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The Final Word - The Only Word

Posted by Pastor Maurice Johnson on March 24, 2016 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)
From that time Jesus began telling his followers that he must go to Jerusalem. He explained that the older Jewish leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law would make him suffer many things. And he told his followers that he must be killed. Then, on the third day, he would be raised from death. Peter took Jesus away from the other followers to talk to him alone. He began to criticize him. He said, ???God save you from those sufferings, Lord! That will never happen to you!??? Then Jesus said to Peter, ???Get away from me, Satan ! You are not helping me! You don???t care about the same things God does. You care only about things that people think are important.??? Then Jesus said to his followers, ???If any of you want to be my follower, you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me. Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me will find true life. Matthew 16:21-25 ERV How many times have we prayed to the Lord and presented our petitions to Him only to somehow have them rejected or answered in a manner that we did not expect? In the passage above Jesus begins to unveil the purpose of His coming to His disciples and the plan was not something they thought they would hear. Christ began to speak of the pursecution He would subject Himself to on this the week of passion. Peter makes several errors like many of us believe that somehow we know what is best. First, he pulls Christ aside to correct Him, "This will never happen to you," was a frail attempt on Peter's behalf to correct the message of Christ. Second, it was a misguided criticism and third it was Peter's violation of Christ's authority. We tend to think we know what is best, but we do not, in fact to declare He is Lord is to say that He is God. He rules, we are governed, He commands, we respond, He know all and our knowledge is nominal at best. Every Christian must strive for and reach a place where we acknowledge the best plan for my life is the Lord's plan for my life. As difficult as it seems the best way to experience one's full potential is to relinquish control to the designer. The design for which we have been made is found in the hands of God. Peter or the spirit operating in Peter is rebuked because it tries to change the purpose of God to redeem God's elect. Even when we do not understand the plan or purpose of God we must leave the the driving to the Lord. He is my pilot not my copilot, I lack the knowledge, authority and power to accomplish what He and He alone can.

What Are You Prepared To Do?

Posted by Pastor Maurice Johnson on February 4, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 


What Are You Prepared To Do?



In the 1987 movie The Untouchables, Sean Connery plays the role of Officer Jim Malone a wise in your face kind of officer who compels Elliot Ness to do whatever it takes to complete the job of apprehending Al Capone.  Listen to some of Malone’s (Sean Connery) dialogue with Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) in the movie concerning the capture and conviction of Al Capone.

Malone: “You said you wanted to know how to get Capone……. Do you really want to get him?  You see what I’m saying, what are you prepared to do?”

Ness: “Everything within the law.”

Malone: “And then what are you prepared to do?  If you open the ball on this Mr. Ness you must be prepared to go all the way.”

 

Several times throughout the movie Costner’s character Ness is frustrated by his inability to legally arrest Capone and Connery’s character Malone keeps provoking him with this simple but powerful question “WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?”  As the movie continues Officer Malone dies in the presence of Ness, Malone gives Ness a piece of information that will help Ness finally arrest and convict Capone, and as Malone is breathing his final breath he ask Ness “What are you prepared to do?’

 

What are you prepared to do in your pursuit of Christ, have you given up the chase?  I am not asking you if you have stop looking for the quote unquote blessing, I’m asking you if you are still in pursuit of the relationship and righteousness found in Christ alone.  In Philippians chapter 3 verse 12 the author writes, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”  Or in the NLT, “I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”  The fulfilment of, or your apprehension of a working relationship with Christ is not a question of your initial salvation, it is a question of your continual sanctification. 

 

Your walk with Christ is a making process, Christ defines, you comply, Christ reveals, you reflect.  We find a stark contrast in the scripture of what righteousness means compared to the prosperity, self-gratification and personal fulfilment goals of many Christians today.  We have this admonition from the Apostle John in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”  The litmus test for true pursuit can be seen in questions like the following: 

               

1) Who am I trying to please?

