Florin Ianovici – (1) Ce sa facem cand suntem incercati? (2) Ceea ce framanta pe om: Viitorul la Biserica „Izvorul Vieţii” Aradul Nou 19-20 Martie 2013

VEZI PAGINA Florin Ianovici PREDICI aici

Gabi Zagrean-Bis. Izvorul Vietii Aradul Nou

Ianovici Izvorul Vietii Martie 2013

(1) Ce sa facem cand suntem incercati?

TEXT : Daniel 3:14-18 la Biserica Izvorul Vieţii- Aradul Nou
Saptamana de Evanghelizare 19 Martie 2013

14 Nebucadneţar a luat cuvîntul, şi le -a zis: ,,Înadins oare, Şadrac, Meşac şi Abed-Nego, nu slujiţi voi dumnezeilor mei, şi nu vă închinaţi chipului de aur, pe care l-am înălţat? 15 Acum fiţi gata, şi în clipa cînd veţi auzi sunetul trîmbiţei, cavalului, chitarei, alăutei, psaltirii, cimpoiului şi a tot felul de instrumente, să vă aruncaţi cu faţa la pămînt, şi să vă închinaţi chipului pe care l-am făcut; dacă nu vă veţi închina lui, veţi fi aruncaţi pe dată în mijlocul unui cuptor aprins! Şi care este dumnezeul acela, care vă va scoate din mîna mea?„

16 Şadrac, Meşac şi Abed-Nego au răspuns împăratului Nebucadneţar: ,,Noi n’avem nevoie să-ţi răspundem la cele de mai sus. 17 Iată, Dumnezeul nostru, căruia îi slujim, poate să ne scoată din cuptorul aprins, şi ne va scoate din mîna ta, împărate. 18 Şi chiar de nu ne va scoate, să ştii, împărate, că nu vom sluji dumnezeilor tăi, şi nici nu ne vom închina chipului de aur, pe care l-ai înălţat!„

Uneori in viata nu-ti trebuie mult sa fi trist si apasat. Pana la urma, daca spui, „Nu mai pot”, esti automat credincios? Cati oameni nu spun in viata, „Nu mai pot”? Cateodata imi spun, „Pastore, nu mai spune Cuvantul acesta, un credincios nu trebuie sa spuna cuvantul ‘nu mai pot’. Pana la urma, ce face diferenta intre un om credincios si un om necredincios? Se pare ca si in tara noastra, cuvantul ‘nu mai pot’ o sa fie rostit de multi. Iubitii Domnului, poti spune in aceasta seara, „Nu mai pot,” si sa privesti spre Dumnezeu si sa spui, „Tu poti totul”. Sau, poti sa spui, „Nu mai pot”, si dupa care sa spui, „Si nimeni nu poate”.

Diferenta intre credinta si necredinta este unde privesti, dupa ce ai spus „Nu mai pot”. Eu vin in aceasta seara sa va spun ca eu nu pot nimic. Dar, chiar nimic nu pot. Nici binele nu pot sa-l fac despartit de Dumnezeu, si nimic in viata nu a fost bun fara de El. Eu ma declar primul ca nu pot. Daca dumneavoastra puteti, e treaba dumneavoastra. Eu nu pot. Fara Dumnezeu nu pot nimic. Asa ca, in seara aceasta, eu pot sa zic, „Nu mai pot”, sa privesc spre Dumnezeu si sa spun, „Da, dar Tu poti totul, in noi toti”. Si as vrea din toata inima, iubitii Domnului, nu cumva pe pamantul acesta sa credeti ca sunteti vinovati pentru ca spuneti nu mai pot. Esti vinovat cand spui, „Nu mai pot”, si nu privesti spre acela care poate.

In aceasta seara vreau sa privim spre cel ce poate. Si sa stiti ca m-am tot framantat. E un suflet in aceasta seara, caruia vreau sa-i vorbesc in mod special, nu eu, ci Dumnezeu.  Cineva care de o buna bucata de vreme sta cu lacrimi pe obraz, cineva care de o buna bucata de vreme, nu mai poate spune decat peretilor cat este de greu. In seara aceasta este aici un suflet care tine in suflet o durere surda. Si acestui suflet, in mod deosebit Dumnezeu vrea sa-i vorbeasca.

Iubitii Domnului, incercarile nu-si aleg in viata un timp. Niciodata, cu incrcare nu o sa spui: Ce bine ca incercarile vin la tinerete. Incercarile vin cand vor ele si de obicei vin cand suntem mai putin pregatiti. Incercarea vine la tinerete si incercarea la tinerete este specifica. Cand Daniel a fost incercat, fiind tanat, i s-a spus, „Mananca mancarea de la masa lui Nebucadnetar”. Exista o lege chiar si a nutritionismului. Devii ce mananci. Cand viata ti-o alimentezi cu bucate straine dezvolti un fel de crestere gresita. Daca este cineva, la vremea potrivita sa te indrume in viata, vei creste bine. Dar, daca la vremea potrivita nu este cineva care sa te indrume si sa te alimenteaza gresit ajungi sa te dezvolti gresit. Dumneavoastra sa stiti ca in viata, intotdeauna cel rau te va ispiti in felul urmator: Mananca din ceea ce n-ar trebui sa mananci. (din primele 10 minute).

Predica incepe la minutul 31. Marti, 19 martie – predică fr. Florin Ianovici și a cântat Manu Negrea din Arad.

(2) Ceea ce framanta pe om: Viitorul

Saptamana de Evanghelizare 20 Martie 2013. Florin Ianovici: 
ianovici 20 martie izvorul vietii aradAseara (vezi video mai sus) cu ajutorul lui Dumnezeu vorbisem despre ce sa facem cand suntem incercati. Prezentul acesta, care este plin de incercari si necazuri trebuie sa aiba un raspuns si aseara, in cuvantul lui Dumnezeu le-am gasit. In aceasta seara, daca Dumnezeu ne va da putere, vom vorbi despre ceea ce framanta pe om: viitorul.

De ce nu intrebi cum va fi viitorul tau? Poate ca te intrebi pe tine. Si cand te intrebi pe tine, tu ce raspuns vine? Nu stiu daca e bine, nu stiu ce competenta avem noi ca sa ne raspundem. Dumneavoastra, in aceasta seara, puteti marturisi ca a-ti venit sa Il intrebati pe Domnul? Poate fi prezenta voastra aici, socotita ca o intrebare care o punem lui Dumnezeu in aceasta seara? A-ti vrea sa Il intrebam pe Dumnezeu cum va fi viitorul nostru? Vreti sa ne uitam in sfanta Scriptura daca Dumnezeu are un raspuns: Cum va fi viitorul nostru? Vreau sa va spun ca Dumnezeu are raspuns la aceasta intrebare. Trei principii simple ale Scripturii:

(1) Cum vrei tu – fiecare se va intalni cu roadele mainii sale. Noi ne nastem cum ne nastem, dar devenim ce vrem noi. Dumnezeul nostru este un Dumnezeu al reconstructiei totale. Este Dumnezeu al schimbarii din temelii. Este un Dumnezeu care ne incurajeaza.

