Saturday, January 6, 2024

January 7, 2024 - Baptism

 


BAPTISM Is a POWERFUL FORCE 

Within the Life of a Christian 



But So Often We Get These Things Confused!



Baptism Does Not Occur 

BEFORE You Become a Christian, 

o But Rather, It Is Something 

That You DO BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN!



Baptism Is What GOD Has Set Forth 

In Which - We Use to Express Our LOVE For HIM!



It Is Within Baptism, this is Where We - as Christians, 

Can Join Together as ONE,

And Jointly Share - Our Love within The Trinity God 

Together IN Them, As A Family!



Christians All Over the World,

Join - Together – With - Us 

Because They Are Baptized in Jesus Christ. 



Now - Here Are Two Things About Baptism.


1. Baptism Is a Blessed Gift from God Himself

Which Connects All of HIS People 

o Together As One Body. 



2. And Baptism Is Such a Powerful Force! 

 


As Baptized Christians, 

We Share in Our Faith, 

And This Introduction, 

This Rite, 

This Power of God 

o Is A Lord’s Blessed Help 

Which Protects Us ALL 

From the Deep 

And Often Raging Chaos of Life. 



YOU SEE - All Over the World  - 

It Is – Within BAPTISM Itself

Which Unites Us

Not Only in A Highly Protective Force

But Also, A Very ALMIGHTY FORCE!






If You Can, Please Stand with Me as I Read the Scriptures for Today.


It Comes to Us from the Book of Mark, Chapter 1, Verse 1 through 11.




Mark 1:1-11 (ESV)


John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:


“Behold, I send my messenger before Your Face,

who will prepare Your way,

3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

make His paths straight,’”



4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness, and proclaiming a baptism of Repentance for the Forgiveness of sins. 


5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 


6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 





7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier than I, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 


8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


The Baptism of Jesus  9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

 

10 And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the Heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. 


11 And a voice came from Heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”


Just as JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE, 

We Also Need To Do:

o As Parents -

o Grandparents -

o Teachers -

o And Leaders -

All of Us Christians -

We ALL Need to Return to 

The Basics of Our Baptism!


And This Is Why: 

Have You Ever Notice HOW Our Young Writer, Mark,

Chose to Begin Writing His Gospel? 


He Began at The Very Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry

And that was at Christ’s Baptism in The Jordan River. 


We Need to ALWAYS Keep – 

FIRST THINGS - FIRST!



Baptism Should Remind Us of 

The Three R's of Our Soul:


REPENTANCE! 

RIGHTEOUSNESS! 

And REVELATION! 


Allow Me to Ask:

What Would Be Your ‘First Thought’

If Someone – Right Here During Church Service, 

Would Come Forward and Begin to Confess

Their Sins to All of Us Here??? 

I Mean - Right Here and Now?

Would That ‘SHOCK’ You?

Would you Be ‘AMAZED?’

Would you Be ‘IMBARASSED?’

Would You Film It For Later Viewing?

Or Would You Be Looking for the Exit, 

Being ‘AFRAID’ Of What is Going to Happen Next?


Just As We Read in Our Scripture – 

Even Jesus Christ Himself, 

o He Began His Very Own Ministry Within

Identifying with The Basics: The Three Rs

REPENTANCE!

RIGHTEOUSNESS! 

And REVELATION! 

Those are Very Churchy Words  -  So lets Break them Down.

You See, it is True – JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF 

He Submitted Himself to The Basics of Faith!



What Would Be Your Answer IF Someone Came to You and Ask: 

‘Hey, What Is Baptism About 

And Why Should I Be Baptized?”



Would You Say – “Christ Gave Himself to Baptism,

So, Should-We-Not-Also - Seal Our Christianity

Within God Just as Jesus Did?”


That Would Be a Great Answer 

But What exactly Does It Mean?



YOU SEE – It Is Within Our Baptism,

Where We Come Back to the Most Basic Elements 

o Of Our Christian Walk: 

Our Repentance from Sin!

Our Pledge of Living a Righteousness Life Within the Lord! 

And Relying Upon the Solid Understanding 

Of Just Who God is 

o Just as He Has Revealed Himself to us.


