Sunday – October 27, 2019 Gospel of Luke – Luke 23:40 to 24:35 “Dealing with the Death of Jesus”

Sunday – October 27, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 27, 2019

Luke 23:50-52
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.”

We should be very interested in the story of Joseph of Arimathea, the man who buried Jesus. No one knows where Arimathea was located, but the designation helps distinguish him from other Josephs. He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the body of 70 men who governed the religious and many of the civic matters in Israel. It was the Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus to death, although Joseph had not consented to their plan. Probably he had not spoken out as vigorously as he should have. John 19:38 tells us that he was a secret disciple of Jesus, for fear of the Jews. His fear had caused Joseph not to take a bold stand for Christ, even though in his heart he knew that he should have done so.

But now, after Jesus was dead, when His followers had gone into hiding, Joseph gathered up his courage (Mark 15:43), went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus so that he could give Him a proper burial. If he had not done so, Jesus’ body probably would have been thrown on a garbage heap and burned, robbing us of some of the major proofs of the resurrection, as we’ll see. We can thank Joseph for honoring Jesus with a proper burial and for giving us many evidences for our faith.

I believe Luke is commending the faith of Joseph and the women, seen by their concern for Jesus body and burial, at a time when this was a most unpopular, and even dangerous, thing to do. Faith in Christ requires an identification with Christ, which includes an identification with Him in His death. In their actions, they stood with Jesus, and apart from the Jewish religious leaders. Saving faith requires those saved from their sins stand apart from a world that has rejected Jesus, and stand with Him who was rejected and put to death. Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women are a picture of what faith requires by those who would be saved. Faith is expressed by an identification with the Jesus who died on the cross of Calvary. No wonder there is no focus on the eleven at this point, whose faith may not have failed, but whose faith surely is not praiseworthy at this point in time.

It does remind us that even when those who are chosen to lead fail to do so, God always has someone in the wings. Joseph was a man whom the disciples would never have considered a prospect for discipleship. He was a prominent member of the Council which, as a group, rejected Jesus. He was a man of influence and apparent wealth. And yet he was the one whom God had prepared so that the body of Jesus would be honored in death. God always has a person in place, but this is often not the person we would have expected to be God’s choice.

Sunday – October 6, 2019 Gospel of Luke – Luke 23:1-25 Part 2 “Rejection of Israel’s Messiah”

Sunday – October 6, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 6, 2019

Luke 23:8-10
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.

We all make offers we really don’t expect others to accept. I believe Pilate made the leaders of Israel—the chief priests and rulers of the people—an offer they would never accept—but they did. The religious leaders of Israel brought Jesus to Pilate, accusing Him of being a criminal worthy of death. But Pilate did not see it this way at all. Eventually, he made these leaders an offer I think he was sure they would not accept. His offer was to release to them Barabbas, a thief, a revolutionary, and a murderer. Which would they choose—to turn Barabbas loose on their city—or Jesus? Jesus was a man of peace, a seemingly harmless fellow. Barabbas was a dangerous criminal. Surely they would leave Barabbas in prison, where he belonged, and be content to have Jesus found guilty of a crime and then pardoned.

When we read the account of the trial of our Lord before the political rulers of that day, it is like watching a table tennis match. On the one hand, Jesus is passed back and forth between Pilate and Herod. On the other, the dialogue between Pilate and the religious leaders bounces back, from one to the other. Pilate repeatedly pronounces Jesus innocent of any crime, but the Jewish religious leaders respond by even more vigorously affirming His guilt, demanding nothing less than the death penalty. One would think that Pilate, with the power of Rome behind him, would have little difficulty enforcing his will on the people, but such is not the case. We see that indeed the people prevail, and the story ends with Pilate giving them their way, even though this means the death of an innocent man.

Why does Luke include this incident with Herod while no other gospel writer does? I believe it is important to see that everyone rejected Jesus as the Messiah, including Herod. But it was absolutely necessary for Rome and the Gentiles to share in the rejection and the crucifixion of Christ so that all men, not just the Jews, might be guilty of His innocent blood. Herod does play a part, but this is the time for the Gentiles to show their own disdain for the Savior.