Cheia viitorului nostru sta in vers. 8. La 14 ani, in captivitate, Daniel a gasit cheia viitorului. Biblia spune simplu: Daniel s-a hotarat. Viitorul nostru este de cele mai multe ori rezultatul ezitarilor noastre si durerea pe care o avem in prezent este rezultatul compromisului si la faptul ca in vremea cand trebuia sa fim hotarati, am fost nehotarati. Niciodata in viata, nu o sa poti sa-ti atingi tinta, pana nu sti exact ce ai de facut in viata. Uitati-va la noi: Cei mai multi supravietuim. Cei mai muli nu stim ce vom face dupa o zi pe alta. Nu avem nici un plan de viata. Biblia spune ca Daniel s-a hotarat. Intr-un moment greu al vietii sale s-a hotarat. Vine un ceas in viata, un moment cand va trebui sa iei o hotarare. Va trebui sa te decizi ce sa faci cu viata ta. Zice ca Daniel, intr-o zi s-a hotarat. S-a hotarat ce? Sa nu bea si sa manance la masa imparatului.

Cum te hotarasti? La ce te hotarasti? Cand te hotarasti cine ghideaza hotararile tale? In raport de ce le iei? La care, Daniel a zis: Pentru mine in viata, cel mai important e ca eu sa ma hotarasc sa fac ce a spus Dumnezeu. Important este sa nu abdici de la principiile sfintei Scripturi. (1:02:00)

Predica incepe la minutul 44. Miercuri, 20 martie – predică fr. Florin Ianovici și a cântat grupul El-Shaddai din Arad

BisericaAradulNou7

Reclame

Nelu Brie – Cum pot sa stiu ca pacatele mele sunt iertate? Happy Valley Phoenix 17 Martie 2013

Vezi si-

Pastorul Bisericii Emanuel Sibiu predica la Biserica Happy Valley Phoenix, Arizona – Pastor Cornel Avram in 17 Martie 2013 Duminca dimineata.

Brie Happy Valley 3-2013 D

1 Ioan 2:12 Vă scriu, copilaşilor, fiindcă păcatele vă sînt iertate pentru Numele Lui.

Adevarul este ca una dintre cele mai profunde nevoi  ale sufletului omenesc este nevoia dupa iertarea pacatelor. Pacea sufleteasca tine de iertarea pacatelor. Mantuirea sta in iertarea pacatelor. Linistea noastra in familie si in biserica tine de iertarea pacatelor noastre. Omul aspira dupa pace, dupa liniste, dupa bucurie. Dar, aceste aspiratii vor fi implinite desavarsit atunci cand sufletul este eliberat de vina care a acumulat-o, mania lui Dumnezeu este indeplinita, satisfacuta, potolita, povara e descarcata, iertarea este oferita, bucuria care insoteste iertarea stapaneste de acum inima si omul acela este atunci un om mantuit. Un om plin de viata, de pace, de bucurie, de voie buna pentru ca Dumnezeu i-a facut mult bine. Intrebarea care se ridica si la care cautam sa dam raspuns este intrebarea:

Cum pot sa stiu ca pacatele mele sunt iertate? 

Sigur ca de pacatuit, am pacatuit. Daca este aici cineva care spune ca n-a pacatuit, chiar in momentul in care gandeste sau face declaratia a si facut un pacat. De pacatuit, pacatuim in multe feluri. Putem sa pacatuim singuri. Dar de iertat, nu ne putem ierta singuri. Iertarea este un dar. Intrebarea este: Cum stiu cand l-am primit? Cum stiu ca acest dar de la Dumnezeu este real? Ceea ce spun eu despre mine, sigur are importanta. Dar, dincolo de ceea ce marturisesc eu sau ce marturisiti dumneavoastra, importanta are ce spune Dumnezeu despre noi. Cum putem noi sa stim Dumnezeu cand se uita spre noi ne vede cu pacatele iertate? (4:34) Pe ce baza se fundamenteaza iertarea pacatelor noastre? Cuvantul pe care l-am citit reflecta multa siguranta, multa certitudine.

Vă scriu, copilaşilor, fiindcă păcatele vă sînt iertate pentru Numele Lui. Cuvantul nu scrie: Va scriu ca pacatele voastre sa fie iertate, sau in speranta ca pacatele sa fie iertate. Ci cuvantul scrie: Va scriu pentru ca pacatele va sunt iertate. Cu siguranta sunt iertate. Va intreb pe dumenavoastra, pacatele voastre sunt iertate? Da, slavit sa fie Domnul. Si daca este cineva in aceasta dimineata a carui suflet este nelinistit, cu gandul ca pacate savarsite in trecut nu sunt iertate, fie ca mesajul pe care-l vom auzi sa aduca speranta, sa aduca eliberare, sa aduca vindecare, pentru ca eu cred ca unul dintre cele mai potrivite locuri  de a capata iertarea pacatelor este in biserica. Nu am consacrat noi ca in biserica cine se roaga pentru iertare sa o primeasca? Ba da, si daca ne rugam acasa, pe drum, sau la serviciu, sau ne rugam in masina, Dumnezeu ne poate ierta. Dar toate aceste lucruri pe care le-am amintit, nici nu se pot compara cu locul de intalnire al bisericii lui Dumnezeu, unde copiii  lui Dumnezeu se aduna si cheama numele lui Dumnezeu.

Cum pot sa stiu ca pacatele mele sunt iertate? La aceasta intrebare vom da 4 raspunsuri biblice. Doua raspunsuri tin de ceea ce face Dumnezeu prin Domnul nostru Isus in vederea pacatelor noastre. Urmatoarele doua raspunsuri tin de ceea ce trebuie sa facem noi ca sa primim iertarea pacatelor. Pe de o parte este vorba de participarea si darul lui Dumnezeu si pe de alta parte este vorba de raspunsul si realizarea noastra. Darul lui Dumnezeu se intalneste cu cautarea noastra. Iertarea care vine din harul lui Dumnezeu si iertare care se naste din raspunsul nostru. Baza obiectiva a iertarii pacatelor: (1) Jertfa si Mijlocirea Domnului Isus.

1. Iertarea pacatelor noastre se bazeaza pe jertfa lui Isus Hristos

man in shadow of crossIn 1 Ioan 2 „El este jertfa de ispasire  pentru pacatele noastre si nu numai pentru ale noastre, ci pentru ale intregii lumi. In cap. 4:10 scrie „Dumnezeu ne-a iubit si a trimis pe Fiul Sau ca jertfa de ispasire pentru pacatele noastre.” In 1 Petru scrie „noi am fost rascumparati nu cu lucruri pieritoare, nu cu argint sau cu aur, ci am fost rascumparati cu sangele scump al Domnului nostru Isus Hristos.  Cand ne gandim la trecutul nostru pacatos, trebuie sa fim siguri, siguri, jertfa lui Isus este izvor de iertare pentru pacatele noastre. Domnul Isus s-a dus pe Sine, pe cruce, ca jertfa, pentru ca noi sa capatam iertarea. Cuvantul Domnului ne invata lucrul acesta foarte, foarte clar. Jertfa Domnului nostru Isus nu este un gest care pune in evidenta esecul Domnului Isus. Domnul Isus n-a murit ca victima. Jertfa Lui pune in evidenta biruinta Sa. Este calea spre biruinta. El a murit pentru pacatele noastre, ca sa realizeze, sa implineasca cea mai profunda nevoie, sa primim iertarea.

