Monday, January 28, 2013

Stones In His Pathway

Scripture:  (King James Version)
Matthew 27: 57-66

"When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, names Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.  And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.  Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.  Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.  Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can.  So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch."

Text - Verse 66 - "So they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch."

                        "The title for the message today will be - Stones In His Pathway.
Let us take our minds for a few moments and go back into the wilderness where Jesus was led of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil.  (Matthew 4: 1-11)  "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungry.  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."

"Jesus was hungry.  He had not eaten for 40 days and nights.  Satan said to Him -"If thou be the Son of God command this stone that it be made bread."  The devil knows how to attack us at our weakest points.  But, this time he had met The Master.  The is NO weak point in Him.  He was tempted in all points such as we are....yet, without sin.  (Hebrews 4:15)  Jesus is stronger in His weakest moments than the devil is at the height of his power.           Friends - remember that when the devil gives you a hard time.

Stones to bread would have satisfied the tempter - but, not our Lord.  He had not come to satisfy His own needs but to be "The Bread Of Life" for hungry souls.  He was Himself The Bread Of Life.  

Again the devil saith unto Him  - Cast thy self down from the pinnacle so thou wilt not dash thyself against a stone.  For it is written: He will give his angels charge over thee.  Jesus said, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."  Jesus did not fear cutting His feet with stones.  He knew that cruel nails would pierce them.  He knew He would suffer.  But, He would suffer doing the Father's will - not the will of Satan or the will of mere men.  The devil did all he could, in his power to keep Jesus from the Cross.  He put many stones in His pathway.  But, Jesus knew that it was the Cross at Calvary that He must die for your sins and mine.  (John 3:16)

Remember with me the time when the Jews argued with Jesus concerning the greatness of their Father Abraham (St. John 8: 52-59) and Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  And they took up stones to cast at him......"  However, Jesus disappeared from their midst.  On other occasions they tried to stone Jesus to death but they fail.  For Jesus had not come to die by stoning...but, He came to be lifted up on a Cross.  He said in St. John 12:32 - "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."  Thank God for the mighty magnetic power of the Savior of the world.  Thank God for the Blood that was shed in that hour for the sins of ALL who will turn to Him.  His Blood never has nor will it ever lose its power.  Blood is the remedy for ALL sin.  Satan failed to feed Jesus with bread from stones and men have failed to put Him to death by stoning!

Our text above says that Jesus now lay lifeless in a tomb.  The tomb was sealed by a massive stone.  Stones in His pathway.  The stony hearts of evil men thought their mission was accomplished.  They thought that Jesus would not disturb them any more....He who claimed to be the Son of God was dead.
Jesus body was safe in a tomb....sealed with a great stone.....and a watch guard set.  Who would dare to break the seal?  What they did not know what that there was no need to break the seal.  Hallelujah!  If the angel had not rolled back the stone they would have continued to guard an empty tomb.  Jesus was not there.  He is risen!  Our Creator is not ever at the mercy of His creation.  He took up His life without disturbing the grave clothes and passed through the sealed stone like it didn't even exist.  You may have questioned in the past what kind of glorified bodies we will have......we will have glorified bodies just like that of our Lord!  The natural body of Jesus dissolved within its wrappings and merged forth a spiritual body....a resurrection body.  

Heaven did not move the stone so that our Lord could get out.  The stone was moved so that men could get in and see for themselves.  Knowing the unbelief of the stony hearts of men and the doubts which arise in their minds and hearts, God sent an angel to roll back the if to say, "Now, do you believe?"  (St. John 20: 1-10)  In Verse 8 we read, "Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed."  

But, do you know that with all the mighty miracle power our Lord has; even to pass through the stone to show Himself alive.....If you are a lost sinner and you do not know Christ as Savior and Lord; you have not given your heart to Him, then you are DEAD?   Your soul is in a tomb, sealed with a stone.  A stony heart of unbelief and rebellion.  A stone in your pathway.

         Our resurrected, living Lord cannot penetrate that stone......unless, YOU invite Him in

There is one stone in His pathway that only you can move.  You cannot be resurrected unto life until He comes in.  And, He will not come in until you invite Him in.  He will remove the stony heart and cause you to become a lively stone built up into a spiritual house.  He will make you a new creature in Christ and a partaker of His divine nature.  Today,  please accept and make Jesus the stone (that the builders rejected).... the head of the corner.   Let Him be that ROCK on which you trust stand. 
                                          Are you ready to BELIEVE and trust?  
                          Are you ready to let Jesus come into your stony heart?  
He has done all that he can do.  He has overcome every stone in His pathway - but, now He waits on you.  
                                    "Choose ye this day who ye will serve.  (Joshua 24:15)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


It is my prayer that this message delivered many years ago will today - Make A Difference in your
Scripture:  (King James Version)
Hebrews 9: 27-28
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
          Notice these three words...."It is appointed."
In the great plan and purpose of God there is nothing that happens by chance.  There is nothing that happens by accident.             It is appointed!         Our God had things figured out before the foundation of the world and His plans will be carried out right on schedule from now throughout eternity.

Within these two verses I have used as my text, there are a number of "appointments" that I want to briefly note.  
#1 - First of all, It is appointed unto men once to die.  The human race in general is a dying race.  There are those of you today who may be in your eighties, seventies, sixties, fifties, or many years younger.  But - every one of us are dying.  As far as physical death is concerned, "the outward man perisheth."  (2 Corinthians 4:16)  But, beyond the physical death there is another death called "the second death."  However, I am so thankful that we can escape this second death by being "born again"- asking Jesus Christ into our hearts with forgiveness of sins.  If you are born only once, you'll die twice.  But, if you are born twice, you will die only once.  Jesus said, "You must be born again!"  (St. John 3: 1-21)
Death simply means separation.  In physical death the spirit simply separates from the body.  In spiritual death (the second death) a persons spirit is separated from God's spirit for all eternity.  A spiritual death is indeed far worse than a physical death.
#2 - Second, it is appointed that men face judgment.  After death comes the judgment.  (Hebrews 9:27)
Court room scenes hold quite an attraction for many people; the dignity of the judge, the solemn proceedings, the keen interest in the witnesses, the suspense of the jury's deliberations, etc.  Why all the interest?  Judgment is about to be rendered.  The die is cast.  The issue is about to be settled.  So friends, that's how it will be at the final judgment.  You will be the defendant.  Your life will be on trial.  Your eternal destiny will be the issue.  To those individuals who have not been "born again" and asked Jesus Christ into their lives, the verdict will be......eternal separation from God.  "It is appointed!"
                            It is appointed unto men once to die.
                              It is appointed unto men to face the judgment.
#3 - It was by appointment that Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. (verse 28)  We talk of His horrible death and His terrible suffering....But - it was appointed!"

                                                                   John 3:16
                                                 "For God so loved the world, 
                                            that he gave his only begotten Son, 
                                   that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
                                                     but have everlasting life."
God appointed death.
God appointed judgment.
God appointed death on The Cross. 
God made it possible for man to escape the second death.  Aren't you thankful?  Because of The Cross, this is where the second birth takes place.  You are "born again" at the foot of The Cross.  When you are "born again" you are accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and give allegiance to Him.
#4 - Finally, it is appointed that Christ who was once offered for the sins of many.....
                                                           He will come again!
We all know that there are skeptics, scoffers and people who simply do not believe this will happen.  But, the Bible is very clear that this miraculous event will occur.  These unbelievers mock and say, "where is His coming?"   You and I have heard these comments all of our lives.  Let me warn you....
               Just as sure as death.......
                                   Just as sure as judgment.....
                                                      Just as sure as Jesus died on the cross for our sins.....
                                                            He is coming again!
The very last words of our Lord in the Bible are recorded in Revelation 22:20 when He says,                 ".....surely I come quickly....."             "It is appointed!"

One final thought about God's appointments..... You are not reading this by accident or by chance.  It is not a coincidence.  You are doing so by God's appointment.

                       Are you prepared for death?
                                        Are you prepared for judgment?
                                                    Are you prepared for Christ second coming?

On the basis of your relationship with God this very moment - what would your eternal appointment be?
                   If the death angel should call on you this moment, where would you spend eternity?

       Please give these questions some serious consideration.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You Are My Hiding Place

Scripture:  (King James Version)
Psalm 32
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.  Selah.
I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.  Selah.
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.  Selah.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.  Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart."

Jeremiah 23:24
"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord.  Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord."
A question is asked here by the Lord Himself..."Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord."

Now, back to the 32nd Psalm - verse 7....Five specific words - Thou Art My Hiding Place.

Very often we are confronted with the question, "do you know so and so?"  Many times we say, "Yes, I do, very well indeed."  The whole truth is, we never really know another person.  We can not really know their heart and their thoughts.  We know them in terms of the words we hear them speak, the attitudes they adopt and the action they perform; but, the motives behind all these are hidden to us.  We are ignorant of their fears, their anxieties and their inner thoughts.  It is their privacy and no man can invade.
But, even this privacy is not complete according to our scripture text.  "Can any hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? saith the Lord."   The answer is an emphatic NO.  The God who made us knows us in a way that no man can ever know us.  Our innermost thoughts are open to Him.  Our heart is as glass to Him.  Our motives lie bare before His searching eyes.  The Bible says in Psalm 94:9 "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?  he that formed the eye, shall he not see?"  The writer of the Hebrews declared in Hebrews 4:14, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."    Jesus said in Matthew 10:26, "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be know."  Also, in Luke 12:2, Jesus again says, "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
                                          Friends - Be sure your sins will find you out!

Yet, men imagine that there are hidden places in their lives which no one can see.  They feel they can commit sin and do wrong; no one will be aware of it.  Maybe no one will....but God knows and sees.  There are no hiding places as far as God is concerned.  There are no secret places that He does not see.
Adam - he couldn't hid from God.  God came down in the cool of the day and searched him out.
David - he thought no one knew about his adultery.  God knew and brought it all out into the open.
Ananias and Sapphira - they though they could conceal their covetousness and deceit beneath a show of piety, but God's hand of judgment fell on them.  You've hear it said over and over I am sure -
                                     "You may fool a man but you can't fool God."

            God knows all about secret things and secret places.
Do you have any secret place?  Are there sins which you would hate for another person to see?  Are there impurities which you cherish but would hate others to know about?  Are there things below the surface that you are trying to keep covered up?
You may try to hide may try to deaden your may try to fill your mind with pleasant things and try to avoid thinking about the consequences of your poor choices - BUT, my friend, sooner or later the veil will be ripped away and you will have to face the judgments of God.  The Bible is clear when it says that a day is coming when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.

You can not hide from God.  You can not stay in your wrong way of living and think that you will "get by" and escape the judgments of God.  HOWEVER, .....Good News.....I do want to tell you...
                                                               THERE IS A HIDING PLACE!
   This hiding place is a person......the person of Jesus Christ!

The prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 32:2, "And a man shall be as an hiding place........."  Friends, that man is Jesus Christ.
In our scripture text, Psalm 32:7, David says...."thou art my hiding place."

                                          There is refuge found in the Lord Jesus Christ!  
Won't you flee to Him right now?  There is only one way you can hide your sins and that is to be sorry for them and flee to Jesus Christ, the Savior and ask His forgiveness.  BELIEVE that He forgave you and move forward in your journey with Him.
If you have not done so already, why not come to Him in repentance and confession of your sin?

1 John 1:9 tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Wherever you are today, know this one thing ....God loves you!  He doesn't wish that anyone perish but that everyone would come to Him in repentance.  Take a moment, bow your head and humble your heart before Almighty God and ask Jesus to cleanse your soul.  Let Him be your hiding place!