Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Cover Of The Book

Do you know what's in it? 


How often do you find yourself going through your day at the speed of life? You are so focused on you, you, and you. Your schedule, your plans, your concepts, that you get to the end of the day and ask, "What was that?" "Where did the time go?" Do you know how much you actually missed? You would be surprised.

Along your travel through the space and time of your day, you see and even meet people from all walks of life, in all kinds of situations. That weird guy in school / work. That strange person in the coffee shop / grocery store. That person standing on the corner. Most of the time, we fly right by them and never even give them a first, let alone, a second thought.

You may even have a few of these "odd people" in your Church. People that you look at, and judge, unworthy of your time. I know I have been guilty of this sort of thing in the past. Are you honest enough to tell the truth about you?

What are we doing when we do these types of things? Yup. We are "Judging a Book by the Cover." What about that drunk over there? What about the dude that sits at his desk and daydreams all day? What about that liar? I know this guy who was abused and seems broken. I know this other who was suicidal. What about that weird guy that was Preaching Naked? How about that guy who not only committed adultery, but actually committed murder as well?

So often we find ourselves making judgments on these people. We cast them aside as unworthy of our attention or time. Pastors do this as well. Oh, so and so fell asleep in church today, so I will never use them for anything. So and so worries too much about everything. They are just not strong enough to be an active and productive member of the church.

Be careful. Remember that list we just talked about? Well????? They are all in the Bible..

Noah was a drunk, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon feared, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Peter was a hot head, and denied Christ three times, Matthew was a Tax Collector, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, Paul was too religious and committed murder, just to name a few.

If we were to see these people today, we would most likely deem them unworthy to serve in our church. We would most likely find them completely unworthy of even the message. We would not bother trying to share the Word with the Prostitute on the corner. That guy who stutters? Well, we could never have him give the Message on Sunday. It would take all week...Imagine if you see this naked guy preaching Gods Word. What would you think?

Point is, God did not cast them aside. He USED them for His Purpose and Plans. He saw their Spirit, and not there Flesh. He saw their Heart. Can you?

2 Corinthians 5:16
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
This is a pledge that we, as Children of God, should all claim. From this day forward, "know we no man after the flesh." We may only see the outside. But God sees the Heart. We may only see the product of the Sinner, and yet, the Fruit that they will produce once converted, may be far greater than the Fruit that even we produce. Look at Paul. A guy equal to Hitler. Hunting down, abusing enslaving, and murdering God's Chosen people. Then Jesus came before him and changed his heart. He became Paul who wrote a lot of the New Testament that we read today.

Peter was also zealous, and was also one who would never dare to even share the Word with anyone who was not a Jew. To him, Gentiles were nothing more than pigs and dogs. Yet God corrected him on this view. Here is the event that change Peter, again, forever.

Acts 10:
22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Peter would have never dreamed of going unto someone who was not Jewish, to Preach the Gospel. It was not until God showed Peter, that it was not for him to decide who or what was unclean, but God alone. I guess we should go back a little to this occurrence. Peter even argued a bit with God over this. So here is Peter, on a Rooftop, Praying....

Acts 10:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Then it declares that even though Peter had seen this, he "doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean," It was then that the men that Cornelius sent arrived. He then understood the vision was talking about people. The Gentiles in particular.

Paul wrote to the Churches in Roman, that it is not who people are, but rather, what they chose to do. How they chose to live. It is God who will be the Judge. Not Man.

Romans 2:
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
It is really easy to judge. Really easy. It may even be in our human nature. Remember the parable Jesus had given about the two men in the Temple Praying?

Luke 18:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Who are we to judge others unworthy of God's Grace? Who are we to judge others for their Sin? "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." {Romans 8:34}

James put it this way..

James 2:
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Think about that. "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin." Why? Because the one you are judging, may very well be the one God has chosen to use to bring forth something extremely important to His Purpose and Plan. Who are you to judge God?

All that aside, ask yourself this. What have you done in your Past, or yes, even in the Present, that you know beyond doubt, you are worthy of Judgement. If you say nothing? You are lying to yourself. If God is not respecter of persons, than neither shall we be. Remember, "know we no man after the flesh." But rather allow God to be the one who Judges.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

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