Evrei 7:26 spune ca Domnul Isus a aratat o singura data, ca sa stearga pacatul prin jertfa Sa. Ce inseamna cuvantul ‘sa stearga’? Cuvantul romanesc nu este suficient de expresiv. In limba greaca este un verb care inseamna ‘sa desfinteze’ pacatul. Efectiv nu mai exista, in sensul in care tot ceea ce trebuia sa savarseasca Fiul lui Dumnezeu ca pacatul sa fie eliminat s-a savarsit si pacatul a fost eliminat. Jertfa lui Isus are ecouri vesnice. Pe acela pe care Dumnezeu il iarta, Dumnezeu nu ii ia pacatul lui si il pune de o parte si-l tine ascuns pana la vremea potrivita. Dumnezeu nu ne tine la mana. Jertfa lui Isus, Fiul lui Dumnezeu desfinteaza pacatul. Pacatul nu mai exista. Ce Dumnezeu a iertat nu mai este.

Cand va tulbura ceva din trecutul dumneavoastra, aduceti-va aminte ca Isus s-a dus pe Sine ca jertfa pentru voi. A murit pe cruce pentru voi. Si onorati-L pe Isus spunand, „Doamne Isuse, multumesc ca ai murit pentru pacatul meu pe cruce. Pacatul meu este iertat din pricina acestei jertfe.” Asta e iertarea pe care o da Dumnezeu. (10:00) Daca jertfa Vechiului Testament acoperea pacatul, jertfa Domnului Isus a desfiintat pacatul. Se da DELETE. Acesta este gestul, acesta este temeiul pe baza caruia Dumnezeu iarta pe pacatosi. Dumnezeu nu iarta pe pacatosi in mod corupt, facandu-se ca nu vede ce este. Dumnezeu nu trece cu vederea pacatele oamenilor intr-un fel superficial. S-a intamplat ceva, un gest facut de Domnul Isus, care are consecinte vesnice. Implicatii cosmice, pamantesti si ceresti, in lumea ingerilor si a demonilor. Jertfa aceea este investitia lui Dumnezeu ca pacatul sa fie desfintat. Din acest gest deriva doua lucruri extraordinar de importante.

  1. Hotararea lui Dumnezeu de a ierta pe oameni. Scrie in Romani 5 ca Dumnezeu a luat o hotarare de iertare- scrie „18 …Astfel dar, după cum printr’o singură greşală, a venit o osîndă, care a lovit pe toţi oamenii, tot aşa, printr’o singură hotărîre de iertare a venit pentru toţi oamenii o hotărîre de neprihănire care dă viaţa.” si versetul 16 „16 Şi darul fără plată nu vine ca printr’acel unul care a păcătuit; căci judecata venită dela unul, a adus osînda; dar darul fără plată venit în urma multor greşeli a adus o hotărîre de iertare.” Ca sa folosim un termne contemporan, Dumnezeu a decis sa gratieze lumea. Asta e primul gest: Isus se duce ca Sine pentru jertfa, pacatul este desfintat, Dumnezeu da un decret de gratiere. Decretul de gratiere este urmat de urmatoarea decizie:
  2. Oricine crede in Isus este justificat inaintea lui Dumnezeu si este eliberat. Noi nu mai trebuie sa stam sub vina. Nu mai este nici o osandire pentru cei care sunt in Hristos. Dumnezeu a iertat pacatele. Dumnezeu a facut decret de gratiere. Imaginati-va un triunghi. Sus e Dumnezeu, jos alaturea e Domnul Isus, in partea cealalta sunt eu. Acest triunghi se numeste triunghiul rascumpararii. Imagineaza-ti ca e judecata. Dumnezeu, la judecata, iti cere sa te justifici. Adica: Cineva te acuza de pacatele pe care le-ai facut in timpul vietii, Dumnezeu iti da dreptul sa te aperi. Te lasa sa vorbesti si sa vorbesti in asa maniera incat dupa ce ai terminat ce ai avut de spus, Dumnezeu sa spuna: Ai dreptate, minciuna ta nu-i minciuna, hotia ta nu-i hotie, curvia ta nu-i curvie, divortul tau nu-i divort, insiri toate pacatele alea. Poti sa te justific asa? Care poate vorbi despre sine in fata dreptului judecator, incat dupa ce a incheiat ce are de spus, Dumnezeu sa zica: Eu am gresit ca n-am crezut ca esti divin. Insa, Domnul Dumnezeu a pregatit o solutie. Si El, judecatorul, spune asa: Eu am de gand sa te justific. Dar, iata cum. Fiul Meu, Isus Hristos a venit in lume si a murit pe cruce pentru pacate. Jertfa Lui este ispasirea pacatelor tale inaintea Mea. Jertfa Lui este rascumpararea ta. Si Eu, zice Domnul, am de gand sa te justific. Iata cum. Iau de pe tine pacatele si le transfer asupra  Fiului Meu, Isus. Si i-au de pe El dreptatea si o pun asupra ta. Eu i-au aceasta decizie juridica. Te iert, in baza deciziei Mele. Cu o singura conditie: Sa-L recunosti pe Fiul Meu, Isus Hristos ca Domn, sa-L urmezi, sa crezi in El, sa te bizui pe El. Ai face asta? Asta este evanghelia. Asta aduce eliberare sufletului care se increde in Dumnezeu. 16:36

2. Iertarea pacatelor noastre prin mijlocirea Domnului Isus

Jesus intercessorDomnul Isus s-a dus nu doar ca jertfa pentru pacate. Ci, inviind din morti, inaltandu-se la cer, El sade la dreapta lui Dumnezeu si sfanta Scriptura ne invata ca El este mijlocitorul nostru inaintea lui Dumnezeu. 1 Ioan 2:1 „Copilasilor, va scriu aceste lucruri ca sa nu pacatuiti. Dar, daca cineva a pacatuit avem la Tatal un mijlocitor, pe Isus Hristos, cel neprihanit.” Domnul Isus este mijlocitorul nostru, la dreapta lui Dumnezeu. El ne apara, El nu ne lasa. Eu nu va cunosc, dar ascultati-ma bine: Daca cineva a pacatuit, sa-i fie rusine fata de Dumnezeu. Ah, nu savarsesti pacate si pretinzi ca nu s-a intamplat nimic. Daca cineva a cazut intr-un pacat sa-i fie rusine. Dar, nici o clipa sa nu-si piarda speranta. Obrazul sa ne crape de rusine, am pacatuit impotriva lui Dumnezeu. Dar, speranta sa nu-ti iasa. Nu acceptati acuzarea acelora care arunca dupa voi cuvinte de ocara, spunand ca daca ai pacatuit te duci in fundul iadului si nu mai este nici o sansa. Daca mori, daca refuzi sa te pocaiesti, daca refuzi sa te intorci la Dumnezeu, acolo ajungi in talpa iadului. Dar nu trebuie sa uiti un lucru: Traim prin har.

Isus, Fiul lui Dumnezeu s-a inaltat la cer si este acolo mijlocitor si scrie in Biblie ca daca cineva a pacatuit avem la Tatal un mijlocitor. Domnul Isus ne apara. Sa nu indrazneasca sa ia cineva aceste cuvinte sa faca libertate pentru a pacatui, zicand: Isus a murit pentru mine si ma apara in cer si prin urmare sa-i dau de lucru si pacatuiesc. Vai de cel care gandeste asa si comite   asa. Noi vorbim unor oameni tematori de Dumnezeu, care au o constinta extrem de sensibila, care vor sa fie placuti lui Dumnezeu. Dar, stau slabiciunile de noi. Frati si surori, Isus este mijlocitorul nostru. In 1 Timotei 2:5 spune ca este un singur mijlocitor intre Dumnezeu si oameni, omul Isus Hristos. In epistola catre Evrei gasim unul dintre cele mai frumoase versete pe aceasta tema.

Evrei 7:25 „De aceea şi poate să mîntuiască în chip desăvîrşit pe cei ce se apropie de Dumnezeu prin El, pentrucă trăieşte pururea ca să mijlocească pentru ei.” Iata ce face Domnul Isus. Traieste pururi in prezenta lui Dumnezeu ca sa ne apere, ca sa mijloceasca pentru noi. Noi avem in cer un aparator. Domnul Isus e proectorul nostru. Nu ne lasa, nu ne abandoneaza. El ne protejeaza, ne insoteste, ne invata, vrea sa ne schimbam, sa ne facem mai buni. Se intampla ca diavolul sta pe urmele noastre sa ne ispiteasca. Iar daca reuseste sa ne faca sa cadem in pacat, urmatorul gest pe care il face se infatiseaza inaintea lui Dumnezeu cerand osanda noastra. Rationamentul cerintei lui este cat se poate de clar: (1) Plata pacatului este moartea. (2) El a pacatuit. (3) Cer ca el sa moara. Ce mai poti sa zici? O, de cate ori n-ar fi trebuit sa murim. Daca nu era acolo unul, care sa intervina in acel moment si sa zica, „Inapoia mea Satano.” E adevarat plata pacatului e moartea. E adevarat ca omul cutare a pacatuit. Dar, la fel de adevarat este ca omul acela se increde in Mine, mi-a chemat numele. Eu am murit pe cruce pentru pacatele lui. Am hotarat sa il iert si sa il apar, asa ca inapoia mea Satano. Asa trebuie s acrezi, asta ne duce libertate, bucurie. De fat, asta este mantuirea prin evanghelie.

3. Din pricina ca pocaim si ne marturisim pacatele

1 Ioan 1:8-10  Dacă zicem că n’avem păcat, ne înşelăm singuri, şi adevărul nu este în noi. Dacă ne mărturisim păcatele, El este credincios şi drept, ca să ne ierte păcatele şi să ne curăţească de orice nelegiuire. 10 Dacă zicem că n’am păcătuit, Îl facem mincinos, şi Cuvîntul Lui nu este în noi.” Ce inseamna cuvantul ‘daca’? Cuvantul ‘daca’ introduce o conditie. Aici cuvantul lui Dumnezeu introduce pocainta, marturisirea pacatelor noastre pe care trebuie sa o facem inaintea lui Dumnezeu cu o hotarare si cu smerenie. In Iacov 5:16 spune „Marturisiti-va unii altora pacatele.” Proverbe 28:13 13 Cine îşi ascunde fărădelegile, nu propăşeşte, dar cine le mărturiseşte şi se lasă de ele, capătă îndurare.” De ce sa taci? De ce sa duci povara de unul singur? De ce sa te usuci, cum a zis David, „Cata vreme am tacut mi se uscau oasele de gemetele mele necurmate. Facu-se pacat, il tine ascuns. Povara, vinovatia la apasat teribil. „Mi se usca vlaga cum se usca pamantul.” Tu ce o sa faci? Dai inainte, o sa ai o reputatie grozava, parerea ta… ca oricum, parfumul vinovatiei emana din fiecare care sta ascuns.

David a spus, „Mi-am marturisit pacatul” Nu stiu cale mai binecuvantata si mai buna inspre pace decat asta. Sa mergi inaintea Domnului Isus si sa spui, „Doamne Isuse, cred in Tine. Am pacatuit. Te rog frumos sa ma ierti.” Si El iti ridica povara. Duhul Lui te va inspira si te va calauzi sa indeplinesti si ce scrie. Marturisiti-va unii altora pacatele. Cauta un om al lui Dumnezeu, impartaseste. Descarca-ti povara sufletului si in felul acesta Dumnezeu iti va duce bucuria eliberarii si a iertarii, siguranta iertarii pacatelor. Bucuria iertarii pacatelor, calea cea mai scurta este marturisirea la pastor, la un slujitor al lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu le iarta pacatele precum le rostim in odaita. Dar siguranta iertarii, eliberarea, bucuria nu vine ca atunci cand spui: Am gresit.

Sant trei stadii cand ti se arata pacatul. (1) Cand iti arata oamenii- esti si in stare sa-i dai in judecata. (2) Cand iti arata constiinta te mai domolesti. (3) Cand iti arata Duhul Sfant te si pocaiesti. Nu zaboviti in impietrire zicand, „Las ca o dc eu cum pot.” Nu sti tu ce te asteapta la urmatoarea intersectie, ce alte conspiratii ale diavolului. Iar oamenii lui Dumnezeu vor sti ca cine primeste marturisirea este mormant, nu aeroport. (1:37:49) Photo via ptl2010.com 

4. Din pricina ca si noi ii iertam pe cei care ne gresesc.

Iertarea noastra este confirmata, este marturisita prin faptul ca si noi iertam pe cei care ne gresesc. MatMatei 6:14-15  „Dacă iertaţi oamenilor greşelile lor, şi Tatăl vostru cel ceresc vă va ierta greşelile voastre. 15 Dar dacă nu iertaţi oamenilor greşelile lor, nici Tatăl vostru nu vă va ierta greşelile voastre.” Auziti ce scrie, gura sfanta a Domnului Isus a spus. El, care a facut rost de iertarea pacatelor prin jertfa Sa. El care o asigura, stand in cer si mijlocind pentru noi. El, care ne curateste de murdariile pe care le-am facut pentru ca suntem uneori ca si copii micuti. Ne curatesc bine parintii nostri, cu hainute frumoase si dupa aia iarasi mergem inapoi la noroiul acela. Mantuitorul nostru, care are mila de noi, se apleaca din nou si ne ridica si ne curateste din nou si de pacatele facute dupa botez, pentru ca vede in noi slabiciunea. Dar, pe de alta parte, credinta, smerenia, pocainta, dorul dupa curatie  si El are mila de noi. Slavit sa fir numele Lui.

Dar ceva ne pune in fata. Auziti ce cuvant ne pune in fata: „Dacă iertaţi oamenilor greşelile lor,”Vreau sa pun o intrebare: Este aici o persoana careia i s-a gresit vreodata din partea unui om? Cuvantul acesta ‘daca’ are o forta care face deosebire intre viata si moarte, intre rai si iad. Si ca nimeni sa nu ramana in dubiu, Isus a intors foaia aceea zicand, „dacă nu iertaţi oamenilor greşelile lor, nici Tatăl vostru nu vă va ierta greşelile voastre.” Marcu 11 „Si cand stati in picioare, sa iertati orice aveti impotriva cuiva, pentru ca si Tatal vostru care este in ceruri sa va ierte greselile voastre. Dar, daca nu iertati, nici Tatal vostru care este in ceruri nu va va ierta greselile voastre.” Cu lipsa de iertare, cu impietrirea inimii tale, care nu vrea sa spuna „Te iert”, nu faci altceva, decat sa anulezi efectele jertfei Domnului Isus in dreptul tau. Nu faci altceva decat sa pui mana pe gura mijlocitorului din cer, care nu mai are nici o putere sa te apere. Nu faci altceva, decat sa te expui uneltirilor diavolului, care va da peste tine ca sa te unelteasca si mai mult. Si o sa vezi mai incolo.

Isus a pus in fata noastra aceste cuvinte, care sa ne avertizeze ca zona asta in domeniul pacatelor ii raspunderea noastra. Si e lucrul acela mai usor de facut. Mori tu pe cruce ca sa te ierte cineva. Du-te tu in cer ca sa aperi pe pacatos. Curateste cu un pacat daca poti, ca nici o pata de motorina de pe o batista nu o poti spala. Spala un pacat daca poti, nu poti. Dumnezeu ia ce e greu de facut si tie iti zice un singur lucru: Te pocaiesti si ierti pe aia care iti gresesc. Si asa ne-am da seama daca iti meriti iertarea. O, cati dintre noi n-au inima impietrita. Nu vor, refuza, sau nu pot. La inceput nu pot, dupa aia nu mai vor. Ca asta e progresia. La inceput nu vrei, ca supararea e mare. Si dupa aia, diavolul tine stapanire zona aceea si te impietreste si apoi nu mai poti. Si nu mai poti nu pentru ca Dumnezeu nu a vrut sa te ajute. Ci pentru ca ai refuzat ajutorul Lui si acum nu mai poti. Si in aceasta situatie, Duhul Sfant intervine si da putinta si eliberare, unuia care striga spre Dumnezeu.

Fratii mei, eu vreau sa spun lamurit: Iertarea pacatelor nu o castigam prin faptul ca noi iertam pe altii, ca nu ni se da iertarea pacatelor la schimb- „Da tu iertare la celalat si eu iti dau si tie iertare”. Nu. Nu asta-i moneda de schimb. Nu. Jertfa lui Isus aduce iertare pacatelor. Dar noi ramanem in iertare, daca o prelungim mai departe spre altii. Asta ne-a invatat Isus cu o pilda. Petru ii zice Domnului Isus: De cate ori sa iert pe fratele meu? Probabil ca sa referit la superlativul posibilitatilor sale- de 7 ori.  Mantuitorul, Isus, a zis, „Eu nu zic de 7 ori, ci de 70 de ori cate sapte.” Ce a vrut Mantuitorul prin aceasta vorba? Sa ne faca aritmetica pacatelor semenilor nostri? 490 de ori, scrie, intr-o zingura zi in evanghelia dupa Luca.  Ce sa insemne in practica? Se tine scai unul de tine, iti greseste si iti greseste. Asa ne-a invatat Isus sa numaram pacatele semenilor? Eu as zice ca lucrurile sunt cu totul diferite. Cine a apucat intr-o zi sa ierte semenului sau de 490 de ori, ala a invatat ideia, pentru ca nu poti sa faci altceva, decat sa o prelungesti mai departe.

Sa fie clar, cine are pacatele iertate nu tine dusmanie pe nimeni si nu vrea sa se razbune pentru ca el a fost iertat si iertarea din inima e prea plina, care se revarsa spre altii. Asa functioneaza lucrurile. Si ca sa aduca adevarul, Mantuitorul a adus pilda cu robul nemilostiv. Noi nu trebuie sa vedem in aceste lucruri groaza acestor lucruri. Trebuie sa vedem ce a zis Isus, ca de acolo a plecat, de la rugaciunea Tatal nostru: „si ne iarta noua greselile noastre, precum si noi iertam gresitilor nostri”. Va intreb: Ce-i rugaciunea asta, e rugaciune sau blestem? A zis unul, „Eu rugaciunea asta in veci nu o fac. Nu vreau sa-mi faca Dumnezeu asa”. Dumnezeu nu ne face cum asteptam noi, ci ne face cum a hotarat El si cum sunt legile Lui.

Rugaciunea Tatal nostru trebuie sa o luam in acea parte, ca unul dintre cele mai puternice si convingatoare argumente aduse de omul care are nevoie de iertare, la Dumnezeu, care ii da iertarea. Cand in inima ta este dragoste, cand in inima ta va vedea dorinta de a oferi celuilalt iertare, Dumnezeu iti va tine ierarea Lui peste tine. Asta este bucuria copiilor lui Dumnezeu. Cu alte cuvinte, din faptul ca trebuie sa iertam pe ceilalti, nu trebuie sa facem o povara, ci un argument cu care stam in siguranta inaintea lui Dumnezeu. Nu-i vorba de sentimente la mijloc. E vorba de hotarare. E vorba de caracter. E vorba de fapte. Hotaresti sa ierti, refuzi sa te razbuni si asa Dumnezeu ne da libertate si bucuria iertarii. Nu a zis Domnul Isus sa intoarcem obrazul celalalt? Sau Pavel nu ne-a invatat  sa punem carbuni aprinsi pe capul dusmanilor nostri? Sau David, cand s-a purtat exact asa cu Saul si  Saul striga pe vai: Tu esti mai bun ca mine? Noi trebuie sa ramanem in harul lui Dumnezeu si in iertarea lui Dumnezeu. A zis Ioan: „Vă scriu, copilaşilor, fiindcă păcatele vă sînt iertate pentru Numele Lui.” Ce a avut in vedere cand a vorbit cu atata siguranta? Cele 4-

  1. Isus a murit pentru pacate
  2. Isus e mijlocitorul
  3. Noi ne marturisim de pacate
  4. Si iertam pe cei care ne gresesc.

