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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: The temptation of Jesus

(Part 1 of 2)

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.”-Luke 4:1-2.

One would expect that after Jesus’ baptism, once he had been filled with the Spirit and recognized as the Son of God that he would immediately launch out into his earthly ministry. However, all three gospel writers confirm that before Jesus taught his first sermon or worked his first miracle, the Spirit of God led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Luke 4:2 states that he fasted (eating nothing) for forty days and in the end he hungered. It is at this moment when Jesus was physically at his weakest that Satan came and tempted Him. The serpent of old, which caused Adam and Eve to fall into sin, now stood before the last Adam with the same intentions.

This encounter with Satan is tremendously helpful when it comes to living out our own faith. There are three important observations that can be made from their encounter. First, if Satan was willing to tempt Jesus, you can be certain that he will tempt you. Jesus had just been baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and recognized from heaven as being the Son of God. Satan waited until Jesus had been publically recognized before tempting him. Satan reasoned that with all the speculation and expectation surrounding Jesus, if he were to fall to temptation it would have been a decisive victory for him.  This is why Satan is continually at work tempting born-again, Spirit-filled men and women of God as it brings him great satisfaction to see God’s handiwork fall into temptation.

The second thing we learn from Jesus’ temptation is that Satan’s methods have not changed. 2 Corinthians 2:11 reminds us that we are not to ignorant of his devices:

In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

Satan is not a creative being. He counterfeits and perverts the things that God has created. This is evidenced by the fact that he continues to use the same three avenues to lead people into temptation: the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Nevertheless, these methods have proven effective for thousands of years to corrupt the people of God.

“For everything in the world-the cravings of the sinful man (lust of the flesh), the lust of the eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does (pride of life) comes not from the Father but from the world.”-1 John 2:16.

Finally the last thing we glean from Jesus’ encounter with Satan is that he overcame temptation with the Word of God; establishing a model for us in overcoming Satan’s tactics.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's all about Jesus: His Baptism (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 2)
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”-Matthew 3:13-15.
The second reason it was proper for Jesus to be baptized by John was that it allowed Jesus to identify with sinners. Jesus understood that he was providing a path of spiritual growth for us to follow. Although Christ had no sins to be repented of or washed away; he modeled what would be the initial step of obedience and demonstration of our faith upon accepting Christ:
God made his who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”-2 Corinthians 5:21.
Lastly, it was also proper for Jesus to be baptized because it fulfilled scripture:
A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, and make straight paths for him.’”-Isaiah 40:3.
Isaiah the prophet revealed hundreds of years before this moment that John would come to prepare the way for the Messiah. It was a significant moment in the life of Christ as scripture was fulfilled and as prophesies came to pass.
Jesus was baptized in keeping with the will and righteousness of God; because of this we too must embrace baptism as an imperative milestone in our own faith walk. Peter recognized this in Acts 2:37-39:
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and aid to Peter and the other apostles, “Brother’s what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
After we repent, we must publically accept Jesus Christ. Baptism is the outward expression of that inward commitment. He was baptized to identify with us; now we are baptized in order to identify with him. As we are baptized we identify, through immersion, with his death, burial, and resurrection; proclaiming that He is our Lord and Savior.
We proclaim through baptism that we have died to sin, Satan, and worldly desires; and are now a new creation in Christ Jesus having been raised to life with him. The old is gone the new has come.
If you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, the next step in your Christian walk is baptism
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: His Baptism (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 2)
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”-Matthew 3:15-17.
Jesus’ baptism would prove once again to be yet another milestone in his life. His baptism would mark the beginning of his earthly ministry. Galatians 4:4 tells us that Jesus was born under law to redeem those under the law. Because he was born into a Jewish family, we see glimpses of him fulfilling the law throughout various phases of his life. He was circumcised at eight days old, consecrated 40 days after his birth, and at age 12 we find him in the temple celebrating Passover. He also followed the law when it came to beginning his earthly ministry.
Numbers 4:30 states that those involved in the priestly ministry would begin their service at the age of 30. Luke 3:23 tells us:
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.”
The baptism of Jesus would serve as his inauguration at which his ministry would be confirmed before both God and men. It would also serve to be a model for all those who would put their faith in him.
When Jesus approached John the Baptist, it is evident from Matthew 3:13-15 that John was hesitant about baptizing Jesus:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.”
John felt as if he should be baptized by Jesus, rather than him baptizing the Son of God. Nevertheless, Jesus declared that it was proper for him to be baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness.
One reason that it was appropriate for John to baptize Jesus was because it served to fulfill the law. Leviticus 16:4 describes how a priest was to prepare himself to minister before the Lord:
He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself in water before putting them on.”
Priests were to immerse themselves in water prior to putting on the sacred garments which identified them as priests. Before Jesus began his priestly ministry on earth, he too immersed himself in water in keeping with the law.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's all about Jesus: His mission!

