Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sin, Forgiveness, And Healing


Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the beginning of Matthew 9, Jesus told a paralytic that his sins were forgiven, and that he was to get up and walk. While we don’t fully understand the correlation between sin and illnesses, there appears to be one from First Corinthians 11:30, and sin and illness are directly tied to the reverence and obedience we give to God. From verses 26-29 of that same chapter, we find the link. It is a spiritual issue that all must deal with when it comes to God and His only begotten Son, Jesus.

On the cross, Jesus endured something quite physical to accomplish something very spiritual, the forgiveness of sin to make us presentable to His Father and ours. His blood sacrifice as the Lamb of God covered over the knowledge of sin in our lives. The Father Himself set the precedent in Genesis 3:21, the first animal blood sacrifice, with the skins provided to Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. Innocence was lost to sin, and a sacrifice was required to cover their new-found knowledge of sin. With the skins, they were no longer physically naked and spiritually exposed.

The Lamb of God did the same for us. He gave His life for our sin(s) and when we believe, His sacrifice is our vindication.

This is the New Covenant which was spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is a test of faith, much like Abraham was tested when the Lord ask him to sacrifice his only son. Do we believe the promises of God? If we do, then the Spiritual and the physical realm become blended in faith and belief.

But this New (eighth) Covenant is nothing like the first seven. It is a covenant of faith. It will not fit into the parameters of the former covenants. Hence, Jesus’ parable of trying to put new wine into old bottles is a good example of His doctrine of salvation.

His healings continued there in Capernaum for all who put their faith in Him: a woman healed, a daughter raised up, two blind men receive their sight, and a demon cast out. Jesus continued to minister to those in need throughout the region, ignoring the accusation of the Pharisees. Truth can stand alone.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. "  
Matthew 9:36 

Today's Audio Message

Matthew 9:11-38 - "Sin, Forgiveness, And Healing"

Chapter Summary:

The focal point where the old and new covenants meet is found in Jesus Christ. The old covenant, as a guardian, prepares the way for Him and prepares His people for Him. Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and His death on the cross fulfills the promise that God will forgive sin and restore fellowship with those whose hearts are turned toward Him.

Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching the Kingdom of God and healing and restoring broken lives. By faith they come, believing that He alone can help and heal them.

Jesus spoke of a spiritual harvest waiting to be reaped. As Jesus traveled, “he saw the multitudes, [and] he was moved with compassion for them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.'" (Matthew 9:36–38). Here, Jesus referred to the many souls needing to be brought to repentance and faith as a harvest waiting to be realized.  


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Answers To The Pharisees

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We return today to our series in the Gospel of Matthew after breaking away for The Passion and Resurrection of our Lord.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels, because of their similarity in recording events in Jesus’ ministry in similar sequence, and with similar wording.

Matthew, writing to the Jews; (John) Mark writing from what some believe has been dictated from Peter; and Luke writing to the Greek-speaking Jews of the nation. There is evidence that Matthew might well be the earliest written of the Gospel’s accounts. C.I. Scofield notes that it was written in 37 A.D., while Mark was written between 57 and 63 A.D., and Luke between 63 and 68 A.D. (John’s Gospel was penned while John was exiled to Patmos, in 85-90 A.D.)

Jesus’ return to Capernaum after His visit to Gadara across the Sea, brings Him back to His home base with familiar people and surroundings. But the crowds always followed. The boats going back and forth across the sea, would have carried news back to Capernaum about the events from the Gadarenes: the demonic possession was purged, and the people’s swine leaped into the sea and drowned.

There were people hurting throughout the region, and word-of-mouth continued among them, raising their hopes for a healing. Their Pharisees and Temple Leaders could do nothing, but this Jesus....! This healer showed Himself to be faithful to the Word of God. Faith and trust in God they had, but no apparent means to put them into action, not even through their Temples.

Desperation and faith can be the perfect mix to draw us to the Lord. Realizing our own inability to make changes in our lives, Jesus can enter in, and alter our situations. In humbleness of mind, we can approach the Lord and lay out our petitions. He will hear us, and will respond when we are in a mode of worship.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” -  Matthew 11:28 

Today's Audio Message

Matthew 9:1-15 - "Answers To The Pharisees"

Chapter Summary:

Oh the self-righteous Pharisees!  They were the religious people among the Jews. Throughout Jesus’ ministry they were always in the crowd ready to criticize, harass, and conspire to trap Him in His words.  Having the word of God, these prideful men never recognized the Messiah had come and He is right in their midst.  You would think with such a desire to obey the Mosaic law, and knowing the scriptures, that they would have recognized Jesus as Messiah, and followed Him, but they didn’t.  In fact they spent all of their time trying to prove Jesus was a liar and a blasphemer.  Incredible.

In chapter 9, Matthew pens snapshot after snapshot of stories of broken people and their troubled lives.  They are desperate. They are hurting. They are sick and weary.  They have no hope until they hear of this miracle worker whose name is Jesus.  No one speaks like He speaks.  No one acts as He does.  No one can do the things He can do.  News gets around.  This Jesus of Nazareth is full of compassion and willing to help them. He has been travelling around the Galilee, and He is changing peoples lives. They seek after him, others are brought to him, and Jesus touches and heals them both physically, and spiritually. These people have experienced His kindness (which leads to repentance), and His compassion. They are forgiven and healed, and they depart filled with joy and peace sharing their testimony to everyone.

The Pharisees are in the crowd and having none of it. They do not see God as gracious and merciful and abounding in love, but as one who makes demands. They have elevated themselves above the people, and they are looking rather stupid right about now.  They were exacting in keeping the letter of the law - and are still missing its intent. All their petty man made rules and their cold and cruel behavior have distanced themselves from the people, and has displeased the Lord.  Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice and blind ritual. Jesus, who is the Son of God is the personification of mercy and grace.  He would soon become the Mercy Seat. He was the one great sacrifice for our sins. He offers Himself to us. He turns away the wrath of God from us. He bring us into the presence of God blameless and acceptable. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Alive Indeed!

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The crucifixion and burial of Jesus devastated the Apostles and Disciples of our Lord. The scriptures tell us that they had hoped that Jesus was going to be the one to free Israel from its oppressors, primarily Rome, redeeming God’s people and freeing the nation. But on the third day after came disbelief, wonder, and confusion. Though their hopes had been dashed, the women in the ministry brought them unbelievable news. Jesus was alive!

A few had seen the empty tomb. Those few had heard the voice(s) of the angels at the tomb, telling them that Jesus had risen. And in spite of seeing Lazarus raised from the dead earlier, they were still not believing it!

Jesus’ words to two of the Apostles walking on the road to Emmaus could be applied to the two of them, or to all the remaining eleven. “Oh, fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:” (Luke 24:25). The Apostles were all Jewish, hand-picked by Jesus, and if they’d been paying attention in Temple, they’d be familiar with all the passages that spoke of their Redeemer/Messiah/The Holy One of Israel. Jesus affirms that not only is He Messiah, but He affirms that the Old Testament reveals not only His role, but His plan for us all: to redeem us from our own fleshly, sinful lives.

What they were instead familiar with were the words of their Priests, the Sanhedrin, and the Scribes. And few, if any of them, were filled with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the Jewish Prophets were filled with the Spirit, and the Temple leadership killed all the prophets through the ages.

Many New Testament Churches avoid teaching the Old Testament, thinking it’s not for Christians. But unless today’s believers have a firm foundation for their Christian faith, it can be shaken or washed away by those offering a different foundation other than God’s Word.

NASA sends rockets into orbit around Earth, around the moon, and around other planets. If those scientists are just 1/20 off in their calculations, their rockets will fly off into space, missing their mark. We have learned that Arsenic is only 3% poison, but ingesting it still makes you dead.

The Word of God, living and alive, tells us that He “ the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father except by Him.”

 “For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  -  1 John 5:7


1) “The word of the God (Jehovah, YHWH)” appear 48 times in the Bible.
2) “The word of the Lord (Jehovah, YHWH)” appears 255 times in the Bible, including “the word of the Lord” (lower case ‘ord’) as the people listened to Jesus’ words as He personally taught them.
[The Father is referred to as “Lord” in the text, and Jesus is “Lord.”]
3) John 6:63 – Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. “
4) 1 Corinthians 2:14 – “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirt of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know then, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Today's Audio Message

Luke 24:13-35 - "Alive Indeed"

As we look at the story of the disciples on the Emmaus Road, we find that these men had experienced a faith-shaking blow after watching Him die on the cross. Returning home that Sunday afternoon proved the finality of all of their hope. The men of Emmaus had no doubt: Jesus was gone and that was the end of their confidence. As they journeyed home, we can just imagine the conversation as they discussed all that had happened that final week in Jerusalem.

