VIDEO Spiritual Heredity – As I Have Loved You, Love One Another

Spiritual Heredity

By this [love] all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

As parents and grandparents, neighbors and relatives, gather ‘round a newborn, one of the first topics of discussion is usually, “Who does the baby look like?” Sometimes the family resemblances are immediate; sometimes they appear in time—especially likenesses based on personality and temperament.

It’s expected that biological children will manifest likenesses of others in their family tree, whether in appearance or personality. And the same thing is true—or should betrue—when it comes to children of God. When Jesus gave His disciples a new command to love each other, He also gave them a reason: By such love, all the world would know that they were His followers (John 13:34-35). And the same is true for us. The world will know we belong to Christ when we demonstrate His love. Love is the only familial marker Jesus mentioned that would tell the world of His followers’ spiritual heritage.

When we demonstrate Christlike, unconditional love—especially to those who don’t know Jesus personally—we are telling the world to whom we belong. The longer we live with love toward others, the better idea the world will have of who Christ is.

The business of the church is to demonstrate God. Bruce Hurt


John Piper sermon: As I Have Loved You, Love One Another

Palm Sunday: Five Important Facts You Should Know

The people of Jerusalem took palm branches and went out to meet the Son of God — they praised Him and shouted, ‘Hosanna!’

Palm Sunday is April 14 this year — occurring, as always, a week before Easter Sunday.

The sacred Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.

Here are five things the faithful should know about this significant biblical event.

1.) Jesus brought peace and salvation. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all recount the Palm Sunday story that took place shortly before Jesus was arrested, crucified on the cross, and eventually risen from the dead.

In chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke, it is written: “[Jesus] sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, Why are you untying it? say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

The story continues, as Luke 19:35-38 tells us: “They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’”

2.) The Holy Day gets its name from Scripture. In John 12:13, it is written: “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’”

The Israelites believed Jesus was going to save them, as the people had awaited the arrival of a special king for hundreds of years. They had waited for a messiah to be an earthly military and political leader.

Instead, Jesus came as a heavenly spiritual leader and died for humanity’s sins.

3.) Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy. The minor prophet Zechariah foretold it hundreds of years earlier: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey,” according to Zechariah 9:9.

John 12:15 notes the event: “At first [these] disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that these things had been done to him.”

4.) Jesus’ arrival on a donkey is meaningful. This animal appears multiple times in the Bible. “There have been other donkeys with important roles mentioned in scripture,” Reverend Tim McConnell — assistant pastor of Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina — wrote in Asheville, North Carolina’s Citizen-Times. “We remember Balaam’s donkey that spoke and warned Balaam of danger. Of course, we know that it was God speaking through the donkey. We know about the donkey that carried Mary and the unborn Christ to Bethlehem, and later the donkey once again carried the family to Egypt to escape King Herod.”

Rev. McConnell noted, “We find Jesus riding a borrowed donkey, escorted by unarmed disciples. His purpose is to demonstrate the kingdom of God and to show peace.”

5.) Jesus was not the first to ride through the crowds in parade fashion. An Old Testament story tells of a king triumphantly entering a town. Before his enthronement as king of Israel, Solomon rode into Gihon (a spring in the original site of Jerusalem) on a mule — with people praising him as he arrived.

“Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him, playing the pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound,” 1 Kings 1:39-40 says.

https://www.lifezette.com/2019/04/palm-sunday-five-facts-worth-knowing/

How to Seek the Lord

Psalm 105:1-7

Although Scripture tells us to seek the Lord, many Christians struggle with this command. Some are so distracted by other interests and responsibilities that God is only a miniscule part of their goals and desires in life. When confronted with their responsibility to pursue Him, they often feel guilty but don’t know how to begin.

When desire for the Lord surpasses our eagerness for other pursuits, following through becomes more natural. But hunger for the Lord can be like an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our hunger will be. However, if we ignore Him, what little appetite we have will diminish even further. Do you find that the latter describes your experience? If so, ask the heavenly Father to whet your appetite for Him—and follow through by making the effort to seek Him.

Begin with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word—listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn to your life. Begin studying the Bible. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Seeking anything requires time and effort. Will you invest your life in the pursuit of the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope? Or will you go after that which is fleeting? By neglecting the Lord, you cheat yourself of all the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him.

Best Answer, a Word from God

“And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:46)

The two dominant sects among the Jews at the time of Christ were the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Although both of these believed in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, they both refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

A climactic confrontation occurred during His final week in Jerusalem. Each group tried to trap Him into a compromising doctrinal argument. To the Sadducees, who rejected the doctrine of resurrection, He said: “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). This exposition silenced the Sadducees.

“But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence” (Matthew 22:34), they then tried to trip Him up. He turned the tables on them by a reference to the 110th Psalm, asking how David could call the Messiah Lord if He was David’s son (Matthew 22:45). As our text indicates, they also were unable to respond.

It is most significant that each group was silenced with one single word from the Scriptures. To the Sadducees, the word was “am” (“I am the God of Abraham” [v. 32]), indicating that Abraham was still living. To the Pharisees, the word was “Lord” (“The LORD said unto my Lord” [v. 44]; that is, “Jehovah said unto Adonai”), proving that the Messiah was both human and divine, descended from David but also David’s Lord. Christ’s argumentation was based in each case on the determinative authority of just one word in the Scriptures. For Christ the Scriptures were inerrant and of full and final authority, and they could not answer His claims without rejecting the Scriptures they professed to believe. HMM

Closed Mouth and Silent Heart

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

—Psalm 39:3

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space. Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.

Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:2-3). There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.   SOS014-015

Lord, teach me to close my mouth. Help me to sit in silence before You, with my mouth closed. Amen.

 

If I be lifted up from the earth

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.—John 12:32.

We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.—1 John 3:2.

 

For if Christ be born within,

Soon that likeness shall appear

Which the soul had lost through sin,

God’s own image fair and clear,

And the soul serene and bright

Mirror back His heavenly light.

Laurentius Laurenti. 1700.

 

Lord, never was a magnet so powerful to draw to itself the hard steel, as Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross, art powerful to draw unto Thee the hearts of men. O beloved Lord, draw me through joy and sorrow, from all that is in the world to Thee and to Thy cross; form me, and shape me into Thine image here below, that I may enjoy Thee eternally in the glory whither Thou art gone.

Henry Suso.

 

Think who Christ is, and what Christ is,—and then think what His personal influence must be—quite infinite, boundless, miraculous. So that the very blessedness of heaven will not be merely the sight of our Lord, it will be the being made holy, and kept holy, by that sight.

Charles Kingsley.

 

Desires of Righteous Shall Be Granted

“The desire of the righteous shall be granted.” Prov. 10:24

Because it is a righteous desire it is safe for God to grant it. It would be neither good for the man himself, nor for society at large, that such a promise should be made to the unrighteous. Let us keep the Lord’s commands, and He will rightfully have respect to our desires.

When righteous men are left to desire unrighteous desires, they will not be granted to them. But then these are not their real desires; they are their wanderings or blunders; and it is well that they should be refused. Their gracious desires shall come before the Lord, and He will not say them nay.

Does the Lord deny us our requests for a time? Let the promise for today encourage us to ask again. Has He denied us altogether? We will thank Him still, for it always was our desire that He should deny us if He judged a denial to be best.

As to some things, we ask very boldly. Our chief desires are for holiness, usefulness, likeness to Christ, preparedness for Heaven. These are the desires of grace rather than of nature — the desires of the righteous man rather than of the mere man. God will not stint us in these things, but will do for us exceeding abundantly. “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” This day, my soul, ask largely!