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Remember This Place (A Communion Sermon) May 7, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Bethel, Communion, Covenant, Genesis, Jacob, Jacob's Ladder, John's Gospel, Lord's Table, Promises of God.
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REMEMBER THIS PLACE
Genesis 28:10-22 and John 1:51

Jesus used the story of Jacob’s ladder at Bethel in order to indicate to Nathanael his significance as the Messiah. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). He was indicating to Nathanael that there is only one place where you can come into God’s house. It is not the church building. It is not the temple. It is not even Jerusalem or Bethel. The only place where you can come into God’s house is that place where you come to Jesus.

A. Where we meet God is significant because of our situation (verses 10-12).
1. We may be alone (27:43-45). Hated by his brother, neglected by his father, sent away by his mother, Jacob was very alone on the night he met God. Jacob understood that he was on his own without anyone to turn to. The Canaanite city of Luz was nearby but he dared not go there. It might not be safe.

Jesus understands what it means to be alone. “He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free. He could have called then thousand angels but he died alone for you and me.” Jesus understood what it meant to be forsaken by friend and family. Those who could have helped him had fled. Those who stayed like the women were unable to help. When we remember Jesus today, we remember that he knows our loneliness and he wants to bring us to fellowship with God through his death on the cross. First John 1:3, 7 tells us, “That which we have seen and heard (Jesus) we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

2. We may be uncertain of the future. Jacob was traveling to his Uncle Laban’s care but he didn’t know this man. The way he traveled was long and dangerous and there was no guarantee of acceptance once he arrived. His brother, Esau, might be so full of hatred that he would follow him to Haran.

We also have an uncertain future. We do not know what life may throw at us. James 3:12-14 says, “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy…Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Jesus is the one who provides for our future, whether we trust him to salvation or reject him to destruction. He died to be our Savior but he will judge those who have “trampled the Son of God underfoot, [counting] the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing…’Vengeance is Min, I will repay,’…The LORD will judge His people.’…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:29-31).

3. We may be without comfort (verses 10-12). Lonely, without a certain future, grieving the separation from his family, a rock for a pillow. Jacob had no one to comfort him. He could not even be comforted by physical blessings. The rock on which his head lay seemed to say, “You have blown it now. Esau will now receive everything which God has promised you. You and your mom thought you could trick your dad but look who has the last laugh. You don’t really think that God is going to bless you, do you?

B. Where we meet God is significant because of his promises not the location (verses 13-17).
1. God’s promises are undeserved (verse 13). It is true. Jacob did not deserve God’s blessing. He had tricked his brother. The hatred his brother had for him was well-deserved. Rather than depending on God to keep his promises, Jacob and his mother had attempted to make it happen on their own. Jacob had acted a lot more like the serpent in Eden than he had like the God of heaven. Yet Jacob found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

“Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater-yes, grace untold-Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide-What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide-Whiter than snow you may be today.”
Julia H. Johnston

2. God’s promises are in Christ (verse 14). That is what Jesus was saying to Nathanael. I am the Son of Man sent from God. I am the seed of Jacob through whom the world will be blessed. I am the bread of life given to bring life to those with no hope. I am the light of the world sent to bring light to darkness. I am the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me. I am the ladder by which you come to God. There is no other.

3. God’s promises are kept daily (verse 15). Before Jesus left he said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” There is nowhere you can go and there is no time in your life when my promises to you are not kept. Trust me and I will bring you through.

C. When we meet God we should respond appropriately (verses 18-22).
1. We submit in worship (verses 18-19, 21). The problem with God’s promises is that they demand we submit ourselves to God. The worship that Jacob involves himself in was appropriate to his time. The pillow becomes a pillar. The bed becomes an altar. The place of rest becomes a place of submission, LORD you shall be my God.

2. We submit in confidence (verses 20-21). “If…then…” does not imply that Jacob is hedging his bets. This is not a cool negotiation between God and man. This is the recognition of God for who he is and Jacob says, “If you do what you say, then I will serve you.” I remember well the prayer I prayed when I trusted Christ, “Lord, I’ll do anything if you will save me.” I was not negotiating. I was desperate. I was going to hell. I was throwing myself on the mercy of God. I had confidence that I could not save myself but that he could save me and I was placing my confidence for the future in Jesus Christ. I think that is exactly the attitude that we see in Jacob’s life here.

3. We submit with all we have (verse 22). Jacob set up the pillar as reminder to himself of God’s grace and promises. What would he do when he was not at Bethel. He would give to God a tithe. There was no priest available. We do not know how Jacob fulfilled his promise but we know that he committed everything he had to God by giving to God a significant portion of the blessing which God has given him. How significant of a place does God play in your budget? Ten percent? How significant of a place does God play in your schedule? Ten percent. I can’t calculate your finances for you but I can tell you what ten percent of your time would be. Almost two and a half hours a day. Let’s suppose you sleep eight hours a day. God has blessed you with sixteen hours. Can you give him an hour and a half a day, eleven hours a week? How about your relationships? Do you give God a significant portion of your relationships? The body of Christ is here for that very purpose. If this Sunday morning service was taken away, would your relationships with these people suffer?

What am I saying? To remember the place where we met God, that is Jesus Christ, begins with Communion but it goes beyond Communion to taking up our cross and following Jesus Christ. This ritual is the setting up of the pillow as a pillar and pouring olive oil on in. What, however, are you giving to the Lord in submission to his promises?

Next Week’s Sermon: Two Wives on Mother’s Day (Genesis 29:1-30:24).

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper on New Year’s Day January 2, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Apostle Paul, Blood of Christ, Body of Christ, Communion, First Corinthians.
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Had a great service yesterday. This is the devotional I brought.

THE LORD’S SUPPER
1 Corinthians 11:18-34

The importance of the Lord’s Supper is sometimes lost in how we celebrate it. Often it does not feel like a celebration. The atmosphere is too somber. We sometimes act as if “the point of the meal is to screw up one’s face and try to feel sorry for Jesus. This is often accompanied by a psychological attempt to meditate on the physical pain of Jesus’ sufferings-an emphasis that is markedly understated in the biblical text itself” (Russell Moore, contributor to Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper, 33).

A focus on the physical pain of Jesus does not seem to be the focus of the celebration described by Paul, although it is mentioned. There are two aspects of the celebration emphasized by him.

I. Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper is an expression of our family relationship (verses 18-22 and 27-34). Sometimes I am asked if I go to individuals, for example, to shut-ins and serve the Lord’s Supper. I don’t, not because it is wrong, but because it then ceases to function as a family event. These people, though, did not act as a family. They understood that they were supposed to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together as a family and they did gather together. Unfortunately, they did so in a very dysfunctional way. In fact, their lack of hospitality brought shame on those who were less fortunate in the congregation.

A. Lack of hospitality within the church shows that we despise the church (verses 18-22). In Corinth the “have’s” sat separately from the “have not’s” and acted generally as if they were better than them. I wish I could say we never acted that way but many of us know better. How often have we as individuals acted like we were better than someone else in this church? That is not the way God wants us to act.

B. Lack of hospitality within the church is unworthy of the love our Lord has shown to us (verses 27-30). “Jesus, what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole.” Remember the thief on the cross. To die on the cross was a shameful death. In the earliest days such a death had been reserved for slaves. To die on a cross was to be “despised by the world.” Jesus, however, did not despise the thief but loved Him and took Him to paradise to be with Him forever.

C. Lack of hospitality within the church will be judged by the Lord (verses 30-34). Our Lord Jesus takes this seriously. In Corinth, some were afflicted with sickness because of their pride towards their fellow believers. Others were killed by our Lord Jesus in judgment for their sin. To my knowledge we have not suffered in this way and yet I ask myself if some of our difficulties can be attributed to our lack of love for each other. God has, however, been merciful to us. We must learn to love every person in our church family with the love He has shown us, a love that does not despise the other but rather exalts the other.

II. Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not only an expression of our relationship as a church family but it is also an expression of the importance of our Lord’s death (verses 23-26).

