Sunday, January 12, 2014
Just Inside The Gate
Today's message is about the four types of church members in the garden of Gesthemane. Pictured above you can count 8 of the 12 disciples who Jesus told to sit at the gate of the garden which represent one type of church member. We will discuss these 8 out of 12 church members who are in the church, saved, just inside the gate, but at the same time can reach out, touch, and enjoy the world. These 8 out of 12 church members play with the world a little bit, then get back to church, then play again with the world, and then get back again to church. Peter, James, and John represent the second type of church member and were the three disciples that went a little farther with Jesus into the garden.
John represents the third type of church member that was the closest to Jesus and heard the heartbeat of God as he laid his head on the breast and bosom of Jesus. John was the only apostle to stay with Jesus at the cross along with the three Marys. I pray in Jesus name we can all be like John and always be close to Jesus, hearing the heartbeat of God. Finally, Judas represents the fourth type of church member who aint never even got saved but yet is in the church. Friend, take time to meditate on Revelation 3:15 that says I know thy works, that thou art neither cold not hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Friends, let's go all the way with Jesus and not be lukewarm, totally leaving and denying this wicked world. Jesus showed Brother Bob that when anyone goes deep sea fishing as the boat leaves the shore for deep waters, the beach slowly disappears and eventually can not be seen. The beach represents the fading world and when we totally deny this world and launch out into the deep with Jesus, we walk in places where the world can not be seen any more. May we all be at the place of the safe deep waters with Jesus where we could not even remember, see, or think about going back to this fading world.
The scripture that discusses these four types of church members in the garden of gethsemane is found at Matthew 26:36 that says Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane (defined as an oil press), and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, (note this is 8 disciples) while I go and pray yonder. And he took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (these were the sons of thunder called Boanerges and were James and John) and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Matthew 26:39 goes on to say And He went a little farther (Luke 22:41 says Jesus went a stone's cast farther into the garden) and fell on His face and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Friend reading this are you willing to go a stone's throw farther into the garden with Jesus and take more time daily studying the Word and praising our Lord Jesus. Friend, how far is a stone's throw for you? Is it reading your bible every day of the year, praying three times a day, or denying some luxury to bless the poor with food and clothes.
OK, for today we will discuss the 8 of 12 church members that sit just inside the gate of the garden and do not go any further with Jesus. These 8 of 12 church members are just worldly enough to be saved and just saved enough to be worldly. How does that work? It's like water and oil mixing. Friend reading this I pray in Jesus name you will be like one of the three disciples that desired to be closer to Jesus, and unlike King Agrippa who almost was persuaded to follow Jesus, we can all be as Paul stated at Romans 14:5 and be fully persuaded to always follow and live for Jesus.
Our first example of a person who was like a disciple just inside the gate loving the world more than time with Jesus is Eutychus pictured above. Eutychus was a man in the bible sitting by a window of a third floor loft as the apostle Paul was long winded and preached until midnight. As Paul preached, Eutychus fell asleep and fell down three stories out of a window. The bible correctly named this man Eutychus because (you'd have cussed) too if you fell three stories out of a window. Paul went down and raised him from the dead, put him back in the meeting, and went on with the service.
But, one must ask why did Eutychus fall out of the window instead of in to the church? The answer is because Eutychus desired to be more out with the world than in with the church. Friend reading this don't be like Eutychus and dibble and dabble at the edge of this world while you try to stay in the church. Let's all leave this fading world and go a little deeper into the garden with Jesus. Let's all go that stone's throw deeper into the garden with Jesus as we deny this world by living sanctified and holy lives for Jesus.
The story about the above picture can be found at Acts 20:7 that says And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep; and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down and fell on him and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten and talked a long while, even till break of day. So he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
Now I'll take time to describe these 8 of 12 church members like Eutychus just inside the gate who hold on to the world as they attend church and serve Jesus. At Christmas time these 8 out of 12 church members will be happy when the pastor gives them a brown bag with a banana, orange, tangerine, a candy bar, and some tracts. And after church is over, the tracts are all over the floor and out in the parking lot, but they got the bananas. These people don't care about the Word of God, but they want to get something from the church; What can the church do for me; Not what can I do for the church.
OK, since we are talking about 8 of 12 disciples just inside the gate of the garden playing with the world, let's look at another place in the bible where Jesus left 9 not 8 disciples (including Judas) at the foot of a hill as Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to the mount of transfiguration. Because these 9 disciples were playing with the world, they lacked power to cast out a devil in a little boy.
The bible tells us after Jesus left 9 disciples at the foot of a hill, Jesus was transfigured, holy ghost filled with shekinah glory, and the voice of God said this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him; and Moses and Elijah walked in a cloud with Jesus, and Peter said Jesus it's good for us to be here, let us make three tabernacles for thee, Moses, and Elijah. And Jesus said No, there's a little boy down at the foot of the hill who is possessed with a devil; We gotta go down there and help him.
