Of Angels & Jesus

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Christmas is a time of year that within and outside of the church, we hear a little more about angels.  We read about them in the Christmas Scripture readings, such as Luke 2 when the angels appear to the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem.  They are in the songs we sing and hear on the radio “Hark the Harold Angels Sing…”  They are placed atop of Christmas trees.  I am currently teaching a series of Bible classes on Wednesday nights on the topics of angles that I have entitled “Angels We Have Heard on High:  A Study of Angels.”  One of the things that fascinated me was how active angels were in the life of Christ as recorded in the gospels.

Angels are mentioned almost 300 times in both the Old and New Testament, but they are mentioned some 50 times just in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).  They were very active in the ministry of  Jesus.  The Apostle Paul wrote this to the young preacher Timothy, “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).  Here are a few instances from the Gospels of angels interaction in the life of Christ:

  1. They predicted His birth. In Luke 1:30-33 the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to announce to her that the Son she would have was to be named Jesus and that He was the Son of the Most High.
  2. They were present at the night of His birth. In Luke 2:13-14 there was an angel and a “multitude of the heavenly host” who announced to the shepherds in the field that Christ the Lord, our Savior was born and encouraged them to go see and worship.
  3. They warned Joseph that Herod had plans to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:19-20).
  4. After Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, the Scriptures say, “Angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4:11).
  5. An angel from heaven came to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and give Him strength on the night of His betrayal (Luke 22:43).
  6. More than twelve legions of angels stood ready to come to Jesus rescue at His arrest, had He but simply asked His Father to send them (Matthew 26:53).
  7. It was an angle of the Lord who rolled the stone from Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 28:2).
  8. After His resurrection, angels announced that Jesus had been raised just as He said He would (Matthew 28:5-6).
  9. When Jesus ascended to His place at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, angels were present (Acts 1:10).
  10. Just as angels were involved in the first advent, announcing the coming of the Lord, they will be involved in the second advent, when Jesus comes again (Matthew 24:31).

The list above is not exhaustive and I have found other instances of angels’ involvement in the life of Christ through the Gospels besides these 10.  From His birth to His death and resurrection, angels played an important role in the ministry of Jesus.  Just as the Bible teaches that angels surround the throne of God in heaven and serve Him, they also surrounded Jesus and were active in attending to God’s only Son, God in the flesh, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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You’re Game Is Only Half Over

On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his sense of direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team.

The strange play came in the first half. At half-time the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. As others sat down on the benches and the floor, Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands.

A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was qfootball-playersuiet. When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.”

Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face that crowd out there.” Coach Price reached out, put his hand on Riegels’s shoulder, and said, “Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over.”

Riegels finally did get up. He went onto the field, and the fans saw him play hard and play well. All of us have run a long way in the wrong direction at times. But remember, because of God’s mercy, the game is only half over.

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

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Why Go To Church?

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I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  Psalm 122:1 (KJV)

I had an undergraduate Bible Professor, for whom I had the utmost respect, who would always end his class by saying “Go to church on Sunday, it will do you good.” The reason we “go to church” is to seek to build and strengthen our relationship with God and others. Some may go to church to fulfill an obligation through some ritual, but that reduces going to church as merely an action without meaning. Church worship is all about an encounter with God and others that changes who we are. So, let me suggest to you… Go to church on this Sunday, it will do you good.

Chad

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Building A Biblical Worldview

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 Sometimes it’s difficult to see God in our great country. The principles on which we were founded are no longer the principles by which we live. Slowly, our nation has forgotten where its freedom came from. As Election Day approaches this Tuesday, many of us are filled with indecision and insecurity. How do we make a choice when it’s so difficult to see the hand of God?

The Apostle Paul wrote these words of admonition to the young preacher, Timothy: ““I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NLT).  The truth is, there are times when we simply need to pray and trust in God. Because, even in the chaos, He is sovereign, He is holy, He is faithful and He is Lord.

This election season has taught has that we certainly live in a time of very diverse cultures, religions, and choices. What we believe affects how we act and how our lives are shaped over time. The good news is that God has provided a compass for us to follow as we navigate our way. This Sunday at Ham Lane Church, we are going to spend some time in the Word of God and see why, not only in this election year, but in all years of our time on this side of eternity, we must have a Biblical worldview.

Chad

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30 Blessings You Will Miss Out On If You Don’t Go To Church:

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1. You miss out on obedience to the command to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25).

2. You miss out on loving God in your obedience, and as a result, experiencing him more deeply (John 14:21).

3. You miss out on loving Jesus by loving the bride he laid his life down for (Ephesians 5:25-27; Acts 20:28).

4. You miss out on hearing God’s Word faithfully proclaimed, and thus growing in faith (2 Timothy 4:1-2; Romans 10:17).

5. You miss out on hearing God’s Word applied specifically to you, your culture, and community (1 Corinthians 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).

