Such as these… Mark 10:13-16

Such as these…  Mark 10:13-16

I.  The Disciples scolded parents for bring their children to be blessed by Jesus 13

13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

II.  Jesus intervened on behalf of the children and their parents  14-16

A.  To His disciples:  indignation, commandment, and warning.    14-15

14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

B.  To the children: Affection and Blessing  16

16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

CONCLUSION: How does this apply to us today who have gathered at Grace Bible Church?

1.  The Church is responsible to welcome ALL people TO Jesus, all the time, no matter what problems they bring with them.

2.  Parents are responsible to bring their children to Jesus.

3.  Children are particularly loved by Jesus, independent of their parents, their friends, or even their church.

4.  All people may enter the kingdom of God simply be trusting in Jesus to receive them, as they are.

Traditional understanding: “like a child” = admirable, “innocent” traits of a child, such as teachability, honesty, humility, obedience, etc….  But the problem with this understanding of the term is that we all know that children are more complex than that, and they certainly demonstrate the opposite of these positive traits!  Besides, it doesn’t make any sense at all that Jesus would teach that we can gain entrance into His kingdom based on our moral qualifications!

Question: What qualities can we find in these children, so that we might become “such as these”, and enter into the kingdom of God?

Answer:  The children in this story demonstrated both a DESIRE for and a TRUST in Jesus.  Indeed, all who trust in Jesus will be saved, blessed, and forever a member of His kingdom!

Hope Lost, Hope Found (Mark 16:1-8)

Sermon: Hope Lost, Hope Found

Sermon Notes:

  1. A few of His friends went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus 1-3

A.  On Saturday evening they purchased the necessary spices 1

1 And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

  • Sabbath over = Saturday evening
  • Mary of Magdalen:
  • Mary (mother of Jesus) the mother of James (the younger brother of Jesus).
  • Salome:  probably the mother of the Zebedee twins, James and John.
  • Spices =aromatic spices, used to mask the stench of the decomposing, drying body.

B.  On Sunday morning they went to the tomb 2

 2 And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

  1. They worried that a large stone blocked their entrance to the grave 3

 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

  1. They were shocked to find an open tomb, an angel, and Jesus gone 4-7

A.  The tomb was open 4

4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.

B.  They found a young man inside the tomb 5-7

5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

1.  The young man explained that Jesus had risen 6

And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

2.  The young man told them to remind the disciples to go to Galilee 7

7 “But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you.'”

  • Mark 14:28 “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
  1. The women fled in fear from the tomb, saying nothing to anyone 8

 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Welcomed…but not Wanted (Mark 11:1-11)

Welcomed, but not Wanted 

Big Idea: You can welcome Jesus into your life, but not want Him to stay.

  1. The Preparations for King’s entrance to His people and city 1-7

  A.  The right place on the right day: Jerusalem 1 

As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives,

Luke 19:41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. = This particular day was chosen to enter the city by Jesus because it was in exact fulfillment the day Daniel foretold the Messiah would enter the city = 483 years after Artaxerxes issued a decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Dan 9:25, Neh 2).

  B.  The right way: on a special colt 2-7         

He sent two of His disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 “If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it.

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. = Signs of the Kings arrival in Jerusalem: Rejoicing, a King of justice, the ability to save, humility—and riding on a donkey!  Jesus purposefully had arranged the colt ahead of time, and deliberately rode it into Jerusalem so all who read the prophet Zechariah would know exactly who He was.

II. The Presentation of the King to His people and His priests 8-11a

  A.  …his presentation to the people on the road to Jerusalem 8-10

8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”

Centuries earlier, when Simon Maccabeus entered into Jerusalem after defeating the occupying Greeks, he entered with “…with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel.”  There was clearly a strong militaristic spirit in this crowd—they felt that their Messiah, the King, was coming to do battle with the Romans who occupied their beloved country.

    1.     “Hosanna!” = Salvation, from suffering! 9a

Psalm 118:25 O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!  (Hebrew word: hoshea = “Save, now!”)