Punandu-ti viata in mana acestor principii, vei trai bucuria iertarii pacatelor. (Ultimele 2 minute nu au sonor de la sursa si le-am omis)

B. Palm Sunday – (1/3) Tears of Sovereign Mercy

You can listen to the audio here from Desiring God, John Piper.

Luke 19:28-44

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, „Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, „Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, „The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, „Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, „I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” 41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, „Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Before we get back to Romans 9 the Sunday after Easter, I wanted to preach a message that is partly an overflow of one of the books I worked on during the writing leave. (It will probably be called Don’t Waste Your Life.) Actually, this message is the overflow of more than the book.

  • It’s the overflow of conversations with John Erickson about his vision for ministry in the city.
  • It’s the overflow of conversations with my son Benjamin about what it means to be a merciful person on the street.
  • It’s the overflow of reading Timothy Keller’s book, Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road.
  • It’s the overflow of the seminar I did on Prayer, Meditation, and Fasting a few weeks ago, as I pondered what it really means to enjoy fellowship with Jesus and anticipate meeting him face to face very shortly and giving an account of the way I have thought, for example, about giving to people who ask for money. I remember, specifically, in one of those hours asking the class: Suppose you die and you’re standing before Jesus Christ, who surrendered his body to spitting and shame and torture and death so that undeserving sinners (like you and me) might be drawn into eternal joy, and he inquires how you handled the people who asked you for money – you know, panhandlers, beggars, street people, drunks, drifters. What would you say?I suggested to them, and I suggest to you now, you’re not going to feel very good about saying, „I never got taken advantage of. I saw through their schemes. I developed really shrewd counter-questions that would expose them. So I hardly ever had to give anything.” Do you know what I think the Lord Jesus is going to say to that – the Lord Jesus, the consummately, willingly, savingly abused and exploited Jesus? I think he is going to say, „That was an exquisite imitation of the world. Even sinners give to those who deserve to be given to. Even sinners pride themselves on not being taken advantage of.” Well this message is a spillover of some of those thoughts.
  • And it’s a spillover of a conversation that Noël and I had at Annie’s Parlor a little over a week ago as we assessed our lives how we wanted the next ten years to look – if God gives us ten – in regard to practical deeds mercy. What do we want Talitha to see in the city? What kind of Jesus do we want her to see living through us in Philips neighborhood on 11th Avenue? Do we want her to remember someday when we are gone: my folks were shrewd? Or do we want her to remember: My folks were merciful?

Palm Sunday: An Event of Insight and Misunderstanding

Well, that’s what led me to choose this text for Palm Sunday. It’s a Palm Sunday text. Palm Sunday is the day in the church year when traditionally we mark the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem for the last week of his life. It’s an event of great insight and great misunderstanding. The great insight was that this Jesus really is „the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38). He was the Messiah, the Son of David, the long-awaited Ruler of Israel, the fulfillment of all God’s promises. But the great misunderstanding was that he would enter Jerusalem and by his mighty works, take his throne and make Israel free from Rome.

It wasn’t going to be that way: he would take his throne but it would be through voluntary suffering and death and resurrection. The first sermon Peter preached after the resurrection comes to an end with the words, „This Jesus God raised up” so that he was „exalted at the right hand of God” (Acts 2:32-33). And the apostle Paul says that he is now King: „He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25; see Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1).

So Palm Sunday was a day of insight and a day of misunderstanding. The insight gave joy, and the misunderstanding brought about destruction – the murder of Jesus a few days later, and the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years later. And Jesus saw it all coming.

And what I want to focus on this morning is Jesus’ response to this blindness and hostility that he was about to meet in Jerusalem. Indeed, he met it already in this very text. The crowds were crying out in verse 38, „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” But in the very next verse it says, „Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples’” (Luke 19:39).

So Jesus knew what was about to happen. The Pharisees were going to get the upper hand. The people would be fickle and follow their leaders. And Jesus would be rejected and crucified. And within a generation the city would be obliterated. Look how Jesus says it in verses 43-44:

For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

God had visited them in his Son, Jesus Christ – „he came to his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). They did not know the time of their visitation. So they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The builders rejected the stone and threw it away. Jesus saw this sin and this rebellion and this blindness coming. How did he respond? Verse 41-42: „And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” Jesus wept over the blindness and the impending misery of Jerusalem.

How would you describe these tears? You can see from the title of this message that I call them, „Palm Sunday Tears of Sovereign Mercy.” The effect that I pray this will have on us is, first, to make us admire Christ, and treasure him above all others and worship him as our merciful Sovereign; and, second, that seeing the beauty of his mercy, we become merciful with him and like him and because of him and for his glory. (Photo below via

Admiring Christ’s Merciful Sovereignty and Sovereign Mercy

First, then let’s admire Christ together. What makes Christ so admirable, and so different than all other persons – what sets him apart as unique and inimitable – matchless, peerless – is that he unites in himself so many qualities that in other people are contrary to each other. That’s why I put together the words „sovereign” and „merciful.” We can imagine supreme sovereignty, and we can imagine tenderhearted mercy. But who do we look to combine in perfect proportion merciful sovereignty and sovereign mercy? We look to Jesus. No other religious or political contender even comes close.

Look at three pointers in this text to his sovereignty. First, verse 37: „As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.” Jesus had made a name for himself as the worker of miracles, and they remembered them. He had healed leprosy with a touch; he had made the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk; he had commanded the unclean spirits and they obeyed him; he had stilled storms and walked on water and turned five loaves and two fish into a meal for thousands. So as he entered Jerusalem, they knew nothing could stop him. He could just speak and Pilate would perish; the Romans would be scattered. He was sovereign.

Then look, secondly, at verse 38. The crowds cried out: „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Jesus was a King, and not just any king, but the one sent and appointed by the Lord God. They knew how Isaiah had described him:

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

A universal, never-ending kingdom backed by the zeal of almighty God. Here was the King of the universe, who today rules over the nations and the galaxies, and for whom America and Iraq are a grain of sand and a vapor.

Third, verse 40. When the Pharisees tell him to make the people stop blessing him as a king, he answers, „I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). Why? Because he will be praised! The whole design of the universe is that Christ be praised. And therefore, if people won’t do it, he will see to it that rocks do it. In other words, he is sovereign. He will get what he means to get. If we refuse to praise, the rocks will get the joy.

It is remarkable, therefore, that the tears of Jesus in verse 41 are so often used to deny his sovereignty. Someone will say, „Look, he weeps over Jerusalem because his design for them, his will for them, is not coming to pass. He would delight in their salvation. But they are resistant. They are going to reject him. They are going to hand him over to be crucified.” And so his purpose for them has failed. But there is something not quite right about this objection to Jesus’ sovereignty.

He can make praise come from rocks. And so he could do the same from rock-hard hearts in Jerusalem. What’s more, all this rejection and persecution and killing of Jesus is not the failure of Jesus’ plan, but the fulfillment of it. Listen to what he said in Luke 18:31-33 a short time before:

And taking the twelve, he said to them, „See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written [planned!] about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

The betrayal, the mockery, the shame, the spit, the flogging, the murder – and so much more – was planned. In other words, the resistance, the rejection, the unbelief and hostility were not a surprise to Jesus. They were, in fact, part of the plan. He says so. This is probably why it says at the end of verse 42, „But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Remember what Jesus said about his parables back in Luke 8:10: „To you [disciples] it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” God was handing them over to hardness. It was judgment.

We have seen all this in Romans 9. The mercy of God is a sovereign mercy. „I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15). But here is the point I want you to see today: This sovereign Christ weeps over heard-hearted, perishing Jerusalem as they fulfilled his plan. It is unbiblical and wrong to make the tears of mercy a contradiction to the serenity of sovereignty. Jesus was serene in sorrow, and sorrowful in sovereignty. Jesus’ tears are the tears of sovereign mercy.

And therefore his sovereign power is the more admirable and the more beautiful. It’s the harmony of things that seem in tension that makes him glorious: „Merciful and Mighty,” as we sing. We admire power more when it is merciful power. And we admire mercy more when it is mighty mercy. And, as I said, my prayer is that as you see his mercy and admire his mercy, you will become like him in his mercy.

There are at least three ways that Jesus is merciful, which we can draw out of this context. And I pray that I will become like him in all of these. I pray that you will too.

Jesus’ Mercy Is Tenderly Moved

First, Jesus’ mercy is tenderly moved. He feels the sorrow of the situation. This doesn’t mean his sovereign plan has wrecked on the rocks of human autonomy. It means that Jesus is more emotionally complex than we think he is. He really feels the sorrow of a situation. No doubt there is a deep inner peace that God is in control and that God’s wise purposes will come to pass. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cry.

In fact, on the contrary, I appeal to you here: pray that God would give you tears. There is so much pain in the world. So much suffering far from you and near you. Pray that God would help you be tenderly moved. When you die and stand before the Judge, Jesus Christ, and he asks you, „How did you feel about the suffering around you?” what will you say? I promise you, you will not feel good about saying, „I saw through to how a lot of people brought their suffering upon themselves by sin or foolishness.” You know what I think the Lord will say to that? I think he will say, „I didn’t ask you what you saw through. I asked you what you felt?” Jesus felt enough compassion for Jerusalem to weep. If you haven’t shed any tears for somebody’s losses but your own, it probably means you’re pretty wrapped up in yourself. So let’s repent of our hardness and ask God to give us a heart that is tenderly moved.

Jesus’ Mercy Was Self-Denying

Second, Jesus’ mercy was self-denying – not ultimately; there was great reward in the long run, but very painfully in the short run. This text is part of the story of Jesus’ moving intentionally toward suffering and death. Jesus is entering Jerusalem to die. He said so, „We are going up to Jerusalem . . . and the Son of Man will be delivered up . . . and they will kill him” (Luke 18:31-33). This is the meaning of self-denial. This is the way we follow Jesus. We see a need – for Jesus is was seeing the sin of the world, and broken bodies, and the misery of hell – and we move with Jesus, whatever it costs, toward need. We deny ourselves the comforts and the securities and the ease of avoiding other peoples’ pain. We embrace it. Jesus’ tears were not just the tender moving of his emotions. They were the tears of a man on his way toward need.

Jesus’ Mercy Intends to Help

That leads us to the third and last way Jesus is merciful. First, he is tenderly moved, second he is self-denying and moves toward need. Now third, he intends to help. Mercy if helpful. It doesn’t just feel – though it does feel – and it doesn’t just deny itself – though it does deny itself – it actually does things that help people. Jesus was dying in our place that we might be forgiven and have eternal life with him. That’s how he helped.

What will it be for you? How are you doing in ministries of mercy? How are you and your roommate, or your housemates, doing together? How is your family doing? (That’s what Noël and I asked at Annie’s Parlor.) What is tenderly moving you these days? Is there movement toward pain or suffering or misery or loss or sadness, that means denying yourself – in the short run – and multiplying your joy in the long run? And what help are you actually giving to those in need?

Two prayers: Oh, that we would see and savor the beauty of Christ – the Palm Sunday Tears of sovereign joy. And oh, that as we admire and worship him, we would be changed by what we see and become a more tenderly-moved, self-denying, need-meeting people.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Passion Week A. Friday/Saturday: Jesus arrives in Bethany

This post corresponds to the related Google map of Jesus’ Passion Week you can access here.

This is a telling of the Gospel story and event of Jesus and Mary who annointed Jesus’ head with oil, one week before he was to be crucified. The Gospel is told by C.J.Mahaney and transcribed by Alex Chediak for a Desiring God conference in 2007. You can read the entire message here

Extravagant Devotion

We then were asked to open our Bible’s to Mark 14:1-11. C.J. read the text. C.J. assured us that his text, Mark 14:1-11, revealed a truly historic moment as it contained a profound pronouncement. Nobody else except this woman receives this promise from the Savior: „wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Why? Why her? Why now? Just her. Why her? C.J. wanted to help us discover „why her” so that we all might be affected by her.

The Mark 14 passage begins with disturbing descriptions of the chief priest: Only Jesus’ popularity and the threat of a riot slow have slowed them in their goal of killing him. That’s the backdrop to our passage. At the end of the evening, the chief priests will get some help from Judas.

The Alabaster Flask

And in between the intrigue of verses 1-2 and 10-11, there is a party taking place in Bethany. Jesus and his friends are gathered. They are in the home of „Simon the leper,” who – had he still been a leper – could not have been hosting the get-together. C.J. suggested he might have been previously healed by Jesus. John’s gospel, in a parallel passage, informs us that Lazarus was present, having recently been raised from the dead.

[C.J. joke: „Imagine being there with Lazarus. I’d find some way to recline next to him at some point in the evening. I’d have lots of questions for him. It’s not often you meet someone who has died. What was it like to die? Is it a bummer you have to do it again? What was heaven like? Who broke the news to you that you had to go back? How did they break the news to you? ‘Lazarus, your sisters won’t stop crying, now the Savior is crying, you’re going back, pal.’ And what was that like? Hearing the Savior say, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ Going from Paradise to the graveclothes. What was that like? If I’m disoriented by frequent travel, how disoriented is Lazarus?”]

John also tells us Martha is present; the quintessential servant, she is catering the party. And most important, the Savior is there. Presumably, he is the guest of honor. One would expect the atmosphere to be warm and friendly – there are no Pharisees or chief priests present. Only those with every reason to be grateful to Jesus are present (except perhaps Judas, who is still under the radar at this point).

Suddenly, a woman (John tells us it was Mary) stands by Jesus and proceeds to break an alabaster flask of very expensive perfume. She pours the entirety of its contents over his head. The fragrance fills the room. It was impossible to ignore this public, dramatic, passionate display of affection. The disciples do not appreciate this act, and they scold her. The scene is no longer festive. Suddenly there is a dramatic change in the mood and atmosphere. A voice says leave her alone.

