The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel.
Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this?
It is in the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.
Successfully creeped out the church family with this picture this morning 😅 And it should creep us out! Jesus gave us a strong and sobering warning when he said:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Among other things, false prophets are known by being:
•Greedy •Worldly •Popular •Teach unsound doctrine (out of step with God’s Word and void of the Gospel)
For additional reading check out 2Peter 2:2-3, 2Tim 4:3-5, and 1John 4:1-3.
We have to be vigilant in this, church! And the best way for us know a phony is to know the REAL DEAL — to be so familiar with Word and the gospel Good News of Jesus Christ when a counterfeit comes along, we recognize it. We have to seek God and wisdom above all else. And friends, please don’t be afraid to warn a brother and sister about unsound doctrine. Love them enough to point them to the truth, in love.
On the evening that Jesus arose from the dead he came and stood among the disciples. The first thing he said? “Peace be with you.” Jesus didn’t want his disciples living in fear, and he doesn’t want that for us now. His cross, the empty tomb, and his presence are meant to bring us peace. Then, Jesus showed the disciples the wounds in his hands and his side. The 2nd thing he said? Again, “Peace be with you” but then he added “As the father has sent me, I am sending you.” Jesus had a plan to send his disciples to make him known. That’s his plan for us too. I’d like to encourage us to live sent. I know yesterday was a big church day for a lot of us, and that’s a good thing. There’s lots of encouragement in crowds of people worshipping God. But how many people didn’t worship yesterday? My point is that so many people in this world desperately need the peace that only Jesus can bring. Jesus is sending us to share his love and message. Maybe today, remembering what we celebrated this past weekend, we can make a commitment to have a gospel conversation with someone. Something beyond the surface, taking a spiritual interest in the people around us and looking for an opportunity to share with them how Jesus has brought peace to us. In those gospel conversations we’re never alone, the Spirit leads and the power of Christ is experienced in a unique way. Have a good day, friends. And as Jesus would say, “Peace be with you.”
Thursday of Holy Week — Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Savior, knowing the cross was before him, in a dark garden of trees, prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)
Gethsemane means garden of the olive press. Olives were vitally important to 1st century Jewish life. Their oil was used for food, medicine, perfume, cosmetics, fuel for lamps, and making soap. You probably know this, olives have to crushed under the weight of a huge stone before their value is realized. Jesus was crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5) by the wrath of God and 3 days later he rose again. The value of his sacrifice continues to be realized.
Thank you Jesus for your obedience to the Father and having the unwavering courage to face the cross for us. We love you Lord. We are thankful. Let us have an ever increasing appreciation. In your name we pray, amen.
Wednesday of Holy Week — Judas agrees to sellout Jesus. The account of Judas is heartbreaking, chilling, and perplexing. How could he be that close to Jesus for so long and still reject him? If we are honest tho, we see echos of Judas in our own life, every time we seek the approval of others over God’s, when we choose our glory over His, when we desire anything more than we desire Him. Among the many things we can learn from the tragedy that is Judas’s life — it never goes well when we turn our back on Jesus. Jesus is ALWAYS better than the world’s best thing.
Lord, keep us close. We need you. We love you. We are thankful. In Jesus name, amen.
Passion Week or Holy Week as it is also referred to records the last week of Jesus life on earth. It’s not an understatement to say that it’s the most important week of the most important person who ever lived. The gospel narratives reflect the importance of the week. About 25% of the gospel according to Matthew records the last week of his life. For followers of Christ, this week should be a time of focused reflection. Please make use of this Passion Week Timeline and follow the events of Jesus life in his last days on earth as we approach Resurrection Sunday. Each day read a corresponding passage and try and see the event with your mind’s eye, think about it’s significance, pray and seek God for how you might live differently based on what it’s showing us.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when he was praised and hailed as King, just days before he was crucified for our sins. As we reflect on Palm Sunday, this is a great time to ask: Who is my king? Who’s the one I trust the most? Who do I most want to be like? Who’s the biggest influence in my life? These are questions that can reveal our true allegiance to a king. We NEED a king. And no politician or religious guru or anything this world has to offer will do. Only Jesus. He’s the one true King. He’s the only King who knows all, sees all, loves us enough to die in our place, and is powerful enough to overcome death to save us.
He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s. Is He your King?