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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So Close, Yet So Far Away

(Part 1 of 2)

 “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared asked him any more questions.”

                                                                                                            Mark 12:28-34

It is evident that Jesus is excited for the man in this passage. Jesus judged, by the man’s answer, that he was near the Kingdom of God; which meant that the likelihood of him entering the Kingdom was greatly increased. Nevertheless, we can spend our whole lives living ‘near the Kingdom’ but never enter in to it! I want to take some time to look at two men who lived near the Kingdom; one made it in, one did not.

In John 3:1-2 were are introduced to a man named Nicodemus:

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one can perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Nicodemus was a religious church- going man and member of the ruling council. Surely this man was ‘in the kingdom”! Yet Jesus replies to him:

 “I tell you the truth; no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

                                                                                                            John 3:3

You mean this man’s church attendance, moral life, adherence to scripture, position in church leadership and sincerity towards God wasn’t enough? Jesus said to him again in John 3:5:

I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”

This leads Nicodemus to ask in John 3:9: “How can this be?”

How are we born again? According to John 3:16-18, we simply must believe on God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ! We cannot enter into God’s Kingdom without putting our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus declared in John 14:6:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Nicodemus eventually came to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He lived close to the kingdom for a very long time, but it was not until he received Christ that he stepped through the door into God’s grace.


Pastor Scott Burr


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Push the Bowl Away

(Last in series)

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God made you also an heir.”

                                                                                                Galatians 4:-7

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have received full rights as sons. We have become God’s children meaning we have inheritance rights! Galatians 3:29 tells us that we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Romans 8:17 declares that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus.

However, there are many who are selling off their inheritance, choosing to live contrary to the Word of God; abandoning their relationship with God one bowl of stew at a time. The Apostle Paul recognized this disturbing trend in the Corinthian church and declared to them:

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived? Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

They were being deceived into believing that even if they broke fellowship with Christ and lived immorally, that their inheritance was secure! Paul trumpets this message again in Ephesians 5:3-6:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”

How important is God’s covenant relationship to you? How valuable is His blessing in your life? Do not be deceived! Do not think you can live as you please, contrary to the Word of God, and slip in at the end and get His blessing. Esau missed it! So will you!

Pastor Scott Burr


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Push the Bowl Away

(Part 2 in series)

“Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.”

                                                                                                            Genesis 27:5-7

Esau’s promise to give Jacob his birthright meant nothing if the birthright blessing was spoken over his brother, Esau. So Rebekah devised a plan to ensure that Jacob received Isaac’s blessing. Rebekah told Jacob to bring her two choice goats and she prepared some tasty food for Isaac, just the way he liked it. Then she took Esau’s best clothes and put them on Jacob. Because Esau was a hairy man, she covered Jacob’s hands and the smooth part of his neck with goatskin just in case Isaac reached out to touch him. When all this was done, she sent Jacob in with the meal to receive the promised blessing.

When Esau returned and heard what Jacob had done he was furious! He blamed Jacob for stealing his birthright and his blessing:

Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing! Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

                                                                                                             Genesis 27:36

Although Esau claimed that Jacob deceived him out of his birthright, scripture is clear that he sold it for a bowl of stew. Esau lived contrary to God’s righteous standards. His actions demonstrated a lack of interest in God’s covenant blessing. The writer of the book of Hebrews called him godless- meaning he was worldly, secular, unspiritual or irreligious. He ignored God’s Word until it was too late. It cost him God’s blessing!

Esau was so angry he vowed to kill Jacob once Isaac had died. So Jacob fled from Esau, meaning that Esau ended up with all the inheritance. He ended up with all the authority and became the head of the family after Isaac’s death. The blessing, however, went with Jacob! In the end, it wasn’t the “stuff” Esau wept for; it was the blessing:

Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.”

                                                                                                Genesis 27:38

Esau tried to live the way he wanted, pursue his own wants and desires, do what he thought was right and then try to slip in at the end and get the blessing! He forfeited God’s blessing for a bowl of stew and today many people are making the same mistake!

 Pastor Scott Burr


Friday, February 8, 2013

Push the Bowl Away

(Part 1 in series)

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward as you know, when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.”

                                                                                                            Hebrews 12:16-17

Many of you know the story of Jacob and Esau, but for those who have not the story bears repeating! According to Genesis 25, Jacob and Esau were Isaac’s twin sons. Esau was born first, with Jacob coming out second grasping his brother’s heel. Esau grew up to be a skillful hunter, while Jacob was a quiet man staying among the tents. Genesis 25:29-34 tells us:

“Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he is also called Edom.) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is a birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then he got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.”

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew! What does that mean? What did he actually give up? As first born son the birthright secured for him primarily three things:

1.      A double portion of the property

2.      Authority over the family as head of the family

3.      The blessing- which place him in closed favored covenant relationship with God.

In Genesis 27:1- 4, Isaac is old and about to die. He calls Esau in and tells him what to do in preparation to receive the blessing:

“When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered. Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapon-your quiver and bow-and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”

Esau’s oath to Jacob meant nothing if the birthright blessing and Isaac’s oral declaration were spoken over Esau. It was this blessing that legally and spiritually bound the birthright in near eastern culture. This turn of events led Rebekah (Jacob & Esau’s mother) and Jacob to devise a plan to ensure Jacob received the promised blessing!


Pastor Scott Burr