A. He ought to be remembered by us (verses 23-25). This week I caught a portion of the NPR broadcast, “Talk of the Nation.” They were asking the question, “What persons passed away in 2011 that we ought to remember?” One man called in and mentioned the “Champaign Lady” from the “Lawrence Welk Show.” The daughter of the man who invented the Nordic Track and told about her dad. An acquaintance of a nun who was important in the early days of anti-nuclear protests also called in. These people all did important things in the field in which they worked. None of them, however, have done anything comparable to what Jesus did. His body was broken for us. He shed His blood for us. He established a new covenant between God and man for us. He ought to be remembered by us.

B. He ought also to be proclaimed by us (verse 26). Russell Moore says that the Lord’s Supper should “be characterized by more celebrative singing and even laughter, than the rest of the service. The congregation would be taught to understand that the Supper is a victory lap-announcing the triumph of Christ over the powers of sin, death, and Satan” (Moore, 33).

The third verse of “At Calvary” says, “Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’rything, Now I gladly own Him as my King, Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary. Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty-At Calvary!”

Jesus Among Friends (Luke 22) April 7, 2011

Posted by roberttalley in Atonement, Blood of Christ, Body of Christ, Christ, Communion, Covenant, Crucifixion, Death of Christ, Falling Away, Jesus, Lord's Table, Luke, Messiah, Millenial Kingdom, Passover, Suffering.
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JESUS AMONG FRIENDS
(Luke 22:1-62)

A couple of weeks ago I asked for questions from the congregation to be written out on a 3” by 5” card. I received a card with the following question, “Is it sinful to “befriend” persons outside the faith or should we see this “opportunity” as one to bring these people to Christ?”

Now I don’t know what provoked this question but it does address a real problem. As believers in Christ, what should our relationship be to those outside the faith? One of my biggest concerns as pastor is that most of us do not bring many unsaved friends to church. There are many possible reasons for this but one of them could be that we tend to isolate ourselves from sinners.

Jesus, however, was known by his enemies as a friend of sinners (Luke 7:33-34). Was this a just accusation? In this chapter we find Jesus with twelve of his closest friends; men who He chose to follow them. One of those men was a man named Judas.
How did Jesus show friendship to Judas (22:2, 21, 27)?
I. Jesus chose a sinner to be His friend, to be one of the twelve (22:2). Sometimes we forget that Jesus knew all along who would betray Him (John 6:64-71). He chose a friend who he could never help. It is interesting that Jesus knew also that Judas would never believe, Jesus befriended a liar, a traitor, a thief simply because it was God’s will.
This helps us to answer the first part of our question. It is obviously not sinful to befriend a sinner. It also helps us to answer the second part but not directly. We are not just to look at people as “opportunities” but rather we are to live in God’s will and be so full of a passion for Jesus Christ and His gospel that we become the “opportunity” for them to hear the gospel of Christ.
II. Jesus shared His table with a sinner (22:21, 27). It was such a high honor at that time to be invited to eat with someone that to refuse the invitation opened one up to the revenge of slander and defamation. Jesus gave Judas a place of honor.
Judas seemed to be singled out by Jesus for honor and intimacy at this feast (John 13:26). Based on this chapter, it appears that Judas has been given by Jesus, the host of this feast, the place of honor on his left. In addition, Jesus gave Judas the sop. The sop was a piece of bread that was dipped into some type of sauce or mixture. To give the sop to some one was not only a great honor but symbolic of a close friendship. Jesus treated Judas at this festival with the greatest of honor and signs of friendship.
III. Jesus served sinners (22:27). When Jesus washed feet, He washed Judas’ feet also. When Jesus instituted the Communion that we celebrate today, He did not withhold it from Judas but rather served him also. Jesus, the King of Kings, served Judas in whose heart the devil had accomplished an awful work (John 13:2).
What ended the friendship between Judas and Jesus (22:4-6)? There are a lot of theories about Judas’ motivation, money being the most obvious. I think money certainly played a part (John 12:6). There was something deeper though for all of the disciples were tainted by their desire to be important in the kingdom and they certainly could have assumed that great riches would come with the kingdom. What ended the friendship was Judas’ lack of faith in Christ (John 6:64-71). Oh, he certainly began believing but he did not have a faith that would last.

This tells a lot about true faith. True faith that lasts is not dependent on excellent surroundings. Judas heard the Creator of the universe teach truth and wisdom. His faith, however, did not continue to respond. There was an initial response but it was broken easily on the banks of a few coins. What will break your faith?
What was Jesus’ desire for His friends (22:14-30)? He desired that they be a part of His eternal kingdom.
What is the kingdom of which Jesus is speaking?
a. It is a coming kingdom (22:15-19) Last week we saw where Jesus said that the kingdom is in the heart of those who believe but it is also a future eternal kingdom. This coming kingdom must be prepared through suffering (compare v. 15 with 17:22-25). Hebrews 1:8a-10 describes this kingdom through suffering in this way, “But now we do not yet see all things [in submission to Jesus]. But we see Jesus…for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him…in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
b. It is also a new covenant kingdom (22:20). I do not have time to go back to Jeremiah and look at these Old Testament passages but the main characteristic of the new covenant kingdom is heart transformation. Jesus died so that I might be born from above, regenerated in heart, passing from the kingdom of darkness into His eternal light.
c. It is a caring kingdom (22:24-27). Service is more important than authority.
Leroy Eims of the Navigators tells about a man who came to Christ and desired to serve Eims. Because he was young and inexperienced in the faith, there were not a lot of opportunities at the Navigators office for this man to serve. Winter was coming though and the man greatly desired to serve in some way. Leroy Eims gave him the task of shoveling the walkway to the office building. The man was very zealous in this service. In fact he was so zealous, Eims quipped, that not a snowflake hit the walkway the whole winter long. Eims said that such valuable service could not go unrewarded and they brought him into the office to train for service within the Navigators organization. The young man cared enough to serve.
How do we show friendship to Christ (22:28)? We show friendship to Christ by continuing with Him even in His trials. Can we do that? Absolutely, Jesus said, take up My cross and follow Me.
“They tried my Lord and Master with no one to defend.
Within the halls of Pilate He stood without a friend.
I’ll be a friend to Jesus, my life for Him I’ll spend.
I’ll be a friend to Jesus, until my years shall end.

The world may turn against Him, I’ll love Him to the end,
And while on earth I’m living, My Lord shall have a friend.

I’ll do what He may bid me; I’ll go where He may send;
I’ll try each flying moment to prove that I’m His friend.

To all who need a Savior, my friend I recommend;
Because He brought salvation is why I am His friend.”
Sometimes, however, even the most loyal of us fail Jesus when He needs us most. Peter is a true example and Jesus knew Peter would fail. Yet He showed friendship to Peter anyway. How did Jesus show friendship to Peter (22:31-34)? He warned him, He prayed for Him to endure in the faith, He gave him a positive hope for the future, and He was honest in telling Peter what he did not want to hear.
Let us return to our question about befriending sinners. Here is a good plan to follow them. We must warn them. Only a friend will warn someone of the dangers of hell. We must pray for them to come to faith. We cannot argue them into the faith. We need God’s help to bring them to faith. We need to give them hope, let them know that there is a purpose for them in this life and the life to come. Finally, we need to be honest even if they do not want to hear the gospel. It is possible to antagonize people but if you are a real friend who lives out a real faith in Christ, you will figure out how to give them the gospel of Christ.
As we come to the close of our service, we come to the time when we celebrate the Lord’s Table. How does the Lord’s Table or communion show our friendship with Christ and with each other (22:19, 26)? It shows our friendship with Christ according to verse 19 by remembering what He did for us. It shows our friendship with each other in that each one of us comes together to the table. We are all equal in Christ’s kingdom. It is interesting that the only people unworthy of this bread and juice are those who considered themselves above others (1 Corinthians 11). Today, I want us to take a few moments and ask ourselves, not if we’ve sinned but if there is anyone here today who we consider ourselves superior to. Think through the rows of seats. If you find anyone who you feel you are above, would you not repent of that ungodliness now and humble yourself before God in silent prayer?

Preparing our hearts for Communion October 27, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Covenant, Lord's Table, Philippians, Religion.
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This Sunday, as we do every first Sunday, we will again celebrate Communion. It is clear that Communion is to remind us of what the Lord did for us when He established through the shedding of His blood the new covenant, by which we are forgiven and become God’s children. Yet there is also a sense in which the celebration of Communion should be a renewal of our part in that covenant. It is true that the covenant was established by Christ alone without any aid from man but we enter that covenant through faith. Should we not renew our faith in Christ when we celebrate Communion? I do not mean be born again again 🙂 Rather, that through the celebration and recognition of what Christ has done for me, renew my discipleship to Him.

I think something like that is what Paul is describing in Philippians 3:8-12, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death, if, by any mean, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

A Sermon on Footwashing (John 13:1-17) January 4, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Footwashing, John's Gospel, Religion, Sermons.
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“LORD, ARE YOU WASHING MY FEET?” (John 13:1-17)

 

In John 13 and 14 we have the most extensive recording in the New Testament of conversations between Jesus and His disciples. During the course of these conversations, the disciples asked Jesus a number of questions, some of which we want to look at during the next few weeks. Before we look at the first question, I would like for us to understand the scene into which we are diving and then understand the significance of foot washing.

Christ proves His enduring love to His disciples although they will soon be separated from one another (John 13:1-3). The focus of this chapter and the four following is the love Jesus had for His disciples. He will both show His love for them and express His love for them. John, however, wants us to know before hand the circumstances out of which His love for these men comes.

His love has no limit of time or circumstances and no intermission (verse 1). “To the end” means more than “’til death do us part.” There is no limit to the love of Christ for His disciples. It began before the world was created and will continue throughout eternity. There is no circumstance that prevents Him from loving us. He loves us to the uttermost. His love is not on/off or up/down. It is constant, consistent, and continuous. Plainly spoken, He loved us all the way to the cross where He showed His love to us in that while we were still sinners against His holiness, He died for us.

His love is purposeful and planned (verses 1-3). Verse 1 tells us that His love was planned for a specific hour or event. Then verse 2 tells that the event was not only planned but the players, from Christ to Satan, from Peter to Judas, from the Jewish hierarchy to the Roman military might, had already been cast and were ready to play their roles. Finally, in verse 3 we find that the main player, Jesus Christ, had been cast by the Great Director, God Himself, and that soon the curtain was going to close on the present act. For that reason, Jesus Christ found it necessary to prove His love to His disciples. Soon He will be backstage and they will be on the stage alone before a hostile audience and they need to know that He, though unseen, is still there. That was the immediate plan and purpose, with which Jesus performed this act of foot washing.

Christ proves His love through servitude (verses 4-8a; see Luke 22:27 which was probably spoken before the washing of the feet). Perhaps it is widely known that the washing of feet was not a normal part of their routine. It was only performed as an act of hospitality for a visiting stranger and was normally performed by a servant or slave. In the past, they were accustomed to visiting a town or city and having their feet washed by the slaves or the servants of the house in which they were staying. Jesus had never washed their feet and it is doubtful that any of them had ever washed each others feet before.

Christ intended to serve each of the Twelve (verses 4-5). Not just the greats like Peter but the tax collector, Matthew; the political zealot, Simon; the prejudiced Nathanael; the courageous Thomas; the sons of Thunder, James and John; the people persons, Andrew and Philip; the insignificant, James the Lesser and the other Judas, and even Judas Iscariot. Jesus intended to wash everyone of their feet in an act of servitude and submission.

Peter did not intend to allow Jesus to serve Him (verses 6 and 8a). Peter was not polished but He knew one thing: kings do not do the work of slaves. Peter probably thought he was better qualified than the other eleven disciples but he knew that Jesus was his superior in every way. He is so taken back that he asks Jesus, “Don’t you know what you are doing!? I refuse to let you wash my feet!”

Christ teaches what He has lived (verses 7-17).

His servitude was fully revealed by His death (verse 7). Jesus is not saying that Peter did not recognize that Jesus was washing feet. Nor was he saying, you do not understand the symbolism of the act. Peter understood full well the symbolism of foot washing. It symbolized slavery, service to superiors in behalf of someone else. That is why Peter objected to having his feet washed by Jesus Christ. What Peter did not understand was that Jesus would soon be performing the ultimate service, the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus would die in order that Peter might be cleansed from his sin.

His servitude establishes a relationship with those He loves (verses 8b-11).

The service that Jesus Christ performs for us includes more than physical hygiene. Jesus cleans us spiritually and when He cleans us spiritually, we have a “part with” Him. In other words, we share His destiny. Now Peter and the other disciples understood this to mean the earthly kingdom and certainly that is also part of their destiny but we are talking about eternity in the presence of God standing before Him in the righteousness of Christ. That is our part with Christ.

Why then, did Peter not need to be washed again? Peter, it appears, still did not fully understand what Jesus was talking about, confusing physical with spiritual cleansing. There is a beautiful implicit lesson in what Jesus says and does. The whole person is washed beforehand. When one is saved through trusting Christ, he is made completely clean but walking in this world, one is exposed to sin which needs to be washed off. It is Christ the servant, who keeps us spiritually cleansed.

His servitude is our example in our relationship to other believers (verses 12-17). When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, he showed that He was their servant and that they, like Him were to serve one another. The purpose for His servitude was to exhort us to serve one another even as slaves if it so be necessary.

The basis for our servitude is that He is greater than we (verses 12-16). He is the Teacher. We are the disciples, the followers, the learners. He is the Master. We are His servants. He is the one who sends. We are the ones who are sent.

The result of our servitude is blessedness (verse 17). This word “blessed” sometimes means “happy” but usually it means privileged or favored. Jesus is saying that there are special privileges from God for those who serve others. He who serves as a slave his brother is favored of God. Jesus is saying, you know this truth. I have been teaching you repeatedly over the past few weeks that you should serve one another, love one another, put the other before yourself. You know the truth. It is time to make this the mantra for your life. When you live a life of service to others, you will be blessed, you will favor by God above others. You will become great in the kingdom of God. 

Leroy Eims of the Navigators tells about a man who came to Christ and desired to serve Eims. Because he was young and inexperienced in the faith, there were not a lot of opportunities at the Navigators office for this man to serve. Winter was coming though and the man greatly desired to serve in some way. Leroy Eims gave him the task of shoveling the walkway to the office building. The man was very zealous in this service. In fact he was so zealous, Eims quipped, not a snowflake hit the walkway the whole winter long. Eims said that such valuable service could not go unrewarded and they brought him into the office to train for service within the Navigators organization.

Whose feet are you washing? Are you a slave of Christ or do you serve motivated by ego, appreciation, praise, or success? Perhaps you need to wash the filth of selfishness off of your feet and then look around and find someone else whose feet you can wash.

ADDENDUM: (Burnout is a great danger in Christian service. One of the main reasons we burn out is because we are not being blessed in our service. We feel unappreciated, unrewarded, unfulfilled. When we realize that our appreciation and reward and fulfillment is heavenly and not earthly, it is then that we will be able to combat the very real danger of burnout. We serve as slaves because our Master served as a slave. We are not greater than He. When, however, we serve as He serves, we will be blessed, we will be privileged, we will be rewarded, we will be great in the kingdom of heaven.)

Beginning the New Year with the Lord’s Table January 2, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Lord's Table, New Year's, Religion.
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The Lord’s Table (January 7, 2007)

Yesterday is the day that some church traditions celebrate the coming of the wise men to see Jesus. I would like to read this morning before we partake of the Lord’s Table two passages from the gospel of Matthew, one of which is taken from that story. 

Matthew 2:1 ¶  Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,

2  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

3  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5  So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

6  ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”{#Mic 5:2} 

Later when Jesus introduced the Lord’s Supper, He referred both to His role as King and His role as Shepherd.

Matthew 26:29  “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

30  And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ {#Zec 13:7}

When Jesus was crucified, there was nailed over his head on the cross a sign saying, “Jesus, of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The relationship that God offers to man by faith was provided by the death of the sinless King of Kings. This same Jesus went to the cross as the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for His sheep. When you take the bread and juice, you are acknowledging that Jesus is both your King and your Shepherd.

If you have yet to trust Christ as your Savior, we do want you to understand that God in His grace sent King Jesus to die for your sins and that this forgiveness is available to you also. He wants to be the Shepherd of your soul. It is only possible by entrusting yourself to Him. If you would like to commit yourself to Jesus Christ now, it is possible through faith in Him and His death on the cross for you.

For a believer, submission to the rule of the King and the care of the Shepherd follows faith in Christ. As you partake this morning, don’t only thank God for what He has done for you but submit yourself to His will and way in your life. One way to do this is to take a few silent moments to look at your life closely and make sure that there is nothing between you and your fellow believer that needs to be made right. It doesn’t matter whether you are at fault or if your fellow believer is at fault, you need to make it right.

 “Father, we thank you that you sent the King of Kings to provide forgiveness and salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection. We thank you that He is our Shepherd, the one who will care for us through all eternity. Purify our hearts and lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!” 

Lord’s Table Preparation from October 2005 October 4, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Covenant, Lord's Table, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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From the Revelation of Jesus Christ according to John, chapter 19:

 5 ¶ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”6  And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!7  “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”8  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.9               9  Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 

When Jesus introduced the Lord’s Supper, He made reference that He would eat it again with His disciples. This is what we read of here in Revelation 19. In a sense, we could say that we are practicing in symbol that which will be a reality in the future, the marriage feast of the Lamb. It is interesting that He describes the bride as clothed with white linen. He even tells us what her garments symbolize the righteous acts of the believer. That is why it is important that we make sure that our conscious is clear before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. True, this is only a symbol, but it is more than a rehearsal. We are actually testifying to something very important, that we who have trusted Christ as Savior have all been forgiven through His blood. Our favor with God comes not through the bread and juice but through faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Our dear, gracious Father. We thank you that we are yours by your Son’s blood and that the forgiveness and salvation you’ve provided through Jesus Christ is eternal. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Help from Spurgeon (and Mike Ratliff) in preparing for the Lord’s Table August 28, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Atonement, Blood of Christ, Communion, Crucifixion, Death of Christ, Good Friday, Lord's Table, Religion, Spurgeon.
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“After our Lord’s death was over, the blood of animals was not the type, but the blood of the grape. That which was terrible in prospect is joyous in remembrance. That which was blood in the shedding is wine in the receiving. It came from him with a wound, but it comes to us with a blessing.” Originally posted here by Mike Ratliff.

The Lord’s Table reminds us that the pivotal event in world history is the cross. It is not the invention of fire or the wheel neither is it the printing press or the computer as pivotal as all of these things were. The pivotal event in world history is the death of God’s Son on the cross establishing a new covenant between God and man. Everything before and after depend on the outcome of Christ’s death.

A Sermon from Ray Pritchard to Prepare us for the Lord’s Table July 31, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Body of Christ, Character, Communion, First Corinthians, Forgiveness, Judgment, Lord's Table, Repentance, Sermons, Spiritual Disciplines, Worship.
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“Unworthy”

Links to Sermons from Psalm 19 July 14, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Lord's Table, Prayer, Psalms, Repentance, Sermons.
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Not a sermon but a great appropriate quote from “Fire and Knowledge” (see that site at my blogroll for more great quotes.)

 http://www.fireandknowledge.org/archives/2007/07/12/science-cannot-prove-or-disprove-god-collins/

Spurgeon on “Secret Sins”…

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0116.htm 

…on some sins being worse than others. He believes some are and will tell you why…

 http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0135.htm

…and how little we recognize the extent of our sin.

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0299.htm 

From John Piper on the last three verses (It was a sermon in preparation for the Lord’s Table)

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1990/723_The_Heart_You_Know_and_the_Heart_You_Dont/

Other sermons by Piper on Psalm 19 can be found here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/1/

A Meditation by Sam Storms on the first six verses:

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/look-up-and-listen-psalm-191-6