Jesus As a Child

Luke 2:41-52

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

His Parents’ Faithfulness

His parents went to Jerusalem every year.  Only male Jews who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem were required by law to attend the temple three times a year – Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-17).  Women did not have to attend, it was optional.   Nazareth was more than twenty miles away so neither Joseph nor Mary were required by law to attend.  Yet it was their custom to attend every year at Passover.   They went to the Temple because they wanted to be in God’s house. 

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

“Train up” does not mean just bring a child to church once a week or teach them a memory verse.  It does not mean to just tell them they should be saved and serve God.  It is much more than that.  It carries the idea of a parent investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, time and discipline is needed for that child to become fully committed to God.  It assumes that the parent has the emotional and spiritual maturity to do so.  “In the way he should go” means to take into account the child’s unique personality, gifts and desires.  It also means to train the child to avoid whatever natural tendencies he/she might have that would prevent total commitment to God (a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression).  This promise means that if a parent takes the time, uses wisdom and love to instruct the child in the way of commitment to God, both by words and by their own example, taking into account the child’s own personality, they can be assured the child will stay committed to God as an adult. 

If you want your child to go to church, how often do they see you go to God’s house?  What is your attitude when you go?  “I have to go,” or “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’”

If you want your child to love God’s Word, how often do they see you reading God’s Word?  What is your attitude when you read?  “I have to read,” or “I love learning more about God’s Word.”

If you want your child to worship God, how often do they see you worship God – both at home and at church?  Do they ever see you just stop in the middle of work and sing a song of praise or take time to pray?  Do they ever see you in church entering into worship with all your heart?  What is your attitude about worship?  “Hurry up and get on with it,” or “What a joy to worship our Savior.”

If you want your child to give to God’s work, how often do they see you giving?  What is your attitude about giving?  “I have to tithe,” or “It is a blessing to give to the cause of Christ.”

Have you taken the time to teach your child how to study the Bible, how to look up words they don’t understand, how to do research?  Have you taken the time to teach your child how to pray? 

Jesus Was A Normal Child

His parents were not alarmed when Jesus was not with them as they began their journey.  Obviously, they were used to Jesus playing and socializing with the other children from Nazareth. 

Jesus’ Knowledge Was Not Normal

He was found in the midst of the teachers.  News of the young boy who had such great understanding must have quickly spread among the teachers and leaders. 

He was listening to them.  Word akouonta denotes listening closely, attentively, deep in thought. 

He was asking them questions.  Even Jesus was teachable, thirsty for more knowledge.

He answered their questions. 

Example for us:  Every opportunity to learn the truth should be taken.  We should desire more knowledge and understanding of the truth.

2 Peter 1:5 – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add (generously provide what is needed, to cover the costs) to your faith virtue (moral excellency and goodness), to virtue knowledge.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the might man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and know Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight (take pleasure in, cherish, be inclined toward) says the Lord.

Jesus’ Parents Misunderstood His Mission

Many may misunderstand us, including our own family.  Still, we must be obedient to the call of God on our lives. 

Matthew 10:36 – and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Perhaps in raising Jesus for the past twelve years, Mary and Joseph had begun to forget who Jesus was.  Do we get too familiar with Him?  Do we forget who Jesus is?

Deuteronomy 4:9 – Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.

Jesus Clearly Understood His Mission

Jesus clearly understood at this time that He was the Son of God.  Even though Joseph was standing there, Jesus spoke of God as His Father.  At what age Jesus knew He was the Messiah, we do not know, but clearly by age 12 He was conscious of a unique relationship with God.  Again, we see that children can be used of God for Jesus was a man just like us. 

Jesus Was Still Obedient to His Earthly Parents

The word “subject” means “to stand under, submission, subordination.”  Even though He understood who He was, He submitted to His parents.  He was stronger in spirit and wiser and His real father was God Himself, yet he was obedient, setting us an example.

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey (answer and respond, submit without reservation, listen attentively) your parents in the Lord, for this is right (conforming to God’s laws).

