December 27, 2017

Mirror, mirror in the World

Our physical reflection is inescapable when we look at ourselves. So too is the reflection of the heart is inescapable when we, and others, look at ourselves. People are able to determine the character of a person by their behavior, e.g., actions, attitude, speech.

It is wise to make sure that we carefully compare ourselves to the word of God on a daily basis. The Bible is the most confronting and convicting word from God, to help each person live in such a way that is pleasing to God.

“Just as gazing into the mirror-like qualities of a still water-pool reflect the detailed features of a man’s face so the standards and qualities residing deep within his heart reflect his character and display the innermost caliber of his soul. Just as we are enabled to study the physical characteristics of our facial features through the mirror-image, reflected in a clear standing-pool of water.. so an examination of the inner thoughts of the heart give a reliable indication of our spiritual standing – or perhaps uncover a hypocritical facade.” (Knowing Jesus Devotion)

If a person’s heart is corrupt, it will produce corruption in all that they do and possibly even in others. A heart though that has been cleansed by God, through the regeneration Holy Spirit begins to become more Christlike in the reflection of their lives.

James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”

So, the question that must be asked is, do others see Jesus in me? Am I a good reflection of Jesus, not for the satisfaction of others, but to the honor of God?

As in water face reflects face, 

so the heart of man reflects the man. 

Proverbs 27:19

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Read a chapter a day in proverbs for the month.
December 27, Proverbs 27
Proverbs 27:19

December 19, 2017

What is sin?

What is sin?
It is the glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin.

― John Piper

Think about this verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV), "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

At the end of each sentence, add the words by and add your name, i.e., The person of God not loved by Kurt.  Say your name after each sentence.  I could hardly think that anyone could not add their name to any sentence and still feel they have not sinned against God.

All of those statements that are quoted above by John Piper, God punished the sin of those things that we have committed against God, who did not deserve to receive such, but we did.  

THIS is what makes the cross Good News to tell others about!

October 14, 2017

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled, Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report, which is about how much the persecution of Christians has increased worldwide, which was published online at The Christian Post.

Christians in the West don't face this kind of persecution, as they do in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and China.

The article states, "In Iraq, the Christian population declined from 275,000 in mid-2015 to below 200,000 two years later – and possibly as few as 150,000, the report says, warning that "if this decline were to continue at the same rate, it would show that" the previous report's "prediction of a virtual wipe-out of Iraq's Christian community by 2020 remains on track."

What's causing this is not people leaving the faith, but rather radical Islamic terrorism that seeks to eradicate any living example of the Christian faith.

Those who have been martyred for Christ are amazing witnesses for Jesus, but more importantly to the world, to show how vastly different Christianity is compared to radical Islamic terrorism.

I am also reading a book titled, I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Muslim Extremism and it is an inspirational book, challenging is a more accurate description because of the way that many of the Christians who were once Muslims, who now live and even die because of their faith in Christ.  

In the face of death, they would not renounce their faith in Jesus.

Last night, I read and highlighted this statement from the book, "Every day in communities in Iraq and other countries where Islamic extremists exert control, Jesus followers stand firm in their commitment to trust God and obediently fulfill his purpose for their lives. They pay a high personal price for persevering in their faith. They endure fierce hostility, brutal cruelty, and unthinkable atrocities, yet they remain true to God."

Could Christians in America endure the same experiences as those in this book and still remain firm in their faith in Christ?

I also read this small portion of commentary by Michael Green regarding Matthew 5:10-12 that Christians can be happy when they are persecuted and if you read the book, I Am N, you'll understand even more why so many Christians who were once Muslims live with this kind of joy and understanding that Michael Green writes.
"Even the persecuted can be happy. They may appear to lose all: it is not so. They gain the kingdom of heaven. All down the centuries there have been a peace and a joy about those who for the sake of conscience have been willing to face opposition and death, and never more than in the last hundred years. Jesus is, however, speaking not of persecution as such but, as verse 11 makes plain, of persecution because of him. It is moving and significant that the suffering church in lands where it is oppressed does not want to be like the church in the West. It looks for our prayers, not that it may have an easy time, but that it may be faithful unto death, and know the joy of utter faithfulness to Jesus. There is no joy like that."

