What’s the Difference Between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day?

Do you know the difference between the “Sabbath” and “The Lord’s Day?” They are not one and the same.

The Sabbath is considered the day of rest that God took after the six days of creation. He rested on the seventh day (Saturday). In the Ten Commandments, we are told to observe the Sabbath day.

Here’s the command from Exodus.

Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lordmade heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Yet, Jesus violated this commandment.

Of the 10 commandments, Jesus observed them all except the Sabbath. The Sabbath was simply a foreshadowing of the coming “Lord’s Day.” The Lord’s Day is the first day of the week (Sunday). It’s the day Jesus rose from the dead. Thus it’s the day Christians worship and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

Remember, Jesus had been talking about the fact that there was rest in Him. He called all the people to come to Him and take His yoke upon them and they could find rest. Well, that’s exactly what the Sabbath means. The word “sabat” means “rest or repose.” This explains why Matthew introduces this next account at this point in his narrative to his Jewish audience.

Matthew 12:1-5

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?

The Pharisees were angry at Jesus because He broke their laws about the Sabbath. The Pharisees had dozens and dozens of additional laws they added to the Law. In their laws you could only walk so far on the Sabbath. They called it a “Sabbath day’s journey.” You could cut a melon in half, but you couldn’t cut it in quarters. Why? They considered it “work.” Well, we are not under those laws. Jesus shows us that by this account we just read.

Jesus reminded the Pharisees of the account where King David and his men ate the bread in the Temple that had been consecrated and was only to be eaten by the priests (1 Sam 21). David broke the law and was not condemned. Jesus was breaking this tradition of man and He was not wrong in doing so either.

Jesus was teaching very clearly that external laws could never save a person or make them holy. True righteousness has to come from the heart.

So, I don’t have a problem with doing something on the Sunday that needs to be done, because Sunday is NOT the Sabbath. We are not under that command, according to Jesus’ teaching. However, I do believe in the principle of a “Sabbath rest.” So, I try to rest on Sunday. Again, Sunday is NOT the Sabbath, yet God showed us in the creation week that rest should be a part of that. It’s good for the body and the soul.

One more quick thought. Did you know that we get our seven-day week only from the Bible? Nowhere else in history is there an explanation for a seven-day week. Think about that when your evolution friends want to say there is no God. Ask them where we got the seven-day week.

Blessings on a wonderful day!

Kevin

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Grateful That Jesus Revealed Himself To Me

Take a look at this verse…

27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27

Does that verse confuse you? It does me if I try to read it without the context of the surrounding verses. We have been talking about how Jesus declared to the folks in the cities of Capernaum and Bethsaida, who rejected Jesus’ message, that they faced strict judgment because of their unbelief. We talked about how Jesus distinguished the “wise” from the “children.” The “wise” were smart in their own eyes, yet couldn’t understand Jesus. The “children” on the other hand, received Jesus willingly and with great trust.

Okay, now that we see and understand that…let’s try it again…

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:25-27

These verses are the Gospel in a nutshell. They are the Good News that Jesus Christ revealed Himself to us! Can you see that? It pleased God and Jesus to reveal Himself to us so that we might be saved. Why do I say that? Because of the next three verses…

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

It has pleased God to reveal to us His Son so that we might not be heavy laden and burdened down in this life. Praise Jesus’ name!

Now a few comments about verse 27 (our text for today)…

27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father,

Jesus has all power and authority. It has been given to Him by God. (Matthew 28:18) He has all power to execute judgment (John 5:22, 27) and all power over all flesh (John 17:2). Now, this should encourage us to come to Jesus. It’s like being broke and seeing a man handing out money. You better go to him quickly before time runs out and he puts his hands in his pockets and says, “No more.”

and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27

This reminds me of an ambassador. Here’s an ambassador’s seal…

ambassador-seal

That seal is used by the ambassador on behalf of the King, Queen, or President of a nation. The ambassador carries with him/her the power of the kingdom or nation with that seal. Jesus represents His Father on this earth to transact His business to redeem us (bring us back) to Himself (God). There is no mistaking exactly what Jesus came to do (to seek and save that which is lost). Jesus got the instructions and the assignment straight from His Father. There is no mistake about this and no misunderstandings. And Jesus carried out the contract between Himself and His Father on the cross. Jesus came to us to reveal to mankind the love the Father has for us all. It’s His desire that all come to the Father, but it’s our choice.