     2.     “You are the blessed one of God” = Divine favor 9b

BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;

      3.   “Bless the kingdom of David” = Political victory! 10

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”

The response of the crowds tells the reader of at least three things that they believed about Jesus of Nazareth:

“Hosanna!” = T hey believed He would save them, MILITARILY, from their oppression and poverty.  “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” = They believed that Jesus was God’s representative, and therefore brought DIVINE POWER with Him.  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David” = they believed that the Davidic line was soon to be restored to the throne of Israel, in Jesus of Nazareth.  This was the POLITICAL salvation they longed for.

    B.    …his presentation to the priests in the temple in Jerusalem 11a

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. = It was one of the last prophecies of their own Scriptures that the Lord they so desperately sought after would Himself come “suddenly” to His temple.  And yet, when the Lord did come into the temple He was not received, it sounds as if He wasn’t even noticed.  What is perhaps most notable of the events of this day are not so much what did happen–as bizarre as His entrance into Jerusalem was–as much as what did not happen:  The promised Messiah of God came into the Holy City on te exact day He’d promised, in the exact way He’d promised, and He ended the day barely noticed in His own temple–the very heart of Judaism!

  1. The Departure of the King from the temple and the city 11b

…and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.

What is the story telling Grace Bible Church today, and what does it mean for us tomorrow, on Monday morning?

They welcomed Him as a savior from their hardships, but not from their sins. They wanted deliverance from the Romans, the priests, their hunger, their troubles, but not from their own sins.  We are often tempted to see our need for salvation as something outside of ourselves; as being delivered from those people and these circumstances that hold back blessing and health from us, when what we desperately need is inner transformation.

They welcomed Him as someone sent from God, but not as in fact being God.  We do the same today when we suggest that Jesus was a great moral teacher, a great man, etc., but they don’t then follow Him, per se, but might select the parts of His teachings that resonate with their own values and desires, and reject His teachings that challenge those things. 

They welcomed Him as the rightful king over their own nation, but not as the Ruler over all nations. “the kingdom of our father David…”  They were hoping for a tribal-king to unify and defend them from the nations, not the God of the nations.  We do this today when we treat Jesus as if He we have an exclusive privileges from Him that others don’t have, or when we treat our church as an exclusive, members-only club, and not a huge, welcome, open-to-the-public celebration of hope, salvation, and opportunity.

1 Corinthians 7:25-40 “Is Marriage for Me?”

Three issues to consider when considering getting married…

  1. Great CAUTION should be shown before marrying in these challenges times.  25-31

A.  Our times are troubled, marry or remarry only with great caution 25-28

25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

B.  The eternal perspective of our faith changes how we see everything… 29-31

1.  RELATIONSHIPS:  Our present understanding of marriage won’t last 29

29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

2.  DEATH: Our weeping will not last 30a

30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; 30b

3.  HAPPINESS: Our joys will not last 30c

and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice;

4.  POSSESSIONS: Our purchases will not last 30d

and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

5.  CULTURE: Our various, worldly pleasures not last 31

31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

II.  There are inescapable CONCERNS that a marriage will face. 32-35

A.  The husband’s cares are now divided between the Lord and his wife 32-34a

32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided.

B.  The wife’s cares are now divided between the Lord and her husband 34b

The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

C.  Marriage adds great challenges to a life devoted to following the Lord. 35

35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

Unfortunately, in the history of Christianity, even to this day–the concerns that marriage partners carry towards one another have been viewed as a regrettable impediment to spiritual growth and health. Nothing could be further from the truth!  It is through the daily routines of kindness, comfort, and self-giving that make up a healthy marriage that amazing opportunities develop for the believer to grow closer to the Lord.  Paul is not chastising those who marry–he is simply pointing out a fact: a married person’s concerns ARE divided between the Lord and the spouse, but, the person’s loyalty and intimacy with the Lord are only strengthen and nurtured through obedient participation in the marriage relationship!  It is just as regrettable that person called to marriage would remain single as that a person called to singleness would force himself/herself to marry.

