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Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Devil is defeated! (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman siad, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”-Genesis 3: 13-15

Who is this serpent? He goes by many names throughout the Bible; Beelzbub, the god of this age, the father of lies, the great dragon and Lucifer. However, Revelation 12:9 refers to him by his two most common names:

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

The word Devil means slanderer/accuser. The word Satan means adversary. He was cast out of heaven after, according to, Isaiah 14:12-15 he attempted to ascend above the throne of God:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

His mission according to John 10:10 is to steal, kill and destroy:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

After his expulsion from heaven he turned his attention to mankind; the apple of God’s creation. He opposed them by bombarding them with temptations, accusations and condemnation; all in an effort to separate them from the love of God!

Satan had already suffered a humiliating defeat in heaven when God deposed him from his position of authority. When he was cast down; he knew it was over. So he turned his attention on humanity.

If he could not ascend above the throne of God, he would destroy that which God held dearest. His mission was to tempt Adam and Eve to sin. Why? Because Isaiah 59:2 declares:

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

After Adam and Eve succumb to temptation and allowed sin to enter the world, you would think that Satan would have been pleased with his results and celebrated his great victory; however he too heard what God declared in Genesis 3:15:

“He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:15 is a beautiful passage because it declares for us from the very beginning of the Bible that Satan is already defeated. God looked Satan dead in the face and declared his defeat! Satan knew from that moment; he was already destined for destruction.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Destroying the sting of death (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”-Romans 6:9

Jesus came to dismiss the idea that life ends with death! He came to break the fear of death off of people’s lives and although the reality of death would remain, the fear of death would be destroyed. He did this through His own resurrection!

The crazy thing is-He had to die to defeat death. He had to prove that death had no dominion over Him. In fact, His death would become the avenue to life:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”-John 12:24

Commentator Steve Clark described it like this:

“A seed can be very hard and look much like a little stone, lifeless; but once it falls into the ground, a process happens that could be described as death. The seed dies. That death, however, is not the end. Something inside that seed, something that was there all along,  is released and begins to live in a new way. It transforms the seed into something greater, a plant capable not only of growing but of giving rise to other plants like itself. Death can be life-giving depending on what is inside when the dying begins.”

The Apostle Paul also recognized death as an avenue to something greater:

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”-1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Christ’s resurrection took the sting out of death destroying the fear of the unknown; as He showed us the path to life and answering the fear of the known by demonstrating His power over death; giving us hope for today:

”So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”-1 Corinthians 15:54-55

The greatest news that mortal ear has ever heard is the news that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. It is the truth that lies at the very foundation of the Gospel. It is essential to our Christian faith. Without a belief in the resurrection there is no salvation:
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”-Romans 10:9

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have the answer to the great question of the ages: “If mortals die, can they live again?” The Bible teaches that because Christ lives we also live:

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”-1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Rev. Billy Graham after reflecting on this passage made this insightful statement and sums it all up nicely:

“The greatest truth that you can ever hear is that Jesus Christ died but rose again, and that you, too, will die but can rise again into newness of life.”

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Destroying the sting of death (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

 “If a man dies, shall he live again?-Job 14:14

 The book of Job is considered one of the oldest books of the Bible and in it Job poses a question that has occupied the heart and mind of mankind sing the Garden of Eden-“If a man dies, shall he live again?” According to Romans 5:12:

 “Therefore, just as though one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

 Death entered the world through sin! Because of it’s intimate association with sin, death became characterized with dread, separation, grief, fear, despair and loss. King David describes it like this in Psalm 55:4-5:

 “My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.”

 As a minister, of course, I’ve performed and attended my fair share of funerals. My observation from nearly 20 years of ministry is that death always carries with it an element of fear. Fear of the known and the unknown. The craziest thing about death is, should the lord tarry, we are all going to experience it:

 “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.”-Hebrews 9:27

 However, nobody wants to talk about it. Probably the broadest way to define death is this: It is the end of life. It isn’t medical or scientific, but it is the way that humanity views death. It is this concept of death that I believe, Jesus came to address. I say this because of how the Word of God defines Jesus:

 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”-John 11:25-26

 Multiple passages describe Jesus as Life and giving life: John 1:1-4, John 6:35, John 10:10, and John 14:6

Jesus came to dismiss the idea that life ends with death! He came to break the fear of death off of people’s lives and although death would still be a reality, the fear of death would be destroyed. He did this through His own resurrection:

“But has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”-2 Timothy 1:10

Essentially, He had to die to defeat death!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church
Owensville, IN.

