Every Last Word
Are you looking for an excuse to celebrate? The Angels in heaven are. But do you know what brings them joy? It should also bring joy to our hearts. There is nothing greater on this earth an a lost soul coming to salvation.
It may not be flattering to think of ourselves as sheep – they may be cute as lambs, but they’re stupid and often wander. It’s truly comforting to know that Christ is our shepherd. When we wander and got lost, he will come find us and carry us home.
If you want to follow Jesus, you must hate your father and mother, your spouse and even your kids. These words seem not only harsh but they seem to contradict the very commands God has given to us. Yet Jesus said them. Today we’ll be trying to understand what Jesus meant, and how we can follow him.
Sometimes we picture God condemning most people, while only a very few make it into heaven. The parable of the banquet shows us a completely different picture. We see God relentlessly seeking after people to come join his feast.
Have you found yourself stepping on other people in order to get what you want? Maybe it’s for recognition at church, a promotion at work, or a gadget at the store you’re dying to have. Our hearts tell us to push others aside to get what we think we deserve. Jesus shows a very different way for us to live.
If you look around at Christmas time you’ll likely see almost everywhere baby Jesus in a manger. But something is missing, can you think of what it is? In order to fully understand Christmas, another part of Jesus’ story needs to be told. Tune in this week to Every Last Word with Dr. Phil Ryken to hear about the very important connection between the manger and the cross.
It may seem irreverent to compare Jesus to a chicken. But Jesus does in fact describe himself this way. He says he is like a mother hen longing to gather her chicks under her wings. Jesus has so much compassion on his people that he will be stopped by nothing in his mission save his people. Nothing will stop him from advancing the Kingdom of God.
Have you ever found yourself lost without map? The natural thing to do is call someone who has access to one. When they give you directions, would you say they were wrong and that you’re sure there’s a better way? Clearly not! Yet this is often the reaction to Christ’s claim that he is the only way to God.
From its small and seemingly insignificant beginning, who would have suspected that the Kingdom of God would grow and spread across the world? It’s just like when you plant a tiny seed that turns into a huge tree. You may not notice it growing, but it does.
Our natural tendency is to avoid people in need. Whether it’s someone asking for money or a friend in crisis, our automatic response is to get out of the way. And we have good reasons for it. But Jesus walks right into people’s pain and gets his hands dirty, much to the shock of the religious leaders.
Have you ever planted something that didn’t yield any produce? Maybe an apple tree, or a raspberry bush. If it never gave you any fruit, you probably tore it out and put something new in its place. Jesus speaks of us in the same way. If we don’t produce the fruit of repentance, we too will be cut down. Repentance is a matter of life and death. Which will you choose?