-Soul,” Essays, first series, 1841, Cited in The Treasury of Religious and Spiritual Quotations: Words to Live By, p. 635)
Are you ready to put your whole self into the arms of God? Are you ready to commit your all to Jesus? James Martineau said, “Worship is the free offering of ourselves to God; ever renewed, because ever imperfect. It expresses the consciousness that we are his by right, yet we have not duly passed into his hand.” (James Martineau, Hours of Thought, Vol. II, 1879. Cited in The Treasury of Religious and Spiritual Quotations, p. 637) Or as a dear friend of mine always says, “Commitment is the giving of all one knows of himself to all one knows of God.” Anything less than total commitment is unacceptable to God.


Coming to Yourself and Coming to The Father

And He said, “A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ And he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need. And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘ And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ And they began to be merry.”
Introduction: Eagerly Awaiting
All of Luke 15 is spoken as an answer to the accusation of the Pharisees and the scribes in verse 2 that Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them.” Verse 1 says that “all the tax-gatherers and sinners were coming near to him to listen to him.” And Jesus was making a place for them at his table and encouraging them to stay and eat with him.
Luke uses this word “receive” six other times in his writings and every time it means “eagerly await or expect and look for.” In Luke 2:25 Simeon was “eagerly awaiting” the consolation of Israel. In Luke 2:38 Anna the prophetess spoke to those in the temple who were “eagerly awaiting” the redemption of Israel. In Luke 12:36 Jesus says, Be like men who are “eagerly awaiting” the return of the master from the wedding feast. And so on. In other words, Luke 15:2 says that Jesus is not just receiving sinners; he is looking for them and eagerly awaiting their coming. He has his eye out for them. The word “receive” sounds passive. But Jesus is not passive. He is seeking sinners and tax-gatherers to come to him and eat with him. 
So the Pharisees and scribes accuse him. And all the rest of the chapter is Jesus’ explanation to them of what is really happening when he welcomes sinners and eats with them.
The first answer in verses 3–7 is that his receiving sinners is like a shepherd who finds a lost sheep and celebrates with all his friends.
The second answer in verses 8–10 is that his receiving sinners is like a woman who finds a lost coin and celebrates with all her friends.
And in both answers Jesus leaves no doubt about what he means, because in verses 7 and 10 he tells the Pharisees that the lost sheep and the lost coin represent lost sinners, and the being found represents repentance, and the celebration is what God and all the angels are doing in heaven.
And at that moment some get it and some don’t. He is saying: I welcome sinners because I am the incarnation of God’s love pursuing the lost. I am the shepherd seeking the sheep. I am the woman seeking her coin. And this meal that we are eating together is a little bit of what is happening in heaven right now, and a foretaste of the joy that is coming. When sinners turn from their sin and accept my fellowship as the joy of their lives, they have come home to God. And God is glad.
Luke 15: Lost and Found
Now in verses 11–24 Jesus gives a third answer to the Pharisees’ accusation. When he receives sinners and eats with them, it is like a father who finds a lost son and celebrates with all his house. All three parables have this in common: being lost and being found followed by great joy in heaven.
Verse 6: “Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep which was lost!”
Verse 9: “Rejoice with me for I have found the coin which I had lost!”
Verse 24: “‘This son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ And they began to be merry.”
A lost and found sheep—and a party. A lost and found coin—and a party. A lost and found son—and a party.

Luke 15 is about the love of God coming into the cities and suburbs of our world to find lost sons and daughters. It’s about the identity of Jesus Christ and the meaning of his mission in the world—then and now. It’s about a story of destitution at our front door yesterday morning and Noël’s taking a woman to her landlord and paying some rent and praying with her—and knowing we were probably ripped off. And believing: this is the heart of God.
If you ask me, is the point of preaching on these parables that you want us to be like Jesus—to receives sinners and eat with them—to find lost sheep and coins and sons and bring them home to the Father? I would say, My first aim is that you would see Jesus. Jesus did not end these parables with “Go and do likewise.” And Luke did not end this chapter with: “Go and imitate Jesus.” The first point is: look at him. Look at him. Consider Jesus. Know Jesus. Learn what kind of Person it is you say you trust and love and worship. Soak in the shadow of Jesus. Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus. Watch him. Listen to him. Stand in awe of him. Let him overwhelm you with the way he is.
That’s my first aim. If I could succeed at that, we would be so permeated with the beauty of this risky, painful, sacrificial, loving way of life, we could not but pursue it.
The Lost Son
What’s different about the parable of the lost son is that the misery of his lostness is spelled out, the nature of his repentance is spelled out, and the lavish enthusiasm of the father is spelled out more fully than in the other two parables. Let’s look briefly at each of these.
The Misery of the Son’s Lostness
Running away from God starts by feeling free and ends in utter misery—either in this life or the one to come, or both. Look at this in verse 13:
And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
The word “loose” means a “wild, abandoned, reckless” manner. This always feels free for a season—like sky-jumping feels free—until you realize you don’t have a parachute. So running from God at first feels free.
But then verse 14:
Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need.
Easy come easy go. And then reality. A famine. Where do you think that came from? What might be the design in that?
Verse 15: And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
When we break our attachment with God, you will end up attached to another, and that attachment will be slavery not sonship. It may be drugs or alcohol or sex or an employer or a spouse or a sport or a hobby or a television or a lake cabin or a computer or books. The attachment may be crude or it may be refined. If we break loose from God, we will be attached to another. And in the end (whether crude or refined) this alien attachment will send us to the swine troughs—either in this life or the one to come.
Verse 16: And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
You and I were made to be filled with God. And if we run from him, if we take our little earthly inheritance of time and money and energy and use it to attach ourselves to other things than God, it won’t matter whether we are worth nine billion dollars or buried in Homewood, our future will be swine food for all eternity.
That’s the misery Jesus describes when we run from the Father’s house.