When Jesus got down to the foot of the hill, pictured above we see the daddy of the little boy walking up to Jesus and saying if you can will you help my son? You see before Jesus arrived, the 9 disciples were praying and praying, laying hands on the little boy, and begging to cast the devil out of this little boy, and nothing happened. They couldn't cast out the devil because they played too much with the world. So when Jesus finally got down off the mountain to the little boy, the father doubted whether Jesus could do any good for his son. The father said to Jesus if you can, 9 of your best men couldn't get it done; if you can.
Friends, learn a lesson from this story and remember if we allow the world to take away our holiness and sanctification with Jesus, we won't have any power and people around us will begin to doubt Jesus Himself. Friends, let's walk holy for Jesus daily, denying this world, as we represent that Jesus can and will fix any problem. I pray in Jesus name we will never hear anyone say to us if Jesus can, if Jesus can. Friends let's leave from just inside the gate and go deeper into the garden with Jesus where nothing will be impossible for us all. Brother Bob says according to Ephesians 3:20 Jesus can and is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
The story about the above picture can be found at Mark 9:17 and says And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away; and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and thy could not. Mark 9:21 goes on to say And He asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child and ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters to destroy him; but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.
For our next picture we see that as Jesus prayed in the garden of gethsemane, all 12 disciples forsook and fled from Jesus. When the Jews came to the garden to arrest Jesus, the 8 disciples just inside the gate ran away and left Jesus alone. In fact, all the disciples ran away, including Peter, James, and John.
And one of the disciples who was a young man was so scared that when a Roman soldier got a hold of him, he went plumb out of his clothes and went running through the bushes naked. This is recorded at Mark 14:50 that says And they all forsook Him and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him. And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
The bible calls these 8 out of 12 church members that sit just inside the gate perpetual backsliders. Jeremiah 8:5 says Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. These 8 of 12 church member just inside the gate get right once a year, and they last about a month, and then they're wrong again. They constantly dibble and dabble with the world and then go back to church over and over again. When the going gets rough, these people just quit. They are too close to the world to do any good for Jesus.
For our final example today of church member just inside the gate we see Ananias pictured above who died along with his wife Sapphira because they both did not give all their riches to bless the poor and lied to Peter and the church. Ananias and Sapphira were members of the church. And old Barnabas had sold a piece of property and brought all the money and laid it at the apostles feet to distribute to the poor and the widows. And Ananias and Sapphira saw how everyone was patting Barnabas on the back and bragging on him and they said let's do that too; We're gonna bring some money too. So they vowed we're gonna sell a piece of property and we're gonna bring all the money into the church. Everybody thought Ananias and Sapphira we're doing real good and were going to be another Barnabas.
Well they sold the property and God blessed them and they got more for it than they thought they was going to. So they said well nobody will know it; Let's keep back some of it. And so they put it in their pocket. And then Ananias came to church first. He walked in, laid the money down at Peter's feet. Peter said Is that all of it? Peter knew what was going on because God told him. Ananias lied and said, Yea, Yea, that's all of it. Peter said, Why have you lied to the Holy Ghost? The property was yours and you could do with it whatever you wanted to. Why have you lied to the Holy Ghost and kept back part of the money? Peter said, the feet of them that are gonna bury you are coming down the aisle now and Ananias dropped down dead. They wound him up, carried him out, and buried him.
When his wife Sapphira arrived late for the meeting, Peter said did you and your husband sell the property for such and such. She said such and such. Peter said Why have you been privy to your husband's lie and lied to the Holy Ghost and kept back part of the money? The feet of those who just buried your husband are crossing the threshhold and coming down the aisle to get you now, and Sapphira dropped down dead. They took her out and buried her beside her husband.
Friends reading this, note that Ananias and Sapphira were members of the church and saved, but they were lying dogs, thieves, and robbers. Because Ananias and Sapphira ignorently lied to God right in the church, in front of the altar, in front of the preacher, God just killed them. You can read about Ananias and Sapphira at the end of Acts 4 and Acts 5.
When Brother Bob thinks about Ananias and Sapphira, I think about 1 John 3:17 that says But whoso hath this world's good, (note this says if you have the money to bless the poor) (but if you don't have money to bless the poor just listen to and consider the poor) and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Ananias and Sapphira were wealthy and not willing to share their money with the poor because they kept back part of the price of the land. I pray in Jesus name for anyone reading this with great riches and wealth that they will not be like Ananias and Sapphira and have compassion on poor strangers, orphans, and widows and use their money to feed and clothe the poor around us all. Remember when we bless the least of the poor around us, we bless Jesus.
As always it has been a blessing writing this bible study today and I pray in Jesus name it strengthens and encourages all my friends everywhere. Feel free to contact Brother Bob anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Brother Bob Malkin, 2233 Pinetree Lane, Apt. N., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068. (614) 604-7133. Till we all meet again soon to lift up our Lord Jesus, everyone have a blessed day in Jesus name.