Green, M. (2001). The message of Matthew: the kingdom of heaven (p. 91). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
May we all live with a greater joy for Christ, in the face of persecution like our brothers and sisters in countries that despise Christ and His church.

October 13, 2017

Don't resort to personal vengeance

This morning, my YouVersion Bible app has 1 Thessalonians 5:15 as the verse of the day and created this nice image for social media.

I was intrigued to look a little more into this verse and what other commentators, or writers had to say about this verse also using my new Logos 7 Gold bible software and here is one quote from Richard Baxter and then I have shared my thoughts of this as well.

Richard Baxter said, "If you believe that Christ was more worthy of imitation than Cæsar or Alexander; and that it is more glory to be a Christian than to be a conqueror, even to be a man than a beast, which often exceed us in strength; then contend with charity, and not with violence; and set meekness, and love, and patience against force; and not force against force."

It behooves us as Christians that neither the action of revenge, nor the attitude of resentment should ever be part of the Christian experience toward anyone. Christians are to demonstrate actions and attitudes of grace toward everyone, in the same manner that God has done for us.

While each one of us has a responsibility for our own conduct, Paul also addresses the fact that the whole community of believers is to make sure that the conduct of each other isn't contradictory to Christian character also.

Getting even in any way doesn't display Christian character, whether it is seen or unseen. Only grace toward those who are ungracious is the attitude and action that God should see in each one of His children.

If we look closely at this, a person either fails in complete disobedience to the Great Commandment to love God and to love others, or they obey it.

All of our relationships then need to be examined, to see whether or not we have, or are right now displaying Christian character that is unlike Christ and what God has shown toward us and correct it immediately.

I'd rather live on the side of graceful conduct before God, than to have God be displeased by my selfishness, by having an attitude of revenge, or retribution toward someone else.

Is there someone you need to forgive, or to seek to do good to them, by asking for their forgiveness?

See also:
  • Romans 12:9 - Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
  • Romans 12:17 - Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
  • 1 Peter 3:9 - Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
  • Leviticus 19:18 - You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
  • Proverbs 17:13 - If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
  • Matthew 5:39 - But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Today's verse of the day image from YouVersion.

July 1, 2017

If You Want to See God, Read Your Bible

I love reading my Bible.  Do you?  I have enjoyed reading the Bible through Professor Grant Horner's bible reading plan that opened up so much of the Bible to me while reading 10 chapters each day.

But when it comes to reading the Bible, it should be an experience for each person to encounter the Living God and to hear God's voice speaking to us through the text.  We should not just know from where we are citing a passage of Scripture, to ourselves or for someone else, but we should even more grasp a sense of the depth of what the text speaks of, for our edification and to the glory of God.

John Piper has produced this short video regarding those two things: reading your Bible and the glory of God.

After all, Sunday is coming and you're going to hear your pastor preach from a specific passage of Scripture and may everyone see the glory of God in Scripture - always.

June 24, 2017

How much do you love reading your Bible?

I've been a Christian for 18 or 19 years now and I can recall early on in my walk with Christ that reading the Bible was definitely encouraged to me, but I had only read portions of it, from time to time.  I remember making a commitment to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but somewhere along the way, as I missed a day or two, then a week or more, then several weeks, I never tried to restart what I wanted to finish.

This post isn't about the benefits of following a bible reading plan, but rather it's about the pleasure of reading the Bible every day.

One of the easiest things a person can do, as a starter, is to read 1 chapter of Proverbs with the corresponding date every morning.  For example, today is June 24th and you would read Proverbs 24.  For June 25th, Proverbs 25 and so on.