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey those who lead you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Jesus Grew

He “increased.”  That word proekorten means to grow steadily, to keep advancing.  It is a picture of a pioneer cutting through the wilderness to reach his destination.

  • Mentally
  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Socially

We need to help our children grow steadily, keep advancing in all four areas above. 

We need to encourage them to learn all they can.  We need to do what we can to provide the resources they need to learn.  We need to be aware of what they are being taught in school and how they are progressing there.

We need to see that they have proper food and exercise so that they grow physically.  We need to make sure they are not “couch potatoes.”

We need to help them grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.  We need to help them understand what it means to be a Christian.

We need to help them develop the skills necessary to function in society at large.  We need to teach them to share, to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, to be aware of other people’s needs, to know how to conduct themselves in society.

While we reach a point at which we do not continue to grow physically, we need to also grow steadily, keep advancing in these four areas.

We need to never stop learning.  Science has showed us that those adults who use their mind to keep learning retain their mental capacities much better and for a longer time than those who quit learning. 

We need to take care of our physical bodies.  Our ability to minister for the Lord will be help or hindered by our physical condition as we age.

We need to develop spiritually – always growing in knowledge of God, His Word, and His Spirit.

We need to continue to develop socially – always learning more of what makes people act as they do, what helps minister to people, etc.

Signs of the End of the Age

Matthew 24:3-14

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Signs of the End of the Age

Sign #1 – False Messiahs (v.5) – Men seek utopia, inward peace and outward security.  Unfortunately, too many churches and believers do not demonstrate enough trust in Christ to show that peace and security are found in Him alone.  Therefore, they turn to other messiahs.

Sign #2 – World Violence (v.6) – The believer’s hope is not in this world; neither is his real citizenship.  His hope and his life are in God and in heaven.   Therefore, we are not to fear men and world events.  Men and world events can only take our lives, not our souls.  Our lives are in God’s hands, even to the end of the world.

Phil 3:20-21 – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.- who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Sign #3 – Natural Disasters (v.7) –

Indicates there is to be unbearable pain and terrible famine and the accompanying evil that comes with famine and hunger. This is graphically described in Scripture.

Sign #4 – Severe Religious Persecution (v.9) – Affliction and Killing will take place.  A few examples of some of the ordeals the early Christians went through are as follows:

Acts 4:1-3 – Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Acts 7:57-60 – Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 12:2-4 – Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

Acts 13:50 – But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

Acts 14:19 – Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

2 Corinthians 11:23-25 – Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

End-time suffering will be multiplied many times over. 

Matthew 24:21-22 – For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Sign #5 – Terrible Apostasy – Betrayal & Division (v.10) –

2 Timothy 3:1-5 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away! 

Sign #6 – The Rising of Many False Leaders – Offering False Hope (v.11)

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Sign #7 – A Great Falling Away – Sin Increasing, & Love of God Growing Cold  (v.12)

Revelation 3:15-16 – I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

Sign #8 – Some Enduring and Being Saved (v.13)

Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us? 

Romans 8:35, 37-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the  love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Sign #9 – World Evangelism (v.14) – Christ says five very distinct things at this point. 

  1. His gospel is of the Kingdom of God…a spiritual and eternal kingdom that will never pass away.
  2. His gospel is unstoppable.  “This gospel shall be preached.”
  3. His gospel shall be triumphant. 
  4. His gospel is a witness:  “this gospel…shall be     preached…for a witness unto all nations.”  It will proclaim the truth and bear record either for or against man.
  5. The end will finally come when, and only come when the gospel has been preached throughout the whole world.
  • Some very Important Information that is Often Overlooked              
  1. “Take heed that no one deceives you.”  (vs. 4)
  2. The beginning signs (#1, #2, #3)
  3. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (v.8)
  4. The succeeding signs (#4, #5, #6, and #7) are personal threats and sorrows.   Note the word “then” in verse 9.  After the beginning of sorrows (#1, #2, #3) then the threats & sorrows of the end of the age will begin.  Meaning simply that the noticeable increase in persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ will be the first of many additional sorrows that will take place on the earth.
  5. The promising signs (#8 and #9) are the result of faithfulness of those who serve God.  The word “but” in verse thirteen points toward two signs that offer all the promise and hope a believer could ever desire.  In fact, his salvation and witness are what he lives for.  And the fulfillment of both is promised in the last days.

