Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY DEC. 9, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“So Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’

“Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’” Luke 4.16-22

Something To Consider:
Nazareth means twig or brushwood. As mentioned earlier, being from Nazareth was like being from the wrong side of town. And yet, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 1.27, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” In our own thinking, are we of the foolish things of this world or are we of the wise things of this world? Are we of the weak things of this world or are we of the mighty things of this world? If we are of the foolish and weak things of this world, we are in good company!

Paul also declared in 2 Corinthians 12.10, as a true believer in Jesus, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” So Jesus returned to Nazareth, though insignificant to many and yet most important to God and God’s plan of redemption. Hopefully, you and I have felt like one of the foolish and one of the weak things of the world. And if so, we should rejoice, to be among those used by God to put to shame the wise and the mighty.

Though we are insignificant to many in the world, as enduring to the end true believers in Jesus, we are important to God. And if important to God then we should humble ourselves under His leadership, guidance, and divine direction as we travel through this adventurous journey called life. If important to God, we should submit to His instructions and admonitions scattered throughout the Word of God. If that is the case, how are we doing in the light of Scripture? It is important to take inventory of our spiritual progress from time to time. Therefore, how are we doing?

Something Else To Consider:
In our text today the mission statement of Jesus was revealed. He came to accomplish six spiritual mandates. 1) Jesus came to preach the gospel or good news to the poor or less fortunate, spiritually speaking. 2) He was sent by God the Father to heal the brokenhearted, to heal the walking wounded, to heal heartbroken individuals in need of spiritual, physical, and emotional healing. 3) Jesus was sent to proclaim liberty and true spiritual freedom that was and still is available to any and all who are held captive, imprisoned by their own sin or the sin of others. 4) He came to preach the recovery of spiritual sight to those blinded by the deceitfulness of dictatorial religious, man-made, rule requiring leaders. 5) Jesus came to set at liberty, to set free, those oppressed by the wicked ways of evil individuals. 6) Jesus came to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, or the acceptable day of salvation.

The apostle Paul would later declare, “Behold, now is the day of salvation.” In other words, any day the Word of God or the gospel of Christ is preached and or heard, it is the day of salvation. The question is, have we accepted the gospel preached? Have we taken full advantage of the spiritual and emotional healing provided and graciously offered by Jesus Christ? Have we been set free from the captivity of sin in our own lives or are we addressing sin as though it is everybody else’s issue? Have our spiritual eyes been enlightened by a born-again spiritual experience initiated by God Himself by way of His Holy Spirit bringing conviction to our hearts through the preaching of God’s Word?

Have we freely received the spiritual liberty from wickedness that can only come from being spiritually born again in and through Jesus’ sacrificial atoning death upon an old rugged cross? And finally, have we responded to the preaching of the acceptable year of the Lord by our receiving His promise of future eternal salvation?

These are not things we can attempt to check off our to do list after death or after Jesus Christ has appeared in the heavens in great power and great glory. These are things that we must receive as our very own before we find ourselves and our families in the midst of end time events unfolding before our very eyes. “Behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Something More To Consider:
Jesus of Nazareth, or of twig town, was successful in fulfilling His mission because the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him. He accomplished His spiritual calling because He was anointed by God’s Holy Spirit and His gracious words caused men, women, and young people to marvel. Jesus was anointed to preach the gospel and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Is the Spirit of the LORD upon us? What has God’s Spirit anointed us to accomplish with what is left of our brief life here upon planet earth?

If we have not received that divine information as of yet, then our part is to be spiritually ready, willing, and able when the appointed time comes, by being thoroughly equipped and properly prepared through the diligent study of the Word of God and especially in these end times. The best method of preparation is the study and the observing of all things that Jesus has taught in the four gospels and in the book of Revelation.

Are we properly and biblically prepared for what lies just over the horizon of 2019 and beyond? Jesus in our text read from Isaiah chapter 61, beginning in verse 1 and the first part of verse 2, by stating, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” What Jesus did not read was the rest of verse 2 of Isaiah 61, which includes, “…to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God…”

In Christ’s first coming He was to declare the acceptable year of the LORD. In His second coming Jesus will proclaim and demonstrate the day of vengeance of our God. In Christ’s second coming Jesus will unleash the stored-up wrath of an Almighty God whose Word, commandments, and personal involvement in the affairs of earth have in every generation been rejected by the majority of the human race.

That deliberate rejection and neglect of God’s rightful authority despite what man thinks, has a defining moment of completion. At the exact and precise moment determined in advance by God Himself, He will send His Son Jesus with legions of heavenly warring angels to the earth’s atmosphere and life as we have known it will cease to be.

A Few Final Words:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the vengeance of the LORD will begin! The end time devastation is recorded in the book of Revelation and it is not without warning. As asked above, are we properly and biblically prepared for what lies ahead of planet earth just over the horizon? If the false teaching of the false prophets concerning a pre-tribulation rapture of the church is wrong, it will be according to Scripture. If they are wrong, and Scripture does appear to prove that biblical fact, are we prepared? What plans have we made for the turbulent and perilous times that lie ahead?

What will become our spiritual mission once the Antichrist is revealed and puts his plan of world domination into action? What will be our response to the demand with fear of death to worship the beast and to take the mark of the beast? What will be our response to the forcing of all to denounce the name and person of Jesus Christ or face the removal of our heads and our loved one’s heads? End times will be most serious times and these decisions must be made well in advance!

But if the majority of humankind is deceived into thinking the pre-tribulation rapture is their ticket out of here, I am concerned that the proper plans will never be made. My advice to all who are undecided is to read the Word of God yourselves. Be wise and no longer depend upon carnally minded men, doctrines of demons, and false traditions of men that were created to fill church pews and to fill the financial coffers of the church.

Our Father in heaven, we need Your healing touch upon our lives, and Your giving us spiritual foresight into Your end time teachings. In Him Always, Amen!

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