If a person followed that format of reading Proverbs, it would be read 12 times throughout the year.  1 chapter a day, 30 chapters each month and you'd read Proverbs 31 still, on the 30th day.

But each day, we should take some time to read the Word of God and even to set a goal for ourselves to read through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

Thankfully, reading the Bible should be like enjoying a good meal.  No one sits down to gorge themselves with a 20oz Porterhouse steak, mashed sweet potatoes, carrots and a delicious strawberry cheesecake.  All of that does sound good, doesn't it?  I'm getting hungry.  But I digress.

How much of Scripture do you take in daily?  How much do you consider it to be an important part of your life and why?

I found these quotes of various people who simply loved reading the Bible and each of these people listed here just kept consistent with their reading of God's Holy Word.  It's as important as breathing because you cannot live without oxygen.  It's as important as the blood in your veins because you cannot live without blood circulating throughout your body, to the heart especially to help keep you alive and reading the Bible must become that important to each believer as well.

There is a quote by Charles Spurgeon where he said, "A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't."  

It would be better to have a worn out bible through diligent and voracious reading and note scribbled throughout, than to have our lives worn out by worrying about the things we cannot control.

Men and their Bible

“I know not a better rule of reading the Scripture, than to read it through from beginning to end and when we have finished it once, to begin it again. We shall meet with many passages which we can make little improvement of, but not so many in the second reading as in the first, and fewer in the third than in the second: provided we pray to him who has the keys to open our understandings, and to anoint our eyes with His spiritual ointment.” – John Newton

“The deceit, the lie of the devil consists of this that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God’s Word. Thus he dangles before man’s fantasy a kingdom of faith, of power, and of peace, into which only he can enter who consents to the temptations; and conceals from men that he, as the devil, is the most unfortunate and unhappy of beings, since he is finally and eternally rejected by God.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it…. What is the food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and….not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.” – George Müller

“Who speaks for God? He does quite nicely for Himself. Through His holy and infallible Word – and the quiet obedience of His servants.”  Charles Colson

We can never learn too much of His will towards us, too much of His messages and His advice. The Bible is His word and its study gives at once the foundation for our faith and an inspiration to battle onward in the fight against the tempter. - John D. Rockefeller

Preachers and the Bible

I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He has written it down in a book! Oh, give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be: “A man of one book.” John Wesley

“I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. This proved meat indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light and power from above.”George Whitefield
Scripture is the manger in which the Christ lies.’  As a mother goes to a cradle to find her baby so the Christian goes to the Bible to find Jesus.  Don’t let us inspect the cradle and forget to worship the baby.” – Martin Luther
“Having knowledge of the Bible is essential to a rich and meaningful life.” – Billy Graham
The more you read the Bible, the more you meditate on it, the more you will be astonished by it.” – Charles Spurgeon
The Word of God and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select just a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than the whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” A.W. Tozer

Early Church fathers and the Bible
“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.” – Augustine of Hippo
“Let us therefore yield ourselves and bow to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, which can neither err nor deceive.” – Augustine of Hippo
“The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying.” Flavel
“I exhort and entreat you all, disregard what this man and that man thinks about such things, and inquire from the Holy Scriptures all these things.” – John Chrysostom

President's and their Bible

John Adams, our second President of the United States, used to read the entire Bible each year from cover to cover.  He studied the Scriptures every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
I have myself for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and temper of mind which I now recommend to you; that is, with the intention and desire that it contribute to my advancement in wisdom and virtue … My custom is, to read four or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day.” – President John Adams in a letter to his son.
Andrew Jackson, our seventh President, referred to the Bible as “the rock on which our Republic rests.”  He read three to five chapters of the Bible each day. 
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, called the Bible “the best gift God has ever given to man…But for it we could not know right from wrong.”  The quote I most like by Lincoln is, “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best book which God has given to man.”
Woodrow Wilson, our twenty-eighth President, once noted, “The Bible is the Word of life.  I beg that you will read it and find this out for yourself.  When you have read the Bible you will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found in it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, our thirty-fourth President, and his family used the Bible each day during family devotions with each family member taking his or her turn in reading a passage. 
Jimmy Carter, our thirty-ninth President, reads the Bible daily and has taught a Sunday school class for over three decades. 
Ronald Reagan, the fortieth President, wrote, “Inside the Bible’s pages lie all the answers to all the problems man has ever known.  I hope Americans will read and study the Bible…It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation.  The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, and refresh our souls.”

I will delight in your statutes; 
I will not forget your word.  
Psalm 119:16

This list is found posted at The Center for Biblical Studies and linked here.

June 23, 2017

A Heart Prepared for God - Part 2

Christians should not be afraid to tell others about Jesus.  But sometimes, there are people who seem to just go through the motions with regard to Christianity.  Being a Christian appeals to a person, but that's all they are doing and it becomes a superficial experience for them.

This is the second type of heart that is prepared for God when it comes to evangelism and it's the Shallow Heart.

 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.  Luke 8:13

Look at what the Shallow Heart is like.  They hear the Gospel.  They receive it with joy, but they have not taken seriously the commitment to grow.  They have a temporary emotion of joy, but when they experience trials in their lives, they give up and blame God for their troubles, when that is not what is happening.

The trials are not new at all, whatsoever.  It’s the reality that there has been no care to grow as a Christian.  

When small group bible studies were once a joy for having the opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus and to grow in the knowledge of the Word, after a while it has become unimportant to them.  Why?  Because they don’t understand that the devil is coming against them to disrupt their lives.

The Shallow Heart can also be described as one who is Half-hearted too.  No real, full comment to the Lord or His church.  They don’t attend a small group bible study, they come in late to the service, or leave early at the end of the service.  Attending a prayer meeting is as desirable as getting a root canal done.  

The Shallow Heart shows evidence of just being here and nothing more and when the trials of life come, when the rains fall, and the floods come, when the wind blows and beats them down, when life hits them hard, they fall away because there was nothing rooting them in the ground to withstand the storms of life.  (Matthew 7:24-27)

But, we can and should see that when those trials of life do come, so that the shallow heart does not fall away, but grows fuller in Christ and withstands the trials, we should consider it to be a joyful time that your faith is being tested and tested so that you would persevere in faith, trusting in Christ to provide, protect and preserve your life, no matter what happens.

Trials have a purpose from God, but someone who has a shallow heart will not recognize the trial as a means of building their faith (James 1:2-4), but rather blaming God for their troubles that have separated them from friends and even family.

Each one of us must take a look at ourselves and ask, “Is my heart shallow concerning the things of God that I am avoiding, instead of seeing as God’s gift to help me grow?”  “Am I just going through the motions as a Christian, in my life, in my witness, in my commitment to the church?”

This passage speaks about those who hear the Gospel and their response to it, but it also addresses our heart too, as Christians because it is possible to develop a shallow heart when a person feels bitter towards someone in the church.

People can show an appearance of being a Christian, but when trials come, the test will show whether or not your heart, soul, mind and your strength will turn to God, or you will run away from Him and I can assure you that the direction you must turn is toward God.  There is no better shelter than God.  There is no stronger anchor for the soul than Jesus.  There is no better counselor than the Holy Spirit, where the Triune God wants us to grow in Christ and is willing to make that happen, but it requires a life to be surrendered to Him, fully, not half-heartedly.

The person who once had a fire for the Lord, maybe even a genuine passion for Him, they need to return to that fire and passion and make a serious commitment to serving the Lord with their lives.

On the other hand, Christians also need to realize that sometimes people may appear to come to faith in Christ, but once the difficulties take place in their lives and they feel that God is not with them, or helping them, they've forgotten that those instances are intended to help them grow in their faith, not weaken them.

In a few days, I'll post about the next type of heart that is prepared for God when it comes to evangelizing the lost and it's one that everyone may be familiar with too.

June 21, 2017

A Heart Prepared for God - Part 1

Do you enjoy going out to meet with unfamiliar people, complete strangers to speak to them concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Or do you become exceedingly afraid of having to do such a thing, while believing that "someone else" is called to do that ministry of evangelism?

Christians should not become discouraged, or deterred from sharing the Gospel with others when the results glorify God more than gratify ourselves.  We are not responsible for the response of those who hear the Gospel, but we are responsible to be obedient to the Great Commission and the Great Commission is something that EVERYONE is called to, not just a select few people.

The journey of evangelizing the lost is neither comfortable, nor filled with great appeal by those who hear someone preach the truth of Scripture.  It’s met with significant opposition, not personally, but spiritually.  Just look at how much the Apostle Paul suffered and endured throughout his missionary journeys in the book of Acts.

What we sow in the fields of the world is the biblical Gospel, in its truth and without compromise.  Anything less than that is not the Gospel and anyone who preaches something less than the biblical gospel leads others into becoming a false convert too.

It is certainly beneficial to recognize what type of people respond to the Gospel because each one of us were one of these types of people, from the passage in Luke 8:4-15.

As much as we should recognize what kind of ground each of us are personally concerning the Gospel and how each person has responded to it, we should also see what kind of ground there is in others, when they hear and how they respond to the Gospel too.

It is important to note where Jesus says in verse 10 to the disciples, Jesus is revealing the meaning of the results of the work of evangelizing the lost.  But for others, Jesus tells a story to help explain what this means because people in the past have had a hard heart towards God, just like Isaiah had said in Isaiah 6:9-10.

If we come to an early understanding that not everyone is going to respond to the Gospel in the manner of repent of their sins and putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, it relieves the pressure from us to think that because no one responds to this good news that we must be a failure.

The Unbelieving Heart
The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Luke 8:12

The disciples asked a very good question to Jesus that we too should ask whenever we read Scripture.  They asked to know the meaning of the parable and we, when we come to read any passage of Scripture, we should always ask the Holy Spirit for help in understanding the meaning of the text that we are reading.  It’s not asking, “what does this mean to me?,” but rather, “what does God mean by this text, to me?”

Agriculture and farming were concepts that the disciples understood very well because farming was part of their cultural lifestyle and Jesus’ illustration of what He said in verses 1-8 are about people going out into the world to proclaim the Gospel.

This is a crowd of people who were following Jesus and He was teaching them that while it’s important to follow Jesus, it’s more than just saying you enjoy being with Him, or that you really like His company.  His instructions were such that if you’re going to follow Jesus, you also need to tell others about Jesus too.

But the interesting part of this illustration that Jesus speaks about is that He tells us that only 1 out of every 4 people that hear the Gospel are going to end up being people who will become fully devoted followers of Jesus.  Your success rate is going to be 25%.  3 out of 4 people are not going to follow Jesus as a result of being born again.  It doesn’t sound like a very persuasive statistic to grab a handful of tracts, or to stand on a small soapbox and preach the Gospel to people as they pass by.

The reason why a person who is an unbeliever to start with and remain as unbeliever is that the devil will steal the truth away from them.  We might think in natural terms of someone taking something away from someone else that doesn't belong to them, but that is not truly what the text is conveying to us.

The Greek word for take away means to cause doubt and isn’t that exactly what the devil did in Genesis 3:1, when he planted the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind concerning what God really said and the consequence of what would happen to them by choosing to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1, ESV
He caused them to have an unbelieving heart to the truth that God had spoken and the same happens to people even today when they either hear the Gospel proclaimed, or they are handed a gospel tract.

A person with an unbelieving heart who dies today, immediately becomes a believer in the reality of hell and its eternal torment and suffering and by that time it’s just too late.  

Just look at Luke 16:19-31 and the story of the rich man who died and went to hell, while Lazarus went to heaven.  The rich man filled himself and his life with everything except for believing the Scriptures concerning eternal judgment for failing to believe God’s Word.  He trusted in his wealth more than God and immediately after death, his unbelief became an eternal reality that would be inescapable because of the chasm that permanently fixed and separated him from heaven.

The devil wants to see that the people of the church do not go out and evangelize others, do you realize this?  He is out there with others and is more active in causing people to doubt the truths about Jesus more than those who are sitting in churches across the country each week.  He’s continuing to cause doubt in the hearts and minds of people and the church wants to sit there and say, “I’m not called to do that,” but I’m hear to tell you that the Great Commission says you are!

If the devil is out there causing doubt in the hearts and minds of people, leading them to be unbelievers, what will you do to go and make a difference to change that?  If you don't have a burden to see the lost come to saving faith in Christ alone, why is that so?  Has the Great Commission become optional, rather than a matter of obedience to God?

We are either the one who is sowing the seed of the Gospel into a person’s life, or we are the one who is watering their heart with the Gospel again with the hope that they will repent of their sins and turn to Christ now while there is still time.  

Tomorrow may be too late and if you have an unbelieving heart today, right after the moment of death occurs, there will be no second chance to become a believer to be saved.

April 14, 2017

Why Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life

Last Friday, I had the privilege to minister to a family in our congregation, in the loss of the patriarch of the family had gone home to be with the Lord.  His name was Vernon Logue.

Vernon and his wife Joyce have been members of Magnolia Church for more than 40 years and they are very well known and deeply loved by so many people.

In the 18 months that I've been here now serving as the pastor of Magnolia Church, I was able to get to know Vernon, but not nearly enough as others had in the past, previous pastors who had known him much longer than I.

But during those times over the last 18 months, I was humbled to know that Vernon and Joyce prayed for me and my family every morning and evening.  He was the humblest of men I've ever met and it was only attributed to his love for the Word of God in his life that he read every day, especially reading Proverbs, which was his favorite book of the Bible to read also.

His loss hurts us all, but none more than his wife and family.  Vernon's passing last Monday morning came too soon, as he and his lovely wife would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday.

I was unusually extremely nervous to preach this funeral and I have no idea why.  But I had been praying and knew that there were some folks in the congregation who were praying for me as well and I thank God for helping me in the preparation of this sermon and for the strength He gave to me, to proclaim the truth of His Word, to all who were there to listen.

May these words cause you to consider how will you live when you die.


BIG IDEA:  Jesus is eternal life to those who put their faith in Him, the hope for tomorrow that can’t be ignored today.  A question lies buried in the heart of every man from the beginning of history. "Is death the end?"

TEXT: John 11:25-26

1. An Exclusive Claim to Believe (25a)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
For Martha, in this passage, she was a close friend of Jesus, as was her sister and their brother Lazarus.  She believed that one day in the future, her brother would rise from the dead at the very culmination of prophetic events that would lead to all believers to be resurrected from the grave on that day.

Martha’s only misunderstanding was that Jesus wasn’t speaking of a future event for believers to experience.  His words are in the present tense when He said, “I am”, meaning the claim that He making was personal and it was in Him alone and no one else.  It was now, not tomorrow, or at some point in the distant future.

Jesus said quite clearly and with absolute certainty that He is the one whom has the power to bring the dead back to life, to give new life, who is the reason for eternal life upon death.

This is why Jesus makes an exclusive claim for you to believe.  New life, eternal life, life in God is because of Him and no one, or nothing else, but Christ alone.

2. An Exclusive Offer to Consider (25b)
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live
In today’s society, there are all kinds of things in the health and beauty marketplace that attempt to prolong our lives, as much as possible.  Quitting smoking may help prevent further damage to the lungs, quitting drinking may help prevent further damage to the liver and the functioning of the human body.  One thing is certain however, we will all one day die.  No matter how hard we try to extend our lives, God is in full control and knows when that day will be for you and I and it is best to be prepared well in advance of that day too.

