Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus and Religion

Are you a Christian? Did you know that “Christian” means “little Christ”? So often, it’s easy to put on a happy face and go to church and act like everything’s perfect, but we all have problems. Even after salvation, we need a Savior–a daily leader in this battle against sin! That leader–that Savior–is Jesus! It can be no other. Church is wonderful, and given to us by God. The Bible is His Word. But if you call yourself a Christian, remember who you’re living for.

A recent poem “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” was created by Jeff Bethke, uploaded to YouTube, and went viral! He presented an honest testimony of his conversion and how he felt about much of what is called “Christianity” or “religion”–the hypocritical, pious, superficial, and social meanings of those words–the ones that have departed from Christ and the Bible–not all religion, and certainly not all Christians.

The video created quite the controversy, and even got an article posted by Huffington Post. Kevin DeYoung, Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and part of The Gospel Coalition, wrote an excellent article called “Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really,” which breaks apart the poem line by line and compares it to Scripture. It’s very well written, and even Bethke wrote, “I just wanted to say I really appreciate your article man. It hit me hard. I’ll even be honest and say I agree 100%.” But DeYoung didn’t stop there. He contacted Bethke and they exchanged several emails and had several phone conversations, parts of which are recorded in DeYoung’s follow-up blog post.

Are you living for your Leader Jesus today?

The True Christmas Story

Matthew 1:

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Luke 1:

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Luke 2: The Birth of Jesus Christ

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

ESV

Good Friday Service: Beneath the Cross

Each year, our church has a Good Friday service. It’s a way to celebrate Christ’s death for our sins and prepare for Resurrection Sunday, commonly referred to as Easter. As Pastor Brooks said tonight, for those of us who know Christ, it is not just Good Friday; it is a Great Friday! Here’s the order of worship for tonight’s service:

Welcome and Scripture Reading

I Peter 2:21-25: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you as an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When he was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” ESV

Choir: “Beneath the Cross,” Text by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Beneath the cross of Jesus I find a place to stand,
And wonder at such mercy that calls me as I am;
For hands that should discard me hold wounds which tell me, “Come.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus My unworthy soul is won.

Beneath the cross of Jesus His family is my own—
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams, Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor the ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus see the children called by God.

Beneath the cross of Jesus—The path before the crown—
We follow in His footsteps where promised hope is found.
How great the joy before us to be His perfect bride;
Beneath the cross of Jesus we will gladly live our lives.


Hymn: “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed,” Text by Isaac Watts

Alas! and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died, for man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away ’tis all that I can do.

Prayer & Sermon by Pastor Brooks, “It Is Finished!”

John 19:28-30 is a shout of victory: “28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said,“It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
Christ was triumphant in that He was fully knowledgeable of God’s plan; Christ knew all along what it would take to complete the Father’s will and still did it for us. (See Psalm 69:19-21; Jn. 19:28-29.)
Christ was triumphant in that He fulfilled every word written of Him. He sacrificed Himself as THE Pascal Lamb; no other lamb will ever be required again. He was the final sacrifice once and for all. Our debt of sin is paid; the new covenant is mediated; once for all, He perfected those who are being sanctified.
As you partake in the Lord’s supper, eat & drink with awe and joy and gratitude. Do you struggle to believe God can remove all of your sin? Doubt no more! What more can you possibly add to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ that would make it more perfect? It is finished! Set aside your doubt! Receive Him by faith as the free gift that He is.
Maybe you’ve already trusted Jesus as your Savior but you don’t feel you measure up to His standard. Be assured: when you trusted Christ, at that moment, a legal standing was pronounced upon you, an eternal declaration made over you: perfectly righteous! On the practical side of life, we still mess up and we still to choose to sin at times, and we ask forgiveness and move on; that’s part of sanctification, God growing us to be more like Himself. But our position never once shakes or changes: we are justified, declared righteous, once and for all.

The Lord’s Table: The Bread

We remember Jesus’ body, broken for our sins, by breaking bread together.

Hymn: “His Robes for Mine,” Text by Chris Anderson

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

Chorus:

I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

The Lord’s Table: The Cup

We remember Jesus’ blood, shed for our sins, by drinking the cup together.

Duet by Matt & Kate L.: “Here is Love,” Text by William Rees

Here is love vast as the ocean, loving kindness as the flood
When the Prince of life, our ransom, shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten throughout Heaven’s eternal days.

On the Mount of Crucifixion, fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy, flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers, poured incessant from above
And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.

Let us all His love accepting, love Him ever all our days
Let us seek His Kingdom only and our lives be to His praise
He alone shall be our glory, nothing in the world we see
He has cleansed and sanctified us; He Himself has set us free.

In His truth He does direct me, by His Spirit through His Word
And His grace my need is meeting, as I trust in Him, my Lord
All His fullness He is pouring in His love and power in me
Without measure, full and boundless, as I yield myself to Thee.

Hymn: “The Power of the Cross,” Text by Stuart Townend

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day: Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, Torn and beaten, then Nailed to a cross of wood.

Chorus:
This, the power of the cross: Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath—We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face, bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought, every evil deed, crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life; “Finished!” the victory cry.

Oh, to see my name, written in the wounds, for through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; Life is mine to live, won through Your selfless love.

This, the power of the cross: Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross.

Postlude

Heritage Bible Church, Greer, SC, www.heritagebiblechurch.org.
Join us Sunday for Easter! Everyone welcome! Times and map at website link above.