Psalm 6

Kidner on Psalm 6: “The psalm gives words to those who scarcely have the heart to pray, and brings them within sight of victory.”

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD-how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. – Psalms 6

Foes Are Fuel For Prayer–Psalm 5

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The picture idea came from Derek Kidner’s title for Psalm 5: Clouded Dawn. It brings together that David is praying in the morning because his foes are against him (clouded). I would wholeheartedly urge you to get Kidner’s commentaries on the Psalms. They are brief but rich!

I am focusing on growing in prayer in 2021. So, my eyes and ears are attentive to the mention of prayer these days. Psalm 5 explicitly makes mention of prayer though all the psalms are prayers themselves. Anyway, I perked up when I read this amazing song this morning. My thoughts are few but do go read Kidner.

My own title of this post reflects what I noticed about the occasion of prayer. If we do not have any foes then we may be standing in the way of sinners instead delighting in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1). In this psalm, David’s enemies have voiced their demands and ways which are contrary to God’s. David knows this as easy as knowing that one should not lie or murder or steal. Whatever it is, it’s that obvious.

The psalm literally begins with “My words hear.” This is a bold but necessary demand to Yahweh (and yes, David uses God’s personal name in the text). This demand comes from what is rumbling in his soul–(Ps. 5:1) “consider my inmost thoughts” which are not words but troubled thoughts and uneasy feelings. These groanings burst forth into words, though. We must assume that God’s truth, which David knows, is in contrast with his foes’ demands and that has caused these sighings.

Prayer is fueled by knowing good from evil. What has come from the mouth of David’s opponents is evil much like that of the serpent in the Garden. The serpent is still speaking and deceiving through such people. Eve should have used her words to call for God instead of toying with the enemy. She allowed his words to enter her ears and she looked at what the serpent suggested with her eyes which led to her touching the fruit with her hand and finally tasting with her mouth. The senses should be on guard because they are avenues to our mind and heart.

The same has happened here. David’s senses have taken in the evil of these sinners but instead of joining them he calls upon his King and God! I love the next line–Psalm 5:4 “ADONAI, in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I lay my needs before you and wait expectantly.” Ask and watch! Wow. That’s what faith looks like.

David banks on the character of God. The enemies propagate evil and David knows God hates evil. This is quite simple to remember and make use of. God hates wickedness…when you see or hear evil…pray to the Lord against it for God takes no pleasure in it. Kidner points out a striking image of how evil has no place with God–(Ps. 5:4) “no sinner (evil) can be your guest.”

In addition to this, David’s prayer in not banking on his own righteousness and perfect character but fully on the chesed of the Lord–(Ps. 5:7) “But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house.” He seeks God’s guidance in righteous because of his enemies. David longs for the righteous ways of God to be known and prevail in this situation and beyond.

Walking in God’s ways lead to life. Walking in the ways of evil lead to the grave. As the image is supposed to do, the mouth of the wicked is an open grave “waiting for its occupant.” I doubt that anyone has marked off this open grave with caution tape. It is for us to be aware of these pitfalls by knowing the truth.

And finally, though this psalm began in the singular, it ends with plural. This prayer isn’t simply for David’s rescue and most certainly not for David’s praise. But, it is for all to take refuge in the Lord and for the praise of His great Name! Why? (Ps. 5:12) “It is you who bless the upright, Yahweh, you surround them with favour as with a shield.” Because He blesses what is right and good with His favor to protect us like a shield!

  • First, know good from evil
  • When your soul groans because of evil and enemies, beseech the Lord
  • Then watch expectantly
  • Trust the character of God…”evil is vulnerable to the truth.”
  • Join those who by God’s lovingkindness can enter His presence with exuberant praise!

