- Jesus’ hands were labor-worn hands.
Jesus’ hands were tender hands.
- The ancient attitude toward manual labor was that they despised it. It was the occupation of slaves. Some of that pagan spirit has come down to the modern world.
- Think of the dignity of human labor. See it in the labor-worn hands of Jesus.
Jesus’ hands were pierced hands.
- A hand can be tender without being soft.
- The hardest part of suffering for Christians is the dark hour when they are tempted to believe that God is not with them in it.
- Have you ever wanted a symbol for sin? That nail would serve as well as anything.
- That is what sin always does. It nails the hand of God.
- If we could pull that nail out what would the hand do? It would move out instantly to serve and bless.
- In this world today, God has no hands but those of committed followers who want to give their hands to Him.
“Give of your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
~ Mother Teresa
- The whole creation groans (v. 22).
- We ourselves groan inwardly (v. 23).
- To have joy and inward groans is the tension in which the Christian daily lives; joy at this personal salvation groans at a world adrift from God.
The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (v. 26).
- Suffering Humanity
- The Half-Impotent Church
- At the center of the universe there is a loving God.
- In my view, the most awful thing any human mind can conceive is atheism. There is nothing to believe in!
- All true progress in this world is by the echo of the groan of God in the heart of humankind.
- Is the groan in the heart of God the answer to the groan in creation?
- Paul bound sinful humanity and the groaning universe together. He said that when humankind is free from sin, the agony of the universe will be over.
- God last word is not a groan, but joy, joy, joy!
- We don’t all travel along the road of Christian discipleship at the same rate.
- Why do some people travel faster?
- They have received “God’s abundant provision of grace”. With eager longing they have opened themselves to it!
= God’s undeserved mercy in redeeming humankind
= God’s power offered to humans for their sanctification
- The people who have sped past us on the road of Christian discipleship have received more of that power which God imparts unmerited and free.
- Why have these people received more grace than others?
- They knew that this grace was there to be had.
- They wanted it passionately.
- They received it; “grace for grace”.
- Our capacity to receive grace at any level depends on our use of it at a lower level.
The law knows nothing about “approval”. The law is to be obeyed.
- There are some laws which apply only to the people who accept them.
There are some laws that vary depending upon locale.
- When you are thinking about the law of God, you can only take it. If you break it, ultimately it will break you.
There are some laws that change with the passing of time.
- Whatever may be true of the laws and customs of communities, states and nations, the law of the Lord does not vary with locality.
- The laws of God have been the same in every age.
- There is a criticism leveled at the Gospel – even in a nominally Christian land.
- There is a social isolation which Christians sometimes suffer.
- Sometimes a believer suffers in their career because they identify with the Christian faith.
- Sometimes Christians are actually made a butt of jokes because they have chosen to be a disciple of Jesus.
- Don’t increase this criticism needlessly.
- Don’t cultivate peculiarity.
- Don’t be overcritical.
- Never sever fellowship with other people if you can avoid it.
- What happens if they still exclude us “from the camp” and treat us almost as if we’re exiles? What then?
- Say to yourself, “This is not my disgrace. It is His! And rejoice that you are allowed to bear a bit of His shame!
The men and women with whom Jesus came into contact fall into three classes:
- Those who say, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad.”
Those who say, “He is a good man.”
- Only bitter hatred could have brought them to that.
- Who was it that first claimed that Jesus was sinless and called Him the Son of God?
- The disciples! These were the men who, with amazing agreement, declared Jesus to be the sinless One.
- To any reasonable mind this makes the charge of His enemies totally false!
Those who say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
- If we agree that Jesus was good, and if we also agree that a good person always has a keen sense of guilt because of their sin, aren’t we forced to believe He was something more than a good man?
- How can we be sure that He was all that the disciples claimed He was?
- He accepted worship.
- He forgave sins.
- His personal claims.
- He has won devoted followers.
- He has won devoted followers from all the races of humankind.
- Every man or woman who really meets Jesus feels the affect and challenge of His life.
Deep in the human heart there is a homing instinct, which we often ignore and might even deny, but if we turned our attention to it we might realize that heaven is our real home.
- There is something in us which earth can never satisfy.
There is a nostalgia (homesickness) in us for heaven.
- Physical Health & Fitness
Nostalgia = “nostos” = “return home”
“algos” = “pain”
- God has put in the heart of every one of us a longing for Himself.
- Here on earth we visit; there in heaven we belong. We will work with enthusiasm and skill and thoroughness in all that concerns the work of God’s will on this earth, and our work will stand out because, by faith, we have the perfect always in view.
Are we guilty of sin in holy things?
- What about our repentance?
What about our worship?
- Sometimes our repentance is not real repentance at all; it is only remorse and fear. Sometimes we are sad and even in tears, not because we have done wrong, but because we have been found out or may yet be found out.
What about our prayers?
- We come to worship sometimes and find our minds distracted by the interests and cares of the world, not the great solemn cares which demand to be brought into the presence of God.
What about our service?
- Our prayers are sometimes careless, inadequate and very often selfish.
What about our giving?
- Isn’t it shameful that our service is at times unworthy and that we aren’t always eager, happy, and aware of the privilege of being allowed to do it?
- Isn’t it amazing that some are miserable in their giving to God and bring, like the Hebrews whom Malachi condemned, a blemished sacrifice to the altar – less than they should and resentful at that?
Commitment – We cry, “Save us from our sin in the ‘holy things’!”
- Who was the real Simon Peter?
Who is the real you?
- Was Simon as his friends saw him?
- Was Simon like he saw himself?
- We see the faults plainly in others but not plainly in ourselves.
- Who was the Simon Peter Christ saw?
- Jesus saw Simon as he was, the real man then existing, and the Simon Peter He could make.
- Is it the person your friends see?
- Is it the person you see yourself?
- I doubt whether anybody really knows themselves until they see themselves in the white light of God.
- Who is the real you?
- It is an act of faith, but I believe that the real you and me is the self which Christ could make.
- If we could only see ourselves as Christ sees us! If we could stand at His elbow and get that double vision; the men and women we are; the men and women we might be!
Could’st thou in vision see
Thyself the man God meant,
Thou never more could’st be
The man that art content.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson