6 things Jesus TAUGHT in His last week

Jesus spent His time on earth teaching and preaching. From the very earliest days He was found in the Temple hearing and asking questions, and all that heard were amazed at His answers (Luke 2:46-47).

Throughout His ministry He is teaching. Even when He saw the 5,000 that followed Him, having compassion on them, He TAUGHT them.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)

Therefore, it should be no surprise that He was seen teaching even up to His last days on Earth.

During His last week He was in the Temple teaching amidst those who sought to take His life.

What was it that Jesus TAUGHT them that still has application for us today?

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt 21:12-13)

1) When Jesus TURNED over the money changers tables and cast out those that bought and sold in the TEMPLE, He is teaching us a lesson about proper authorized worship. In the New Testament age, the church is His TEMPLE (1Cor 6:19). We are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). There is a right way and a wrong way to worship. He TAUGHT that it’s possible to have vain worship (Mark 7:6-7). It would behoove us to learn what it is to properly worship Him in our lives, but also when we gather together as a church. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:17-34; Heb 10:24-25)

“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

(see Matt 21:23-27).

2) Jesus TAUGHT that there are only 2 sources of AUTHORITY; from above or from below. We must understand this lesson today. Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth (Matt 28:18). He is to have the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). He is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15). Therefore, we are to study His word to know what it is that He commands for how we are to speak and act (Col 3:17). (cf. 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10)

“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (see Matt 21:33-46)

3) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT a lesson that covers much of OT history and ultimately a lesson about UNITY with God. The record of the bible shows that God desires mankind to be UNITED with Him through His Son, and His word, but the world, and the children of Israel, would not. Today, we are UNIFIED through Christ into one body (Eph 4:3-6). We cannot expect any UNITY with God, any peace, unless we keep His commands. Many folks say there’s unity in diversity of doctrines. This contradicts the word. God is not an author of confusion. (1Cor 14:33; see Col 2:14; Heb 7:12; 9:16-22)

“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

(see Matt 22:1-14)

4) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT about the Kingdom of Heaven. Many are called, but few are chosen. Even those who respond to the call, if they don’t have the proper GARMENT, they will be rejected. The only way to understand this is by seeing what it is we are to put on and how. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). People claim we are to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Not so. We are to put on Christ in water baptism through faith. (see Acts 2:38; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21)

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” (see Matt 22:23-33)

5) In the challenge from the Sadducees, Jesus TAUGHT about the proper way to HANDLE the word of truth. It’s possible to make an error, be mistaken, and be lost because we don’t know the scriptures on how to be saved and how to live a godly life. (see 2Tim 2:15; 3:15-17)

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (see Matt 24)

6) Jesus was asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Since then, many have wrested this text to predict the end of the world when Jesus would return (1Thess 4:13-18). A careful reading will show what Jesus actually TAUGHT about the TIME of His return. Notice what He said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt 24:34). It’s very clear that much of what He said would occur within the lifetime of those who were hearing Him.

But of that day and hour…” The day of His return to Earth to gather the saints, to destroy the world, and to judge all nations, “…knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; see 2Peter 3:10; Dan 2:31-45).

Close) Jesus TAUGHT throughout His life even up to His last moments. It makes me think about myself and the myriad of loved ones who do not know God and have not obeyed the Gospel. Shall we try to teach them?

— spencer

Spencer has been preaching in Borger Texas since 2014.

I AM statements of Jesus

“I am” statements communicate important qualities about ourselves, our identity, our values, our personality, and our nature.

  • I am a Christian
  • I am a husband
  • I am a citizen of the U.S.

It’s no different with Christ. His “I AM” statements tell us much about who He is and helps us to fully appreciate Him and what He has done for us.

From His “I AM” statements we can learn some very wonderful things about…

  1. Who is Jesus?
  2. What can Jesus do for us?
  3. Why should we follow Jesus?

Get your bible and read about these “I AM” statements from our Lord.

The first “I AM” statement we’ll consider answers the question about WHO IS JESUS? When Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I AM,” He is making a very startling claim (John 8:51-53). He is claiming that He pre-existed Abraham, the father of the whole nation of Israel. He is also claiming Deity.

