The Word of God is Greater!
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
Today, in our daily Bible reading, we read Luke 11, and there is the account of Mary, Jesus mother asking to see him, while He is in the middle of teaching and preaching.
This account puts an axe to the root of the false doctrine taught in the Roman Catholic Church where I was raised: ‘The Co-Redemption of Mary, mother of God’. Not every parish teaches this, and I love the Catholic church, and my Christian friends serving there, but Mary, is not God, but is a woman chosen of God, to bring Jesus into the earth
Luke 11: 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
We love Mary, and will love her in heaven!
Yet, she too needed a Saviour (Lu 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.) for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God:
Jesus is who He says He is, the only way to the Father, and eternal life, God the Son, Second person of the trinity.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 Tim 2: 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Ac 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Whether Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or simply American by God, you must come to Jesus to make heaven. There is no other way to find salvation and eternal life.
No matter how great a person is, or worthy of honor in this life, we are commanded to love God more than any other earthly relationship.
In this case, Jesus was asked to go out and speak with his mother and brothers, and a lady extolled his mom.
Luke 11:27 ¶ And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
While Jesus loved and honored his mom, she is not God, He is and only did the will of our Father in heaven.
His reply, is eternally recorded for us in the written word of God:
Luke 11: 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Yes, we love, honor, and respect our parents, but there will come a day, when we receive a clear directive from heaven, that our parents have not received. At that point, we need to obey God, not them.
This does not mean that we should ever disrespect or dishonor them, not matter how difficult they may be.
When I became a Christian, my mother, a devout Catholic, who attended mass each morning, disowned me, for leaving the Catholic church. Let’s just say that the next five years attending family gatherings were strained at best.
Yet, despite this, what I experienced was nothing in comparison to what a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu may experience in coming to Christ. They may be beaten or killed for their profession of faith!
The worst part, is that the very ones orchestrating the persecution, may well be their own family members.
Hear the words of Jesus:
Mark 10: 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
This is not a popular message, but it is the only true message of the cross. Jesus did not call us to come and be blessed (although He does love us indeed and bless us). He calls us to eternal life, and to total allegiance to Himself, a life of radical obedience.
Matt 10: 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mr 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Lu 12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
There is a cost to following Jesus, and there are times He will speak, and it will take everything you have, to obey:
John 6: 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Because of the great value of the call of God; its heavenly rank, privilege, and office being so precious; God does not beg anyone to follow Jesus to receive it.
In fact, He makes it hard….
What price tag can be placed on eternal life?
Lu 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Lu 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Lu 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Yes, there is a place of great blessing, privilege, and grace upon the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and many come and enjoy the goose bumps that come from the presence of the Lord, the warm fuzzies that come from the love and presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Many see the miracles, the blessings, the joy, and enjoy the worship and upbeat praise. Some come, loving the fellowship, seeing the grace of God upon a people, who honestly endeavor to love, honor, respect, and bless each other, in the love of God. Some see the compassionate outreaches, the food distributions to the poor, the help to the single moms and orphans, the friendships and relationships that are so much better than outside the church.
Yet know this: If you want your life to count for eternity, you have a one on one, personal encounter coming with Jesus.
When that happens, you are either going to abandon all, and follow Him entirely, no compromise, or live in that wobbly place, of unsatisfied desire.
You will know what to do, but if you don’t do it, there is no peace in your heart, and you will at best, be frustrating to live with or be around because you will be angry with yourself, and God.
Pr 19:3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
When you come face to face with Jesus, and His claims, you are either going to sell out to Him, and obey, or choose your own way in life. If you do, your heart will betray you, and will ‘fretteth against the Lord.’ Another version says, ‘his heart rages against the Lord!’
I like the way author CS Lewis puts it: ‘Christianity has not been tried, and found wanting, it’s been found difficult, and not tried’
You will find, like the singer Andre Crouch said: ‘I thought I had given my all, until I heard Him ask for more…’
How extreme can the call of God be?
Consider the life of the apostle Paul:
He heard God to go preach in Jerusalem. He was warned by a prophet, that if he went, he would be bound, beaten, and imprisoned. While those of less courage, told him not to go, he exclaimed:
Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Well, you can read Acts 21-23 to see the beatings, tumult, imprisonment of Paul in Jerusalem, and most people would think, that he must have missed it for sure.
Yet, what did Jesus say to Paul:
Ac 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Whose approval do you want anyway? I live to put a smile of Jesus face, to render to Him, an acceptable recompense for His suffering. He is worthy, and altogether faithful. He has loved me, when I despised myself, and I love Him, unto death if necessary.
Living for Jesus, may not be comfortable, and may well cost you everything.
