Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Pursuit Of Jesus With Our Whole Heart

Luke 13:24-29
In Pursuit Of Jesus With Our Whole Heart

        “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, Lord open up to us! then He will answer and say to you, I do not know where you are from. Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets; and He will say, I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out. And they will come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.”
        To strive to enter through the narrow door is to desire Jesus with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. To strive is to let go of the things of this earth and to hold onto Jesus for dear life. To strive is to seek to obey him with all of our might and when our might fails to achieve the desired obedience then to give our lives completely to Him and let Him be our might and power! He is God! Lord and King of all His creation! We are His creation! His might and power will indeed set us free from the power of sin! 
        Let us look at the crowd Jesus is addressing in this teaching and examine ourselves to see if we also will find ourselves outside and unable to enter in. The people Jesus is addressing are people like you and me, just listen to their reasons for why Jesus should let them enter into heaven. “We ate and drank with You”, “You taught in our streets”. These were people who would recognize Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the prophets. These were people who considered themselves to be on the inside circle, they ate and drank with Him, they considered themselves His friends. And Jesus says, “Depart from Me for I do not know where you are from.” Which of us does not consider ourselves the friend of Jesus? Which of us does not assume that we are going to heaven? I’m not saying that your salvation is not genuine, but look at those in this message and consider the folly of their assumptions. They were content to live in sin (lawlessness) and at the same time thought they were safely in heaven. We are not in heaven yet and if we have no fear of sin or sorrow for our actions then we must examine whether or not we truly know Jesus and whether He knows us! We do not want to find ourselves outside the door in the end. 
        So the real question you have to ask yourself, and do not take this lightly or casually but take an honest look at yourself, is, “Do I know Jesus”? Think on this. Do you know His plan for your life? Have you honestly and whole heartedly asked Him? Did you ask Him what you could do for Him Today? He has work for each of us to be doing and a plan for the best use of our lives. Have you invited Him for dinner tonight? Is this a day that you have been eagerly anticipating because you have made plans with Him and He is bringing a special gift for you? Have you asked Him what pleases Him or what kind of surprise you could give to Him and then gone out of your way to get it for Him. Have you noticed that His heart was heavy today and He could use a cheerful word from you? You see these are relationship questions. Jesus wants to know you and it should be your desire to truly know Him and to please Him in every way you can. 
        The people in this warning were not real friends, they were just there for their own gain. So ask yourself, “Do I seek after Jesus for my own personal gain and care nothing for His laws or do I seek Him because I love Him and desire a relationship with Him?” A relationship with Jesus brings a desire to obey Him and in that desire to obey Him comes sorrow for sin and complete transformation from who we used to be into sons and daughters of God. 
        Oh Lord, we desire to pursue You for who You are and not for what You could do for us. We love You not your miracles! Your miracles are a blessing in our lives but it is You we desire! Oh Lord, remove the cloud from our eyes and let us gaze at Your beauty! You are Our Lord and Savior! We kneel before You and give You our lives!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Be Ready To Open The Door

Luke 12:35-38
Be ready to open the door for Jesus

  “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. And be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come and wait upon them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.” - Jesus

- What does it mean to be dressed in readiness?
- What does it mean to keep your lamps alight?
  To be dressed in readiness requires us to be wearing our servant’s uniform, which means that we are not to be dressed in our pajamas! It means that when Jesus arrives we don’t want to be in the middle of some sinful desire or a pursuit of an earthly ambition. We want to be found doing His housework, His chores, His duties, all the things He left on the list before He went away, and even more than this He will be returning from a great celebration and we should be desiring to do something extra special as a surprise for Him! To be dressed means that our thoughts are continually on maintaining His house.
-Evangelizing, -Training our brothers, -Living by example, - Spurring one another on to greater works for God. These things should cause us to be dressed for action twenty-four hrs. a day. We are to always be on duty. 
  To keep our lamps alight means to be spending time with God. When we sit at God’s feet He renews the oil in our lamps. Every time we sit in God’s presence He is actually transforming us and renewing us like water to a tree. Sometimes it can take half an hour of just sitting still before Him just to clear our minds from the panic and stress of the day. But after that half hour His peace fills us to overflowing and we are filled with His oil. Verse 32 is a wonderful word to dwell on as we pray for His peace. “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” –Jesus  Wonderful and gracious words from our dear Savior who knew how much we were going to need them. I just love Him more everyday for His thoughtfulness in leaving me with words like these. Jesus we love you so much!
  I just want to finish with what Jesus says in verse 40. “You too be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” When Jesus says that it could be the second or third watch it means that it will be quite late and will be hard for us to remain alert. And let us take warning from the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 for it says that there will be a great shout or wake-up call and it will be to late for those who have no oil to be able to get any! At the shout it is already too late. The Bridegroom arrives and the five without oil are still seeking it when He comes and takes those who are ready. The oil is found by putting aside everything that seems important in this world so that we might spend time with God, and like that parable tells us, the five who had oil could not give theirs to the ones who didn’t have any, just as I cannot give any of you the time I spend with God, I can only direct you to seek Him earnestly. My time with God only fills my lamp! It is impossible to fill your lamps with my oil. And oil cannot be had casually from God, it takes spending a lot of time with Him. If you wait for the shout you have waited too long to seek Him earnestly! There is not enough time at that point and you will be left outside the gate. He says that at the shout all will wake up, some will be ready and some will not. I earnestly entreat each of you; do not wait for the shout before you start seeking Him with your whole heart!
    Now is the time to take our salvation seriously and to keep each other alert. May God bless each of us with an awakening before it is too late!