Breaking through the veil of religion (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the important aspects of the law-justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”-Matthew 23:23 (NLT)

Time and time again, Jesus was butting heads with the religious elite of His day because they had become consumed with maintaining the letter of the law and had completely missed the spirit of the law. They had neglected what Jesus had called the weightier matters of faith, justice and mercy. 

Their concept of the law was so narrowly focused on performance that they often missed the greater work that Jesus was doing among them. How many times did the Pharisees and teachers of the law question and complain each time that Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath. How often did his have to criticize the religious leaders for worrying too much about appearances rather than focusing on their own hearts:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”-Matthew 23:27-28

According to John 5:39-40, they diligently searched the Scriptures to find eternal life, but remained unwilling to put their faith in the One the Scriptures testified about:

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

They were convinced they could attain right standing with God by keeping the law, although the Apostle Paul declared in Galatians 2:16:

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

What does the veil being torn mean for us? The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. The barrier of sin between God and man had been removed. God was establishing a new covenant (Hebrews 8:13).  It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was ope for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile. According to Hebrews 10:19-20, Christ became the veil by which all people would come into the presence of God: 

 “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.”

Christ flesh was torn for us so that we might have access to the Father; but just as the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies through the veil, we too can only enter the presence of God through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). An excerpt from a recent commentary that I read sums it up perfectly:

“The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:13-16)

Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you could live the rest of your life trying to do enough things right to make heaven; He died so that the veil of sin that separated us would be removed so that we could come to Him. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Breaking through the veil of religion (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”-Matthew 27:50-53

During the lifetime of Jesus, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully.

Hebrews 9:1-5 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies, the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, from the rest of the temple:

“Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.”-Hebrews 9:1-5

The veil separated God in all His holiness from the sinfulness of mankind:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”-Isaiah 59:2

Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond the veil once each year to enter into God’s presence to make atonement for the sins of Israel:

“But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;”-Hebrews 9:7

To understand the magnitude of the veil being torn in two, we need to look at the size and scope of the veil. In some translations the word veil is translated as curtain. This could cause us to picture it as a common curtain hanging in front of any window in your home. It wouldn’t take a tremendous amount of force to tear one of these in two. However, according to 1 Kings 6:2, Solomon’s temple was 30 cubits high (which is somewhere around 50-60 feet) and according to early Jewish tradition  the veil may have been as much as four inches thick and was not constructed of paper thin material, but was designed to provide a barrier between God and man. For this veil to be torn in two would have required a tremendous amount of energy and would have communicated a humbling truth to those who were bound up in religion.

By this time, thousands of years after the Law of Moses had been given; Judaism had become steeped in the traditions of men. The Law which was intended to point men to God and reveal the nature of God, instead had become a checklist of do’s and don’ts that men used to gauge each other’s spirituality.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Role of a Godly Wife (Pt. 3)

(Part 3 of 3)

“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good and be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the world of God.” -Titus 2:4-5

The role of a Godly wife is not defined merely by submission. Titus teaches us that women are also to love their husbands. This may look different in every home dependent on your spouse’s love language. It’s important to discover what make’s your husband feel loved. My husband feels loved from receiving words of affirmation. I could bake him a cake and wash his car and although he may appreciate it, it doesn’t communicate love to him. If you want to love your husband you must discover what makes him feel loved. 

Titus also teaches us that a wife should also strive to live self-controlled and pure lives. I am the only person who controls what I look at, what I listen to, what I think about and what I say. Am I honoring God with how I present myself? Women are screaming to be valued, yet many (not all mind you) are flocking to the movies and throwing money at the devaluing of women in movies such as 50 Shades Darker. What are we saying? If we want to be valued, we must first value ourselves my maintaining a pure heart before God. 