God used this same wording for Himself when asked His name by Moses (Exodus 3:13-14). Looking closely at what is being said by God to Moses, we learn that God is the self-existing One (He has always existed). The folks hearing Jesus recognized that what Jesus was claiming was that He is DIVINE and ETERNAL. “Then took they up stones to cast at him” (John 8:59). When Jesus died and rose again on the 3rd day, He proved and confirmed that He is the Son of God.

Other NT passages also state this truth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col 1:17). This truth also contains the fact that Jesus is the Creator. These truths about this first “I AM” statement means that He has the authority to make demands, give commands, and to save.

Which brings us to the next question…. WHAT CAN JESUS DO FOR US?

Three more of His “I AM” statements teach us about what Jesus can do for us.

ONE: “I Am the Bread of Life” (John 6:30-35). “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4). “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). “The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Just as physical bread gives sustenance for the body, Christ is the bread of life that gives us spiritual sustenance.

TWO: “I Am the Light of the World” (John 8:12). “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Jesus provides guidance and light in a dark world. He lights our way to Him.

THREE: “I Am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:1-5; 11-18). “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal 1:4). “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd” (Ezek 34:23). Jesus offers protection. Not just from the dangers we face in this life, but protection from the penalty of sin.

This last “I AM” statement answers WHY SHOULD WE FOLLOW JESUS? “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:20-27). “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:1-6; cf. John 10:7-10).  Everything about our faith hinges on this one truth. The resurrection is the reason for our…

HOPE; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Peter 1:3; cf. Acts 23:6; 24:15; John 5:28-29)

COMFORT; “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1Thess 4:13-18). “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1Thess 5:10-11).

SALVATION; “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:21). Without Jesus there will be no salvation.

A careful study of these “I AM” statements from Jesus can comfort us and give us hope IF we will submit to Him based on what learn from them.

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:8-9)

— spencer

Spencer is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas. He and his wife have lived in Borger since 2014.

GREAT THINGS He hath done

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” emph mine seb (Mark 5:19).

Jesus gave those instructions to the man he had just healed of the “legion” demon possession. This incredibly grateful man wanted to accompany Jesus wherever He would go. Jesus wouldn’t allow it, but gave him a personal mission, “tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee

This verse impresses me as a method of personal evangelism. Before we can apply it, we must know what GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for us.

Here’s my personal list.

The Lord has been very GRACEFUL in the giving of Himself as a sacrifice, and Propitiation for sin. (Eph 2:8-9)

He has shown me how to REJOICE in times of trial. (Jas 1:2-3)

He has left EVIDENCE of His goodness. (Acts 14:17)

He demonstrated AGAPE style Love. (Rom 5:6-10)

He has delivered to us God’s TRUTH. (John 17:17)

He has given me certain TALENTS by which I can provide for the needs of my family and for helping others. (Matt 25:15)

He has given me HOPE. (Heb 6:19)

He has given me access to INTERCESSORY prayer which is unavailable to those outside of Christ. (Rom 8:34; Heb 4:16)

He has taught me how to love my NEIGHBORS. (Matt 22:39)

He has given me every GOOD GIFT & perfect Gift. (Jas 1:17)

Lastly, but not least, He has provided for me SALVATION through obedience to the Gospel. (1Cor 15:1-4)

This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it does represent some of the GREAT THINGS He has done. I have another more private and personal list of GREAT THINGS the Lord has done.

What about you? Do you have a list? We sing the song, “Count your blessings,” do you know what some of them are?

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalm 139:17-18).

Perhaps you would like to make a note of the many GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for you?

______________  ______________  ______________

______________  ______________  ______________

______________  ______________  ______________

The Life of Christ

bible.ca/maps

The first Sunday of each month has been focused on the Life of Christ through 12 periods.

  1. JOHN Prepares the way, Jan.
  2. His EARLY Preaching, Feb.
  3. SERMON on the Mount, March.
  4. UNDERSTANDING Parables, April.
  5. SEA of Galilea, May.
  6. MINISTRY in Judea, June.
  7. ENTERING Jerusalem, July.
  8. The Lord’s SUPPER, Aug.
  9. Facing the SANHEDRIN, Sept.
  10. IT IS FINISHED. The Cross of Christ, Oct.
  11. DBR & ASCENSION, Nov.
  12. HARD to kick against the goads. Appearance to Saul, Dec.

Following is an outline of the book of Mark that may be a helpful resource moving forward.

May our study on the Life of Christ be a blessing to each of us as we learn more about our Savior.

(Outline Adapted from New Testament Survey, by Merrill C. Tenney, 159-160)

the Truth shall set you FREE, from what?

JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!

FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?

We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.

Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.

The Truth shall set us FREE from:

The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]

Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].

The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].

This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.

Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]

Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].

Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]

None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.

WE CAN BE SET FREE IF….

…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]

The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].

Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].

Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.

— spencer

Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.

the PARABLES of Jesus

Just about everyone knows that Jesus taught with parables. If you were to say the world parable, folks would automatically think of Jesus.

The PURPOSE of the parables is explained in scripture.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:” (Matt 13:10-14).

We will notice that parables were part of PROPHECY which contributed to identifying Jesus as the Christ. “I will open my mouth in a parable:” (Psalm 78:2)

We will also notice that parables ASSIST people in understanding the lessons from Christ. We can easily identify the example in the parable to discover His teaching.

If you’ll look at the list of the parables you notice that Christ uses REAL life scenarios to explain His teachings. (ie. a sower)

Parables will ALLOW the seekers to see, but the BLIND not to see. Christ never keeps life saving truth from anyone, but some just don’t want it, hence they’re BLIND.

The meaning of the word parable is; to LAY along side. (cf. W.E. Vines). “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” (Mark 4:30)

Another way to describe a parable is as an EXTENDED metaphor or simile. It’s not intended to be mysterious, concealing, nor prevent the truth seeker from understanding.

Ultimately, a parable is a SPIRITUAL lesson using an understood physical scenario. Jesus uses a known thing to explain SPIRITUAL things.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)

On the following page is a list of all the parables (I think). Luke carries the most parables. While many people categorize them in different ways, I’ve identified seven. Prayer Parables, Kingdom Parables, Forgiveness Parables, Christ Parables, Parables of the Lost, Readiness Parables, and Stewardship Parables.

the BREAD of Life

After miraculously feeding 5,000+ people, Jesus crosses the sea of Galilee, and those having eaten, follow Him.

Jesus, knowing what is in the heart of a person said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)

He then preaches to them where he says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 3:51)

Those hearing this statement were confused, so too many today. How are we to understand this statement about Jesus being the BREAD of life and the necessity of eating it? This is a figurative statement with a major lesson behind it. Here are 5 clues to help us understand its meaning and how to comply.

The first clue, Jesus said in verse 35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Two things are discovered; 1) whoever is to have the blessing of the Bread of Life must come to Him, and 2) they must BELIEVE on Him. In this same book of John, we learn that BELIEF comes from reading about Him. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31; cf. Rom 10:17) So, the first clue teaches us that to eat His flesh is a figure for reading His word.

Next, Jesus continues by comparing Himself to the manna that came down from heaven (6:31-34). He then says, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (38-39). From this we learn that He, as the Bread of Life, came down from heaven to RAISE up certain people. The Bread of Life is related to being RAISED up to heaven.

Related to this is the next clue found in verse 40. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (47,54) Speaking again about ‘belief,’ Jesus relates the raising up to those same people having EVERLASTING LIFE. Remember, Belief comes from reading about Jesus.

The fourth clue is found in verse 62. Many of the disciples began to murmur, wondering who could hear it. In response Jesus said, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” It’s interesting that He now speaks of ASCENDING into heaven after telling them He came down. This Bread of Life came down, like the manna, but this Bread will ASCEND back into heaven. In our time, we know what happens later. Jesus will ASCEND into heaven, but not before instructing the Apostles in Matt 28:19-20, where we read; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt 28:19-20). Once again, we see the repeated theme of teaching, learning, and obeying.

The commentary of scripture is telling us that the eating of the Bread of Life is related to learning, reading, and obeying the instructions from Jesus. In John 1 He is also called The Word.

However, some of the DISCIPLES turned. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. The last clue is found in Peter’s statement. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-68)

While they may not have fully appreciated the depth of Jesus’ words, Peter seems to recognize something. Eternal Life is related to the teaching of Jesus. He would fully understand later; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” (John 16:13). So, being a DISCIPLE, (a learner, i.e. pupil), is our fifth clue. It’s not enough to just believe, we must do.

Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is not literal. Neither is it related to the Lord’s Supper, which is not literal either. What it means is to be a Hearing, believing, obedient follower of Christ.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

The CROSS of Christ

One of the saddest days in history, while simultaneously being the greatest day, was the day that Jesus died on an ancient Roman cross of execution.

While this is the time of year many are talking about His birth, can we remember and be ready to talk about His death?

What does the CROSS of Christ mean to us? While books can and have been written on this subject, this article will look at just a few aspects of the Cross of Christ.

We have no instructions on how nor when to celebrate His birth, but we do have instructions on how & when to remember His death… His death on a CROSS.

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the thir d day he shall rise again.” [Matt 20:18-19]

Jesus lived a perfect life free of sin [Heb 4:15; 1Pet 2:21-22]. Yet, His short life on earth ended as if He were the vilest of sinners by being executed on a Cross.

The Cross of Christ means death by CRUCIFIXION. It is the execution of a person by nailing them to a post with their arms outstretched on a cross member lifting the person up on full display to all. Our Savior knew all of this. He told His disciples about it [Mat 16:21; Joh 3:14], and He did it anyway. The Cross of Christ represents CRUCIFIXION still [Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14].

The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION by His own. The prophet Isaiah foretold this, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” [Isa 53:3] During His last hours on earth, the ones who cried “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” [John 12:13], just days earlier, were calling out for His death. This despite the evidence of scripture, and His own works and words, the Jews REJECTED Him. The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION still. [John 15:18]

The Cross of Christ represents His OBEDIENCE to God the Father. “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” [Mar 14:36; Joh 8:29; Heb 5:7] It amazes me how fervent some will fight against our need for OBEDIENCE to Christ while claiming to follow the example of Jesus. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Heb 5:8-9]. The Cross of Christ represents OBEDIENCE still. [2Thess 1:8-9]

The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING. Jesus suffered even before reaching the cross. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.” [John 19:1; Mark 15:15-20]. The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING still today; “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;” [1Pet 4:1-2]. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” [2:21].

The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE. Jesus died because He was the only acceptable Sacrifice for our sin. The blood of animals can never take away sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4], and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” [Heb 9:22]. Christ shed His own blood, becoming, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29, 36]. The Gospel we obey, by which we may be saved, is the Death (on a Cross), Burial, and resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. The death of Christ is God’s grace toward us who deserve nothing from Him. He provided the Lamb, the SACRIFICE [cf. Gen 22:8].

The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE still. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” [Rom 12:1; cf. Phil 4:18]

So you see, the Cross of Christ represents so much more than an object to be viewed. What happened on that Cross, and our response to it is what truly matters. May God bless us all.

     — spencer

5 Myths about the BIRTH of Jesus

Yes, I can hear your eyes rolling after having read the title, perhaps thinking, “Another holiday bashing lesson.”

Before you toss this bulletin aside, know that this article is about seizing opportunities as they become available. Every year for about 5 or 6 weeks, the world is talking about Jesus. [1Co 16:9; 2Cor 2:12]

We might as well join in the conversation, but more accurately. (Where have we heard that before? Acts 18:26)

We can have friendly conversations about Christ with the hopes that we may lead others to Him.

Many of the Myths about the BIRTH of Jesus surround the popular manger scenes on display and many of the pageants performed this time of year. The rest are based on assumptions of what people think the bible says.

The FIRST Myth is that Jesus was BORN on December 25th (or January 6, or 7 according to some denominations). If you were to ask the average person when Jesus was born, they would say, “Dec 25th of course!” When you point out that no date is revealed, they may say, “It doesn’t matter, let’s just all agree.”

How can we have the conversation? Instead of taking the “you’re wrong, here’s why approach” we might ask, “do you know a day of birth that we are certain about?” The day of Pentecost is the day the church BEGAN. [Mat 16:18, 28; Acts 2]

The SECOND Myth is that the shepherds came to worship Jesus and brought Him gifts. My favorite unscriptural song this time of year is the little drummer boy. Full of emotion, zero scripture.  

How can we talk about this? The shepherds truly did see the star and hear the announcement of His birth, the angel saying, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:12]. What did they do? They went to INVESTIGATE the words of the angel to see the sign. “So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child” [Luke 2:15- 17]

The FOURTH Myth is that Joseph & Mary RECEIVED the wise men at the manger. What does the Bible say and how can we have a conversation about it?

Perhaps you could show folks the scriptures where Herod ordered children under 2yo and younger be killed. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” [Matt 2:9-12] This same passage has Joseph & Mary RECEIVING the wise men in their “HOUSE” after they returned to their home from Bethlehem.

Which brings us to the FOURTH Myth; the Myth that there were THREE wise men. The bible says there were THREE kinds of gifts of “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” The number of wise men is unrevealed. The divine text simply states, “behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” [Matt. 2:1].

Why do we do this? The goal is to get folks to read for themselves the biblical narrative. Perhaps we could invite our friends to read the BIRTH story with us and they would see it for themselves. If folks read it, perhaps they’ll question the many other false things they have heard.

Which brings us to the FIFTH Myth, that this is a HOLY DAY (Holiday) we are commanded to observe. Many folks are CEO believers (Christmas & Easter Only). Some are commanded to attend a midnight mass. Clearly the BIRTH story of Christ is important especially as a fulfillment of prophecy.

Why should we talk about this? There is a day specified that we are commanded to observe; A Memorial of His Death, upon the first Day of the Week. Jesus commands us to remember His Death each first day of the week.

“…this do in remembrance of me.” [Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; 1Cor 11:17-34; Acts 20:7]

     — spencer

Starving Strays

Living in Borger has opened my eyes to the enormous problem of STRAY dogs.

Multiple times a week there are social media postings about them. Most often the STRAY is afraid of the one trying to help them.

Whenever a good Samaritan approaches to help the STRAY, it will often run away in fear even with an offer of food or water! There’s no recognition that this person is trying to help. They have no idea they need help.

This illustrates a spiritual problem with those who are wandering the shadows of death outside of Christ.

They do not recognize that the Lord is calling them to come to Him with the Bread of Life. They seem to have no concern that they are spiritually starving and astray.

Many are lost, starving, headed for trouble, and in need of His help and rescue. 

What do you know about STRAY sheep?

Jesus saw people as SHEEP without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Matt 9:36). Some look at these passages and note that Jesus fed them. Yes, He did, but He fed them the bread of Life. “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Stray sheep need to be fed the spiritual food of eternal life (cf. John 6:51, 68). Unfortunately, some will not take the spiritual food, but offer it any way.

On one occasion, Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem and shed TEARS over it, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41-44). Strays are in jeopardy. How do we feel about that? Does it move us to TEARS? Some of us want to get rid of the strays that wander onto our lawns. Let’s have compassion on the straying people.

Some stray intentionally. Peter refers to some who have gone astray as those who will “RECEIVE the REWARD of unrighteousness. “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2Pet 2:13-15). Jesus is no respecter of persons. He died even for the unlovable. (cf. Rom 5:6-10)

Anyone who is off the path of righteousness, regardless of the reason, is ASTRAY. “All we like sheep have gone ‘astray’; we have turned, everyone, to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus went to the cross to make our salvation possible because we have all gone astray. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Peter 2:24-25). We need to remember that we once were straying and someone reached out to us.

He invites all to come to Him for salvation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30). Being a stray may seem like freedom, but it’s actually bondage to sin. As counterintuitive as it may sound, submitting to the YOKE of Christ is freeing! “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16) Some of the straying want to be free to live how they want, but that’s a dangerous way to live away from the protection of the Good Shepherd. (cf. John 10:7-14)

As the Good Shepherd, He has set forth the rules of entry into His fold: Hear. Mat 7:24; Believe John 8:24; Repent Luke 13:3; Confess Mat 10:32; Baptized Mark 16:16; Faithfulness Mat 28:20. He is the door, the way, the truth, the life.

Jesus sees us in our sorrowful, starving, and straying condition. Without Him we are lost sheep, astray from His life saving blood. He is calling through the Gospel (cf. 2Th 2:14). He is offering us the bread of life (John 6:48). His is the door of the sheep, offering salvation (John 10:9). You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. Let Him comfort you with His staff & His rod (Psalm 23:4).