                                a) Myself

                                b) The Lord

                2) How am I trying to please Christ?

                                a) According to my own standards

                                b) In agreement and compliance to His word.

                3) Do I possess a fides viva (a faith that is living or a living faith)?

                4) Can I measure my growth or progression in my walk (righteousness)?

 

I pray this gives you something to think about, and if it has, perhaps you have been challenged by this article, good, now, “what are you prepared to do?  Be of good cheer because the Lord has been waiting for your response to His righteousness, He is more than ready to instruct you in all truth and righteousness.  Make that change!

 

Iam vos teneo (Now you know)

Verum (Truth)


The Untouchables (1987) Director Brian De Palma, Writers: Oscar Fraley


Pastor Maurice Johnson

Christian Growth - Fasting

Posted by Pastor Maurice Johnson on January 6, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Christian Growth - Fasting

Pastor Maurice Johnson

 

We are called to maturity as Christians; your growth is a biblical imperative, meaning heaven has determined that your growth is absolutely necessary.   Your growth as a Christian is not an easy thing to achieve, it is and can be tedious, yes, the way of the transgressor is hard, but constant persistent godly behavior requires earnest effort.  We are not posed to live as Christians and the world still endeavors to call us back to the things that separate us from God.  We tend to believe that our maturing in Christ should be and is a natural occurrence or second nature, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Just as we are responsible to maintain a life free from sin we are also responsible for fighting to maintain our identity and grow in the Lord.  Dr. John MacArthur published an article entitled “What does it mean to “Work Out Your Salvation.””  In the article Dr. MacArthur writes the following:

“The principle of working out salvation has two aspects. The first pertains to personal conduct, to faithful, obedient daily living. Such obedience obviously involves active commitment and personal effort, for which Scripture is replete with injunctions, both negative and positive.  The second aspect of working out one’s salvation is perseverance, of faithful obedience to the end.”

As Christians we face real obstacles that seek to block or stunt our growth; Martin Luther said that there are three primary obstacles that stand in your life to deter your growth, they are: 1) The World, 2) The Flesh and 3) The Devil.  In spite of these obstacles we are required by the Word of God to struggle and to fight the good fight and to take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.  The Apostle Paul describes his apprehension of faith in terms of a contest that must be conquered, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Fasting is an intricate facet of our growth, not only should we partake in the corporate fast, but we should involve ourselves personally in fasting and in a real commitment to regularly warring against the desires of our flesh.  Fasting can be a struggle and your body may be suffering, but Paul said in Romans 8:18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later – NLT.   For your studies while on the fast concerning the Christian struggle, I suggest the following questions and scripture reading from the lesson “Developing Christian Character” by Dr. R C Sproul.

Iam vos teneo (Now you know)

verum (Truth)

 

 

BIBLE STUDY

1. What do the following Scripture passages teach us about growth?

a. Hebrews 6:1–3

b. Ephesians 4:11–16

c. Philippians 2:12–13

d. Philippians 3:12–16

 

2. Read the following texts of Scripture. What does each contribute to understanding of “the world”?

a. Romans 8:18–23

b. 1 John 2:15–17

c. James 4:1–6

 

3. What do the following texts of Scripture teach us about “the flesh”?

a. Romans 7:7–8:2

b. Galatians 5:13–26

c. James 4:1–6

 

4. What do the following texts of Scripture tell us about “the devil”?

a. Ephesians 6:10–13

b. James 4:7–10

c. 1 Peter 5:8–9

 

MacArthur, Dr. J.. December 9, 2014 BQ052112. What Does It Mean to "Work Out Your Salvation"?. Retrieved January 4, 2016, from Grace To You: http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ052112/what-does-it-mean-to-work-out-your-salvation?Term=Work Out Your Salvation

Sproul, Dr. R. C.. (2001) Developing Christian Character, Lake Mary, FL Ligonier Ministries.





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