Aren’t you glad Jesus carried out His Father’s mission to save mankind? I know I sure am!! I am so grateful that Jesus revealed Himself to me!!

Thank you Jesus!

Kevin

You Think You Are SOOOOO Smart!

Has anyone said that to you before in derision and sarcasm?

“You think you are soooooo smart!”

Yes, I have too 🙂 And I’ve said it to a few people in my lifetime. Like my sister when we were kids. 🙂

Well, Jesus has been sharing with the disciples about the fact that there were people in cities and towns such as Capernaum and Bethsaida who didn’t get it. They rejected Jesus. So sad. And it still happens today.

Jesus said some pretty sharp words to the inhabitants of those unbelieving towns.

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Matthew 11:25-26

Jesus had to feel pain in His heart that so few would come to Him and receive His message or believe His miracles. The sin and ruin of those woeful cities, no doubt, was a grief to Jesus to His core. Jesus would offer thanksgiving to the Father. He would acknowledge Who He is. He is the “Lord of heaven and earth.” Jesus speaks of His Father with reverence and awe and great confidence. Jesus praises His Father for the fact that the truth had been revealed to “little children.” Now what is He talking about?

Well, let’s think this through. Jesus’ adversaries were typically the Pharisees. They were the “wise and the understanding.” They were the elite of the day! Rich and pompous! Smug and intellectual! You see, the “children” are those who humbly accept Jesus’ commands and obeys them in a life of surrender and commitment. Isn’t it interesting that some of the greatest scholars and the greatest statesmen have been the greatest strangers to the Gospel?

In my opinion, if there has ever been a passage of Scripture that would describe the dichotomy between the “wise” and the “children” it would be this.

1 Corinthians 1:18-22

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

There are a lot of people in our world today who think they are sooooooo smart!

Paul had something to say to Timothy about this as well:

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you. 1 Timothy 6:20-21

I have learned through my almost 50 years of living that very often those who are an “expert” in things sensible and worldly are usually the least experienced in spiritual things.

Matthew Henry says this:

“Men may dive deeply into the mysteries of nature and into the mysteries of state, and yet be ignorant of, and mistaken about, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, for want of an experience of the power of them.”

We all get a chance to receive Christ. We all get a chance to be “wise” or be “children.” Those people in Capernaum and Bethsaida who refused to receive Christ and His message had their chance.

Matthew Henry makes this comment about God’s sovereignty in the process:

Had they honored God with the wisdom they had, they could have used that knowledge to come to Christ, but because they served their lusts, God hid their hearts from this understanding. Let God take what ways he pleases to glorify himself, and make us of what instruments he pleases for the carrying on of his own work; his grace is his own, and he may give or withhold it as he pleases. We can give no reason why Peter, a fisherman, should be made an apostle, and not Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and a ruler of the Jews, though he also believed in Christ; but so it seemed good in God’s sight. Christ said this in the hearing of his disciples, to show them that it was not for any merit of their own that they were thus dignified and distinguished, but purely from God’s good pleasure; he made them to differ.

You might have to read that twice. It’s that good and it’s why I love Matthew Henry who lived 350 years ago. He’s a brilliant mind and one who has a knowledge of Scripture that is impeccable.

Rejoice today that you are a “child” of God…and that is sooooo smart!!!

Kevin

There Are Levels of Punishment in Hell

Did you know there will be levels of punishment in Hell? There will be. Just as there will be levels of reward in heaven, there will be degrees of punishment in Hell. All Christians won’t get the same reward in heaven. Your rewards are dependent on your service to Christ in your life on this earth. Jesus made this clear over and over in His parables, particularly the parable of the talents. Those who took their talents and invested them in the kingdom were blessed with being set in charge of more than those who did nothing. The same is true for how eternity will play out in Hell. There are degrees of punishment in Hell. Jesus made this clear with these statements of warning.

Matthew 11:20-24

20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Here is a map of first century Israel. Find the Sea of Galilee in blue and then about 1 o’clock you’ll see Bethsaida. The Apostle Peter was from Bethsaida.