So - Let Us Take a Look At 

Our Lord's Baptism 

o And SEE What It Tells Us 

About the ‘Three Spiritual R's’:






#1

REPENTANCE Is the First Of The Three R’s. 


And REPENTANCE Is a Requirement of Baptism! 







Can You Shout Using “John the Baptist Words”

That He Used 

o When the People 

Came to the Jordan

To See or To Watch Him?



Wasn’t “REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED!”


REPENTANCE - Is Always Our First Action!

And Then Later On – Comes Our BAPTISM!





But Are We Clear on What REPENTANCE Means?


In the Webster 1828 Dictionary, It Shares its Understand of the Meaning of 

“REPENTANCE:”


1. Sorrow for anything done or said. 

The Pain or Grief which a person experiences as a consequence of the Injury or Inconvenience produced by his own conduct.


2. In Theology, the Pain, Regret, Sorrow, Sickness or Suffering which a person feels on account of his past conduct - Because it Exposes him to Punishment. 


3. Real Penitence is a Sorrow; A Deep Remorse; A Deep Regret, 

A Deep Shame for Your Own SIN which has Offended and Dishonored GOD. 


And It Is a Violation of GOD’s Holy Law, and the Immoral Ungratefulness and Rudeness Which Was Brought Upon Towards the Being of Infinite Benevolence. 


4. Repentance is a Change of Mind, or a Conversion from Sin to God!


Godly Sorrow Works Within You from Repentance to SALVATION!





YEARS AGO, During the Iranian Hostage Crises, 

[ Back In 1979 thru 1981 ]



There Was a Pastor Who Was Visiting with A Woman 

As She Was Telling Him Her Story

o Of How She Had Befriended an Iranian Student. 



NOW, Just as We All Probably Can Imagine,

During the Early Stages of This Revolution,

For ALL Iranian’s Nationals, 

It was a Presidential Decree That All Banks 

Would Freeze Their Funds 

For A Certain Period of Time!


And Since He Was a student, 

It Was Not Long Before 

o He Had Ran Out of Money.

So, in a Way of Earning Money,

o This Young Man Offered to Do Odd Jobs for This Woman.



BUT as You Would Expect, 

His Financial Condition Just Continued to Decline! 



And so, in a Way of Helping Him,

She Invited Him to Stay in Her Home. 

She Gave Him a Room 

And He Ate His Meals with Her Family. 

As it was then, And All Most Everywhere in our Today,  

It Did Not Take Long Before 

o Her Neighbors Began to Gossip 

And Showing Their Disapproval of This Arrangement. 



The Neighbors Stated their Demands as: 

“Unless this Iranian Young Man

Was Willing to ‘Denounce His Country’ -

They All Could Not Guarantee of His Safety”



Do You Think That This Would Not Happen in the USA?

During WW11, The First Confinement Camp in Operation Was Manzanar, Located in California. Between 1942 And 1945 A Total Of 10 Camps Were Opened, Holding Approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans for Varying Periods of Time in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, And Arkansas.


And All of The Women Within Her Community 

Began Shunning Her and Her Entire Family as Well.



And so, ‘In a Way in Trying to Keep the Peace within the community,’ 

This Woman Instructed Her Entire Family 

o And their New Iranian Student Friend,

To ONLY Travel in Pairs,

And to Keep a Great Distance 

Between Themselves and their Neighbors. 



And it was somewhere around here, 

When the Pastor Interrupted Her Story 

With His Question:


"O’ My Goodness!

How in the World Did You Ever Come to 

Befriending Someone Like That?"


This Was When Needle Which Broke the Camel’s Back!

 

She Pounded Her Fist Hard on The Desk 

And Through Her Clinched Teeth –

She Shouted Out with Frustration: 


"DARN IT!

It Is Because I Am a Christian!!

Do You Think This Is Easy?"








YOU SEE – 

This Is Called: Baptismal Repentance!



BUT HERE is THE THING IS – 

“The RITUAL of BAPTISM”

Is TOTALLY EMPTY 

AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY “MEANINGLESS!”



That Is - Unless 

IT IS SEEN BY YOU 

AS YOU Are COMPLETELY DYING TO SELF! 

And BEING REBORN

INTO A NEW WAY OF LIFE 

Within Jesus!


And Just in Case You Are Wondering,

YES - This Is Seldom Easy!


However, it is ALWAYS TOTALLY Necessary!





 #2 



The First Of The Three R’s Was REPENTANCE. 

That is The First Basic Component of Baptism. 



And The Second Part Is Righteousness! 


YOU SEE - Righteousness Is the Fruit of Baptism!


Have You Ever Heard the Story of Father Damien from the 1800’s. 

He Was a Missionary to Hawaii 

o Planting Churches on The Island of Molokai [mO-la-kI ]. 



He Is Described as Being an ‘Apostle Paul’ 

To That Part of The World. 

He Planted Several Churches on The Main Part of The Island, 

But Then He Discovered Another Part 

o Where Nobody Ever Went To. 



This Area was a Small Peninsula That 

Jutted Out North from The Island 

o And It Was Separated from The Mainland 

By An Almost Sheer Cliff that was 2,000-3,000 Feet High. 



The Only Way to Get to That Peninsula 

Was To Jump Off the Cliff 

o Or to Go by Boat in The Open Ocean. 


YOU SEE – IT WAS ON THAT DESERTED PENINSULA,

That Was Where the Hawaiians 

o Abandoned All Their Lepers too. 



SO, If You Got Leprosy in Hawaii, 

You Were Taken to This Peninsula 

o And Abandoned There

Never to Return. 



And Father Damien Felt a Calling to Those People 

Those Who, at No Fault of Their Own,

o Had Been Cast Off by Society! 

They Had Become Outcasts 

Removed from All of Society. 



And So, With God in His Heart, Father Damien Went to the Island 

And He Worked Just as He Had Done 

o On The Rest of The Island. 

He Built a Church with His Own Hands 

And He Helped Others – Together, They Built a Society – 

o Even Helping Many with the Building of their Houses – 

And he Lived Among Them 

And he Humbly Serve Them in Any Way He Could. 



Then on one day, 

After He was There for ABOUT 15 YEARS, 

o As He Was Cooking a Meal 

And Boiling Some Water When an accident occurred. 



This Was When He Accidently Spilled Boiling Water 

On His Foot, 

o And it was Right Then When He Realized 

That He Had No Pain!



There was no Feeling in His Foot.



Just to Make Sure - It Happened Just as He thought it had, 

He, on Purpose, Poured More Boiling Water on His Foot.

o But the Results were the same.

There Was No Pain. 



And This Could ONLY Mean One Thing. 

YES - He Had Now Caught Leprosy. 



It was the Next Sunday in Church, 

As He Began to Lead the People in Worship, 

o That was When He Chose 

To Change His Normal Greeting. 



You See, Every Sunday 

He Would Start Off With, "My Fellow Believers."



But This Sunday He Began with: 

"My Fellow Lepers."

YOU SEE - He Had in Every Way 

Become One of Them. 

Even in Taking Upon Himself  -  THEIR GREATEST PAIN.





#3


1st ] Repentance. 


2nd ] Righteousness. 


The 3rd R Is Revelation. 



It Was Right There – IN THE JORDAN 

That was Where Jesus Bagan His ‘Public Ministry!’ 



But YOU SEE - It is NOT JUST 

THE BEGINNING OF JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY 

o That we See, Hear and Feel. 



Right Here, There Is Something Very Powerful 

o That We MUST take a Note Thereof. 



Right Here Is One of GOD The Father’s: 

‘STARTLING!’ 

o ‘FRIGHTENING!’

‘SHOCKING!’

‘ASTONISHING!’ 

o and ‘ALARMING!’ ACTIONS



It Is Truly an ‘AWE - FILLED – PUNCTUATION of GOD!’




Have You Ever Been

Really - Super - Close to a Lightning Bolt 

o That Had Struck the Earth?

Maybe A Tree or A Metal Beam.



And IF So, Do You Recall the Feeling of Being Filled with 

Static Electricity From that Lightning Bolt?