“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign, Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.”-Luke 2:28-33.
From the moment Jesus took his first breath here on earth, his life was defined by a divine mission. It wasn’t a cause he chose to adopt, or something he grew into as he matured, but rather it was a mission he was born to accomplish.
The very first inclination of his mission was announced just eight days after his birth:
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before had been conceived.”-Luke 2:21.
According to Leviticus 12:3 every male child was to be circumcised on the eighth day in keeping with the Law of Moses. Jesus, in keeping with the Law, was circumcised on the eighth day marking him as a true son of Israel. During this ceremony, the name of the child is given. Joseph at this time would have pronounced the child’s name to be Jesus. The name Jesus means “The Lord is Salvation.” It was the name given to them by the angel Gabriel identifying Jesus as being the one who would save the people from their sins; his name itself bearing witness to his divine mission.
Approximately a month later, after the days of purification had ended, Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord in keeping with the Law of Moses which commands that every first born male be consecrated to the Lord. It is while they are at the Temple presenting their sacrifices that they have an encounter with a prophet named Simeon. Simeon, upon seeing the child, confirmed Jesus’ mission when he declared:
“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”-Luke 2:30-32.
Simeon identified Jesus as the Messiah that would bring salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike. Even in infancy, Jesus’s mission was clearly evidenced. Scripture tells us that “he grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” 
Later in Luke 2:41-47 we are introduced to Jesus again at the age of 12 years old. He has come with Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. When the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, unbeknown to his parents; the boy Jesus stayed behind. Upon realizing he was not in their company, Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem to find Jesus in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
Jesus’ parents, astonished to find him there, asked in Luke 2:48: “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Jesus’ response in Luke 2:49 is telling:
Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
It is uncertain when Jesus became conscious of his mission, but we know that by 12 years old he understood who his Father was and what his mission was on earth. Later, when Jesus was grown he would clearly articulate the reason for his coming:
For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”-Luke 19:10.
This may be the most important thing that you ever learn about Jesus. Jesus was sent to save you! If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior perhaps today you will put your faith in Him.

It's all about Jesus: A Savior has been born to you!

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”-Luke 2:8-12
The story of Jesus’ birth is a delicate balance of the mundane and miraculous. Jesus was born to two ordinary working class people: a young mother and a carpenter; his birth, although memorable, was not surrounded by any fanfare; he was simply wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid in a feeding trough in a lowly stable in Bethlehem. On the other hand, his birth was prophesied from days of old and announced by angels. In addition, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin and visited by kings.
The story begins in Luke 1 where Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel. The angel declares to her that she will give birth to a son, that his name will be Jesus, and that he will be the Son of God:
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with Child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”-Luke 1:30-31.
Mary stunned by the pronouncement asked how this would be as she was a virgin.  The angel declared: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”-Luke 1:35.
Needless to say, this put Joseph in a very difficult situation. His fiancée has just been found to be pregnant and he is not the father. Matthew 1:19 captures for us the heart of Joseph as he considered the situation:
Because Joseph was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
But after he had considered this, he too had an encounter with the angel Gabriel who told him that the child Mary was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit, she would give birth to a son, they were to name him Jesus; because he would save his people from their sins.
Mary and Joseph believed and were obedient to do just as the angel had instructed them. The shepherds that visited Jesus that night heard the good news announced by angels; they heard the Word of the Lord and responded immediately.
Matthew 2:1-2 tells us that another group of men recognized Jesus coming when they saw a star appear in the east announcing the Messiah had been born. These three magi (kings of the east) travelled hundreds of miles to reach the place where Jesus was born, so they may worship him.
However, not everyone responded positively to the good news. King Herod heard from the wise men that Christ had been born. He confirmed it in the scriptures, but he did not draw near to worship; instead he sought to kill the child.
The coming of Jesus was announced by angels, by a star in the sky, by wise men, and by Scripture! However, when all is said and done, how you hear the message; whether magnificent or mundane, isn’t as significant as how you respond to it.
A Savior has been born to you! He came to save you from your sins, all you have to do is come to Him in faith, repent of your sins, and put your trust in Him.

It's all about Jesus: From everlasting to everlasting (Pt.2)

(Pt. 2)
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”-Isaiah 7:14.
Although Jesus’ coming was announced by angels at His birth; the details of His coming were being proclaimed by prophets long before. Isaiah prophesied that He would be born of a virgin; Jeremiah prophesied that He would be born of the line of David; and Micah prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem.
These are just a few surrounding His birth; there are hundreds of prophecies nestled within the pages of the Old Testament regarding His life, ministry, death, resurrection, and second coming.
God wanted mankind to know that He was going to reveal Himself to us through Jesus and described for us specifically the events surrounding His coming. Scripture and history bear out the fact that Jesus came just as it was foretold through the Holy prophets; but why did He come?
The simple answer to that question is “He came for you!” Jesus came to earth to satisfy man’s desire to know God more intimately. He came to reveal to us His true nature, His will, His workings, His truth, and His power. He also came to correct the many misconceptions people had about Him. He did this by becoming the audible expression of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”-John 1:1.
Author Ralph Riggs describes it this way in his book entitled “The Life of Christ”: “A word is an audible expression of an inaudible thought. Jesus would take the inaudible, invisible God and clothe Him in such a way men could see Him.”
The Apostle Paul recognized this when he wrote in Colossians 1:15:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
The writer of Hebrews declared:
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”-Hebrews 1:3
Jesus came to earth to display God’s love, compassion, patience, humility, and wisdom in such a way that you and I could truly know Him. Jesus said in John 14:9: “I am in the Father and the Father in me.”
If you want to know who God is, look to Jesus. God has and is revealing Himself to us still today through Jesus Christ.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church