Scripture: John 1:19–34    And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
You need to decide whether you are going to listen to John the Baptist’s testimony in this message. Here’s what is at stake. In John 1:33, John said, “I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water [namely, God] said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” John the Baptist said, “My testimony about Jesus does not come from what I know about him naturally. It comes from God. God told to say what to say about Jesus.”
You don’t have to believe that, of course. But if you are wrong, you may miss the way of truth and life entirely. I appeal to you to make your judgment on the basis of understanding and not ignorance. There is a lot at stake for you. God has you here for a reason. You can know if John is telling the truth. But in order to know, you need to listen to what he has to say. That is what we will be talking about today A GREAT, PROTRUDING ROOT
John the Baptist appears at the beginning of John’s Gospel (and the other Gospels) and then falls to the background because he is a link or a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is prominent at the beginning of the Gospel because he is part of the roots of the Gospel. The roots of Jesus go back to eternity (John 1:1), and his roots go back to the Old Testament. John is like one of those great tree roots that protrudes above the ground a few feet out from the trunk of the tree.
Over and over we will see in this Gospel that John the writer explains Jesus in terms of the Old Testament. Jesus doesn’t appear on the scene of history without historical preparation. God had been at work in Israel for two thousand years, and even before that, putting in place a historical backdrop that would make Jesus’ life and ministry more intelligible.
John the Baptist is a root partly under ground in the Old Testament and partly exposed in the New Testament. He has a foot in both worlds—a prophet something like Elijah (but not Elijah reincarnate, 1:21) and voice crying that the long-expected Messiah has come.
One of the purposes of John the Baptist’s ministry is to make sure he is not confused with Jesus—and to make sure that Jesus is seen as utterly amazing. John got a running start in verses 6–8 and verse 15, but now in verses 19 and following, he launches with three amazing testimonies that we will look at today.
1) Jesus Is Yahweh Come
He says, first, in verse 23, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” That’s a quote from Isaiah 40:3–5:
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. . . . And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
In other words, in Isaiah “the LORD” (note the all caps in the ESV) refers to Yahweh, Jehovah, the God who is the Creator and Ruler of the world, and the Covenant God of Israel. Now here is John the Baptist saying that he is that voice crying in the wilderness, and the Lord whose way he is preparing is Jesus Christ. That’s his first witness in these verses. The man coming after me is more than anyone ever dreamed. He is the God of the Old Testament—only now he is man as well as God.
2) Jesus Is Superior
Second, when they ask John the Baptist why he is baptizing, he answers in verses 26–27, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” But for now notice this. They ask why he is baptizing, and he answers simply by saying the one I am preparing for is so superior to me that I am not worthy to untie his sandals. So his second witness is: My baptizing is not about me. It’s about Jesus, and he is infinitely superior to me.
3) Jesus Ranks Before
Third, in verses 29–30, John the Baptist says the main thing about why Jesus, the Lord of glory, has come to earth. “The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.”’”
Verse 30 repeats verse 15: “This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’” The point is that John is emphasizing Jesus’ rank. He is absolutely before John. Jesus is from eternity. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1).
And the reason for saying it here is that John wants to underline what it takes for Jesus to be “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” No ordinary human being can be “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Everything he has told us is essential to Jesus being the sin-removing Lamb of God. Jesus is the Lord God of Isaiah 40. Jesus is so infinitely superior to John that John isn’t worthy to untie his sandals. Jesus is absolutely before John and therefore ranks infinitely above him. And because of all this, he can be “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
So verse 29 is the highpoint of John’s testimony: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He will repeat it in verses 35–36: “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’” This testimony caused the two disciples of John the Baptist to leave him and become followers of Jesus. That is what John’s witness is supposed to do. That is why he is saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” He wants people to leave him and follow the Lamb (see Revelation 14:4).
So the emphasis in John’s witness to Jesus falls on this amazing designation: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” And all the other superlatives show what it takes for Jesus to be the Lamb of God who can take away the sin of the world. So John warns us against thinking that any mere man can take away the sin of the world. What Jesus had to do to take away the sin of the world required that he be more than a man. He was the Lord God of Isaiah 40. He was so great that the great John the Baptist was not worthy to untie his sandals. And he was absolutely before John in time and rank.
In other words, Jesus was able to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world because he was the God-man. The Word became flesh (1:14). And now we see the central reason why: to take away the sin of the world.
When John wrote his first letter, he put it like this in 1 John 3:5: “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” The reason why the Son of God appeared—the reason the Word became flesh—was to take away sin. John is witnessing to the central reason for the incarnation.