First_century_israel-763497

You will see Tyre and Sidon at the top left of the map. They were cities in Phoenicia. The prophet Ezekiel prophesied that these two cities would be destroyed in Ezekiel 26-28 and this came to pass. Let me show you another map. You will have to look closely on this one. Find the Sea of Galilee and look due north and you will see Capernaum and Chorazin. (It’s small…so look close! :))

nt_israel-flat

Now, if you look at either map I’ve shown you at about 9 o’clock from the Sea of Galilee you will find Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Jesus was run out of his hometown because the people there thought he was crazy. Jesus moved his home base to Capernaum (about 17 miles away). He would stay at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house with all of his men. This lady owned a large home. Jesus healed her of a fever (Mark 1:29-31).

The reason I tell you all of this is because I want you to be able to understand where these cities are and know what happened in them. Jesus performed the majority of his miracles in and around the Sea of Galilee (scholars say around 80%). Yet, the people in these cities wouldn’t believe. Jesus was telling His disciples if He had simply made His way north and west and went to the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, or even in the ancient Old Testament cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented and believed. Yet, He ministered in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, where He was met with mostly unbelief.

Jesus tells them something startling…

24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” Matthew 11:24

Think of that. As evil as Sodom was…Jesus said that it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for her inhabitants than those of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Why? Because Jesus went personally to those cities. He performed miracles in those cities. He was intimating that if He’d done the same in Sodom, they would have believed.

We all have a choice. We get to choose if we will follow Jesus or reject Him. We have not seen Jesus, but we have Him via the Bible. The Word of God is Jesus. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:14). Based on what you know and have seen about Jesus, how are you living? Are you showing belief or unbelief?

May the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum be a stark reminder to us that we should live our lives choosing to believe the works of Jesus Christ. To do otherwise and to reject Jesus makes us comparable with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

You are loved. Have a blessed day serving our Savior! 🙂

Kevin

Oh the Comfort of Jesus!

Jesus knows us so well. After all, He’s numbered the hairs on our head. Remember, the average person has over 100,000 hairs on their head (I would NOT be average :)). He knows us intimately and marvelously well. That’s such a comfort to me. Is it to you?

Poor ole John the Baptist needed comfort. He was in a season of terrible doubt.

Is He really the One?

That was his question that John had sent to Jesus. John was in prison in the fortress of Macheaerus because he had courageously denounced the adulterous marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias. The Jewish leaders would not even come to John’s rescue and demand his release. They felt about John the same way they felt about Jesus. Here’s a man of the outdoors who was called to preach and yet here he is suffering in a stinking, filthy, nasty prison.

John Baptist in Prison

Ultimately, he knew he would soon be killed by Herod Antipas to please his demented wife. Most likely, he had received only partial reports about Jesus’ ministry and perhaps he was struggling to see the big picture. Likely, John thought Jesus would ultimately end up in Rome overthrowing the oppression of the Romans. Yet, he hears that Jesus is simply preaching and teaching with a rag-tag band of disciples in various towns in and around northern Israel. John must have been thinking: “I just don’t get it!”

How does Jesus respond to John’s doubt? Oh this is awesome… Watch this…

Matthew 11:7-8

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.

Jesus asked the crowds: “What did you expect to see out of John?” Apparently, the crowds had heard the exchange between Jesus and John’s men (those who came on John’s behalf) asking if Jesus was really the Messiah. Jesus said, (my paraphrase): “What did you expect…a man who would vacillate back and forth like a reed in the wind who sought to be popular and please the crowds? No way! That’s not John the Baptist! No sir! This man didn’t seek to be a king dressed in soft clothing… He was willing to live in the dessert and preach the truth!”

Jesus continued:

What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.10 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

Jesus was saying, “John came to tell you the truth about me and he has! He was the last of the Old Testament prophets who would proclaim the coming of the Son of God, the Messiah, the Promised One of God.” And then Jesus said these fabulous, most comforting words:

 

11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Oh my! Can you imagine that?

NO ONE GREATER THAN JOHN HAS EVER BEEN BORN!

Wow!

The comfort of those words of Jesus! Jesus didn’t condemn John for his doubt. He affirmed and confirmed all that John had done in preparing the way for His (Jesus’) entrance on the scene. And Jesus affirmed to the crowds, “Be like him. Be willing to suffer and be the least in the kingdom.”

Be comforted today that the Lord Jesus sees you and cares deeply for you. He cares so much for you that He has nail prints in His wrists and feet to prove it!

Oh the comfort of Jesus. Allow Him to bring you comfort today. Take a few moments and sit still before Him…close your eyes…lift your head and hands to heaven and praise His name. For He is worthy!