Mark Used - ONLY TWICE within his Entire Book 

The Word ‘TORN’!



This Is God’s 

‘Sudden Bolt of Lightning’ 

To All of the World

Telling Everyone and Everything to 

Wake UP!

Both Times When Mark used the Word "TORN," 



They Were During a Serious and TRAUMATIC PUNCTUATION – 

of Our HOLY and Almighty GOD!



They Were GOD’s Claim Upon HIS FEELINGS and MIGHT!



And In Both Times, 

There Was a DRAMATIC 

And an Active Sense Used.



GOD IS IN MOTION!



The First ‘TORN’ Occurred within Our Reading for Today.


It Comes to Us as Jesus Rose 

Out of The Waters of His Baptism!

Mark 1:10 

“As Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the Heavens TORN APART, 

and the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove.”



And Then the Second Time Is at The End of Mark's Gospel 

As When GOD TORE The Temple Curtain into Two



Mark 15:37-38

“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 

And the curtain of the temple was TORN IN TWO, from top to bottom.”


Just as a Reminder, The Curtain was 60’ long, 30’ high and 4” thick.



The First of These Event Was

‘Breaking-Into the Kingdom of Heaven.’



And The Second One Was Of The 

‘Tearing Away of The Religious Barrier Between God and Humanity.’


It Is as If Mark Is Saying God Has To: 

‘Rip Open the Skies 

and Change the Course of Human Behavior!’



And God Has to: 

‘Rip Apart the Human Barrier of Sin 

That Separates Us.


It Is Much Like Removing a Band-Aid from a Wound, 

God Has to Do It - Suddenly 

And in a Violent Way - Or Else, 

We Will Remain Lost!



It is One Of The Three R’s, 

The Need for REVELATION, 

o It Is the NEED to EXPOSE

Something from the Outside, 

Of Our Own Experiences, 

o To GUIDE US and To DIRECT US. 



We Need God to Break in 

And to Reveal Himself to Us.



To Tell Us – ‘This Way You Go’ 

And ‘This Person You Follow.’



Just Listen to This: 

Jesus Was Coming Out of The Water. 

Jesus had Just Been Baptized by John. 

And so now, Jesus can Begin His Ministry 


And All of These People were just - 

Standing Around Watching 


And then, God Tares Open the Heavens, 

God Descends Down Upon Jesus 

And HE Announces, 


“You Are My Son! - Whom I Love! – 

With You I Am Well Pleased.”



Did You Hear That? 



God Is Telling You: This Way You Go and This Person You Follow. 


Jesus Is My Son and He Will Show You the Way!


And It All Starts with Baptism of Faith.



If You Are Sitting Here This Morning,

And You Have Not Yet Experienced the Water.

However, You Want to Know the Water, 



IF That is You - Then Visit With me after Service. 

I would love to talk to you about it.



It All Starts with The Basics of Baptism: 

1. Repentance From Sin!

2. Living A Life of Righteousness, 

3. Revelation – Having an Understanding That 

God Has Reveled Himself to Us Through Jesus Christ

And HE wants to Share this All with YOU.


Closing Prayer

Turn Us Around, O Lord, - And Bring Us Back Toward You.

Revive Our Lives as It Was in the Beginning – 

And Turn Us Toward Each Other,

Lord - For in Isolation - There Is No Life.


But Within You, There Is Eternity! Amen


Saturday, April 1, 2023

04 02 2022 - Our Unexpected Crosses

 Today IS the Day When We Celebrate

Jesus’ Glorified Entrance

Into Jerusalem

On His Way to The Cross!

 

 

 

 

 

And – We Usually Always Spend Palm Sunday

Talking About the Palms

And of Jesus Spectacular Entrance

 

 

 

And Then, Next Week

We Talk About Easter Sunday

About Christ Rising from the Grave

In All His Glory

 

 

But When We Do That

We Miss What Happened In-Between

 

 

 

So Today, We Are Going to Spend Some Time

Talking About the “Between Stuff!”

 

The Cross

What does the “Cross” Mean to You?

