The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, March 25, 2011
This mural is on the wall of the Rainbow's End Christian Youth Center in Mount Joy, PA.
It is painted on the entire block wall of the gym.
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"The Greatest Network"
"But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:17). "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
I just received a call from a man who told me he wanted to "network". I asked him if he meant network in a technical sense, which of course is one way the word is used, but he went on to explain network in the sense of making business connections. (Truth be told I was aware that's what he meant when he asked!)
We have been examining the letter of Jude the last several messages and today want to consider the aspect of how Jude, who was certainly one of the lesser known disciples, realized he was part of a greater network in His service for Christ.
Three times in this short epistle he addresses his readers as "beloved" which translates the Greek word Agape. He tells these beloved readers that they ought "to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ." Jude does not specify just what apostle he was referring to but Paul indeed expressed the teaching that follows this, "that they were saying to you, 'In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts. These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit'". (see 2 Timothy 3:1-9).
But today we want to consider Paul teaching from Romans 5 and the greatest network we are a part of!
In my early days, as a new believer, I often listened to Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee, who is now with the Lord. He spoke with a very distinct southern accent, as regular listeners, will easily recall.
He told the story of a young boy down South who wanted to join a church. But before he could be granted membership the deacons wanted to examine his spiritual knowledge.
"Son, how did you get saved?" the head deacon asked.
"God did His part, and I did my part" the young boy answered.
The deacons looked at each other with concern as they began to consider that the boy might have some faulty doctrine. They questioned him further, "What was God's part, and what was your part?"
He quickly responded, "God's part was the savin’, and my part was the sinnin’." Now that's good theology very simply put!
I've got good news for each of you today. No, it's not new news. It won’t make the front page of the Daily Press or the headline news on your local or national television network. It won’t be the top story on your home page for Yahoo or Google readers. But it’s news, never-the-less, for many still have not heard the old, old story of Jesus and His great love. They know nothing of His sacrificial death on the Cross of Calvary to free us from our sins.
We are all powerless apart from the work of Christ. This is true concerning our sin and separation from God. We simply can't pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps no matter how heavy duty the straps. The weight of sin makes any effort on our part futile when trying to make it on our own merits. We can't be good enough, smart enough, or rich enough to earn God's favor.
The recognition of our own powerlessness is critical in accepting the true gospel. We don't need a little extra help, for we are utterly dead in our sins and need spiritual resurrection (see Ephesians 2:1-10).
An amazing aspect of God's character is His compassionate interest in the powerless, the “misfits” of our society. As His redeemed children we reflect His character when we seek them out. It's an outstanding dimension of love that comes not from us, but from the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts.
The blessings of our salvation are outstanding and could fill a page or two. But I encourage you to focus especially on one phrase from the daily text today, "Christ died for the ungodly." Do you believe that powerful truth? I do, with deepest gratitude to the omnipotent (all powerful) God who gave His one and only Son that I might have life and have it more abundantly. And because I do I am a part of the greatest network, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is nothing we can do or say to merit salvation. It is a gift freely extended to all who believe because Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins. He washed our sin stained garments with the blood He shed on Calvary’s tree. Thank You, Father, for accepting Christ’s blood as a complete payment for our crimson stains allowing us to stand before You in garments white as snow. What a relief and unspeakable blessing it is to know that we have a place in heaven reserved for all eternity because of Jesus. It is in His name that we give You praise and thanksgiving. Amen.
Failed Resuscitations I referred to this article in yesterday's message. It is a powerful analysis of the state of the current church, at least here in America. I strongly encourage our readers, especially pastors and teachers, to set aside time to read it. (It's about 4,000 words long)
Several readers commented after reading this message.
A former district superintendent: Thanks for the blog: "Failed Resuscitations". Wish it would be read by our denominational leadership for it is relative to issues facing our denomination. I say "Amen".
A national Bible Quiz coordinator: Thank you for sharing this article on the state of the church. Working with youth for 35 years I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I believe the daily discipline of reading, studying and memorizing scripture will renew our minds. Last night we were discussing the Vine and the Branches-"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." We need Jesus and His Word, not a culture that settles for a Sunday God only. I find the youth who are in the Word are doing much better than their counterparts who are not. I say, "How true"
A seminary professor: I really enjoyed your Daily Encouragement today and the article you linked to. He recommends this article in relationship to the topic. I agree!
Yesterday we visited with Gesenia at one of our worksite stops. She had some empanadillas for us. She has made some 350 of them to help fund her daughter's mission trip! They are addictively delicious!
George is a friend from another worksite location. In the course of our visit yesterday I mentioned to him that I had a faucet that needed replaced. I used to do this type of work myself but a few more years, a few more pounds and few more drain pipes just made the project too much for me. George came over last night, joined us for haddock and salmon (a treat to say the least), and then handily replaced the faucet! Works great and no leaks! Brooksyne is very pleased. It's nice to have a network of friends willing to help an old preacher out!
40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening PlanBeginning Sunday, April 3, 2011 we are encouraging Daily Encouragement Net readers to read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This will take about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).
The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day.
See Bible.is for an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For international readers there may be a version available in your native language. Just click on the ESV tab to access all languages available.
Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook
A schedule for the entire reading period is here.
Here is what the daily reading reminder will look like:
For Sunday, April 3 read Matthew 1-7 beginning here.
This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Stand Amazed" Video A great old hymn sung by Chris Tomlin. I love to sing this song congregationally!
"Jesus Paid It All" Video (Acapella version Video)
"White As Snow" Video Maranatha Singers We are seasonally ready to move beyond the notion of snow but Brooksyne suggests this beautiful song. I couldn't find a vocal version but this one posts the lyrics.
Rainbows End seeks to reach out to the youth in our community, especially those who do not have a Christian background.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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