Godly wives are also industrious at home. In some seasons of life being busy at home looks like changing diapers, feeding babies, and just trying to maintain the crazy. At other times it looks like running teenagers from one event to another while trying to provide some fashion of a healthy meal and clean clothes in the midst of it. The key is to be involved in the life of your family regardless of how busy or crazy life gets.  

Another key component of being a Godly wife is to be kind and do good. When I think of this I am reminded of Proverbs 31:23: 

Her husband is well know at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.”

What a powerful truth regarding a true woman of God. That she lives her life in such a way that her husband is respected because of how she carries herself. Her love, industrious nature, purity, and respect communicate the strength that she brings to her family. 

A Godly wife understands the importance of respect in a marriage. When I respect my husband, I give value to him, to his thoughts, his ideas, his wishes and desires. I never devalue him in the eyes of others by bad mouthing him or undermining his decisions, because I know that God has called me to demonstrate respect towards him:

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”-Ephesians 5:33

Finally, a Godly wife is concerned about developing her inward beauty:

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”- 1 Peter 3:3-4

There are so many ways that a wife can bring insight and value into a marriage; but one of the most important ways she can contribute to the health of her marriage is by learning to develop within her the nature of God in its unfading beauty. 

Tandy Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jesus broke the chains of sin

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you.”-Isaiah 59:2

This passage of scripture, recorded for us by the Prophet Isaiah, communicates the seriousness of sin. Today there is a movement to distract, diminish, and ignore the significance of sin. However, if sin keeps me separated from God; then sin is a serious problem that I must address.

The word for sin, most commonly used in the Bible, means to miss the mark or to go beyond the limits. Although there is no singular definition of sin found in the scriptures, when you link together the passages regarding sin you begin to get a feel for the scope of sin. Sin is described as lawlessness (1 John 3:4), wrongdoing (1 John 5:17), and unbelief (Romans 14:23). James 4:17 takes it even a little further when he writes:

 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Where did sin begin? Some would contend that sin began with Adam and Eve. However, sin had its start before Adam. Adam was the gate by which sin entered humanity, but sin began in heaven with an angel named Lucifer. Lucifer became full of pride and ultimately wanted to ascend above the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). This act of defiance became his downfall. He, then, entered the Garden of Eden and tempted Adam and Eve with the same temptation. He encouraged them to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil so that they too could know right from wrong and be like God; even though they had been instructed by God not to eat from that tree.

Genesis 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and His command. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all generations of mankind. We, as Adam’s descendants, have inherited a sin nature (Romans 5:12). The cost of that sin nature being death (Romans 6:23). This means that we are not simply sinful in practice, but by nature. We are born into sin (Psalm 51:5). This is why the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.

According to 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” How then can we be saved?

There is only one person in the history of the world who did not have a sin nature: Jesus! His virgin birth allowed Him to enter our world while bypassing the curse passed down from Adam. Jesus then went on to live a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21); which allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins (1 Peter 1:19).

It is through Christ that we are born again! John 3:6 declares:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”

When we were born we inherited Adam’s sin nature; but when we place our faith in Christ we are born again and we inherit a new nature:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, and the new is here.”-2 Corinthians 5:17. 

Although Jesus breaks the chains of sin off of our lives, the struggle does not disappear. In fact the Apostle Paul wrote about the inward struggle that remains in Romans 7:15-20 when he dialogued about how he continues to do the things that he ought not do and fails to do the things he knows he should. Although God has given us a new nature, the old nature (which has had total control of your life for so long) is not going to go away quietly. We were slaves to sin. We were destined to be separated from God, forever. We had no other option until Jesus came along. He made a way for us through His own death that we may have a chance at life. He broke the chains of sin off of our lives and gave us hope for a future. Sin is no longer our boss! We are under new management and no longer have to be subjugated to sin:

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.”-1 Peter 2:24 

Through His finished work on the cross, Jesus satisfied the wages of sin and through His resurrection provided believers with victory over their sin nature!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church