March 20, 2011

He Is A Rock – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:10 am by sranderson0103

What do you think of when you hear the word “rock”?Something beautiful like the geodes or quartz that are so prevalent in Arkansas. Or perhaps you first think of the properties of rocks: firm, hard, strong, or durable. Over the ages man has used rocks as a foundation, a stronghold, a place of shelter, an altar, and memorials. All these properties of rocks have been used to describe God and Jesus his son in scripture.

Moses first describes God as a rock in his song recorded for us in Deuteronomy 32. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) He chastises the Israelites for their unbelief by saying, “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:15-18) Jeshurun means “upright one” and is a term of endearment applied to Israel as the “righteous nation.” Israel was fickle, but God was not. He was their rock of salvation.

 Samuel showed his faith in God and his reliance on Him in several passages of scripture. He paints a beautiful word picture for us when he said, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3) “For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” (2 Sam 22:32-33) “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.” (2 Samuel 22:47)

The Psalms

The Psalms contain some of the more beautiful references to God as a rock. It is not surprising that the psalmist would describe God in the same way that Samuel did calling God a deliverer, the horn of salvation, and a high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

David led a troubled life as many of us do. But he always leaned on God for refuge and strength. “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.” (Psalms 28:1-3) “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalms 61:1-2) “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalms 62:1-2)

From these Old Testament passages is it clear that the Israelites knew God watched over them. They could turn to him in times of trouble and he would be their refuge. He was their strength, protector and salvation. It is the same for us today. Who else can we turn to for solace, comfort, and protection? He always cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) 

Jesus Christ

Isaiah prophesied about one who was to come and described him as a rock in a weary land. We know that man was Jesus Christ. Over and over in the Old Testament, God was described as the horn of salvation. He saved them from their earthly enemies time and again. Today, Jesus saves us from our sins, and it is through him that we have the hope of heaven.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12) Only a rock hewn to be perfectly square can be used as the corner stone of any foundation. Because Jesus was obedient to the will of his father, even to the death on the cross, he became that perfectly hewn rock, the cornerstone of our faith and salvation. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9)

Jesus is steadfast, rock solid, dependable, our savior, our only redeemer. Let us never be shaken by what the world says. Let us build our house on the rock of our Lord.—Amen.

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March 6, 2011

He Is The Messiah – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

There is good reason for us to believe that Jesus Christ is the messiah whom God had promised would come. There are those in the world today who question this, but to those who search out the evidence, there can be no doubt. There are over 30 prophecies throughout the pages of the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled. These a sufficient to remove any doubt from the minds of a person who has an open mind and is searching for the truth.

His Birth

It was foretold that his birth would be in the small, insignificant town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) He would be the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 12:3, 17:19, Numbers 24:17) He would be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). We read with awe how carefully the genealogies in Matthew and Luke were written so that the lineage of Jesus could be clearly seen. It is not just the genealogies that inspire our awe. As we read those names they call to mind the Bible stories about the lives of men such as Boaz, Jesse, David, Solomon, Josiah, and Zerubbabel to name only a few. We see how God preserved the lineage through war, famine, slavery and captivity to finally end in the birth of our Lord and Savior. Jesus was declared to be an heir to the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:32). However, this is not a literal throne, but a spiritual one that resides in heaven. These are but a few of the prophecies of his birth. 

His Ministry

As we read about the life of Jesus we are amazed at all he accomplished in the three short years of his ministry. Following his temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), he left Nazareth and stayed in Capernaum which is on the Galilean sea coast bordering the ancient lands of Naphtali and Zebulun. It was there that the great prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2 was fulfilled:

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

From that point on he preached repentance and the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 4:17)

We follow him as he traveled through the regions of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis and Perea. He was truly the prophet foretold by Moses saying that God would rise up a prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15) and that he would be after the order of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4). These two prophecies were confirmed as being fulfilled by Jesus in Acts (3:20,22) and in Hebrews. (Hebrews 5:5-6) During his ministry he healed the broken hearted (Isaiah61:1-2, Luke 4:18-19) as he gave sight to the blind, healed the lame, and gave hope to everyone who believed that they might be set free from the bondage of sin.

Even the manner of his entry into Jerusalem was a fulfillment of prophecy. Zechariah had written more than 400 years before that Jesus would come into the city riding on a colt, the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9) That is exactly how it happened. (Mark 11:7, 9, 11). But, the people who cried out “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” soon turned against him, and rejected him preferring that a man named Barabbas should be freed from Roman control—all as prophesied. (Isaiah 53:3, Luke 23:18)

His Crusifixion and Resurrection

There are many prophecies that were fulfilled concerning the events leading up to the death of Jesus on the cross. It was the Psalmist who wrote that the messiah would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9) and that friend turned out to be Judas. Not only was the betrayal prophesied, but also that it would be for the price of 30 pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:2) . He was accused by false witnesses (Psalms 35:11), silent before his accusers, spat upon, crucified with thieves, and buried with the rich. (Isaiah 53:7, 50:6, 53:12, 53:9)

Even the details of the crucifixion were given hundreds of years before it occurred. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, his side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10), yet not a bone in his body would be broken (Psalm 34:20, John 19:32, 33, 36). He would be mocked and given vinegar and gall. (Psalm 22:7-8, 69:21) The soldiers gambled for his clothes after he was nailed to the cross. (Psalm 22:17)

Of course his death was not to be the final event. The psalmist wrote that Jesus would rise from the grave and ascend into heaven. (Psalm 16:10, 49:15, 68:18)

Surely with this level of detail we can see the hand of almighty God at work in providing all the evidence we need to know that Jesus is the messiah. Even his name, Jesus, means savior. Let us give God the glory for his plan of salvation and for his son who was obedient even to death on the cross.—Amen. 

Christ Our Savior

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:18-22)