III.  There is the need to obtain proper CONSENT before entering into marriage.  36-40

A.  FATHERS:  Consent to arrange marriage for Christian daughters 36-38

Mike Aquiline, Director of the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology, describes some of the more horrible aspects of the culture of death that the ancient Mediterranean world devolved into during and after the years of the New Testament period of the church.  It was especially harsh for females.  Regarding the ancient institution of marriage, he writes,

And pagan marriage offered no respite from this misery. Greco-Roman women were usually married off at age 11 or 12, to a mate not of their choosing, who was often much older. (Christian girls tended to marry at about 18)  Afterward, they suffered in predatory relationships rife with contraception, abortion (which often killed the mother), adultery, and unnatural sexual acts. Infanticide was common, especially for female or defective offspring. Of the 600 families who show up in the records from ancient Delphi, only six raised more than one daughter. Though most of those 600 families were quite large, they had all routinely killed their baby girls. Dr. Rodney Stark quotes a letter from a pagan businessman writing home to his pregnant wife. After the usual endearments, he closes his letter by saying, briefly and casually, “If you are delivered of a child before I come home], if it is a boy, keep it, if a girl, discard it.” (Stark, The Rise of Christianity)

So, the decision on the part of a father in ancient Corinth of whether or not to “give” his daughter in arranged marriage was a very significant, vital decision to make.  As the Christian families increasingly opted to not participate in the marriage customs of the surrounding culture, keeping their daughters with their birth families for a longer duration—they began to be known for the high value and dignity that they placed on their sons, but especially on their daughters.

1.  To follow the cultural custom of arranging a daughter’s marriage is not a sin for a father. 36

 36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.

Roman legal age of marriage for girls was 12, for boys it was 14 years of age. Most marriages were arranged by parents (husbands and wives). Faithfulness and harmony in the marriage were Roman ideals, and Christian parents also arranged their children’s marriages as did the surrounding culture.

2.  To decide not to follow the customs of the day was a good thing. 37

37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.

3.  Summary: Freedom to do either, but a father does “better” to keep his daughter at home with her family longer than his surrounding culture did. 38

38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

B.  Consent for WIDOWS to remarry 39-40

Note: These verses are not addressing the issues of remarriage faced by those who no longer are married (such as divorced or abandoned mates) or those who have never been married.  The verses appear to address those who have actually been widowed, and apply to those whose former mates are still formally recognized as “husbands.”

39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

C.  A good application for ALL of us regarding the consent to marry might to be be sure that we are in obedience to both our consciences and to the Bible.

Application: Singleness and Grace Bible Church

  1. The benefits of singleness will remain unrealized if you do not take advantage of them—the church community needs you! The mere opportunity to avoid the troubles of life that your married brothers and sisters face is not an invitation to live a care-free, happy-go-lucky life.  The mere opportunity to live a life of deeper devotion and spiritual pursuits does not mean that you are a St. Francis of the Singles—you still need to get your hands dirty in ministry. Use who you are, where you are, and how you are in life, right now!
  1. The burdens of singleness are unbearable when they are faced alone—you need the church community!  Isolation kills, and the mono-culturalism of only being with fellow singles or fellow young people stunts growth. Isolation intensifies temptation and relapse into harmful patterns and sin—you need the church to “rub shoulders” with friends, and to share your life with them, and to find the right kind of relational intimacy. The battle of loneliness shouldn’t be fought alone!  The answer to loneliness, particularly after the loss of mate, or a divorce or separation, is not to withdraw, and certainly NOT to seek another marriage relationship. It is to belong to the Lord, (like Paul) should you remain unmarried for the rest of your life or for a season—you need the church to share that life with!

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 7:8-16 God Loves Your Marriage!

Introduction:  Paul continues his words of encouragement concerning marriage, answering questions that he’d been asked by the Christians at Corinth.  In this section he addresses the marital concerns of three distinct groups:  Those who had been (but no longer were) married, those whose marriages were in crisis, and those whose mates did not share the Christian faith.  Our approach to these verse will be guided by the observation that they are not a source of God’s Laws concerning marriage, remarriage and divorce, but are instead an account of God’s deep Love for marriages of all sorts, and desire that all marriages would function at their fullest, richest capacity for intimacy, redemption, and peace.

I.  For those formerly married, either remain single and celibate, or remarry 8-9

8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.  9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

II.  For those Christian couples whose marriage are stressed 10-11

A.  Do not separate 10

10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

B.  If presently separated, either remain single or reconcile with your mate. 11

11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  

III.  For believers whose mates do not share their faith. 12-15

A.  If the non-Christian mate is satisfied—remain in the marriage. 12-14

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.  

1.  The non-Christian mate is blessed (sanctified) to be married to a Christian.  14a

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband;

2.  Their children are sanctified in having a Christian parent 14c

for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

B.  If the non-Christian mate leaves the marriage, let them go. 15-16

1.  We are called by God to a life of peace 15

15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.…

2.  We cannot ensure that our non-Christian mates will be saved by our loyalty to the marriage. 16

16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Application—What does this text mean for Grace Bible Church today?

1.  We are alert to the damage of the hardened heart.  10-11

  • Restated:       As Christians, we reject the very notion of dissolving our marriages or deserting our mates.
  • “…a hardened heart…” is the underlying reason that Jesus gave for the divorce of believer marriages.  While there are apparent provisions given in the NT for the divorce of Christians—forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and restoration are ALWAYS the preferred path to take in a marriage

2.  We honor the immeasurable worth and absolute legitimacy of marriages that are not united in faith.  12-13

  • Restated:  We wholeheartedly concur that all marriages, including those between Christian and non-Christian, are of precious in the eyes this church.
  • Many Christian ministries have done a pathetic job of ministering to their members who are in mixed marriages, and an even worse job of looking out for their non-Christian mates.

3.  We treasure the opportunity for blessing and salvation that a Christian spouse and parent offers their mates and their children. 14

  • Restated: We treasure the priceless opportunity to bring the blessing of God and hope of salvation into the lives of our mates and our children.
  • This is the Big Picture—the restoration of people to their Creator, the introduction of people to Jesus Christ.

4.         We accept the choices of our mates, but long for them to be saved.             15-16

  • Restated:  While we wholeheartedly give our affection and respect to our unsaved mates, we will also respectfully allow them to leave us should they so choose.  But…in our depths of our souls—we long for them to meet Jesus and find His salvation.

What We Owe Our Mates (1 Corinthians 7: 1-7)

Sermon: The Obligations of Christian Marriage

I.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL EXCLUSIVITY 1-2

1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good ” a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

II.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL LOYALTY 3

3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

III.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL AUTHORITY 4

4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

IV.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL INTIMACY 5-6

5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

V.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL GRATITUDE 7

7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

Conclusion:  For Grace Bible Church…

1.  We define marriage by the Word of God, not our culture’s laws and practices.

2.  We promote healthy, physical intimacy in all marriages.

3.  We seek to care for and bless our mates with “fear and trembling” at the great responsibility of being a mate.

4.  We honor and recognize every gift from God—whether the gift of living in a marriage relationship or the gift of living a life of singleness.

My Body, and Mine Alone? 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

My Body, and Mine Alone?

“So, where’s the harm in a little sexual sin?”

I.  Sexual sin DOMINATES those who abandon themselves to it. 12-14

12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.        

II.  Sexual sin DISCONNECTS us from the Lord Jesus. 15-17

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

III.  Sexual sin DAMAGES both our body and our soul.  18

18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  

IV.  Sexual sin DISMISSES my importance, identity, and purpose in life. 19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

A.  My importance:  I am the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.   19a

B.  My identity: I am now a person who belongs to God alone.  19b-20a

C.  My purpose: I now live to bring honor to Him, not pleasure to me. 20b

Conclusion: Therefore…as a Christian, I no longer claim “ownership” of my body—it now belongs to God, and I will seek to honor Him alone with what I do with my body.

3.2.14 Grace in Action (John 7:53-8:11)

Grace in Action

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: If this story were acted out in dramatic form, who would the main characters be? Big Answer: They would be those who Oppose Grace, those who are Objects of Grace, and the One who is the Origin of Grace.

Introduction: Jesus was teaching in the temple in Jerusalem 7:53-82

1.         Jesus stayed the night on the Mount of Olives 7:53-8:1

53 And everyone went to his home. 1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2.         He taught in the temple in Jerusalem 2

2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.

I.  The Opponents of Grace: Those who insist the Law be applied–to others. 3-8

3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

A.  The accusers: scribes and Pharisees 3

B.  The accused: a women set before Jesus for judgment 4a

C.  The charges: She’d been caught in the very act of adultery 4b

D.  Their attempt to trap the Lord. 5-6a

1.  “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; 5a

  • Leviticus 20:10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

2.  …what then do You say? 5b

3.  Their motives were to trap Him by forcing Him to make an unfavorable                      decision 6a

6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.

  • What were the possible responses to this “test”?  What response could Jesus have made, and what would have been the results and implications of those responses?

1)    He could have sided with the Pharisees, agreeing that she really should have been put to death.  This would have challenged Roman law.

2)    He could have sided with the Romans and the general population, and denied that the women should be executed.  This would have challenged the apparent, assumed application of the Jewish religious law.

3)     He could have done/said nothing—played it safe.

4.     He responded by writing on the ground, and challenging their application of Moses’ law.  6b-8

i.  He began to write with His finger on the ground 6a

But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.

ii.  He invited any valid witness to begin the stoning of the women, and then continued to write on the ground 7-8

7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

  • Deut 17: 6 “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
  • Jesus put His finger on the fact that these were all hostile witnesses, and thus, could not act as witnesses in a (Mosaic) court.  He exposed their failure to keep the Law, but reminding them of the parts of the Law they’d ignored.

5.  They all left the scene, their plot having failed. 9a

9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones,

  • Heard it = Note, they heard what Jesus said (“He who is without sin…”), and began to leave. Thus, it is NOT necessarily what they may have read that made them leave…

II.  The Object of Grace: the woman, a sinner caught in her sin. 9b-11a

…and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

III.  Jesus, the Origin of Grace 11b

And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

 

 

 

 

2.23.14 Exile and Redemption (Luke Todd)

In this sermon, Luke Todd explores the concepts of Exile and Redemption, looking at the exile and redemption of the tribe of Judah, and perfectly fulfilled in the restoration of people to God through the Lord Jesus.

Exile and Redemption 

Daniel 6:1-28 Liars, Laws, Lions, and the Lord Who Saves

I.          The plot of men against Daniel 1-16a

A.        Daniel distinguished himself above all others in his service to the king. 1-3

It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2 and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.

B.        Motivated by envy, peers of Daniel conspired to discredit him before the king. 4-5

1.         They could find no ethical failures in Daniel 4

4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.

2.        They determined to use Daniel’s faith against him 5

5 Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”

C.        They tricked the king into creating a law that made it illegal to pray to   anyone by him (for one month), punishable by death. 6-9

1.         They made it illegal to pray or petition any god or person (other than     King Darius) for one month 6-9

6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7 “All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. 8 “Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.

2.         They made it punishable by death to break the new law 7b

shall be cast into the lions’ den.

D.        They witnessed Daniel breaking their law, and pressed charges against  him before the king. 10-16a

1.         They spied on Daniel praying to the Lord God 10-11

10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.

2.         They pressed charges against Daniel, and demanded that Darius put       Daniel to death 12-15

a.         The charges were pressed 12-13

12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”

b.         The king was heart-sick that he’d been tricked into executing Daniel 14

14 Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.

c.         The conspirators insisted in Daniel’s execution—that very day. 15

15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

3.         Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den to be killed 16a

16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den.

II.         The presence of God on behalf of Daniel 16b-24

A.        God was present in the conscience of the king 16b-18

1.         Darius hoped that God would deliver Daniel 16b

The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”

2.         Darius took steps to prohibit the conspirators from killing Daniel in the night 17

17 A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.

3.         Darius spent the night fasting and worrying about Daniel 18

18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

B.        God was present in the den of the lions 19-24

1.         …saving Daniel from the lions 19-23

19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. 20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” 23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

2.         …punishing Daniel’s enemies by the same lions 24

24 The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

III.        Conclusion:  The Praise of Darius and the Prosperity of Daniel 25-28

1.         Praise from the king: Darius honored the Lord God 25-27

25 Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! 26 “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. 27 “He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

2.         Prosperity for Daniel: he “enjoyed success” 28

28 So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Conclusion:  God’s people can rest assured that He is with them in exile—to protect, save, and in the end—vindicate them before their enemies.  There is no stone, soldier, or seal that can stand before the power of God to rescue from danger, and deliver from death–be it in a lions’ den…or even a grave.