The Victory is Jesus

MARK 12

O.T. Lesson   Psalm 118:19 – 29
N.T. Lesson  Phil:2:6-11  [The Message]

According to Peter Drucker in his book “Post-capitalist Society”,  most of the money today is in investments for pensions, rather than in the hands of a few major players who play with their own money.  The people who handle the money are brokers and accountants people who are ‘hired’ to do the job (like Nieson the Brit who broke a British bank with his speculating in Malasia).

But can you imagine a ‘Bill Gates’ or a ‘Jimmy Pattisson’ buying a tract of land in the Okanagan and having it set up as a vineyard complete with a distillery and a tourist set-up for a ‘Cottage Winery”- fenced to be deer and elk proof and with a sophisticated security system?  He has someone subcontract the operation, and he sends a note to collect the current dues for this years’ crop.  Three months later the accountant says the amount is overdue.  A collection agency is finally sent in   the agent is found unconscious and spends 2 months in hospital recovering.  Another is found dead…..

Jesus used the story in the opening verses of Chapter 12 of Mark’s gospel to tell the story of God’s dealing with the Jewish nation in allegorical form.  It was retelling the story from Isaiah 5 and the Jewish religious leaders recognised it- and were they ‘ticked’!  Jesus went on to add part of Psa 118  as describing Himself and the role He would play as the “stone rejected by the builders who has become the capstone”.

Our society is not much different.  We have a history of doing our own thing of manipulating people around us to get advantages of them.    God gave us a world to use, look after and enjoy, but we have some who are ‘high polluters’ of industry ‘multi-nationals’  who are  accountable,  seemingly, to no one.  And so we have water, ground and air pollution poisoning the environment around us.

Usually every year someone reviews the stats of those who have gross incomes of over $100,000 who pay no net income tax; that’s enough to make an ordinary man’s blood boil.          Or like the rumour our hospital would be closed and after the meetings and scare mongering and name calling they tell us it never was a serious consideration in the first place, and we feel ‘taken’.

Or religious leaders who try to take us down the garden path with their own ‘ego-inspired’ schemes of greed and power, and take money from people on fixed incomes….

“Consider Jesus…”  He provided the standard over and above anyone else.  His earthly Person housed the Creator of the Universe, Almighty God.  Yet he served sacrificially and compassionately, a world who couldn’t have cared less.  He was so annoying that the religious leaders in concert with  the Roman sympathizers (Herodians) finally had him silenced.  And when Satan had danced on his tomb thinking he had won Jesus burst through triumphantly and was set up in Victory of sin, death, and the grave on a throne at the ‘right hand of the Father” (see Phil 2:9-11)

In the light of all of these things, how should we then behave?

  1. As people set free from the bondage of sin free to live new lives. [see Romans 6:17,18,22,23,4,11-14]

    “Thank God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obey the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness… Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit  you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.   You know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.  We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    So count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God  in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires .  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

  2. Not preoccupied with Satan and his brood.  James 4:7 says to simply “resist the devil and he will flee from you“.  He is a defeated foe in the face of the blood of Christ  he turns and runs.
  3. We need to apply Christ’s victory to every part of your lives. “Put on the whole armour of God and live!”  “Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.  Learn how to apply them; God’s Word is an indispensable weapon… prayer is essential…” Eph 6:10-20 MSG

    So let’s do it full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out.  Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.  He always keeps his word.  Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do, but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”  [Heb 10:19-25 MSG.]

Not only do we have to ‘get with the program’  individually but we need to also help each other.. “Keep each others spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out” [Eph 6:18 MSG]

©1999 D H Friesen

Mark 11

O.T. Lesson  Deut 30:11-20
N.T. Lesson  I John  2:28-3:3

KEY VERSE — “My house was designated a house of prayer for (all) the nations:” v. 17. (The Message)

God’s ideals had been corrupted by materialism and the preoccupation with power.  Leaders were taking advantage of ‘out-of-towners’ by supplying sacrificial animals that were substandard at exorbitant prices.  See Mal 1:7,8,13,14.   They were using technicalities on what was classified as acceptable currency and charging high exchange rates.  Their justification was because they were the “chosen people”.  The problem of course was that they kept forgetting the warnings.  [See Deut 30 etc.]

God had promised Abraham that he would be “a father of many nations” (see Gen 17:4) And that He would ‘Bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. Then under Moses, God expanded the covenant blessing to ‘the alien in your gates’ [see Ex 20:10], and in Isaiah 56:6-8 God talks about all of us being included in His covenant blessings to those who would follow and honour His name. [Note II Peter 3:5] “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”.

