February 16, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church February 16, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: Matthew 19:13-15
This morning we will celebrate our children letting them help us in the choir, taking up the offering, and sharing pictures of their favorite Bible stories. Jesus wants us to bring children to Him. The disciples wanted to restrict children from coming to Jesus and becoming a nuisance, or slowing Him down, or whatever reason. But Jesus tells them to let the children come to Him! Jesus prays over the children and blesses them. Today one way we can bring children to Jesus is by bringing them to church. The church is God’s fellowship of believers who are supposed to be imitating Jesus on earth. While we are not perfect, together in unity we can serve God and point others to God including children. Bring your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren to church so they can enjoy Christian fellowship.
I want us to look at a couple of different passages this morning that tells us the importance of praying for our children and making sure we as parents bring our children to God. First we have John 4:46-54. A nobleman travels to Jesus to seek healing for his son who was near death. The nobleman was willing to travel a great distance, he had heard about the miracles of Jesus – the signs Jesus had already performed. Jesus meets the nobleman but Jesus does not go back with the nobleman to see the man’s son. Instead Jesus pronounces the son healed and tells the nobleman to return home. When the nobleman returns his servants meet him and tell him that the son is healed. The nobleman learns the time of his son’s healing was the same time Jesus pronounced the boy healed. This sign leads the nobleman to come to a true faith in Jesus with his whole family.
From this record we can learn that Jesus is not limited in His powers to bring healing. The nobleman thought Jesus had to be physically present with the son to bring healing but distance is no obstacle to Jesus. Today, we may not see Jesus in person but we can still pray to Him and He can still bring healing. We are never too far from God for Him to hear our prayers! We can also see how God can work through children to bring saving faith to an entire household. If this child had not gotten sick, the nobleman probably does not visit Jesus. The child’s sickness leads to the encounter with Jesus and the faith followed. Don’t underestimate the power of children to be used by God. This is why it is important for us to reach children with Sunday School, Wednesday nights, church services, Vacation Bible School. The children we reach may take the Gospel home with them and reveal it to parents who have never before believed in Christ unto salvation. We need to invest in children!
We also have Mark 21-42. The record includes Jairus, a leader in the synagogue. Jairus’ daughter is sick to the point of death. And as the nobleman he decides to seek Jesus for healing. We need to consider what this meant for Jairus. At this point in history the majority of the synagogue leaders have drawn a line in the sand opposed to Jesus. They have made Jesus an enemy. For Jairus to now go seek Jesus was a risk to his reputation, his career, and his relationships. Many other leaders would despise Jairus from what they viewed as a betrayal if he sought Jesus. He might have even been removed from leading the synagogue. If he were removed from the synagogue what would he do to support his family. In this time era a person simply did not switch professions as we can today. Jairus would have a difficult time securing a means of income if he were removed from leading the synagogue. Certainly there would be friends of his that would turn on him and reject him. However, Jairus weighed the costs and he knew for the good of his daughter he had to seek Jesus. What about us today? Are we embarrassed to take our family to church and have our friends see us Jesus people? Will following Jesus cause us to miss opportunities with our friends? If we do skip on these things of Jesus, what does that mean for our children? Will they ever have their sins healed by blood of Jesus and receive His righteousness and forgiveness? All our children need healing spiritually, will we take them to church and to the Lord or will we be fearful of our own reputation and costs?
Jairus reaches Jesus and Jesus agrees to go with him to his daughter. Along the way they are interrupted by a woman who reaches out to touch Jesus’ robe and is miraculously healed. Jesus stops to engage the woman and thus delays reaching Jairus’ daughter. Do you think it might have angered Jairus when they were delayed? Do you think he might have been impatient in the circumstance? Wouldn’t you and I? After all, his daughter’s life is on the line. Why delay? Then we see the miracle – this woman had tried every possible medical intervention seeking healing, she had spent all her money seeking healing, but only Jesus brought the healing. Perhaps it would have been reassuring to Jairus now, to see a seemingly impossible issue healed for another – maybe it boosted Jairus’ confidence that Jesus was the right person to seek. For us today, we need to remember all the times Jesus has answered our prayers, healed us, wrought miracles in our lives the next time we grow impatient with His timing. God is in control, we must trust the Lord!