Luke 21:12 – “But before all these they shall…persecute you…”   

Note the words of Jesus: “I say to you” in verse two.  What Christ said happens.  Therefore all these signs are bound to take place.  But note one critical point.  The signs happen not because God has determines that they will take place but they happen because of the continual unrepentant sin of mankind.

  • Warnings to All
  1. Emphasis upon being deceived:
  2. “Take heed that no man deceive you” (v.5)
  3. “Many shall deceive you” (v.5)
  4. “False prophets…shall deceive many” (v.11)

 Christ gives these signs for a very specific purpose.  He is trying to encourage his followers to “endure to the end” and to “keep hope for His return alive”. 

Ten Rules on How to be a Good Pharisee (Or, Not the Way to Live Your Life)

Matthew 23:

  • Require of others more than you require of yourself or more than God requires

1-4 – Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

  • Desire to be the center of attraction

5-12 – But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

  • Limit God

13 – But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

  • Good pretender/Put on a good show

14 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

  • Want to be the leader/People to follow/You teach them so well they are bigger fanatics than you are

15 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

  • Good debater – even the smallest detail/always learning more and more about everything until you know less and less about nothing.

16-22 – Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

  • Major in the minors (strain at a gnat and swallow a camel)

23-24 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

  • Look religious but corrupt on the inside

25-26 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

  • People pleaser

27-28 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

  • Blind to what you really are

29-33 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’  “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

  • Four things will follow if you practice the above ideology:
  1. Put down those in authority – always critical
  2. Stubborn – refuse to yield
  3. Never see the reality of Jesus
  4. Jesus will not dwell in your life
  • The Solution:

John 15:4-8 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples

The Greatest Commandments

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

What is a Commandment?

Webster’s Dictionary gives the following meaning:  A rule or an order that is directed, declared, ordered into effect by one in authority who has the power to enforce said rule or order. 

The greatest commandments in our understanding as a follower of Biblical Judeo-Christian ethics, beliefs and/or doctrine are, of course, the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments, also referred to in theological terms as the Decalogue.  Decalogue is two Greek words “deka” + “logos” meaning, simply “ten words”.

The Ten Commandments are laws given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai during the time that Israel was journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land.  They can be found in Deuteronomy 5 and 11.    The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God and the fifth through tenth deal with our relationship with man.

The Ten Commandments are not:

  • The Ten Suggestions
  • To be ignored
  • To be taken lightly.

The Commandments.

Over several hundred years from the time that the Ten Commandments had been given, the Jewish teachers had added over six hundred commandments to the original ten.  No person could keep them all, so the question was often asked and discussed:  Which commandment or commandments must be absolutely obeyed?  Which ones are important and which ones are not?  Can the failure to obey some be condoned or not?  If a person keeps the greatest of the precepts, can he be excused for his failure to keep others?   Matthew 19:16-22, the story of the rich young ruler is a perfect example of the confusion over what does one do to attain eternal life. 

The Commandments cannot be kept as a set of rules.  The emphasis is not on the keeping of the rules but in loving and serving Christ.  Jesus narrowed the Ten Commandments down to only two.  The first (verse 37) dealt with and summed up in one statement the first four of the Ten, our relationship to God.  The second (verse 39) dealt with and summed up in one statement Commandments five through ten, and dealt with our relationship with our fellow man. If we keep the two that Jesus gave here, we will keep all the commandments.