How should this affect us today?

  • We need to see others with God’s eyes.  The Jewish leaders were embarrassed at Jesus’ cleansing of the temple [Mark 11:15-19] because it challenged their power to manipulate the Word of God to fit their own greed. [Note II Tim 4:3].
  • We need to produce suitable fruit- the story in verses 12-14 and 20-25 is a pointed reminder that fruit [Gal 5:22,23] whether the leftovers from last year or the buds [they were edible] of promise is essential as an indication of the right kind ‘life’ He is looking for.  (James 2:14-ff)

What You Are author unknown

What you are speaks so loud that the world can’t hear what you say
They’re looking at your walk, not listening to your talk
They’re judging by your actions every day
Don’t believe that you’ll deceive by claiming what you’ve never known
They’ll judge what they see and know you to be
They’ll judge by your life alone

We also need to be keenly aware that “JESUS IS COMING AGAIN”. And this time he will be coming not only to Jerusalem and the Jews but also for the whole world and everyone that is in it, and was in it.  He will come at a time ‘appointed by his Father’.  He will come in triumph, with great joy and no opposition will hold a candle to his awesome power.

When he was here the first time, he was born in a borrowed manger; preached from a borrowed boat; came riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey’s colt; had his last supper in a borrowed room; and was buried in a borrowed tomb — leaving us an example of how we should treat our circumstances.     The song goes:

This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through.   My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.”

God has promised that when we see him “we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is”  [I John 3:2]  “All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready; with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” [I John 3:3 Message] see also Romans 12:1-2.

© 1999 D. H. Friesen

UN Peace Symposium 1999

Real satisfying peace transcends any political attempts to create a ‘peace’.

This message was given at the UN Peace Symposium at the outdoor rally at the Castlegar Museum on Oct 12, 1999.

What is peace to me?

The painting of a stormy sea with wild waves crashing on a rocky shore and a seagull sitting on her nest in a little protected niche.

Peace is my ancestors moving from one country to another often leaving every thing behind in an attempt to find a place where they would not be required to go to war — to Poland, Russia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay…

Peace is the story of Father Maximillian Kolbe, a Polish priest who was sent to Auschwitz.  There he volunteered to take the place of a prisoner — one of ten condemned to the starvation chamber to make up for a successful escape from Barracks 14.  The prisoner whom he replaced had cried for his wife and children and Father Kolbe was granted his place. He said, “I am an old man, Sir, and good for nothing.  My life will serve no purpose”.

The sounds from that windowless tomb of the living was different this time, for instead of howling and one prisoner attacking another in frenzied rage, there was singing.  This little shepherd was leading sheep through the ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death’ to the Great Shepherd.

After over two weeks there were still four alive, three unconscious on the floor and Father Kolbe propped against the wall, a smile playing at his parched lips, open eyes fixed on a faraway vision — at peace.  He had served to the end, following the example of the One he had served who said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  The Master had said as he prepared his followers for his impending death: “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give unto you.  I do not give it to you as the world gives.   Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Real satisfying peace transcends any political attempts to create a ‘peace’.

Rudyard Kipling in his poem “If” describing a ‘real man’ said:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
……………………………………………..
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings- nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’  worth of distance run-
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

This poem  stands as an ideal,  but I believe that it can only  come from a genuine inner peace, a peace that can only  come from the Author  of Peace.

©1999 D H Friesen

Thanksgiving

Luke 17:11-19

O.T. Lesson  Leviticus 23:39-43
N.T. Lesson  Philippians 4:10-19

Every morning you get 86,400.00 for that day and you can’t save any of it.  Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift, That’s why they call it the present.

The story in Luke 17:11-19 fits into the space between Mark 10:1 and 2.  Jesus comes into town and 10 men call out from a distance “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

“When He saw”, He had compassion. He sent them to the Priest’s who were the ones to set up the quarantine and then declare that they were healed — “clean”.

“And as they were going, they were cleansed” — they went in faith believing that what he had said would be true.

However, one of them when he realized what had in fact happened, not progressively but instantaneously, came back ‘Praising God and giving thanks’ and he was a despised foreigner, a Samaritan.  By inference the other 9 were Jewish who seem to have taken for granted that they deserved what they got; however, this Samaritan received not only cleansing from his leprosy but also forgiveness of sins.

When we agree with what God calls sin and turn away from our past life and trust and rely on Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, we find he is faithful.

Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! From now to Forever!  Oh Yes!

© 1999 D. H. Friesen