If men are so utterly angry with God that they will always hate, oppose, and reject Him, how can they ever be convinced, converted, and changed? It will not be through human might or methods, but only through the Holy Spirit of God. As we read the Book of Acts we learn that men were convinced and converted—miraculously so, such as Saul—but they were convinced and converted through the work of God’s Spirit, as He empowered men and their testimony for Christ. May we go about His work, dependent upon His Word and dependent upon His Spirit.

Sunday – August 4, 2019 Gospel of Luke – Luke 20:41-47 “The Son of David”

Sunday – August 4, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 4, 2019

Luke 20:41-44
Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

In April of 1984, at 9:47 AM, hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Britons suddenly leaped in the air. They had been convinced by astronomer Patrick Moore on BBC radio that the planet Pluto would pass directly behind Jupiter at that moment, producing a gravitational pull on Earth that would make people feel lighter. Minutes after 9:47, the switchboards at BBC lighted up. One woman said that she and 11 guests had floated around the room. A man called in to say he had hit his head on the ceiling. Had any of the bounding multitudes looked at a calendar before they leaped, they would have realized it was the first day of April… (Reader’s Digest [4/85]).

That was a harmless and humorous deception. But one area where deception is neither harmless nor humorous is religion. Satan is a master deceiver. One of the most common complaints that you hear from those who avoid church is that the church is full of hypocrites. Of course, so is the world; but it is true: the church is full of hypocrites. Satan makes sure of that. He deceives many into thinking that they are right with God when really, they are not. He uses these hypocrites to keep others away from true Christianity. We need to make sure that we understand what true religion is and that we steer clear of false religion.

The intent of Jesus was to show His audience in the temple courtyard that neither they nor their teachers of the Law understood their own Scriptures. They rightly thought that Messiah would be the physical descendant of David, but they wrongly thought that he would be just a great man, a political Savior, who would bring in an age of peace and prosperity. Jesus wanted them to see that the Messiah (or Christ) would not only be David’s son, but also David’s Lord- God in human flesh. They needed a right view of Messiah so that they would not be deceived by false religion.

To know who Christ is—that He is both David’s son, a man born of the flesh; and, David’s Lord, the eternal God—is one thing. But each person must respond to this truth by trusting Christ as Savior and yielding to Him as Lord, even as David did. On this occasion, Jesus did not answer the question He posed nor did He call for a response. He just left His audience to ponder the implications of the question for themselves. But the clear implication is: If Jesus is the Messiah and Messiah is Lord over such a great man as King David, then should not I submit to Him as my Lord? True Christianity is not just believing intellectually that Jesus is the Messiah or that He is your Savior. True Christianity means believing in Jesus in the sense that you follow Him as Lord, so that in thought, word, and deed you are growing to be more and more like Him.

Sunday – April 14, 2013, “The Proper Wife”

April 14, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Proper Wife from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The prophetic allegory in the Old Testament illuminates the New Testament.


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John 5:39-40
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

As the speaker, Jesus is referring to what we now call the Old Testament. Today, many assume that because we have a New Testament that the Old one is nullified or at best a historic curiosity and at worst a mythical depiction of a vengeful, almost sadistic God. Indeed, there are Christian groups and denominations that say they would not follow or want a God who would tell the Jews to slaughter the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. They only want a God of LOVE. And that love is defined by their limited understanding and desires, not necessarily as defined by God and revealed in the scripture Jesus is addressing.

However, Jesus gave validity to the Old Testament. He quoted the scriptures of the Old Testament a multitude of times, referring to them as absolute truth from God the Father. The problem is not that the scriptures are out of date, as some suggest. The problem is many don’t study the Old Testament, and don’t know the scriptures well enough to see the truth clearly. What they see they discount because it does not fit their preconceived notions. Also, they believe false assessments and interpretations of those who are advancing another gospel cleverly disguised as truth by their language or sincerity. The truth is that God the Father has revealed his plan for man’s salvation throughout the Old Testament.

This revelation is purposely deep enough to prevent a casual reader, curiously interested in the intellectual and informational content only, from grasping God’s deep truths. Yet, the revelation is simple enough for the sincere seeker to see the completeness and unity of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind throughout both Testaments. The plan remains unchanged from the God who is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. And Jesus makes it clear in John 5:39 that the scriptures testify about him – as the redeemer of mankind. As Jesus often said, “let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.”

Today, we have an advantage – we see the Old Testament through the magnifying glass of the New Testament. We can more easily see Jesus and his redemption through his sacrifice in the pages of the Old Testament. For example, in Isaiah 9:6,7 we see the prophesied miraculous birth of Jesus the savior and his reign as king in his kingdom forever. In Genesis Chapter 5 we see God’s complete plan of salvation of man explained by joining the root meaning of the succession of names in the chronology from Adam to Noah.

In the Genesis account of Abraham and Isaac we again see God’s salvation plan in an innocent willing to be sacrificed. Through Abraham and Isaac, we see the miraculous birth of a son, followed by a father willing to sacrifice this only son, the providing of the real sacrifice by God himself and finally the choosing of a willing and perfect bride for the son. All are prophetic allegories of the purchase of the bride of Christ for salvation and new life with him. Let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.

Sunday – April 7, 2013, “The Promise”

April 7, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Promise from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We often look at the Old Testament as being a collection interesting stories of long ago. Why has the Lord included these stories in his word? What is the purpose of these stories? Are they more than just stores? How do they speak to us today? How do they reveal God’s plan?

We begin our exploration by taking a deeper look at the significance of the Old Testament stores concerning the events surrounding Abraham, the birth of his son, Isaac and the call for the sacrifice of Isaac.


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1 Samuel 18:1-4
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

I do not know what David said to Saul that impressed Jonathan – his faith in God, his humble spirit or the care David had for the people of Israel; but it is clear from this point forward they were kindred spirits. We also know David and Saul will struggle for the remainder of Saul’s days. For better or for worse, Jonathan and Saul will represent the two possible responses people in Israel will have to David and his kingdom.

Jonathan provides the most excellent picture of the love that God requires of us toward His Son. This is symbolized so beautifully when Jonathan removes his robe and armor to provide them to David. Throughout the Bible, the robe is the outward representation of authority. In Genesis, it was the robe given to Joseph that symbolized his authority in Jacob’s home. Before Aaron died (Numbers 20:22-28) his priestly garments were removed so that they could be worn by his son Eliezar. Even in the gospels the woman with the issue of blood looked to just to touch the hem of Jesus robe, the symbol of his authority while he was here on earth. The offering made by Jonathan is not “above the call of duty” but rather the fulfillment of his duty.

Saul’s response to David is similar to the disciples; and sadly, of many in the church today – jealousy, competition and self-recognition. The disciples were continually looking to see who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and indignant with any other disciple that seemed to outdo them. Jesus had to continually remind them that the first will be last while the last is first and in Mark 9:35 “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Saul failed to grasp this truth as well.

Today, all who are born of the Spirit are given a spiritual gift or gifts to enable them to excel in the ministry they have been called as a blessing to others in the Body of Christ. We can both rejoice in the strengths God has given to others and seek to benefit from their ministry or we can resist them with a competitive spirit. How much criticism of those serving the Lord is rooted in jealousy and envy rather than faithfulness to God and His Word? Let each one here guard against jealousy. Many wonderful things in ministry are obscured by the ugly face of jealousy because we have made ministry about how it will make us appear to the world around us.

Sunday – March 10, 2013

March 10, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Darkside of the Second Coming from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Christians today continue to ask the same question as the disciples: When will these things happen? They want Jesus to give them the key to identify exactly when the end will come. History is riddled with predictions, and when they are proven to be as foolish as the last, they revise their calculations based on some obscure biblical passage they failed to take into consideration. Others compile their “rapture index” charting out the latest earthquake, civil war or cosmic disturbance to gauge the probability of the nearness of Christ’s return to the delight of an audience seeking to escape rather than persevere.
Do not be a victim of Last Days entertainment. The most important thing we as Christians have been called to do is preach the gospel to all nations. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will not quiz us on whose prediction was accurate but rather will want an accounting of what we have been doing. Were we proclaiming the gospel? Were we enduring suffering faithfully? Did we love others as we have loved ourselves? Those who have been asleep on the job will not just be embarrassed when the Lord returns, they will be judged.
Join us this Sunday as we conclude our study of the Olivet Discourse from Mark 13 in “The Dark Side of the Second Coming”.