Their horror, and disappointment led to their failing to recognize Jesus when He approached. He hadn't disguised Himself, they were blinded by their own disbelief - slow of heart to believe the prophets concerning his death and resurrection.

These two on the road to Emmaus should not have been slow to believe in the resurrection report. Why? Because all the Scriptures had foretold these things. That’s why they were slow to believe in the resurrection. Because they were slow to believe in God's Word.

Can you imagine how amazing it would have been to sit with Jesus and listen to Him teach from Moses, through the prophets and the psalms? Can you imagine Him opening up our minds with clarity to the Scriptures? Can you picture yourself intensely listening to every word, as your heart burned within you with joy, bearing witness to the truth? Jesus did not leave us wandering around in this world hopeless and alone.  Jesus said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." He sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of promise who dwells within the believer.  The Holy Spirit is Spirit of truth, who will teach us all things, and guide us into all truth.  You don't have to imagine what it would have been like, seek Him diligently in His Word - it is there that you will find Him!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

A Chronological Sequence of Events: "Resurrection Morning"


Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz 

It happened before. One of Jesus’ ancestors was rejected by his brethren. Out of jealousy, they sold him as a slave. He was eventually taken to a foreign land and made a servant in a ruler’s household. And once there, his abilities caused him to be raised up to a high position, second only to the King of that land. He was the go-to-guy for food when there was a famine.

The famine spread also into the ancestor’s homeland, and his brethren who sold him eventually came seeking food for their families, for they had heard there was food in that foreign land. They were to go see this man raised up to power, not realizing who he actually was. If they wanted their families to live, they had to get to him, and be in his good graces.

Though his brethren did not recognize him, he indeed recognized them. He recalled the day when they sold him off to be a servant to foreigners. They had told their father, Jacob, that he was dead, killed by a wild beast. They even took his coat and bloodied it to show his father. Years passed, and they found themselves groveling at this man’s feet. He asked of their father back home, and their youngest brother, Benjamin. And, he learned that his brethren were still sticking to their lie, that they had another brother who had been killed.

The man put the brothers through their paces, requiring this and that from them, even requiring that the youngest brother be brought to him from Israel.

And then they were to return to Israel and bring the father and all the family.

The man’s name was Joseph. He and all his brothers were the twelve sons of Jacob, and when Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers, they shook with fear, their sin being exposed for what they had done to him. Sure that they would face severe consequences at his hand, they pledged to be his servants in Egypt. Joseph instead showed them mercy, and forgiveness.

( ~ Read the whole story in Genesis 35-50 ~ )

Rejected by His own, Jesus was a servant to all. Away from His Father, He suffered many things, even the death of the cross. He was then raised up to a position of authority. By His sufferings, any who come to Him will be saved.

“For it pleased the Father that in Him, all fullness should dwell.” ~ Colossians 1:19

Happy Resurrrection Day !

“This is the day the Lord hath made!" Psalm 118:24

Renewal and new growth surrounds us in nature, and we have already enjoyed a taste of the better weather coming our way after the winter.

Be blessed this week! Read on in the Gospels as Jesus continues to teach His followers and spread the good news that He Is Risen! Let new growth and renewal happen in your life, and your heart.

Today's Audio Message

Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John20 - "Resurrection Morning"

In the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, is where they laid the body of Jesus after He suffered and died on the cross for our sins. There His body lay for three days until just before dawn on Sunday, the events that took place changed everything! Jesus had risen from the dead! His tomb was empty! In one of the greatest historical events in all of human history, Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Jewish leaders thought that they had finally rid themselves of a radical teacher. The Gentile leaders, hoped that they had stopped a potential insurrection. Satan thought he had thwarted God’s plan of salvation and reconciliation. BUT…Death could not hold Him! “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).  Jesus death was like no other…it didn’t defeat Him, He defeated it! Talk about significant and substantial! The resurrection of Jesus is God’s great marker in history that declares that Jesus will have the last word in history. 

Talk about significant and substantial! The resurrection of Jesus is God’s great marker in history that declares that Jesus will have the last word in history. Acts 17:31 says;

“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

The world would never be the same again. Jesus is risen and since He is risen, those who put their faith and trust in Him will also be risen with Him. The hope of our lives is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

The four Gospels each contain bits of information about the events occurring after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Putting the four accounts together provides us with an amazing detailed account and harmonization of the gospels.

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV