Posts Tagged ‘Pastor Brian Houston’

LOST TWICE FOR THREE DAYS – CHRISTMAS
FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS

FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS

 

FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS

It struck me as Pastor Brian Houston was speaking at the Christmas Eve Service that for 3 days Mary lost her Son when He was 12 and for 3 days she lost Him again when He was 33. Both times He was “about His Fathers business” (Luke 2:42-51 NLT). Mary was present for His birth and present at His death. We celebrate both Christmas and Easter so as not to miss the significance of His birth and His death.

At the Beginning of His life there was no room for Him at the Inn and He was laid in a borrowed manger. At the end of His life there was no room for Him so they laid Him in a borrowed tomb. Followers of Christ make room for Him in their lives.

At His birth lowly Shepherds came. At His death the great Shepherd was abandoned, yet He said “I am the Good shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, … So I sacrifice My life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15 NLT).

At the beginning innocent babies were killed. At the end of His life guilty thieves died with Him on the Cross. The Bible says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT).

Wise men followed God’s directions intentionally after He was born. Foolish men knew not what they were doing at His death. Yet in Luke 23:34 (NLT) Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” He still offers His forgiveness for our sins.

He was visited by shepherds at His birth. Disciples abandoned Him at His death. It takes commitment to be a follower of Jesus.

Herod tried to put Him to death at His birth. Pilate tried to save Him from death at His trial, but ended up washing his hands of Him. All of us are given a choice concerning what we will do with Jesus.

Wise men acknowledged Him as King soon after He was born. At the end of His life foolish men put Him on a Cross with a sign they thought was mocking Him as King of the Jews. Yet Revelation 17:14 (NLT) calls Him “… Lord of all lords and King of all kings…” Followers of Christ acknowledge His rulership in their lives.

After His birth wise men gave generously to Jesus. At His death the religious rulers gave Judas “thirty pieces of silver” to betray Him (Matthew 26:15 NLT). Matthew 16:26 (NLT) says “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

Wise men invested their wealth as they gave it to Jesus. At His crucifixion foolish soldiers “gambled for His clothes” at the Cross Luke 23:34 (NLT) concerned only with taking. Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NLT).

A star shone at His birth. He was the light of the world at His death. God still directs us to Him.

Angels at His birth spoke of a Saviour. Angels at the tomb said He is risen. Romans 6:9 (NLT) says “Death no longer has any power over Him.”

Jesus was born into the family of Abraham, ancestor of King David. He died so that we could be born again into His family.

At His Conception the Holy Spirit came upon Mary. At the conception of the Church the Holy Spirit came upon 120 disciples in an upper room. Zacharias was speechless before Jesus was born. Peter preached a powerful message after Jesus rose again (Acts 2). With the help of the Holy Spirit we can share the message of Christ boldly.

At His birth He is called Immanuel “God with us”. After His death Hebrews 13:5 says God will “never leave You or forsake You”

He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the end. Saviour, Born that we may never die. He who Is and Was and Is to come. The great I Am. Born in a manger, died on a cross. Born that I might be born again. Immanuel, God with us. King of Kings, Lord of Lords, My Lord Jesus.

Pastor Ross

 

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Matthew 7:15 – HOW TO KEEP THE WOLVES FROM YOUR DOOR

Wolf at the Door!

“The spine-tingling howl was both compellingly beautiful and terrifyingly close. My nerves sung with alarm and the sheep moved restlessly. Was this a lone wolf or would we face a pack of hungry animals.

The other shepherds, with their woollen coats, hoods pulled up over their faces to protect them from the cold, were steering the flock in the darkness, whistling and speaking in comforting tones. All of a sudden a dominant male voice was shouting out orders and I realised that they were not shepherds but thieves! A wolf pack of men! The blow to the back of my head took me completely by surprise.”

In Matthew 7:15 (NASB) Jesus says “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

John MacArthur has an interesting explanation of Wolves in “SHEEP’S CLOTHING.” He says that shepherds wore woollen clothing to keep warm when they tended their sheep, “sheep’s clothing.” That means that false prophets do not deceive the flock by IMPERSONATING SHEEP but by IMPERSONATING THE SHEPHERD!

False shepherds disguise themselves as true shepherds. They claim to teach the truth but their words deceive, mislead, and, inevitably, cause harm to God’s people. In their greed, they impersonate the shepherd. It’s the perfect disguise, but they are out for personal gain, and not the benefit of the flock. RAVENOUS WOLVES! They are in it to fill their own appetite for fame, prestige, position, recognition. They come with their OWN AGENDAS AND PURPOSES for success at the expense of others.

Pastor Brian Houston this Sunday @Hillsong Church delivered an excellent message on Highs and Lows in the Christian Life. He said how most people in Australia believe in God, but He is devalued to a lower place in their lives. When reason, science, culture, money, recognition, etc are not subservient to Christ, they dominate and distort the way we live. Self rules. There’s a bank ad on TV at the moment that proclaims “I am king. I have control”. 2 Timothy 3:5 (NLT) “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Are some of our prominent Church leaders False Teachers today? The evidence would say yes! And they are anything but harmless. 2 Timothy 3:13-17 (NLT) says “…. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” In Galatians 1:6-9 (NLT) Paul says “I am shocked that you … are being fooled by those who deliberately TWIST THE TRUTH concerning Christ …”

Unfortunately, the reason they succeed is because they also fulfil the selfish needs of those who follow them. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT) says “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”

With a worldview which doesn’t include Christ, false teachers neglect to preach about Jesus dying for our sins. 1 John 4 goes on to say “… But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God … You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.”

Working in a High Care Facility for the elderly, I am often asked by a family to officiate in a funeral service. Occasionally a family will say, “We don’t want anything religious.” My reply is that I am a follower of Christ and that the service will reflect who I am, and that I would not be offended if they wanted someone else to take the service. I cannot be false to who I am and my message will clearly be from a Christian perspective.

The invitation Christ gives comes through His warning. Don’t be pressured to live according to a culture that doesn’t include Christ or His claims on our lives. The invitation is to acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that He died for our sins and offers us eternal life. Keep the wolves from the door by not feeding them.

Pastor Ross