Kevin

Why Should You Believe in Jesus?

There are actually people who still question whether Jesus Christ lived. Can you believe that?

We keep time by Jesus’ life, and yet some still doubt His existence. Crazy! Today is January 16, 2018. It’s been 2018 years since His birth. Come on…and some still question. It’s their prerogative to question I guess. However, the existence of Jesus is just as certain as say…the existence of this man…

Napoleon

That’s Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor who conquered most of Europe in the early 1800’s. However, you have never met him, nor have I. Yet, we believe he existed. We believe in his existence because of the historical documents indicating his conquests.

The same is true of Jesus Christ. He didn’t conquer the known world with military might. Instead, He came and died for the world that the world might know the love of God. The facts of Jesus’ life are as well documented as those of Napoleon. It comes down to trust, faith and believing in what Jesus has done.

John the Baptist had the same choice. He was sitting in a nasty, stinking, filthy jail cell. Herod Antipas would soon have his head on a silver platter and John was wondering if Jesus was truly the Son of God. Was Jesus really the man the Jews had been praying for and waiting to see for centuries?

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:2-6

Remember, John had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River…

Jesus-John-the-Baptist

…but now he’s in a prison. He had to be thinking:

“Could I have been wrong? Maybe Jesus is not the Messiah. It’s not supposed to have ended this way!”

Fair enough.

I would have probably had the same questions. You see, there are times in each of our lives when things don’t turn out like we expected them to and we begin to question God. It’s okay. He can handle it. And so did Jesus. In fact we’ll see that vividly tomorrow. Yet, we have to choose to believe. Jesus commanded people over and over again to simply BELIEVE. What can we believe? What should we believe?

Believe what He’s done. Believe His works and His miracles. That’s what Jesus told John:

Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

Will you choose to believe and trust in Jesus even when things aren’t going like you expected? Will you believe and trust in the historicity of His works? He is as much a part of history as today’s date. He’s as much a part of history as Napoleon. Yet, it’s your choice.

Believe. Believe. Believe. 🙂

Kevin

Dealing With Doubt

Do you ever doubt? Do you ever have crazy thoughts pop into your head?

Does God really exist?

Is my faith in God just a figment of my imagination?

Is Jesus really the Son of God?

I’m not a betting man…but, I’m thinking you do have doubts. I do. Satan will throw crazy thoughts of doubt at us that seem to hit us out of left field. They come out of nowhere. But, we shouldn’t doubt where they come from and why. They come from Satan and they come to cause us fear and anxiety. That’s Satan’s specialty. He specializes in doubt. That was his plan in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and they took the bait.

Are you taking the bait? Has Satan lured you into doubting God and His Word?

fish taking the bait

Satan holds doubt before us like that bait for the fish.

Did you know that John the Baptist doubted? Yes sir! John the Baptist! One of the greatest men who ever lived doubted mightily.

Matthew 11:1-3

1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

See the doubt?

“Are you the one?…”

There’s the doubt. It’s honest and it’s understandable. Where is John? Verse 2 says that he is in prison. Now think about it… That’s probably not where John the Baptist thought he would end up. In fact, Matthew 14:1-12 tells us that Herod Antipas would have John beheaded. John would never leave that prison and I think he knew it. And thus, he wondered, “Is Jesus the real deal? Is he really the Messiah?”

Do you think those are fair questions for John to have? I do. I believe the Lord can handle our doubt. But, here is the key: We can’t allow ourselves to be overcome with doubt.

We MUST take every thought captive and understand where it’s coming from. You must understand that. If you continue to entertain doubt in your mind then you’ll be taking the bait.

donttakethebait

Don’t take the bait! Don’t allow Satan to continue to come against you with doubt. Resist him. Get this…

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

We have to take the doubts “captive” and destroy them with the knowledge of God. Punish those thoughts! Hammer them with the Word of God. Use Scripture (the Truth) to defeat those thoughts. Remember, the Word of God is sharp as a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It’s our weapon to defeat doubt. Use it! Hold up the knowledge of truth! Here’s verse 5 again… Let it soak in…

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:5

Today if you are having doubts, please know that is a normal part of Satan’s tactics to take you down. Doubts come to us all. It’s what we DO with the doubts that’s crucial.

So…

donttakethebait

🙂

Kevin