Some years ago, I attended a worship conference in Ottawa, Ontario featuring a worship leader named Kent Henry. God really touched me there, and for the next three weeks, our pastor allowed me and friend to come into the church, and worship, pretty much day and night, while listening to the 30 or so worship CD’s purchased at the conference. Rich times of fellowship with the Lord, addicted to His presence! I was driving a school bus for the Ottawa Christian School at that time, and I was able to spend the days between runs in worship, and each night til midnight, singing, praying, lost in His glory. Tremendous times. During this time, there was a headline in the local paper, where it was announced that over 800 run away teens, were living on the streets downtown, using a heated walkway for the bus, to sleep in. People were concerned, as these teens were pan handling, and were often unruly at best. During that time of worship, the Lord directed me to go to my pastor, and my employer, and see if I could use my school bus a couple times per week, to go evangelize these youth, and bring them to church. Both the pastor and my employer said yes, as long as we filled the fuel tank after each trip, and cleaned the bus before school. So, off we went, pulling the bus up alongside gangs of youth, shouting ‘want to come to church?’, and it was a blast! Incredible signs, wonders, miracles. Will never forget the impact of that first mid-week service, where a group of older ladies put out sandwiches for the first group of kids, 30 or so tattooed, pierced, and freaky looking teens, and the pastor, circled the chairs in the sanctuary and loved on those kids so personally and intimately in leading them to Christ, and praying for each of them individually, as one by one, they broke down and wept, and poured out their hearts to Jesus, and He met them. Incredibly busy times. For the next nine months, we ran that bus, and followed up with these teens, helping them find homes, shelter, freedom from drugs and prostitution and crack houses. Walking into some very dangerous gang violence situations, and being protected and delivered, repeatedly. We received 833 signed decision cards for Christ for kids that actually rode the bus, and walked to the alter and got saved.
Yet, the original church was mostly middle class suburbia folks, and these wild eyed teens, were not exactly safe. People began to leave the church, because they did not feel their children were safe, and there were intense growing pains, and some very heated moments of fellowship!
Finally, the founding pastor, who had been retired and simply a member of the congregation, announced he was coming out of retirement, and founding another church, and it split the church wide open.
During this time, I was dealing with the illness of my parents, they both contracted lung cancer, and eventually died from it. I was tired. Poured out, cored out, hurting at a level only God truly understood. I had been accused of being a rebel, defiant, unsubmitted to authority, of splitting the church.
So, I took time away from it all to seek the face of Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness, the devil screaming in my mind, that I had missed God, and caused all the devastation I witnessed in the church split.
I moved out to a friend’s farm for a couple of months, he and his wife had raised six children, and serve as missionaries to India. One day, while there, I caught a clip of Rhinhart Bonnke ministering in mass crusade
I was amazed at the masses being moved by the gospel, and I was on my knees weeping in gratefulness, and in intercession for this incredible harvest when suddenly, Jesus spoke to me, as only He can:
“Get off your face! You have not sinned against me! I spoke to you, to go to those teens, and I anointed and sent you. I knew that the church would split before I sent you! Then, He began to weep, and said: ‘I counted the cost before I sent you, but my people do not believe in hell, and I had to have those kids in my kingdom. I had to send you!’
I looked at the brutal cost of this harvest, the death of my parents, my pastor burned out and removed from ministry, close friendships destroyed, even to this day, my home church split!
Yet, Jesus called these ‘acceptable losses’, that He might save some children that had no hope, that He had to have in His kingdom!
I still remember the light, the glory, the gratefulness in the eyes of these teens we fought for. The confrontations with a pimp, to rescue 14-15 year old girls from his brutal sex trade: where are they now?
Walking into crack houses, to find 20-30 kids all passed out on the floor, after partying all night, and leading to the Lord and bringing them to church…
Sometimes we fight for the fatherless, for the Lord is their strong defender…they have no other hope!
Jesus is a man of war, and we are warriors…
Yet, in light of eternity, there is nothing else to do. His love can wreck your heart very deeply…the intensity of His passion for people is a radical thing!
Joh 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
This world needs eternal life, and the love that only Jesus can bring.
Wherever you are, whatever the cost, give your life to Jesus, and seek Him until He answers you, personally.
Whatever He says, no matter how difficult it may appear, DO IT!
When you do, heaven will be on its feet, and you will start making headlines there. Suddenly, angelic appearances, signs, wonders, and miracles become commonplace, as the power of Almighty God begins to bear witness to your obedient life, gift and calling.
Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Perhaps this is your Christian experience: prison, beatings, mockings, and outcast and isolated for the call of God.
He will never leave you nor forsake you, and I too have suffered…
2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
I am praying for you today.
‘Father, for some reading this, they need that Word from heaven, authorizing their radical obedience. Speak to them.
For others, they have heard from You, but have got busy with many other things, refusing the cross, the cost, and the pain. Forgive them, and give them courage to obey, and fully sell out for Jesus, and obey Him into their call.’
Then, there are those, my company. Those of whom the world is not worthy, who have counted the cost, and have obeyed, and have been at best, misunderstood, and shunned from polite company. Many have been beaten, imprisoned, and following You, has cost them everything. For these I pray also, that Jesus, the way, be our waymaker today. Make a way, where there appears to be no way. Truly we have learned that we cannot live on mere bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from your lips master. Speak, and we will obey. Demonstrate Your kingdom today through our lives, with mighty acts of Your power, demonstrations of signs, wonders, and miracles. Grant us the rich presence of Holy Spirit, our, friend, and protect, provide, and promote us, for the sake of the gospel and Your glory, today. In Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’