SCRIPTURE Luke 7:31-35

“To what can I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “How can I describe them? They are like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t weep.’ For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.””

OBSERVATION

The previous verse says, “But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.” Jesus was referring to these men when he made his declaration. He was talking about a type of person who lives for his reputation. About how he will be seen by others. This becomes so important to him that he is blinded to the truth. He loves how he is viewed in other people’s eyes so much that he can’t imagine living another way. They want power. The power to be able to control peoples actions. And they look for the faults in others so as to make themselves look better.

Then Jesus said, and I paraphrase, “A wise person will not fall prey to foolish schemes and beliefs. Such a person cannot be easily influenced by others. He would not be lead astray from sound and beneficial conduct.

(I.e. being conned into investing in something that turns out to be a Ponzi scheme or becoming a follower of some false religious sect promoted by a charismatic preacher.)

APPLICATION

The Lord gave me this verse as I was sitting by a stream on my childhood farm. It was 2003 and I’d just been reinstated as senior pastor. I prayed about what kind of pastor I would now be - the Lord gave me this passage. Then he explained it to me. He said you will not be another Wayne Cordeiro or Ralph Moore. You Will follow me and together we will make you into the best you. Don’t look around. Don’t be imitating others. Be who I made you to be.”

And from that point on stopped going to seminars that tried to change me into someone else. From that point on I tried to be my own man. Well, not my own man, but God’s man. And I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me. I understood that I could never please everyone, so I focus on pleasing God.





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Updated: Dec 31, 2021

SCRIPTURE Matthew 15:3-9

“Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

OBSERVATION

God’s command said that everyone should give honor to their father and mother. But Some Jews had found a way to get around this command. If they declared that all their possessions or savings were a gift to God that were dedicated to Him but they were overseeing, they could then say that they were unavailable to help their parents. This kept the property still at the disposal of the one who made the vow, but deprived his parents of any right to it. (They may have said that those things were dedicated to God, but they benefited from the assets). But the greater sin here was not greed, but the sin of a hard, cold, unfeeling heart. If these religious leaders could sin against their parents like this, imagine how they treated others.

APPLICATION

We need to have regular spiritual checkups where we assess our hearts - in how we are honoring our parents - but also in the overall area of love for our fellow man. It can be so easy to greedily grasp at the things of this world and forget about our priorities. People are and always will be God’s highest priority.


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Updated: Dec 31, 2021

SCRIPTURE Matthew 11:11-13

“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is! And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. For before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time.”


OBSERVATION

John was a great man, but he wasn’t born again with the indwelling of the H.S. under the New Covenant. he lived and died before the completion of Jesus’ work at the cross and the tomb. So, he didn’t know or experience the benefits of the born again life.

Jesus’ reference to violence refers to both the intense spiritual warfare attacking his ministry and John the Baptist’s. It also refers to the intense spiritual violence required on our part to follow God. The kingdom of God can never be received passively or gently.

Jesus was referring to a period of time that ended with John. all of the O.T. prophets prophesied about John’s ministry as the one who paved the way for the messiah. every other prophet announced, “The Messiah is coming.” But John had the privilege of saying, “The Messiah is here.”

APPLICATION

We must never take for granted the power, the position and the privilege of the indwelling of the spirit in our lives. An ordinary man becomes extraordinary. And we should never be surprised at the violence of the evil one against God’s people and also the violence required on our part to stay true to our Lord. While the enemy may conduct physical and emotional violence. We are called to use spiritual violence through prayer, worship, fasting, meditation and Bible study. John was the greatest of all prophets in that he would actually see the Messiah. We see the Messiah through the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives.

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