Why did John add in 1 John 3:5, “And in him there was no sin”? Because the lambs that were offered in sacrifice to take away sin in the Old Testament had to be spotless, without blemish. Listen to what the law demanded:
If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. . . . And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:32–35)
But every serious believer knew that the blood of animals could not really take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). That whole system was pointing forward to what would happen someday in a final sacrifice for sin. And John is saying: It’s happening now. God is sending his own Lamb into the world to take away sin, once and for all.
When Peter, another eyewitness, described how Christ ransomed us, this is the language he used. He said, “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18–20).
How could Jesus be without sin? Every person born in the ordinary way inherited Adam’s sin. That’s why Paul said, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Every man born in the ordinary way is a sinner. And sinners can’t take away the sins of sinners.
How could Jesus? Because he was not born in the ordinary way. He was not born of two humans. He was the God-man because God ordained that the way the Word would become flesh would through a virgin birth. Remember the way Luke describes his birth:
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30–35)
Jesus was holy. He was without sin. No original sin. And no active sin in his own behavior. Jesus asks in John 8:46, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” The answer was, No one has ever been able to convict Jesus of sin. “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22; cf. Hebrews 4:15; Romans 8:3).
And the reason he was without sin is that he was God. In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14). Everything about Jesus in this Gospel shows how he could be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
So what does it mean when John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? It meant two shocking things for the Jews—and both of them are relevant for us today.
First, it meant that the God-man would die. And not just die, but die like a lamb dies—be slaughtered (see the Greek sphazō in Revelation 5:6, 9, 12; 13:8). Second, it meant that the whole world would benefit from this and not just Jews. This God-man was the Jewish Messiah (see John 1:41). But his death would take away the sin of the world, not just the sin of Israel.
He was called the Lamb of God, because he would die. That is why God sent him. And that is why he came. That’s why the Word became flesh. Otherwise, he could not die. And he was God’s Lamb for the world—not just a Jewish lamb for Israel.
Those two truths—death and worldwide sin-bearing—are summed up together in John 11:50–52. The high priest Caiaphas spoke prophetically like this:
“Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
He will die for Jews. But not just for Jews, but for people scattered all over the world. John put it like this in his first letter: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Propitiation means that his death removes the wrath of God because it takes away sin. That’s what propitiation means. The Lamb takes away sin and removes God’s wrath, not just for Jews but for Gentiles scattered among all nations. “By your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe . . . .” (Revelation 5:9).
And we see this precious wrath-removal in John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). This means that when John says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” he doesn’t mean that every person in the world is saved. He means every person in the world—Jew or Gentile—will be saved if they believe in Jesus and follow him. If they believe, their sin has been taken away by the Lamb. If they believe, God’s wrath has been removed by the Lamb.
There is no race, no nationality, no ethnicity, no socio-economic status excluded. To as many as receive him, who believe on his name (John 1:12), their sins are taken away (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5) and the wrath of God is removed (John 3:36; 1 John 2:2) and they are made the children of God (John 1:12) and given eternal life (John 3:16).
Everyone on this platform is a sinner deserving of God’s wrath. There is only one way to have your sins taken away and find favor with God—not working for God. Not cleaning up your life first. That comes later. That’s fruit, not root. The one way is believing in Jesus as the glorious Lamb of God. Jesus said in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Therefore, believe in Jesus as your Lamb and your Lord. And you will say with the apostles, “The blood of Jesus [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Therefore ,believe in jesus as your lamb and your lord. And you will say with the aposles , the blood of jesus God’s son cleanses us from all sin



Today’s Scripture
“…The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”
(2 Chronicles 16:9, NLT)

When Jesus chose His twelve disciples, He didn’t choose people who had it all together. He didn’t choose the Pharisees, who kept all the religious rules, prayed at the right time, and gave what was required but whose hearts were not right. He chose people who had lots of flaws, who came out of dysfunction and weren’t raised in a religious environment. Man looks on the outside, at the performance, the credentials, the background, but God looks beyond all that. He knows it’s the heart that matters. He chose those whose hearts were committed to Him.
God is not looking for people who have a perfect performance. He’s looking for people who desire to please Him. Your behavior, attitude, and character may need some improvement, but just as with the disciples, God is saying, “I know your heart is sincere; your heart is set to do the right thing. So I’m going to show Myself strong in your life.”

A Prayer for Today

“Father, thank You that I can come to You with an open and willing heart. Search me and know me. I struggle and make mistakes, and there is so much I need to improve on in my character, but my heart is committed to You. Show Yourself strong in my life today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”