Our Relationship to God

Matthew 6:33 – Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 13:44-46 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him

Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Our focus in life will be on something:  self, possessions, the world, the flesh, power, fame or on a person.  God demands our attention be focused on Him. 

Our Relationship with Others

If our love with God is firm, we will love others who God loves.

John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

I John 4:19-21 – We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Romans 13:10 – Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Our greatest guideline for loving our neighbor is found in I Corinthians 13. 

If we keep our heart and mind in love with God and in love with others (which follows as we love God) we do not have to worry about what commandment, what list of rules we must follow. Love will guide us in all we say and do.

When is Revival Needed?

We often hear that the great need of the church is revival!  The history of the church in the USA records times of religious movements.

What is called “The Great Awakening” was a revival that had a big influence on the English colonies during the 1730’s and 1740’s. Secular rationalism was being widely accepted and faith in God was at a low point. Christian leaders began going from town to town preaching on the need of salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. A renewed interest in God and the church spread through the colonies. Historians believe it had a lasting impact on some current Christian denominations and society at large.

The main emphasis on the preaching of that time was that all men/women were sinners in need of a savior. People can be saved by God’s grace if they simply confess their sin and follow Christ. The churches by that time had become very formal and this revival encouraged a more personal and less formal approach to God and to church services.

This idea of a more personal connection with God rather than relying on a minister led to great growth in the Methodists and Baptists denominations. Princeton and Dartmouth were founded during this revival.

Sadly, as time passed people once again became more complacent in their commitment to the church.

The second “Great Awakening” was in the early 1800’s. Meetings were held throughout the country and the “camp meeting” began. The Calvinism of the earlier churches in the USA began to move toward the Arminianism belief that man could choose to serve God or reject Him, that he was not predestined to be chosen by God for salvation or not chosen.

One great move of revival that has always inspired me is what is called the “Businessman’s Revival” or the “Prayer Meeting Revival.” In 1857 a businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, began to feel a great burden for those who did not know Jesus Christ.

Praying for direction from God, he decided to organize a prayer meeting for businessmen. It would be on a Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. He encouraged them to come whether they could pray for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or the entire hour.

The date was set for his first businessmen’s prayer meeting to be at noon on September 23, 1857. When the day came, he was ready to welcome the other businessmen for a time of prayer. At noon, no one showed up. He continued in prayer, refusing to give up. Finally, at 12:30 one man came for prayer. Before 1:00 came, there were five more men who joined him. Slowly from there the prayer meeting began to grow in number.

About a month after the meetings began, the stock market crashed. Attendance began to really grow as people were desperate This “prayer revival” was not organized or run by any particular church or minister. Lay people from different denominations took part. It is estimated that over 1 million people made a commitment to Jesus Christ in the next year.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements were born from a revival in Los Angeles that ran from 1906 until 1915. The black minister William J. Seymour led the movement and it was an interracial group that included both black and white and women in leadership roles.

There have been other times of revival since then like the “Jesus Movement” and the Billy Graham crusades to mention only a couple.

So What is Revival?

The dictionary tells us that revival is:

  • an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
  • an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again.
  • a restoration

So – Do We Need a Revival Today?

  • Coming out of the past two years when Covid 19 caused many of our churches to close their doors or people just afraid to come to church, we truly need a revival.
  • Looking at our nation and all the division and anger, we truly need a revival.
  • Sensing all the stress people have had – still have, we truly need a revival.

What Will Bring Revival

Joel 2:12-17 – “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.  Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.  Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them.  Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

One scripture that is often quoted when calling for prayer is:

2 Chronicles 7:14 – if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Sadly most of the time it is just suggesting if we pray, God will heal. But there is more than praying required here. The verse says:

  • Humble ourselves
  • Not just pray, but pray and seek His face (no 10 cents prayers here)
  • Turn from our wicked ways.

May we began to hunger and thirst for a revival in our land.

Liar, Lunatic, Lord – Which is It?

Matthew 21:1-11

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”  All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”  So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus Deliberately Fulfilled Prophecy

  • Special Mission – secure a donkey and her colt
  • Special Point – deliberate fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9
  • A warning to Jerusalem – The King comes – He comes meekly – He comes upon a colt

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from His Disciples

  • They obeyed his instructions without question
  • They used their own clothes for a saddle

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from the People

  • They received Him as King
  • They received Him as Messiah
  • Son of David
  • Lord
  • The Highest

Jesus Deliberately Aroused Questions About Himself

  • Question:  Who is this?
  • Answer:  Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee

Jesus Deliberately Demands Our Acceptance or Rejection

  • Liar
  • Lunatic
  • Lord

Lord, Liar or Lunatic

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.  He called men to forsake all they had and followed Him.  He claimed that if they would do so, He would grant them eternal life.  We have two alternatives here:

  • His claims are false – or
  • His claims are true

If His claims are false –

  • He knew these claims were false = LIAR
  • He did not know these claims were false = LUNATIC

If His claims are true = LORD

“I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.

C. S. Lewis from his book, Mere Christianity

Greatness in Serving

Matthew 20:20-28

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.  And He said to her, “What do you wish?”  She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”  But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They said to Him, “We are able.”  So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”  And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Greatness Defined

  • Greatness is not being someone in a high position such as Chairman of the Board, President, Ambassador, the boss, etc.
  • Greatness is not one who has money, property, jewelry, education, position, or possessions of any kind.
  • Greatness is not being born to the position of greatness.  You do not inherit greatness. 
  • Greatness is not bestowed upon you by anyone or any act of your own doing except obedience to God’s Word, a Godly heart, and a humble and contrite spirit, and a yielded God-given peaceful attitude and disposition. 

Luke 9:23-25 – Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

Luke 14:26-27 – If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Galatians 5:24 – And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Philippians 3:8 – Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

  • Greatness is of God.  There is no greatness other than that of God.

John 12:26 – If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

I Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Corinthians 7:22 – For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.

  • Greatness conceived by men is superficial; it fades away.  Remember the old proverb or poem that someone wrote:  “Only one life, it will soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  This little poem on a wooden plaque had been my mother’s. I passed it along to Will, my son and her grandson.  It was the only thing that survived in the kitchen of his home when it burned.  Is that a coincidence or accident, or was God trying to say something?
  • Greatness is not dominion over people.  Note:  the disciples in this passage still thought the Messiah’s kingdom would be restored and it would be as an earthly nation and power.  The ten other disciples were indignant because they desired the highest positions themselves. They would have been worried, not angered, by such evil and selfish behavior if they had not had the same feelings.  Sound like anybody you know?  Maybe you at some point in your life…you were the one who deserved the promotion, etc.
  • The external view of the way we look at things:  our measuring stick is usually about power, fame, recognition, influence, authority, dominion, and/or position.
  • The internal view of the way we look at things is measured by wealth, buildings, vehicles, machines, and the ability to work and achieve goals.  The world seeks after these things.

I John 2: 15 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.

Matthew 6:33 – Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Colossians 3:1 – Seek those things which are above. 

  • Greatness is serving others.  The great are those who minister to others. 

Matthew 10:42 – And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

Matthew 20:27 – And whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. 

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Prov. 22:4 – By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.

Ephesians 6:7 – with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

What price – greatness?

Jesus pulls no punches.  If we desire greatness, there is a price to pay.  A tremendous price.  If we wish to have the crown He gives, there is a bitter cup to be drunk and a baptism in which to be immersed. 

The cup of suffering refers more to what a person takes into himself and bears within himself.  It is more internal suffering and agony.  The cup means drinking the bitterness and agony of trials, pain, hurt, sorrow, heartbreak, suffering, disappointment, and tears.  Christ did this in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:36-46 -Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.  So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

The baptism refers more to what is put upon a person from the outside.  It is more external sufferings.  The baptism of suffering means being immersed in the rapids of affliction, rejection, abuse, ridicule, opposition, persecution, and martyrdom.  Jesus did this in the judgement hall, at the whipping post, in the denial of his disciples and the angry mob, and especially on the cross.

That is the reason Christ and the apostles met with so much opposition so often.  They gave all they were and had and lived so differently.  They lived for God instead of living for self and the world.  The world could not understand them.  Some ignored them.  Others ridiculed them, abused them, persecuted them, and even killed them. 

Micah 6:8 – He has showed you O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Can You Drink of the Cup?

Matthew 20:20-28

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.  And He said to her, “What do you wish?”  She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”  But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They said to Him, “We are able.”  So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”  And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers.  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

On January 8, 1956, 28-year-old American missionary Jim Elliot was martyred, along with four missionary partners and friends. He was survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and their 10-month-old daughter Valerie. He was killed by the people he was trying to reach with the Gospel. In his journal were found these words:

He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

“I have come to see clearly that life is more than self. It is more than doing what I want, striving for what will benefit me, dreaming of all I can be. Life is all about my relationship with God. There is no higher calling, no loftier dream, and no greater goal than to live, breathe, and be poured out for Jesus Christ.”
–Jamie in Brother Andrew’s “The Calling”
― Brother Andrew, The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”
― David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

We should live each day realizing it could be our last. Are we truly living to further the Gospel – or just for our self?

Live life as if any moment might be your last. Dead dead to sin – alive to God.

Romans 6:12-14 – Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

On Being An Example

Matthew 18:1-10

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.  “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!  “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.  “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

When our grandson, Robert Thomas, was 3 years old he had been sick and was running a high fever.  At one point it had reached 105.5 F.  Needless to say, he was a very sick little boy.  His mother took him to the doctor.  When they returned home, he saw my car in the parking lot next to their apartment.  He told his mother, “Papa will pray for me and I will be all better.” 

We have an awesome responsibility, especially to these little ones. Especially to the new Christians. Especially to those we come in contact with that do not know Jesus Christ whether it is on the job, at school, in our neighborhood, or at the store. We have a responsibility and will be held accountable.

Jesus’ parting words told us to be witnesses.  But, are we the example we should be?  We cannot be a witness for Jesus Christ unless first we are an example.

This passage tells us to be humble…to receive a little child in His name…and the result of being an offense to one of these little ones.  I do not believe Jesus was just referring to the little children here, but these examples and the resulting punishment for being an offense apply to both little children and to those who are little in knowledge of the Word of God.

What does the Lord require of us?

Micah 6:6-8 – With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God?  Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah’s statement sounds somewhat like the prophet Samuel speaking to King Saul.

1 Samuel 15:17 and 22 – So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel.  So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

Paul the Apostle had some advice for young Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:11-16 – These things command and teach.  Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

To be an example, we must follow Paul’s exhortation to Timothy.

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We have a requirement to be good stewards of that which has been imparted to us by the Word of God, the preaching, our studying.  All of these things will help us to be a good example.

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

John 15: 8 – By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

This scripture in the Living Bible reads:  My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.

What about love?

John 15:12 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you

John 13:35 – Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.  (The Living Bible)

1 Peter 2:11-12 – Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

When the prophet Isaiah had an encounter with God, he spoke of that vision and taught us how we should be both an example and a witness and what our response should be when we have a real meeting with Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 6:3-8 – And one cried to another and said:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.  So I said:  “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:  “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:  “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

What Profit?

Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

  • What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world? 
  • What profit is there if I accumulate all of this world’s wealth and fortune and am spiritually lost?

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • What profit spiritually/eternally is there in what you are doing right now?
  • What profit if you take care that your home is well taken care of with all the comforts you can afford, but neglect neglect giving to the cause of Jesus Christ?
  • What profit is there to have money set aside for a rainy day if you neglect giving to help others?
  • What profit if you get an “A” or a “B” in your class if you cheat to make that grade?
  • What profit if you keep in style with the other kids but fail to obey your parents?
  • What profit if you succeed in this life but miss out with God?

1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near