Broken and Naked Before God

 

 
He Without Sin 017    John 8:1-11

My text is from the story of the woman taken in adultery.  It was the time of year during the Feast of Tabernacles, where every Jewish man and woman went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast that commemorates their ancestors living in tents as they wandered thru the wilderness.  Now this story takes place early in the morning.  Jesus is outside the temple teaching a group of people when all of a sudden the scribes and the Pharisees show up dragging behind them a naked woman.  This woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  According to the Law of Moses she is to be stoned to death.  (Lev. 20:10 The man who commits adultery with another’s wife even his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.)

Let’s take a look at the brokenness – as we journey throughout our life we encounter many situations that cause us to become broken people.  Perhaps, we were introduced to drugs and/or alcohol and became addicts.  Or we were physically or sexually abused as children.  We become extremely far in debt, we cheat on college exams or taxes.  How about we catch our spouse, the love of our life, having an affair or a porn addiction.  Just take a look back over your life or your current situation and I’m sure you can name a few things along the way that has caused you to become broken.  I know I have.  At some point in our life we have failed somewhere or someone; we have blown it, we’ve made a wrong choice or two.

So  here we go back to John 8: 2-5 But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  They put her in front of the crowd.  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone here. What do you say?”

These Jewish leaders were trying to trap Jesus.  These men were happy because they figure they’ve got Jesus where they want him.  They know she’s guilty.  She knows she’s guilty.  And Jesus knows she’s guilty.  Everybody knows she’s guilty.  Never mind, that these scribes and Pharisees have already just broken the law themselves because they did not bring the man to Jesus . . . nope, just the woman.

So check it in verses 6-11.  They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

This is so good.  Picture this it’s early, Jesus is teaching a group outside the Temple and here the leaders come rocks in their hands dragging this naked broken woman caught in adultery.  Friends, these men are armed and ready.  (Vs. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with this woman.)  I LOVE this! Jesus turns it all around on them.  As the Jewish leaders were ready to prosecute this woman with rocks in hand Jesus turns it around on them by asking them to let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone and when they are confronted with facing their sin they leave one by one dropping their rocks to the ground.  Halleluiah! Praise God!

Then here is where grace comes in.  When they have all dropped their rocks and left and Jesus stands up and looks this woman in the eye he says (vs. 10-11) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  “No, Lord,” she replied.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  WOW!!  Now that’s what I’m talking about Jesus and His love for sinners; grace, grace marvelous grace.

That is grace my friend.  Was this woman guilty?  Absolutely.  Was Jesus the only sinless person there qualified to throw the rock at her?  Oh yes.  But He doesn’t He says to her Go and sin no more.  So why is this important; there are several reasons.

  1.  Why doesn’t Jesus condemn her?  She’s guilty right.  So as this woman stands before Jesus broken and naked it’s not going to be very long before Jesus goes to the cross, the only sinless perfect man was about to die for this woman who was not.  This is too good friends.  This is my Jesus!!!
  2. I want you to notice He also wants our commitment.  He says Go and sin NO MORE.  He gives grace my friends but He does NOT excuse our sin.  He doesn’t say go and do whatever you want you are covered by my grace.  He says, SIN NO MORE.  Listen, Jesus gives us grace and forgiveness but He hates sin.  Have you ever heard the saying, Hate the sin but love the sinner?  It’s like this Jesus says, Woman, I don’t condemn you but I do not like what you did so go and don’t do it anymore.  Get it?

If you are sitting here saying well, I know this is wrong and I shouldn’t steal this candy bar but I will just do it and then ask for forgiveness; then you don’t get it.  Forgiveness is not a get out of jail free card.  I will do this today and then confess it later.  Nope.  Check it once you come to God with your brokenness He will put you back together and you will not want to go against anything other than to strive to be Christ like.

Today where do you stand . . . are you like one of the Pharisees that are holding the rocks ready to throw them at other people while you stand there in your own sin.  Or perhaps you are like this woman; broken, guilty and have never quite gotten over it.  As you stand there naked and in front of Jesus with your life broken and shattered lying all over the ground are you ready to come to Jesus and give Him ALL of these broken pieces.  Listen friends, with confession and repentance Jesus still stands today ready to forgive us and not condemn us.   The next step is up to you.

On The Emmaus Road

Emmaus Road

Is it possible to know Jesus Christ and not know His presence?

For the last three years my husband and I have been studying  the early church, Jesus’ followers from back in the day and His disciples. As I sit here I am longing for my relationship with Jesus Christ to be so close I can smell his sweet presence, to have every thought in my mind only be on God’s will and my actions to be only as I see my Father doing.
In Luke 24:13-32 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. The he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:16 But God kept them from recognizing him. Why did God choose to keep the two believers from recognizing Jesus? Scripture really doesn’t tell us why but I’m sure we all wonder and speculate as to why. It definitely makes me ponder how many “strangers” have appeared to us and talked with us only for us to not recognize the truth as He walks next to us. Wow! Blows my mind to think about encounters we may be having.
So these two disciples were walking along and talking about Jesus and here comes Jesus walking right up next to them but they were unaware of His presence. I think it sounds like so many of our churches and gatherings today – Jesus is being missed. Christians today know the facts just as these two disciples did, they can quote scripture and be full of theology but are our eyes blinded to where we don’t even see or know Jesus.
As Christians our first responsibility is to follow Jesus. John 12:26 Are we truly a follower of Jesus Christ today, do we know him and follow Him so closely that we are covered in His dust? Before you answer yes to this statement, I ask that you stop for a moment and pray; ask God to reveal to you as He knows you to be. Are our hearts set on Jesus; are we seeking to KNOW him and walk with Him. He knows us by our fruit. (Matthew 7:20) OR are we the Christians that go to church once or twice a week, or maybe a small group but we don’t seek Him daily, we don’t commune with Him each day because if we do our fruit juice will be overflowing from our time spent with Jesus.

I pray that we learn from the scriptures as we are on our Emmaus Road.  Let’s not get so consumed with our life and our pleasures that we are blinded and don’t know Jesus.

Praise Him!

Stewards

 

STEWARDS

Being a steward is someone who takes care of someone else’s property. God owns everything we just possess it.  As Christians we were bought with a price. We are stewards over our body, influence, talents, attitudes, money, possessions, and time.

1 Corinthians 6:19-21 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

 God has given us freewill; however, we have to keep in mind that one day we will answer to God as to how we were stewards over what He has allowed us to have.  Since we belong to God we are responsible to Him for what we do with what we have, do, say, act, etc.  I want to look at a few areas in our lives that God owns but has given us stewardship over.

First, our body:  Romans 12:1-12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

 Our bodies now belong to Him, for His use we are to keep it clean, holy, and healthy.  Do we keep our selfish desires of the flesh in check?

Second, our influence:  If you claim to be a Christian you must realize by now that people will watch you more close.  What do your peers think of you?  Does your influence make your peers want to be a Christian because of what they see in you?  Does your influence lead them to or away from God?

Third, our attitudes:  Do you allow God to control your attitude or do you allow your circumstances dictate your attitude.  If you are having a particularly rough day will it reflect in your attitude?  How is your attitude toward the people in your life and your own household? Are you focusing on everything that is wrong and negative instead of the good or positive?  At some point in our lives we have faced challenges; a loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a home, an illness or sudden injury, those things we have no control over; however, we do have control over our attitudes during trials.  Our attitudes should reflect our position as God’s child not our current circumstance or trial.  Rejoice at all times, even in the bad.

Fourth, our talents:  God has gifted us with certain abilities and talents that we need to use for His glory and edification of others not our egos. Romans 15:2-3  We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”

We are to be faithful in what we were given and not covet others gifts, talents, abilities or ministries.

Fifth, our money and possessions:  In an article I seen it was stated that 29% of all Christians tithe.  Wow!  What a statement.  I can’t help but wonder do these people really even know God.  Because it is apparent to me that if you know God then you live your life in total surrender to Him and His will; right?  After all, did we not forsake all for the call.  We buried the old man and put on the new in Christ.  If you want to know where people’s hearts are then follow where their money goes.  Then you will find what interests them most.

Material Possessions if we are covetous to give then we are rebellious to God.  Take a look at the rich young ruler.  He loved his possessions so much that he gave up eternal life with Jesus Christ to hold on to his wealth.

Sixth, our time:  How many times have we heard or said, “there’s never enough time in a day” or  “where did the day go, time flies.”

Ephesians 5:16 (NLT) 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

What are we spending our time doing?  Are we wasting time on things that are eternally unprofitable?  Yes, we do have to work, eat and sleep but we should do a schedule check to make sure we are using our time for God and the things of God.  We have so little time to do what we are called to do we better stop wasting it.

James 4:14 (NLT) 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

We are living on God’s time.  Every day is a gift from God and we will be accountable to Him with what we do with our day.  Once the day is gone the time is lost and we can never regain that time again.   As I was doing this study it was touching upon the youth we are charged with raising and teaching.  When we take our kids to church what are we looking for in a youth group; classes, groups, or activities?  So, I did some searching and checking back into the recesses of my time as a youth and here is what I came up with.  Back in the day we spent time with other youth groups doing sword drills and listening to God’s Word. Today we are so busy in our churches that just like the adults if we can woo them in with all the glitz and glamour of what we have to offer then it is the same for the kids and the parents will want their kids there as well.  It is just time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and speak the truth.  We are filling our kids with so many activities that we leave them very little time for God’s house and when we do finally take some time to get them there for 1 hour a week we fill that time with religious activities.  We are losing our kids here and growing a generation of emptiness when it comes to the word of God.  After all, if we teach them about purity and modesty they won’t want to come back, so let’s go do some scavenger hunts, go to Kings Island, or whatever it may be.  We better wake up!!

Finally, the gospel.  Romans 10:13-15 (NLT) 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

You have a responsibility in spreading the gospel whether it be on a foreign mission field, a hometown mission field, at your work place, or in your neighborhood you have a responsibility.  Either you are called to go or called to send.  I’m not talking about short term missions here I’m talking about the missionary that gives all to go live in an area and build relationships with the people and teach them the things of God and give them the gospel.

Do you accept the charge?

We must remember our bodies belong to God, our influence and attitude should be Christ reflective.  Our talents are a gift from God for His use and glory, our money and possession all belong to him not just the 10% we need to spend it the way He instructs us. Our short time on this earth we are commanded of God to spread the Gospel not waste the day.

 

Praise Him!

Altar of Prayer

 1 John 2:6 (NLT)  Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did

To walk as Christ did means we must obey His teachings, follow His example of complete and total obedience to God and loving service to people.  We must notice that Jesus ministry was filled with prayer.  The disciples walked with Him daily, seen His altar of prayer and wanted Him to teach them how to pray.  It’s important, it’s a must in our daily walk to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ to this world.

We must crucify the flesh and line up our desires with God’s will in total surrender to our own wants, desires and idols.  We have to cut off the old life – die to self.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

When the Holy Spirit lives inside of us uninhibited by our flesh there is no limit or extreme He will take in His passion to warn & save others.  Just as Jesus did when He walked this earth.  Jesus knows the cost of this.  He left heaven became man he suffered, he tired, he was tempted just as we are, he became POOR for our sake and ultimately became sin for us through His crucification.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT)  20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We can’t serve two masters, we must not be lukewarm.  If we are to walk as Christ walked, lived as He lived, be His representatives here to this world then we need to crucify our lusts, our natural desires.  We need to lay down the idols that master our lives.  Our idols or our masters are anything that we place over God’s wants and desires; love of money, our business, our busy schedules, our families, our kids sports activities. We have become so pre-occupied by the cares and busyness of our lives that it steals our time, it takes away from our altar of prayer then we lose passion for God and the things of God.  We choose to pursue success, prosperity and self and they do not profit us spiritually or impact His kingdom.

Listen to me, God is not going to interrupt your facebook time or scream at you during your kids football or soccer games.  We must must must crucify the idol of “self” upon our altars of prayer.

Today God still desires your faithfulness to Him, your daily repentance, and a separated life from the world and a burning passion for Him and His kingdom.

Remember that saying What Would Jesus Do?  Well, really ask yourself if you are to walk as Christ did and you are to be in His image, His representative here and now to this world in this life what do you need to sacrifice on your altar of prayer.  It is time for those of us who claim Jesus as Savior to make Him Jesus Savior Master and Lord of our lives.  Crucify our wants and desires and allow your desires to become God’s will then and only then will He give you the desires of your heart!  Get it?

Praise Him!

Image of Christ

Philippians 2:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)lippians 2:3

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to conform to the image of Christ.  When Jesus was on this earth He lived and taught as an example of how we are to live, He was God’s model for us.  From the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit brings God’s revelation of Christ to us to conform us into His image.

Why is it important that as followers we reflect the moral character and Christ’s image? So that when the world sees us, they see Christ.  We are left here to become Jesus’ hands and feet.  We are left here so that when other’s look upon us we reflect Christ in everything we do and say.  If we are reflecting Jesus’ image then we are going to be submitted to God in our attitudes by developing an attitude of repentance and be in total submission to God’s will.  We will walk in forgiveness, freely giving to anyone who has need.  We will act as we know we are the temple of God.

So if we are living to

display Christ’s character we will live a life of self-sacrifice.

Philippians 2:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God  as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;  he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Come on friends we have to truly get a grasp on this.  We are living in a world today where we focus on instant gratification, and live to fulfill

our own selfish desires.  If we want the latest electronic gadget, we charge it.  We have got to have the name brand clothes and designer jewelry.  We are focused on me, me, me.  Even as Christians we go to church one hour one day a week and sit down in a soft plush comfy pew with our 5 buck coffees from the coffee bar and look at the Pastor and say, “ok, you have one hour now feed me so I can get on with my day”.  Check yourself believer, if this resembles you.  Does this bring joy to God?  Are we displaying Christ-like character 2

4/7/365.  Being a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ is not a part-time fascination, it’s a full-time transformation.

In our Women’s Insight Group tonight we are studying on the topic of Real Christians Linger.  Today we are so distracted and hurry sick that we are unaware that we serve a God and that we are to live to bring Him joy.  Most of the time, He isn’t even thought of until we pillow our heads at night and say a little prayer, let alone live a life to bring Him joy and Christ-likeness brings Him joy.

Check out Nehemiah.  Nehemiah 8:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and cel
ebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

When we bring God joy we are strengthened.  Our choices, just like Nehemiah brings God joy.  Nehemiah was not part of the religious establishment, he was just like you and I.  Nehemiah’s relationship with God motivated Him to do God’s will in this world.  God used Nehemiah right where he was and he has placed you where you are to use you right where you are.   What was going on here is that Ezra was reading the law and the people started weeping.  Why were they weeping; because they realized how far they were from obeying the law.  Are you where God wants you to be, are you walking in His plan, are you listening to the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ?

As you read further on in Nehemiah you will see that the people acted upon the words that they heard.  We have got to be careful not to become dulled with hearing God’s word.  We must pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal how we need to apply scripture to our lives.    We MUST do something!  Understand, that as long as you have breath it is not too late.  God is committed to work in you until Christ is formed in you.  You MUST deny your flesh and yourself!  Ask God to reveal and confront you with the worldliness of your heart; whatever that may be for you.  Then allow the Holy Spirit to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!

 

Authentic

I wanted to re-post this blog because my ladies insight group is doing a study on Being Authentic in an Artificial World.  This seemed fitting.

I just wanted to share with you what God has been speaking to me alot about lately. He’s been speaking to me about being authentic and what exactly it means to be authentic. Dictionary.com defines the word as:
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.

I think alot of us go through life putting on a “face” that we show to the world. We pretend we have our lives all together, our jobs are great, our kids are great, our marriage is great – – as a matter of fact the Cleavers have nothing on us. When in reality most of us are broken, wounded, misfit people. We are afraid to let people see the real us because, whoa! We are less than perfect. So we put on our best clothes, fix our hair and make-up and stroll into church with the biggest smile we can muster. We stand and sing we praise and amen but deep down inside we are crying out, we are hurting, we are BROKEN! I challenge you today to be authentic – – be just who you are and let God speak to you, let Him put the song in you, let him put the praise on your lips. Be AUTHENTIC! Be yourself! Let go of all the false faces and pretend smiles and let God be glorified by who you are and the amazing work he has done or is doing in your life.

Bring your hurt, your burdens, your brokeness to God. Let it go – give it to God roll it onto His shoulders. LET IT GO!! Colossians 3:5 – 9.  Seek God everyday from the moment you open your eyes in the morning be intentional about focusing on God and His ways. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2

Then choose to let your true, authentic self reflect the attitude and model the behavior set forth in Colossians 3:12-17.

I pray that we can encourage and uplift one another to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ and that we can truly live the life that Jesus shed His precious blood for us to have!  Take some time today to read the verses mentioned above in Colossians – God has a blessing waiting for you!!

Make today a great day in the Lord!
To God Be All The Glory!

Praise Him!

Devil’s Playground

Image

God has given my husband and I a completely new direction within the last two years that I never imagined would be the road we travel.  We’ve been in the  ministry since 1998 serving in various roles within our church; Youth Pastors, Associate Pastors, Head Deacon, Women’s Ministry Pastor and we’ve cherished and love every minute.  Two years ago God directed us to the Inner City of Hamilton, Ohio.  The work we do is set among the prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals and dope boys and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Over the last years we have been led to go out among them and build relationships.  We have developed some friendships and some losses but one thing remains the same; God died for each and every one of us including the dope boys.  We have met people that just want to come around to take and use up what God is using to help.  We’ve learned not to spend our time with people who are unwilling to change and invest in those that are.  Believe me there are far greater people that are unwilling to change, I mean deeply change.  These people are master manipulators, they do it for a living, so they will tell you what you want to hear to get what you are giving out.  You feel me?

There have been a few lives we’ve been honored to see saved, pr

uned and grown.  Praise God for that honor.  Friends, the fields are still white for harvest but we need to be going to them.  We spend too much time, money and effort begging people to come into our buildings on Sunday.  Then we expect the Pastor standing behind the pulpit to “win” them to Christ.  This is not the “church” that Jesus gave His precious life for.  He did not die so that we can have nice pews.  Jesus left us here on earth to be His hands and feet and one day a week, sitting in a pew, or standing behind a pulpit doesn’t cut it.  Jesus’ church gets dirty, goes to the crack houses, loves on the drug addicts, gives hope to the hopeless, shelter to the homeless, and joy to a child’s heart.

The church that Jesus died for is unstoppable and connected to one spirit with one purpose.  When we look upon God’s kingdom on Earth we see lives changing, communities transforming, families restored and addicts delivered.  These are some of the great things of God that is beyond our control and only truly taking place where Jesus is the head and lead shepherd.

As we look around our community and into the face of many broken people we see the captives of this world.  We need to get on the offensive, go face to face with the enemy and storm his playground; amen!

Join us any Saturday or Sunday as we Take it to the Streets – all for His Honor and Glory!!  We go in the name of Jesus and no other name!
Praise Him!