After the delay tragic news is delivered. The daughter has died. It is suggested Jesus is too late and shouldn’t be bothered anymore. But look at Jesus’ response: Jesus tells Jairus to keep on believing. This is what we must do too. Now Jairus has a decision should he choose not to bother Jesus anymore and leave to bury his daughter or will he keep on believing and bring Jesus to the girl? What would we choose? Jairus brings Jesus to his daughter. We find professional mourners at his home verifying her death – this girl was dead. But Jesus speaks to His plan to heal her describing her as only asleep. Jesus reaches her room and then performs His miracle resurrecting the girl. It’s a beautiful record. For us, we must choose to keep on believing. Don’t give up on your children, grandchildren, great grands, or anyone else. Keep on lifting them up to Jesus in praying for His healing, for salvation to come, for rescue from evil, whatever the impossible obstacle it is not greater than Jesus who breathes life into death!
Bring the children to Jesus!
Scripture: James 2:14-26
Verse 14 begins our passage tonight with the question of validity of a person’s faith. Quite simply, if a person claims to have faith in Jesus but never has evidence in the form of good works is the faith a saving faith or not? I am afraid there are many people who claim to be Christians but who’s lives lack any evidence of good works to prove their faith. I am not a judge of the heart, the Lord is, but James tells us here that we should be seeing good works in a true believer.
In verses 15-17 James gives an example of a church goer who sees a fellow church goer in need but chooses to not offer real help. We assume the example of church goers since the terms brother and sister are used which was a common manner of addressing fellow believers or church goers. What are we to make of church people that ignore others needs for help when they are in a position to help? James suggests this is a dead faith. Some Bible scholars would describe a person of such faith not as a true believer in Christ but rather an intellectual in the Bible. People who know the Bible, know the scriptures, who have been to church, who can answer questions about religion but who do not have a transformed life full of good works are like this example. And I am very afraid many church roles are filled with people such as this. And James says such a faith is dead, it is a part from Christ.
In verses 18-20 James presents another example. The demons, the followers of Satan, we are told do indeed know there is one God and that Jesus is God’s Son. They fully believe it. But they have chosen self over surrendering their life God. How many people fill our church roles today that know the truth of Jesus but have never surrendered their lives to the Lord? James tells us such people are just as separated from God as the demons are. James also notes the demons trembled at Jesus – they had an emotional response to Jesus but they never surrendered their lives to Him. Again, how many people on church roles had an emotional experience in their past by which they claim salvation but they didn’t surrender their life to the Lord and Savior? James warns if a person does not exhibit good works in their faith, then they do not have true faith.
Next James provides positive examples of faith in action, good works proving one’s faith. In verses 21-24 James brings up the example of Abraham. The example of Abraham is key to understanding James’ teaching. In Genesis 15:5-6 the Bible records that Abraham is counted as righteous by his faith. In Romans 4:3 Paul refers to the Genesis passage when teaching that a person is saved through faith alone, not by good works. James believes this truth too. Just as Paul taught a person cannot earn salvation through god works, James never says a person’s good work saves them. Rather James is teaching us that good works prove a person’ faith is true and real. In Genesis 22 Abraham willingly presents Isaac to God as a sacrifice, in doing so Abraham demonstrated and proved his faith. Of course God spares Isaac and provides a ram for the sacrifice. But look at the proving power of Abraham’s faith to other people and to himself. James tells us the obedient good work of Abraham proved his faith, it didn’t save him, but it proved his faith.
In verses 25-26 James shares the example of Rahab. Rahab is a contrast to Abraham. While Abraham was a noble person that God chose, Rahab is a prostitute among the enemies of God when God chooses her. Consider the people of Jericho, enemies of God opposed to Joshua and the Israelites. They know the Israelites serve a powerful God but they do not choose to join them, they remain opposed to God and believe they are safe behind their wall. Rahab receives the Israelite spies and she has a choice. Should she make her belief in the God of the Israelites real by trusting in Him, risking her own safety, and hiding the spies? Or would she reject God and turn the spies over to her authorities? Rahab makes a decision of true faith and hides the spies and trust in God for salvation. She is of course saved. Her faith was demonstrated in her good work to hide the spies. We have opportunities to prove our faith through good works. Are we?
It is not just James who teaches true Christians should have good works in their life. Jesus teaches this in Matthew 7:21 acknowledging many people will not enter heaven that think they are saved, but only those do the work of God. And they are doing the work of God because of their faith, not to earn salvation, but because God changes the believer and transforms them to be like Jesus who did so many good works! Ephesians 2:10 tells us it is God’s plan for Christians to do good works. In Titus Paul emphasizes the need for Christians to do good works in 1:16 and 3:8. Let us be found faithful in good works serving others and serving the Lord!
If we can be of help in some way to you, please let us know.
In Christ’s Love,