Desiring God

A brief reflection on the parable of the ten virgins:
This story follow the instructions of ch. 24 which tell us not to be misled, learn the parable of the fig tree (know when he is near), and be on alert because you don’t know the exact hour he will come though you will know he is near.
This parable teaches us what it looks like to be on alert. You might think it’s a bit unfair. All ten had kept themselves pure as they awaited the bridegroom. Yet five were foolish; five were not alert. Purity without prudence is loveless. To know the right thing to do and not do it is foolish. Why be pure at all then…and they most certainly should have.
Love is what causes the five to do all they can to be ready to meet the bridegroom. The delaying of the bridegroom reveals those who really long for him. And why would they (we) not love the One who made us pure? Why would we not anticipate his coming and long to go home unless we love this world and the things in it?
How are you doing? Are you eager for for him? Do you have single devotion for him? Even if you reframe from any particular outward acts that would say you love the world but your heart lusts for them then you have committed spiritual adultery. What does the evidence of you life say?
I hope you love Jesus! This Christmas, I hope your anticipation and love for him is renewed! Wherever you find yourself—lacking or longing—Jesus has mercy and grace for us.
I honestly feel distracted and lacking. May the Lord renew my heart because I can’t do this without him.

The Love of God

Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:4

We are more dependent than we often know. And Jesus insisted that these independent-thinking, great disciples humble themselves in order to be great! That’s a hard move. They carry a lot of baggage from years of independence. It’s a miracle that any of us humble ourselves. Amazing grace!

And isn’t it very compelling for believing that God truly exists in that he loves and cares for children, that he warns those who would cause them to stumble, that it is his nature to go after straying sheep by way of other sheep (and the gathered sheep) in church discipline, and that he demands forgiveness.

Chapter 18 in Matthew is nearly a complete picture of what the Christian life looks like!

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. – Psalms 23

Do You See it?

Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. – Matthew 14:19

I hope you see more. And, no I’m not trying to allegorical. But there are most certainly some types and applications to see.

When Jesus said this: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35

What is the bread? Is it not Jesus, himself?

Where are they in the Matthew passage? Are they not in a desolate place, i.e. WILDERNESS? What does that remind you of? Yes, the wilderness scene in Exodus. No food in the desert. Then manna from heaven came down!!!

So, let’s me simply say…Jesus gives himself to his disciples and his disciples give them Jesus. That’s the types I see. Indeed, that’s what discipling looks like! Give them Jesus!

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. – Matthew 14:20

There’s plenty left to give!

How Jesus Responded to the World

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Good morning. I hope this finds you trusting the Lord and treasuring Christ above all things! Let’s live for the glory of God, today! This will be a brief devotional on the Foundations reading for today, Matthew 10.

So, this little devotional needs a quick explanation of chapter divisions. Certainly, they were not original to the text. They were added later to aid us in our reading. Sometimes they can hinder our reading by making a chapter break when it might should have been elsewhere. So, just be aware of that and let the text tell you where the breaks are. And it’s hard to know sometimes. So, let’s read carefully and let the intent of the Author and authors guide us.

With that said, I’m sure you are already anticipating what I’m about to say. Yes, I think the most natural place for chapter 10 in Matthew’s Gospel seems to be at 9:35. Certainly, there are times when the story transition overlaps. But each little story is connected to the previous one. They are not simply chronological.

So, let me quote the part I would like to comment on:

(Matt. 9:35-10:1) And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

First, let’s take note that Jesus met both spiritual needs and physical needs. He is the perfect pastor and deacon (overseer and servant). Both should be cared for and to neglect either would be unloving and dangerous. And, they are interconnected in ways we probably do not understand. I can simply say this, our spiritual health affects our physical health and vice versa.

We see Jesus teaching and proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom AND healing every disease and every affliction. Teaching is an essential element of making disciples. You could track this theme throughout the Gospels and see this is the means by which the Kingdom of God advances. That’s strange isn’t it? Most kingdoms advance by might. One kingdom defeats other kingdoms and gains more power and control. The Kingdom of God advances by teaching and proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

However, there is a need for gaining access to the ears of people. Genuine love for the whole person is very important. It seems to be easy to love one or the other–soul or body. Sometimes, we have loved our neighbor by only helping them with their physical needs. They are usually easier and less confrontational. Our conscience seems to be quieted when we meet physical needs and thus we avoid the spiritual need.