Vernon knew he was getting tired, more than he preferred, but he didn’t do anything to make himself live longer, except that he would enjoy reading God’s Word everyday with his wife and to pray together twice a day too.

Vernon’s hope was in Christ maybe since before 1974 when Joyce had given him this bible.  For the last 42 years, or more, Vernon knew that one day, even though he would get older, his heart would get a little more weaker, yet, he grew a little more wiser still, from reading Proverbs daily, one day he would die, but yet he would still live when he died, why?

Vernon believed in these very words that Jesus spoke to Martha in the text.  Whoever puts their complete trust in Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation of their souls, death will only be a matter of taking a nap in this mortal body and awaking, in a glorious new body and in the glorious presence of Jesus Christ in heaven.

When Jesus spoke and said, ‘whoever’ that means that not everyone would choose to accept this offer that is being given to them.  This is why Jesus said this not just to Martha, but for every person who would come to hear these words that He said and to understand them clearly.

It’s a sad reality that people put more thought, effort and energy into how they will plan to enjoy a vacation each year, or how they plan to live in comfortably in retirement, more than how they plan to live after they die.

How a person wants to live after they die should be considered even more than how they plan to do anything else in this brief span of time God has given to us, because heaven is going to an eternity of joy and praise to God forever, but hell is going to also be an eternity of pain and suffering, which makes Jesus’ words even more important to consider for themselves.

When I die, how will I live?  If your faith is in Christ alone, then you have the guarantee of living because Christ lives.  If your faith is not in Christ alone, when death comes and it will, will you enjoy living in hell?

This is why Jesus makes an exclusive offer for you to consider.

3. An Exclusive Confidence to Trust (26a)
and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
There can be no greater confidence that a person can have than knowing that no matter what happens to them, because their faith is in Jesus Christ, trusting Him for the forgiveness of their sins, granting to them by the grace of God the promise and provision of eternal life in heaven, death is only a transitory experience.  Death, for the believer isn’t permanent at all, it’s only temporary because one day our bodies are going to be met with our soul and both will be reunited.

Those who have been genuinely born again believers in Jesus Christ, as long as you live and have put your trust exclusively in Him, you’ll never die because Jesus lives forever.

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

And then one day, I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I'll see…

Is your confidence in Christ alone, as death gives way to your eternal future?

Lastly, why Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
4. An Explicit Choice to Make (26b)
Do you believe this?
Jesus asked a very simple, yet direct question that must be answered by each one of us today.

The Greek word here for believe is the same as it is in verse 25, which means to commit one’s trust, to have confidence in something believed, faith that is exclusively in Jesus Christ alone for the purpose of forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life in heaven.

Jesus was asking Martha if she believed that He is that hope for not just her brother, but for herself.  He asks through the pages of Scripture as they have been read to you, as I have spoken them in your hearing today, do you believe this?

Do you believe that Vernon is not merely in a better place, that heaven wasn’t automatic for him because he just lived a good life and God was not part of it?  He’s not in heaven because he was a good person either because Vernon was still a sinner the day he met Jesus as his Savior.  Jesus Christ, who knew no sin but became sin for Vernon, so that he would become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Do you believe that Vernon lives, even though he is dead?  There is great joy in knowing this that as it is for him, so shall it be for me and so shall it be for all who put their faith in Christ alone, as Vernon and his beloved wife has done too.


Friends, Vernon Lee Logue lives because Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life.  He lives because HE lives.

Vernon lives because of the exclusive claims about Jesus.
Vernon lives because of the exclusive offer that Jesus offered him, one day long ago.  An offer that he did not reject, but humbly received.
Vernon lives because of the exclusive confidence of trust that he did not put in himself, but in Christ alone.
Vernon lives because he made an explicit choice, one that I am confident is one he has no regrets having made.

How will you live when you die?  How are you living now?

Have you betrayed Jesus?

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray ...