Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY SEPT. 16, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have run out of wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’”

“Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the water pots with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.’ And they took it.”

“When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” John 2.1-11

Something To Consider:
There is no more important person to invite to a wedding than Jesus of Nazareth. There is no greater embarrassment at a Jewish wedding celebration than running out of wine. A wedding without wine called for drastic measures on the part of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary did what we all should do in our times of being without and in need of help, she went to Jesus. “They have run out of wine,” Mary explained with much hope that Jesus would come to her rescue. What do we do when we find suddenly that we have a lack? Who do we go to first when we discover our need?

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7.7-8, Jesus declared, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives [in answer to prayer], and he [or she] who seeks finds, and to him [or her] who knocks it will be opened.” The problem arises when the answer sometimes for our best interest is not yes! Every question and every request we present to our heavenly Father in prayer and in the name of Jesus will receive an answer. Sometimes that answer is a resounding yes. Sometimes we may need to hear no, or not yet.

Sometimes, according to the words of James 4.3, “You [we] ask and do not receive, because you [we] ask amiss [with the wrong motivations], that you [we] may spend it on your [our] pleasures.” On other occasions we are impatient and foolishly attempt to demand certain things of God as if He is our servant and we are His master.

James declared in chapter 5 of his letter in verses 7-8, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You [we] also be patient. Establish your [our] hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” Therefore, according to James, the step brother of Jesus, how long should we be patient? According to James and the Word of God, we are to be patient until the coming of the Lord!

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus, in His response, used the word woman in addressing Mary His mother, which in that culture was not disrespectful. The very same word was used by Jesus as He was approaching death upon the cross in John 19.26, while His eyes looked to John, He said to His mother; “Woman, behold your son!” This was a term of endearment and of utmost respect. Mary, without hesitation instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus said to do. At that moment in time these servants were tested! Doing whatever Jesus says should be the spiritual servant mentality of every believing leader in training.

Would we have passed the spiritual taste test that day? How about today? Do we pass the spiritual taste test when Jesus commands, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.How do we fare the spiritual test of servant mentality when we hear Jesus proclaim, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”? How do we respond to the difficult predictions of Jesus as it pertains to those living in the end times, such as Matthew 24.9; “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake”?

What if those days are upon us? In reality, those days are upon many of the professing Christian believers around the world. The persecution of those believing in Jesus is increasing around the globe. What should be our response to the everyday news of the killing of our Christian brothers and sisters in the faith? Is there anything that we can do as western believers living in America?

Yes! There are a few Christian groups helping the persecuted in many nations as well as reaching out to the families of martyred believers such as Asia Harvest, Open Doors, and Samaritans Purse. And of course, we should be praying for the mercy of the Lord to be extended to all true believers being persecuted for righteousness sake, for at some point we too may need prayer due to persecution!

Something More To Consider:
Both the Old and New Testament liken us as believers to earthen clay vessels, much like the clay water pots in our lesson today. Jesus would later declare in the book of Acts that the apostle Paul was a chosen vessel of God. He was chosen to bear the name of Jesus before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Paul spoke of mankind as earthen vessels of wrath, or of mercy, as if the choice of our destiny lies as dormant as a perennial daffodil bulb hidden beneath the soil in great expectancy of being born again when it is bathed in the warmth of an early spring or summer sun.

And yet, as humans the decision of our becoming earthen vessels of wrath or of mercy which lies dormant within us can be unlocked by our own decision to become and remain obedient to the Word of God and the conditional commands of Jesus Christ. Our being obedient to every Word of God as were the servants in our lesson will ensure us of having a good and godly servant mentality, as well as ensuring us of ultimately passing God’s spiritual taste test.

A Few Final Words:
Following what Jesus predicted in Matthew 24.9, concerning end time believers being delivered up to tribulation, killed, and hated by all nations for His name’s sake, Jesus further warned of the spiritual atmosphere surrounding those living in the last days of man’s rule upon planet earth in Matthew 24.10-14.

Jesus predicted beginning in verse 10 of Matthew 24, “And then many will be offended, and betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he [or she] who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel [the gospel of enduring to the end] will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Are we as end time followers of Jesus prepared for the final spiritual exam of our lives? If we are among the many listening to the many false prophets of a false religious system then we will be among the many deceived. Will we in the end exemplify a spiritual servant mentality as did the servants in our study today? Will we be found by Jesus prepared to pass the spiritual taste test of the coming end times? And if the answer at this time is no, what can we do to be prepared?

On the surface each individual’s situation of course may appear to be different. Some are single, and many are married with children. What do we do to be prepared? Some live in the confines of a large inner city, while others live in more rural locations. But, what is the most important decision I must make in order to be properly prepared for end time events? According to Scripture, we should first surrender our pride, arrogance, fear, and disbelief to God by believing in and clinging to Christ.

Waiting until the end time testing arrives in order to become spiritually prepared is not wise. Now is the day of preparation, not then! Today our salvation is nearer than it has ever been. Therefore, please do not wait for we are not promised another opportunity to become prepared. This day we should cut all ties to evil earthly compromise and complacency as it concerns our truly following Jesus and becoming obedient to the preserved written Word of God.

Our Father in heaven, make us willing and prepared vessels of mercy, filled to overflowing with the life changing water of Your Word. In Him Always, Amen!

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