So, how does Jesus see people? I started to say “world” instead of people. I think the focus is on the people. They matter. He sees them: distressed and dispirited, harassed and helpless, bewildered and dejected, and confused and scattered. Matthew describes how Jesus sees the peoples as sheep without a shepherd.

The second word in each of the pairs above is ῥίπτω “rhipto” which means: to throw, cast, spec. to throw off, toss. I searched the use of that word and the first hit was in Genesis. This reference really helped expand what was already stated. Here’s the text: (Gen. 21:14-15) So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes.

Of course this text is in reference to the story of Abraham sending Hagar and Ishmael away. When the water runs out, Hagar puts her baby under the bushes to die. In other words, this baby that has been put off is helpless without his momma and water. He cannot live.

If the scene in Matthew was described as sheep without a shepherd, then we could add this image to it by saying the people are babies without parents. How might you think Jesus would respond to this? It says he was moved with compassion for them. It’s not the same word used in 9:13 where it was said that Jesus desired compassion, not sacrifice but it’s most certainly what is going on.

Sin is destroying the people. They need the healing of the gospel in their souls. They need healing in their body which is a result of sin. Some of them will experience both from Jesus. But sin is the issue. How would you have felt about Jesus when he did this? (Matt. 9:2) And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus, do you not care about this man’s paralysis? Paralysis is not this man’s greatest need. Being forgiven of his sins is his greatest need. But Jesus also heals him while validating his authority to forgive sins. He does both but forgiveness is the most important thing.

So, what does Jesus’s compassion for these sheep without a shepherd…babies without parents cause him to do? This might surprise you. Instead of taking on this task alone, his response is this: (Matt. 9:37-10:1) *Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” *And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

He instructed his disciples to pray for more laborers and he gave his laborers authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal every disease and every affliction. In other words, he was making more of himself. He was leaving himself in others to do the things he had been doing.

He had more to do. In fact, if he didn’t complete the mission of the cross then all of this was for nothing. If atonement was not made for sins then healing them was only a temporary fix. So, he was planning to accomplish his mission but he also was planning for his departure. His mission was redemption and making disciples. That’s how Jesus responded to the people who were helpless and lost.

This is the world we live in. How will you respond to the brokenness of this world? Try to fix it yourself? What happens when you are gone? Where will the next generation be if we do not make disciples of Jesus?

(Jdg. 2:10) And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

The cycle of Judges!

Here’s the answer…this is how this Gospel ends: (Matt. 28:18-1:1) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for all who follow and read the blog! A big thanks to the ones who support this blog so that it can be ad free. I’m so very thankful to the Lord for the gift of his word and the Holy Spirit!

This is what I attempt to do every time I open the Scriptures: Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. – 2 Timothy 2:7

Blessings, my friends. Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of much thanksgiving! Peace!

Motives Matter

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Matthew 6 just simply destroys us! A dangerous truth is unearthed and uncovered. And it needs to be. Left unexposed it will kill us. The mask needs to come off. The lying needs to cease. Honesty about what is hidden inside of us is necessary. Our edited version is not the best product. We are not for sale.

Should we be practicing righteousness? Sure. But to be noticed by others? Absolutely not. Motive matters.

But it’s not that simple. Why? Because a battle rages within us and we have an enemy who likes to make suggestions for motives. They appeal to our fleshly desires. They are often very simple things. We usually do not get caught up in the difficult matters. Satan would have you know for certain how you have messed up. The more simple the act, the more guilt and pain accompany it.

Take for example the temptations of Jesus. Bread, jumping off a building, and bowing down to worship. If the bread had been sitting on a platter in the desert and Satan had said nothing, then no harm in eating it. The conditions to get the bread matter. It is just bread. And Jesus is hungry. That’s a very simple temptation.

If Jesus would have slipped off the roof of the temple or had been pushed that’s different. Throwing yourself off is not trusting God but testing God.

Psalm 2 says the nations are the Messiah’s. But the path for that inheritance is not simple and quick. Jesus knows that. But the enemy would have him avoid the pain and suffering. Indeed, that’s very tempting.

I merely point these out for their simplicity in nature. We will lie about the smallest of things. And if we will lie about the least then we will most certainly lie about the greater things.

It’s easy for our outward appearance to be much different than our inward self. That’s why Isaiah points out that our mouth can sing praises to God while our hearts are far from worship of God.

Should you give to the poor? Yes. Does the world need to know about your generosity? No. Why do they need to know? Oh, I know…if they discover someone in need they will know who to contact? Is that a good thing? Yes, in a way but not exactly. Maybe you didn’t intent to be honored but that’s what happened. Yet, when you were honored, it tasted really good. Then you not only allow others to make known that you are available to help, you now promote yourself. But….I helped more people. You have your reward.

The enemy will suggest the simple and easy. It will sound sooooo right…but only in part. And when you do it, he will either patiently wad you in deeper or he will drown you in guilt and shame. The very thing he suggested, he will now say you shouldn’t have done.

But he would have you think there is no way out. If you go public with it, you will be ___________…you fill in the blank. I’m certain that you could spill much ink on what the immediate consequences might be or even will be. Just make sure you know there are eternal consequences that outweigh the immediate shame.

The way out is repentance. Repentance will involve confession to God and to those you have harmed. Confession doesn’t include excuses. It is humble and honest. It’s the place where the inward self goes public. In relation to God, He already knows but expects you to say specifically what it is. And He most certainly forgives without question. People, however, are often far different. We become afraid even though we should be far more fearful of God. It’s just really hard for us…but know it is very possible by the aid of the Holy Spirit and the truth to get it right.

I should have said this early in the post but it comes to mind now. I can recall numerous times that while on the way to do a particular thing, the enemy suggested/tempted me with a wrong motive. I had not thought of it beforehand. But now it’s in my mind. What will I do with it?

Honestly, I don’t always respond the same way. Sometimes I am able to put that temptation to death and proceed with the right action. Other times I decide the risk is too high for me. I don’t always get it right. Indeed, the difficulty of navigating those decisions takes maturity. The process of maturing will involve many failures.

This reminds me of this: (Heb. 5:14) But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Immaturity leads to danger. Motive matters. Discernment comes with knowing the truth. I used to listen to a lot of different voices (inside and out) until I could say to them, no. God’s word says so and so about that. That’s not true. I know what will happen if I do that. So, no.

Well, these are some thoughts of a struggler who, by God’s grace, has made progress. And I had not thought about those dark days early on in my walk with Jesus until today. I had not remembered from where I had come. But thanks be to God, I am what I am by the grace of God. I’m not who I once was. I’m not who I want to be. But by His grace I am what I am. Press on, dear brothers and sisters. Don’t give in or give up. I see Jesus just over the horizon. He is worth the wait.

Two Wandering Sheep but One Good Shepherd

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My sermon manuscript from Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Union Hill Baptist Church. The outline numbers changed when I copied and pasted it into this publisher. Sorry about that. They aren’t changed easily.

  1. Introduction
    1. All of us get on the wrong path, sometimes. The context of this story is proving to us again that the resurrection of Christ is real. We have days when we doubt. We begin to live for ourselves and not for Jesus and others. I think that some believe in the resurrection in a way that makes them prone to suspicion.
      1. For example, if you would say something like the historical facts don’t matter because I believe this in my heart.
      2. I don’t know about you, but my heart can be very fickle at times. I’d prefer something more sure than my heart.
    2. I mean, someone coming back to life after three days is hard to believe. We feel like we must believe in this truth by faith without any reasonable proof.
    3. Yet, history is full of facts that we believe without having seen it for ourselves. Was George Washington the first president of the United States? Well, yeah. Were you there? No. But all the various documented facts we have makes it reasonable to believe the validity of that truth claim.
    4. Have you considered the amount of eyewitness evidence we have that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reasonable truth claim?
      1. This story we are looking at today is proof.
      2. The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are witnesses.
      3. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15 that over 500 people saw the risen Lord Jesus.
      4. While that is enough for a reasonable faith in the resurrection, have you considered the book of Acts? These men do not risk and lay down their lives for a dead Jesus. If Jesus had not been alive, they would have gone back to fishing.
    5. The resurrection matters everyday of our lives. It frees you to live for Jesus now with certain hope of eternal life with Christ someday! Life is but a vapor. Let’s not waste it.
  2. Main Point
    1. The Risen Lord Jesus pursues two wandering disciples so that they might believe!
  3. Outline
    1. Lost Hope (13-24)
    2. Jesus, the Good Shepherd (25-26)
      1. Though I will not elaborate on this, I do hope you see this: We presume Jesus would give up on us and that he is repulsed by our wandering wicked heart but Jesus surprises us and moves towards us.
    3. A Seven Mile Bible Conference (27-30)
    4. Hope Restored (31-35)
    5. Conclusion/Assignment
  4. Exposition
    1. The Setting
      1. It’s Sunday. The Passover week has just ended. Jesus died on Friday. A Holy Sabbath followed. No one did anything on the Sabbath in Jerusalem. That’s why the women mentioned in this text, waited until Sunday to anoint Jesus’s dead body. And that’s why these two traveling to Emmaus have delayed going home until now.
      2. So who are these two travelers? It says in v. 13 “two of them.” I think Luke intends for us to understand them to be disciples of Jesus but they are not part of the Eleven.
        1. Back in verse 9 it says, (Lk. 24:9)  9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
        2. As you walk through the Gospel Story, we notice a growing number of followers building in the company.
        3. These two travelers are of “all the rest.”
        4. And I think it is significant and encouraging that Jesus appears to these who are not of the Eleven! Though one is named, they are really unknown and that’s encouraging.
    2. Now, let’s explore this first point: Lost Hope
      1. The title of the sermon is “Two Wandering Sheep but One Good Shepherd.” I see that most clearly in their actions of leaving Jerusalem on the third day since the crucifixion and from their own statement in verse 21—”But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” The evidence of their actions and their statement clearly say that they do not believe in the resurrection.
      1. They have lost hope. I suppose many have thought, if they had just been there to see the ministry and death of Jesus then they would have believed. But the Gospels tell the story that everyone abandoned Jesus.
      1. Peter and his friends go fishing. And these two disciples head home.
      1. What hope do any of us have? Seriously?
      1. While these two disciples walk home to Emmaus, the most hopeful thing happens.
      1. The Good Shepherd finds his sheep. Listen to these glorious words!
        1. (Lk. 24:15) 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
        1. Jesus comes to them! That fills my heart with an abundance of hope! And it’s supposed to. It will tune your heart to sing his praise (as we will sing at the end).
        1. Have you lost hope? Jesus the Good Shepherd comes to you.
          1. We should see this story as what really happens to us when we wander off.
          1. I hope to explain in brief how Jesus does this before we end.
    1. These two disciples are discouraged and sadness is written on their faces. This is the mood of this text.
      1. Jesus questions them but they do not recognize him. And it must be noted that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” Do you hear the passive of this statement? We must understand that God kept them from seeing Jesus for good reason.
      1. Jesus is seen at various places in the Gospels of drawing out what the disciples needed. I recall the man whose son had an unclean spirit. The disciples had attempted to cast out the spirit but were unable to do it. Jesus comes along and this man tells him what was going on and the man says…if you can…to which Jesus replies with a question…if I can? The man says, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
      1. Jesus questions these saddened, wandering disciples to help them, not harm them.
      1. Listen to how they respond: (Lk. 24:19-20) And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
        1. Do you recall Jesus telling his disciples verbatim what these two say?
        1. Back in Luke 9:22 Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
        1. In other words, everything has happened exactly like Jesus said it would so far but they do not believe the last part…on the third day be raised.
        1. Without the resurrection, none of the rest matters.
        1. Notice what else they say: Luke 24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
          1. You would think that they would have at least waited around all day on Sunday and headed home on Monday.
          1. But isn’t this just like us? We are so prone to giving up too quickly. Our patience is thin!
      1. And if having not waited through the third day was not enough, there was more evidence that should have giving them pause.
        1. (Lk. 24:22-24) 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,  23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
        1. This last part is hilarious to us who are reading this story. We know some things they don’t. When they say…him they did not see…we should laugh out loud. He’s standing right in front of them and they don’t see him either!!!
        1. They didn’t wait through the third day. Women from their group found the tomb empty. Angels tell the ladies that Jesus is alive. But they are headed home!
        1. Do you suppose any of us would have acted differently?
        1. Do you laugh at Thomas when he demands to put his finger in nail scarred hands and pierced side?
        1. They were not push overs. Being gullible is not a firm foundation to stand on.
      1. Brothers and sisters, make certain that your faith is built on the Rock and not sand. Because when the winds of doubt and despair blow, you need to know that your faith is secure.
        1. We are all prone to wander…to leave the God we love. May we help each other walk faithfully to the end together, knowing the Good Shepherd will love us to the end and he will finish what he began in us.
  5. I think it is very clear these two disciples were in danger of unbelief. The evidence against them…indeed all of the disciples…makes that certain. But that’s not the end of the story. Two wandering sheep BUT One Good Shepherd remains…praise God!
    1. He asked questions…he listened…now it’s time to respond…indeed call them to repent and believe!
      1. (Lk. 24:25-26) 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
      1. Jesus admonishes these two disciples. He loves them and his love compels him to speak rather forthright.
        1. I can remember while in seminary experiencing this for the first time in my life. I had brothers who genuinely loved me and therefore corrected me.
        1. I grew more in those days than I ever had before. Hearing the truth in love is powerful to change us. Maybe that’s why it seems the church isn’t growing spiritually.
          1. You either have someone being a jerk and laying down the law or someone avoiding a necessary conversation.
      1. Jesus is perfect. He never sinned. His response to these two wandering disciples was perfect. It’s what they needed most because their most desperate need is trusting in Jesus.
        1. They suspect their greatest need is liberation from Rome but their greatest enemy is not Rome but their own sin. That’s what Christ came to do—to pay the penalty for our sin.
        1. Sin leads to death. That’s why Christ had to suffer. No death; no salvation.
        1. Jesus wasn’t coming to rule by might though he could have. But if he did there would be no one to shepherd because no one is righteous. No not one.
        1. He speaks truth to them. O foolish ones, and slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
        1. He calls them out and teaches them the truth.
      1. I think it’s appropriate to ask—are you being foolish and slow to believe all that prophets have spoken?
        1. How do we diagnose that? What are the symptoms?
          1. Giving up? Impatience? Not listening to reasonable facts? Not giving oneself to the reading and study of all the Scriptures? Prayerlessness (though we cannot discern this from the text, it usually will accompany the others)?
          1. At some point in our lives, that describes us.
          1. Brothers and sisters, we have hope because Christ is a good Shepherd who continually rescues his sheep.
  6. I’ve often wondered what all Jesus shared with them on the 7 mile walk. I’m glad it’s not written here because I think we need to go dig for it ourselves.
    1. You can take sure confidence in the OT Scriptures because Jesus affirms them clearly here. He appeals to them. He teaches them.
    1. (Lk. 24:27)  27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
      1. Let’s take a brief journey through the OT. You should think of the OT as promises made and the NT as promises fulfilled.