The Savior then makes the profound promise: „wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Why? Why does he make this promise to her at this moment? What she has done must be told wherever the gospel is preached, because Mary uniquely exemplifies the transforming effect of the gospel, which is extravagant devotion to the Savior. She demonstrates the effect of the gospel by her extravagant love for Jesus. She was to be an example of piety to the church universal throughout history. Her story is told so that we might evaluate if we have been appropriately and effectively transformed by the gospel. Not just applause, but application: We should evaluate ourselves in relation to her.

Two points to be drawn:

1. Extravagant devotion is an evidence of conversion.

Earlier in Mark’s gospel we encounter a teacher of law who is told, „You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). It was surely both an encouragement and a warning to this man. You are near, but not in. Well, it is clear that Mary’s not simply “near.” She’s “in.” Big-time. This is what being “in” looks like.

Where there is a profession of faith without affection for and obedience to the Savior, it’s authenticity should be questioned. Be assured if you are truly saved. If you have genuine affection for the Savior, and genuine obedience to the savior, then you can have fresh assurance.

C.J. expressed concern regarding the prevailing tendency among many in the church to grant false assurance to those who profess faith in the Savior, but whose lives bear no evidence to the miracle of regeneration (namely, affection for and obedience to Jesus Christ). C.J. lamented that in the U.S. evangelical church, it is quite common for someone to retain the lifestyle of those in the world, but with the (false) confidence that they possess eternal salvation.

Where does that confidence come from? In his novel The Painted House, John Grisham describes a Sunday school teacher eulogizing a mean character Jerry Sisco, killed the night before: “She made Jerry sound like a Christian, and like an innocent victim. As baptists we’d been taught that they only way you get to heaven is by accepting Jesus. Accept Jesus, or you went to hell. That’s where Jerry Sisco was, and we all knew it.” C.J. exhorted us not to emulate the example of this Sunday school teacher who gave false assurance to someone whose life displayed no evidence of salvation: affection or obedience. We are not serving the children we have the privilege to lead if we impart false assurance to them. Let us not encourage assurance where there is the absence of affection for, or obedience to, the Savior.

Given the size of this conference, C.J. noted, he would be remiss to assume that everyone present is genuinely converted. „I think I can assume most everyone here is, but given the large number, it would be unwise to assume that all are converted, and perhaps even now God is drawing near those who have maybe even made a profession of faith, are serving in children’s ministry, but without evidence of affection or obedience. There are other things you are more passionate about than the Savior. If that is a description of you, I would warn you right now to receive this plea as an expression of God’s mercy. If you are not genuinely converted recognize that God is demanding you to turn from your sins to the Savior for the forgiveness of your sins. Because extravagant devotion is an evidence of genuine conversion.” (My paraphrase of C.J.’s warning)

If I witness a person who is unaffected by truth, uninvolved in the local congregation, and uninterested in spiritual things, that individual is very unlike Mary, and therefore unconverted. Extravagant devotion to the Savior cannot be concealed. It must find expression. It is evidence of true conversion. This is the significance of Mary.

2. Extravagant devotion is the increasing experience of the converted.

C.J. asked us to consider if we recognized ourselves in the following illustration:

A woman took her children to the park to break the monotony of the summer days. Instead, she broke her heart. A young attractive woman skipped to a picnic table in a secluded spot. The mother wondered who she might be so eager to see. The mother grew preoccupied with her children and forgot to watch. But when she did look again, it made her heart hurt. The young woman was reading her Bible. She had so eagerly run from her car to meet the Lord. The mother knew she had lost this passion. Something had happened over the years of her walk with the Lord. She would not now be one to skip to meet the Lord. She wept in the park for her loss.

The question C.J. put to us is: Are we still skipping? Now all who are genuinely converted can, at times, recognize themselves in this illustration. In the Mark 14 episode, we are sometimes more like those criticizing Mary than we are like Mary.

What should have happened there in Mark 14? As Mary stood over the Savior pouring out the perfume, affectionately, passionately, appropriately, over His head….quietly, everyone present should have gotten up and formed a line behind her and should have said to her, “Mary, could you please save some for me to pour? For he has forgiven all of my sins. Mary, can I pour some? For he healed me of my leprosy. Mary, thank you for your example. Can I follow your example?” That’s what should have happened.

So who do you resemble more? The arrogant and critical disciples? Or humble Mary, expressing her love for the Savior through this extravagant display of affection. How can we become more like her? How can we cultivate extravagant devotion to Christ?

Application: We must review and reflect upon the gospel.

We must regularly read, and meditate upon, the gospel, particularly the events surrounding Christ’s death. The transforming effect of the gospel is extravagant devotion to the Savior. Therefore, if extravagant devotion is diminished, it normally means the gospel has been neglected. Charles Spurgeon said:

Are you content to follow Jesus from a distance? O, let me affectionately warn you for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Savior’s face. Let us work to feel what an evil thing this is – little love to our own dying Savior, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Don’t stop at sorrow. Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only can you get your spirit aroused. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let’s go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let’s clasp that cross, let’s look into those languid eyes, let’s bathe in that fountain filled with blood – this will bring us back to our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart….The more we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard the more noble our lives become. Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior.

How often do we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard? Those cries were all necessary because of our sins, and those cries were sufficient for our salvation. The transforming effect of those cries is extravagant devotion to the One who uttered those cries.

C.J. than cautioned that if we don’t intentionally review and reflect upon the gospel each day, we will inevitably review our own sin – and, consequently, be more aware of our sin that of God’s grace. Reflection upon sin should be a means, never an end. Cry out for grace, and be amazed by grace.

C.J. encouraged us to custom-design a play so that we can each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died. And express extravagant devotion each day through the experience of dwelling where the cries of Calvary can be heard.

If our affections have grown cold, C.J. suggested we consider restricting our spiritual diet to dwell where the cries of Calvary have been heard. Study a gospel, particularly the passion week. Study the Savior as he resolves to go to Jerusalem, as he is overwhelmed in the garden of Gethsemane, and contemplates the experience of God’s full and righteous wrath against sin.

C.J. movingly recounted Jesus’ words on the cross as we sat with eyes closed. He then encouraged us to have Christ-centered, Sunday school curricula, so that the attention of our children is drawn to Christ and Him crucified with regularity. Finally, he prayed that all present would be encouraged in their ministry and sense the Savior’s pleasure, even as we take appropriate measures to maintain our first love for Christ.

Books which C.J. commended for „dwelling where the cries of Calvary can be heard”:

J.I. Packer quote C.J. displayed:

The preachers’ commission is to declare the whole counsel of God; but the cross is the center of that counsel, and the Puritans knew that the traveler through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.

PASSION WEEK EVENTS CHART – Follow by day, and by hour, with the Bible verse references

These are wonderful charts that you can print our, or save on your computer and follow the events of Passion Week. If you click on each of the 3 pictures, it will take you to the full size image. Josh Byers is a very resourceful and talented individual who comes up with all kinds of maps and charts based on Biblical passages. You can learn more and see more at http://joshbyers.com

CLICK on Letter Size Light to go to site – CLICK again on photo to ENLARGE

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