6. You miss out on learning how to read the Bible better by sitting under gifted teachers and preachers (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9).

7. You miss out on being equipped to discern dangerous and deceitful doctrines that negate or distort the gospel (Ephesians 4:11-14; Galatians 1:6-9).

8. You miss out on encouraging others, stirring them toward love and good works, and receiving encouragement from others (Hebrews 10:25).

9. You miss out on using your gifts to build up the body of Christ for the glory of God (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11-14).

10. You miss out on being built up by others faithfully using their gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11-14).

11. You miss out on sitting under God’s appointed leadership over you (Ephesians 4:11-14; Hebrews 13:7).

12. You miss out on submitting to the leaders God has placed over you, and thus submitting to God (Hebrews 13:17).

13. You miss out on being shepherded during the joys and trials of life (James 5:13-14; 1 Peter 5:1-2).

14. You miss out on following your pastor’s example (1 Timothy 4:12; Hebrews 13:7;Titus 2:7).

15. You miss out on agreeing to be accountable for your actions through church discipline, which is an extension of God’s discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).

16. You miss out on performing the ministry of showing up, that is, encouraging others by your presence and commitment (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 4:32-33).

17. You miss out on being equipped for the work of ministry by ministers called by God and the fruitfulness that comes from having been better equipped (Ephesians 4:11-14).

18. You miss out on giving and receiving prayers for spiritual growth and personal needs (James 5:16).

19. You miss out on receiving the blessing and instruction of corporate prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2; Acts 6:1-6)

20. You miss out on caring for the poor and needy as the church, or receiving care if you are needy. (Acts 11:29, 2 Corinthians 8:4, 1 John 3:17.)

21. You miss out on serving others and taking your eyes off yourself (Romans 12:9-13).

22. You miss out on being in the center of God’s will, which is revealed as we obey and renew our minds in his truth (Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18).

23. You miss out on celebrating the gospel through baptism (Romans 6:4).

24. You miss out on regular participation in the Lord’s Supper to join saints throughout history to celebrate the saving work of Christ and anticipate his future reign (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Mark 14:22-25).

25. You miss out on practicing the “one anothers” with brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 4:12; Romans 12:10-16; Galatians 5:13; etc.).

26. You miss out on corporately singing songs of praise to God (Colossians 3:16).

27. You miss out on being a testimony to the gospel’s saving and transforming power to the lost world (John 13:34-35).

28. You miss out on uniting across barriers of race and economic status to stand united in the gospel and make friends you wouldn’t ordinarily know (Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:3; James 2:1; Revelation 5:9).

29. You miss out on speaking the truth in love to other believers believing and/or practicing unbiblical doctrines (Ephesians 4:15-16).

30. You miss out on bringing God delight as his gathered people (Zephaniah 3:17; Psalms 149:4).

Go To Church – You’ll Be Glad You Did.

Chad

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#FOLLOW

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In our world of social media, we hear many terms like posting, sharing, trending, tweeting, following.  For the Christ-Follower, following Jesus is much more than posting a tweet or sharing a Facebook post.  The true Christ-Follower knows that following Jesus comes with great sacrifice and it will cost them everything.  However, the reward of eternal life with Him in Heaven – well, that is worth more than anything the world has to offer.  Following Jesus does come at a cost, but the blessings and rewards are far beyond all we could ask or imagine.

Join us Sunday, 9/25/16, at Ham Lane Church, as we begin a brand new fall sermon series: “#FOLLOW – What Does It Really Mean To Be A Christ-Follower?”   The preaching and teaching pastors and I will be sharing a series of messages exploring what the Bible teaches on the subject of following Jesus as Lord and Savior, the great cost involved and the even greater reward to be gained.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).  Will you be His follower?  Will you follow Him daily?  You see, daily means 365 days a year.  Are you willing to deny yourself and make Him the number one priority in your life?

Join us Sunday mornings 10AM at Ham Lane Church as we together, as a family of God, study the Word of God and pray that we might do more than just read a tweet or post a status, but that may we honor God with our whole lives.  Our prayer is that as we follow Jesus, we might become so much like Him, that others would see Jesus in us as we follow in the footsteps of our rabbi.

 

In His Steps,

Chad

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How far are you willing to go to worship?

Some good thoughts from a good friend.

Tonk Talks

I knew of a couple once who traveled about two and half hours one way to go to worship services. They lived in the Northeast of the United States and this was the closest congregation of the churches of Christ for them. This family was dedicated and determined to worship the Lord. How are far would we be willing to go to worship?

In the Bible we read of an individual who was dedicated to worshiping the Lord; the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. The scriptures tells us that the Ethiopian eunuch was traveling back home to Ethiopia after going to Jerusalem to worship. He would have traveled hundreds of miles by chariot just to go to the Temple of the Lord. While there he would have only been able to go to the Court of the Gentiles because of his status as a eunuch. This would be kind of…

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