      1. God promises that a child would come to crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).
      1. God calls Abram out of Ur and promises to make him the father of many nations (Abraham) THROUGH his seed (Gen. 12:2-3).
      1. God promises that this child who will be a son of Abraham will be a King from the line of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12; Numbers 24:15-19).
      1. God promises that this one will be a prophet from among his people (Dt. 18:15-18).
      1. As well as a King (Psalm 72).
      1. Job asked for a mediator (Job 33:23-28).
      1. This King is also understood to be the Messiah or Christ—the anointed One to which God will exalt and strengthen (1 Sam 2:1-10).
      1. Not only will this Promised One come from the tribe of Judah, he will be a Son of David who will have the Kingdom and throne forever (2 Sam 7; 1 Chron 17).
        1. And more details about this Davidic King are given in Psalm 132.
      1. He will be rejected (Psalm 118).
      1. Betrayed (Psalms 69, 109).
      1. Die and be raised (Psalms 22, 110).
      1. He will be the LORD’s Anointed and Ruler of the world (Psalms 2, 110).
      1. He will be a triumphant King (Psalms 68, 72).
      1. He will be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14)
      1. His birthplace will be in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
      1. John the Baptist, this Elijah like figure will be his forerunner (Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1).
      1. He will come riding on a donkey as the crowd shouts Hosanna (Zech. 9:9-10; Ps 118:25-26).
      1. He will be betrayed by one of his disciples (Ps 69:25).
      1. His side will be pierced (Zech 12:10).
      1. He will be the suffering servant who dies for the sins of wicked people (Isa 53).
      1. This messiah will return a second time but he will be riding a warhorse this time (Dan 7:13).
      1. He will rule the city of David as King of kings with no more war (Isa 2:3-4).
    1. This is only a partial list. The Gospel of Matthew is filled with these things. He will often say: (Matt. 1:21-23) 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
      1. Just go look for every time he uses “fulfilled.”
  7. Hope lost. The Good Shepherd. The Seven Mile Bible Conference. And now hope restored.
    1. Many of the appearances of the risen Lord Jesus are centered around a meal. Though he has been with them, they have not yet recognized him. However, Jesus is recognized in the breaking of bread.
    1. God is not into knowing what he looks like. You shouldn’t be concerned with knowing what Jesus looked like. He doesn’t want you to carry around a photo of him in your wallet or purse—or hang his picture on the fridge.
    1. He wants you to know him by all the ways the Bible describes him. Do you know Jesus well enough to have recognized him? His own people did not recognize him.
      1. Do you remember at the end of John when the risen Lord Jesus comes walking along the beach, starts a charcoal fire, calls out to his disciples who are fishing but have caught nothing and he says let down your net on the right side? When they caught an enormous amount of fish, John said…it is the Lord and Peter jumps out of the boat and swam to shore.
    1. After he admonishes them and teaches them all that the scriptures had to say about him, then he opened their eyes!
    1. But before they even recognized him, God’s word was already at work on them.
      1. (Lk. 24:32)  32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
      1. Brothers and sisters, while you might want Jesus to come to you in bodily form—and he will someday—you can sit down with him and know him in the Word—indeed he is the Word. And he has given us the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ.
    1. Is hope restored? Their actions reveal it is–(Lk. 24:33-35) 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,  34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
  8. Conclusion
    1. We are prone to wander.
    1. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
    1. We need to believe and Jesus sees to that personally.
    1. We need to know all that the Scriptures say concerning Jesus. They are readily available to us.
    1. Our actions usually reveal our hearts. Evaluate the evidence in your life to see if you are in the faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ.
  9. Assignment
    1. Make a point this week to see Jesus in God’s Word. And it’s not just for you. Share these things with others!
    1. Believe that Jesus Christ is risen!
    2. Live differently in light of it.

Fears Not Wasted!

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was *afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. – Matthew 2:22

The word used for fear is the same word we get our use of phobia. It literally means—terrified. When Joseph becomes terrified, God then warns him in a dream which led him to Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophet said that he (Jesus) would be called a Nazarene.

I was struck by the use of fear in the life of Joseph. God often directs our path with them. They are part of the weaving of the tapestry of our lives that gives way to a beautiful ending!

Don’t begrudge your fears. Ask…wait…hope that the Lord will use them for good!