Word On Worship – March 10, 2013 Download / Print

Mark 13:35-37
“Therefore, be on the alert — for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”

Christians today continue to ask the same question as the disciples: When will these things happen? They want Jesus to give them the key to identify exactly when the end will come. History is riddled with predictions, and when they are proven to be as foolish as the last, self-proclaimed experts revise their calculations based on some obscure biblical passage they failed to take into consideration. Others compile their rapture index, charting out the latest earthquake, civil war or cosmic disturbance to gauge the probability of the nearness of Christ’s return to the delight of an audience seeking to escape rather than persevere.

We turn on the television to see pastors identify the Antichrist from their list of those they do not like and then preach fear to audiences that he is set to pounce and devour his prey. Others fall into extremist groups that quit their jobs, sell their homes and turn their backs on the world as they wait for the appointed time for Jesus to take them away from their earthly woes. Jesus specifically warns against such end-times hysteria, deliberately providing no sign or event that is helpful for fixing a specific date. Yet false teachers continue to pop up and reduce Christianity to simple answers to exploit the fears and the weaknesses of the saints for a handsome profit.

The temptation of end-of-the-world hysteria is to lead the saints astray from the very counsel of our Lord Jesus: Be alert. The life of the saint, whether in the first or twenty-first century, is full of painful paradoxes, tensions and uncertainty. Yet the Lord requires His saints to walk by faith, not by the comfortable security of sight. And so we fall prey to those who speak about what is next to happen on the world stage and we are told nothing about living in the light of such news, except to send in more money. Unlike Jesus, they provide no ethical implications for how this affects the way we live our lives, no urgency to share the gospel and no command to find ourselves to be ready.

Do not be a victim of Last Days entertainment. The most important thing we as Christians have been called to do is preach the gospel to all nations. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will not quiz us on whose prediction was accurate but rather will want an accounting of what we have been doing. Were we proclaiming the gospel? Were we enduring suffering faithfully? Did we love others as we have loved ourselves? Those who have been asleep on the job will not just be embarrassed when the Lord returns, they will be judged.

Sunday – November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Can We Franchise the Church? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in Jesus name because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to Jesus name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve? Join this week as we continue our study in the Gospel of Mark in the first part of Mark 9 verses 30 to 50.


Word On Worship – November 25, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 9:30-31
From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”

The ministry of Jesus at this point in Mark’s gospel now shifts from public ministry to a time of intensive training of the twelve. Jesus was never swayed by the adoration of the masses, but now as He turns to Jerusalem one final time, His focus is on these few who will carry the gospel forward to the world. Jesus tells them again His destiny is to be rejected by men who will kill Him but he will be resurrected on the third day. It is here Jesus adds a new detail to His previous statement of suffering: He will be betrayed by one of His own into the hands of men.

They should have been worried about who it will be among them who will betray the Lord of Glory, but instead it becomes a catalyst to debate about who is the greatest. It will continue as they argue with the successful exorcist because he does not follow them. Their need for recognition will also be an issue at the Last Supper as Peter will argue that he will be more faithful than the rest. The picture we are given by Mark is showing Jesus walking ahead to Jerusalem to be sacrificed as the disciples push and shove to establish the order of the procession behind Him.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over-inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in the name of Jesus because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to His name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve?

The “cult of personality” is alive and well in the church today as it was with the twelve on the road to Jerusalem. How often is the pastor given top billing above Jesus, just as members of the local body seek for their name in the bulletin or church newsletter for their service? Yet our Lord demonstrated His definition of leadership by the cross of Calvary. When leadership is defined by sacrifice, the cross makes sense. The cross is God’s view of leadership. This is the definition of leadership established by Jesus, which He followed to His death. Therefore, any who seek to be leaders must follow Him to the cross to die themselves.