 

 

In Our Today,

If You Are Like Most People

We Probably See -

More Crosses Than

What You Would Have Seen

40 Or 50 Years Ago.

 

 

 

People Wear ‘Crosses’ around their necks -

As Jewelry.

 

We Hang CROSSES from The

Rearview Mirrors in Our Cars & Trucks.

 

 

They Line Our Highways,

Where the Accidents Once Occurred

 

 

And All of This Is Great!

 

That Is –

IF They Are Used for The Right Reason!

 

 

The Question Is

Do People Wear Them,

Do People Use Them,

a.               As An Instrument

“Expressing Their Faith?”

b.              Or Is It Just to Have a

“Cool Look?”

 

 

So, What Does The “Cross” Mean to YOU?

 

 

Now - We Could Have

As many Answers

As We Have in People!

 

BUT - What Does The Cross Mean to You?

 

 

We Really Need to Ask This Question,

About Ourselves

Possibly As Often As - Every Single Month.

 

WHY?

 

Because As God Teaches Us,

We Should Be Learning

And Through Our Learning –

Our Answer

Should Be Changing.

Of Course - That Is

IF

We Are Growing in God!

 

 

Now - We Know Through

Our Own Walk with The Lord,

 

That Is

“If You Get Too Close

To The Cross,

You Will End Up Carrying It.”

 

We All Should Write That Down.

 

 

 

Allow me to say that Once Again.

 

“If You Get

Too Close

To The Cross

You Will End Up

Carrying It.”

 

 

 

But As Christians,

·     We Look at the Cross

o And Don’t We See SORROW?

 

 

Don’t We See

The Passion of Christ LOVE!

 

 

Don’t We See

The Suffering of Our Lord!

 

 

And Don’t We See

The Ultimate Death of Christ Jesus!

When we LOOK at the Cross,

We Don’t See Such Things As:

A Vacation

 

 

We Don’t See

Laughter and Smiles

 

 

But – In FULL TRUTH

We Who Follow Jesus,

WE OUGHT TO ALWAYS

LIVE

In the Shadow of the CROSS!

But there are times when -

·     We Deliberately Choose Our Own Cross

 

 

 

And We Do This By and Through

The Things We CHOOSE To Do!

 

 

 

And Still – There Are Those Other Times when -

·     We Are Thrust Upon a Cross

o That Is REALLY

§ Not of Our Own Choosing.

IF You Haven’t Understood This By Now

IT IS OUR CROSSES,

o They Work as,

o They Become,

§ Our Parameter,

§ Or Our Boundaries,

Which Exactly Define

Our Own Christian Walk.

 

 

 

 

Do You Think JOB

·     Would Have experienced,

o All Of that Calamity,

o All Of the Heart Breaking,

§ IF He Was Not Close to God?

 

1 There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.

2 He had seven sons and three daughters.

3 He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.

 

4 Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them.

5 When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

 

Job’s First Test

6 One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.

7 “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

 

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

 

8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant, Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”

 

9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God.

10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is!

11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

 

12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.”

So, Satan left the Lord’s presence.

 

 

And As We Know

      From the Scriptures,

            JOB Faced Many Crosses.

 

“Many - Unexpected Crosses”

 

But What Do We Do

·     With These Unexpected Cross

o That Are Given to Us?

I Mean They Are Not ‘Our Crosses’.

·     Well - At Least At First, They Weren’t!

 

 

You Know,

·     Things Just Seem to Always

o Come Up In-Life

§ Right When

·     You Are Not Expecting

·     Nor Looking For Them.

 

 

Things Like:

·     Your Car Broke Down!

·     The Freezer Broke Down!

·     Or A Kid Breaks Down!

Or It Can Even Be

·     When Your Friends Lets You Down!

Speech Bubble: Rectangle: EXAMPLE

 

 


Or When Things Just Don’t Work Out

·     Like The Way Which You Had Planned

o And You Get Frustrated

 

 

It Can Be

·     When Things Get You Down!

·   When You Get Discouraged!

·   When You Get Depressed!

·     And Even When You Get Angry!

You See:

·     THESE ARE the REAL MOMENTS!

 

·    This Is When God

o Wants To Work on Your Heart!

 

These Are those -

Most Profound

Opportunities,

The Very Moments

When We Meet Jesus

Right There - Where We Are

And Where We Can Grow Spiritually in Him!

You Know,

·     I Can Not Think

·     Of a Better Character

o To Express This Point

Then From Christ’s Passion Story

And By Taking a Look

At Simon of Cyrene.

 

Who Is He, You Say?

 

Well - This Is Usually the Part

Which We Skip Over

From Palm Sunday

To Easter Morning

 

Luke 23:26-43 (NLT)

26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women.

28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’

30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’

31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

 

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.

33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

 

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

 

35 The crowd watched, and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.

37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

 

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

 

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?

41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

 

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

 

We just read a Small Part

Of The Recorded Christ’s Passion.

 

And I Feel Most Know the Rest of it.

But Did We All Catch

The Very First Part of It?

 

26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

 

 

Before Today,

·     How Did You Picture

o This Simon,

§ As He Carried the Cross of Jesus?

 

 

Within Your Thoughts

Did You Picture Simon As BEING

A Loyal Servant Of the LORD?

Did You See Him As

This Great ‘Model’ Of Christian Service?

 

 

Maybe You View Him

As Being A Great Leader of Compassion?

 

 

But You Know

Simon Did Go and He Helped Jesus

At His Time of Need!

 

And That is Exactly -

What Each Of Us Should Do As Well!

 

We Should All Help Others,

To Carry Their Burdens

As Well As Their Crosses In Life!

 

 

BUT - How Does Simon Become –

This Great Model

of Compassion and Service?

 

 

I Mean,

He Didn’t Do This

Out of His Love and Compassion!!!

Did He?

NO!

 

He Did This Out of Compulsion

He Was Forced to Do It

by The Romans.

 

I Mean,

·   It Wasn’t as If Simon

o Woke Up on Good Friday

§ And Said to Himself:

 

‘Okay, It’s Friday –

It’s Prison Ministry Day!’

 

And then He would have said to Himself:

 

‘I Have to Find a Prisoner Today,

So that I Can Help Him

In Any Way That I Can.

 

Maybe I Will Help Him

By Carrying His Cross.’

 

 

But This Isn’t

·     What He Said

·     Nor What He Did!

 

The Cold Fact is: He Didn’t Volunteer At All!

You See:

He Was Just Walking

Into The City

Just Like the Thousands

Of Other Pilgrims Were.

 

 

They Were All Coming In

·     For Passover

o And All of a Sudden,

o There Were These Roman Soldiers

And They Pulled Him from The Crowd

And Force Him to Carry Jesus’s Cross.

 

 

The True Fact is:

He Didn’t Choose This Cross!

 

 

And Yet – In Luke’s Gospel,

Luke Gives Us a Little Detail.

 

 

A Little Detail That Tells Us

A Lot About Simon as He Helped

Jesus With His Cross.

 

 

And That Fact Is

Right There – Simon Was Changed!

Simon Was Changed

·    Through This Unexpected Encounter

o With This Unexpected Cross.

 

 

 

You SeeThis Little Detail:

IS Found In Verse 26b:

“The soldiers seized him (Simon) and put the cross on him,

and made him CARRY IT BEHIND JESUS.”

 

 

 

And He Carried It BEHIND CHRIST!

Just That Little Detail Says So Much

 

And this is WHY

 

 

Luke 9:23, “Jesus looks at his disciples and tells them, "Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it."

 

 

Even Jesus Is Telling Us

·     Just as Simon Did,

“Take up their cross and follow Me.”

You See

For Us To BE a Disciple of Jesus’,

We Are Required to

Pick Up Our Crosses

And Follow Him!

 

 

BUT - Here Is the Point:

 

If You Want to Find Out

·     IF You Are Really a Disciple of Christ’s,

o We MUST Then

LISTEN To What Jesus Says.

 

And Christ Said: IF,

(You SEE - It is always a Choice)

 

 

Christ Says, IF

You Want to Be My Disciple,

We Must

Pick Up Our Cross

And Follow Him.

 

 

Jesus Says This So Many Times

·     Through-Out His Ministry

But When It Was Recorded in Matthew 16

That is When It Breaks My Heart

However, I Do Believe

It Paints A True Picture Of Humanity

 

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

 

 

“IF ANYONE DESIRES TO COME AFTER ME”

 

Don’t Those Words Cut into Your Heart?

 

“IF ANYONE DESIRES TO COME AFTER ME”

But We See in Our Scriptures for Today –

‘Simon, Is Doing - Exactly That’

 

 

Simon, Picked Up the Cross

And He Followed Jesus.

 

 

Luke Is Subtle in Telling Us

·     This However, By Simon Doing this,

‘Simon Was Literally Changed!’

 

 

And the Same Will Happen to Us

·     Through Our Encounters with The Cross.

Simon Was Changed!

·     And He Became a True Disciple!

 

 

What Luke’s Gospel for Today,

·     Is Subtle in Telling Us

o Is Exactly What

§ The Early Christians Saw

§ And Witnessed To!

 

 

Simon Of Cyrene Became a Convert!

 

He Became a Christian!

 

And The BLESSINGS Don’t Stop There!

 

Because - His Family Became

Prominent Christian Leaders!

And Evangelists!

 

 

 

And I Think

Luke Maybe,

Giving Us a Little Nod Here

To This Image of Simon

Carrying The Cross Behind Jesus.

 

 

And This Is to

Remind Us ALL

That It Is These

Unexpected Crosses,

That They Will Show Up at Our Doorstep.

 

 

They Will Spring Up

Right There Before Us

All the Way

Throughout Our Lives.

 

 

Every Day,

·     We Can Expect to Receive

o Unexpected Crosses.

But Here Is the Thing:

 

Don’t See Them As

Just Being Frustrating Moments!

 

 

Don’t See Them As

Just Problems

That NEED To Be Solved!

 

 

And Don’t See Them As

Difficulties That We Need to Endure!

 

 

But Rather:

See Them as OPPORTUNITIES

To Meet Jesus - Just as Simon Did.

 

 

See Them as OPPORTUNITIES

Of Growing Within Your Own

Trusting of the Lord.

 

And Remember

The Blessings Which Are Gain

Through Them

Doesn’t Stop with You,

They Go On and On

Within Your Family

And Friends

Now – I Am Not Going to Say That

These Crosses Will

Come at the Most Perfect Time!

 

 

We See That They Did Not Within

The Story Of JOB

And As Well In Simon’s

 

 

But We Should Always Expect Them

Because They Do Come

And They Come in

So Many Different Ways

 

OH - Maybe,

It Is When Your Plans Don’t Work Out!

 

 

That Can Be When the Lord

Is Reaching Out to

Grab Ahold of You

So That Your Trust

In The Lord Can Grow!

 

 

Lord, I Know You Have

Bigger Plans Than I Have,

Help Me See Your Bigger Plan.

 

Whatever The Crosses Are

That We Face,

We Need to Trust

And We Need to Have Confidence

That God Can Bring Something GOOD!

 

 

Each and Every Time,

We Need to Pause!

And Turn to The Lord and Ask:

 

What Are You Trying to Teach Me?

 

What Are You Trying to Show Me?

 

We Need to Look and Find

The Spiritual Lesson that Is Involved Here.

 

 

Don’t Just Rush Out

And Be in A Hurry

To Solve the Problem.

 

 

Don’t Just Get Frustrated

And Lose Hope

In The Little Annoying Things.

 

 

Just Pause.

Just Pause for A Moment

·     And Think About

‘What Is God Trying to Teach Me Here?’

 

 

 

We Need to Meet Jesus

In These Unexpected Crosses.

 

 

 

And When We Do,

We Have the Opportunity

To Become Like a Simon,

 

And Eventually,

·     You TOO

Will Become a Saint Simon of Cyrene!

 

 

Become Transformed

·     By The Unexpected Cross of Christ.

 

 

 

But Remember

AND - Here Is the Thing

It Is Always Our Choice!

 

 

We Can Grumble with Our Crosses

 

OR

 

We Can Praise God with Our Crosses

 

 

The Choice Is Yours

 

 

“Let him who would be My disciple take up his cross and follow Me.”