Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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EZEKIEL: Cleaning House

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/02/15
 
“Cleaning House”
                      Ezekiel 8:1 – 11:25                      
 
INTRODUCTION: There is a television show called “Hoarders” dedicated to individuals who have a hard time throwing out trash or other items that they have collected. Yale University researchers say that a hoarding disorder is categorized as "the excessive acquisition of and inability to discard objects, resulting in debilitating clutter.” All of us want to rid ourselves of clutter but these individuals do not even recognize that they are collecting items to excess. Their hoarding has disrupted their lives and their relationships. Most of us realize that we need to clean house to maintain a normal and functional existence. We clean house so we have room to live and can maintain a healthy lifestyle. We don’t like to take time to clean but the reward of a clean house far outweighs the clutter and the grime of a dirty house. God wants a clean house to live in too. His house is a spiritual house and he wants to make certain it is a place in which he can dwell: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Cor. 3:16). God gave Ezekiel a vision of how he was cleaning house in Jerusalem. God removed himself from the Temple because it was filled with idols and sin. God will not dwell in a dirty house. Likewise, God wants us to clean house spiritually too.
 
GOD EXPECTS HIS HOUSE TO BE CLEAN.
 
*The consequences of an unclean house – Ezekiel’s vision.
  • The inventory of sins in the Temple (public idolatry, secret idol worship, ritual prostitution, Sun worship, violence). He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger? (Ezekiel 8:17).
  • God removes his Spirit from the Temple and Jerusalem and marks the remnant who still serves him. Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple…and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it” (Ezekiel 9:3-4).
  • The Lord will destroy the city and temple but will bring the people back to the land with a new heart and hope. “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations…and I will give you back the land of Israel again…I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them…Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws’… The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.” (Ezekiel 11:17-23).
 
*God will remove his presence from the one who holds onto sin. He will renew the spirit of the one who returns to him.
 
IS YOUR HOUSE CLEAN?
 
*We are God’s temple. He dwells in us as a church and as individuals. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
 
* Paul gives us some examples of housecleaning in 1 Corinthians 5- 6:
  • Clean up the church. It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you…A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. (1 Cor. 5:1).
  • Clean up personally. Flee from sexual immorality…whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body (1 Cor. 6:18).
 
* What do you need to throw out?  The process of housecleaning:
  • Be transparent and honest with God about your sin. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. (Ps. 32:5).
  • Ask him to wash and clean you up inside. [Wash] me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:7, 10).
  • Do not deny your sin but fully admit it and receive his cleansing (1 John 1:8-9). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

EZEKIEL SERMONS: The Day of the Lord

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/26/15
 
“The Day of the Lord”
                    Ezekiel 7:1-27                      
 
INTRODUCTION: I can still hear my mother now: “Just wait until your father gets home!” Those words brought terror to my soul and tears of apology. Judgment was coming and I needed to do something about it. When the ER doctor said recently, “Yea, you have a kidney stone, but you have a greater problem,” I knew something was wrong. He said I had Atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that causes poor blood flow. Further tests showed I had a day of reckoning unless I took care of the A fib. I had the promise of problems but the possibility of correction. I go this week to get my heart back into rhythm. The Old Testament prophets often spoke of the Day of the Lord. A disaster was coming unless the people turned from their wicked ways and returned to the Lord. The Day of the Lord was a day of judgment. It was a day of renewal. The nation had a choice. The individual had an option. The Day of the Lord is a promise of disaster and the possibility of redemption. We face the Day of the Lord as a nation and as people. We must turn again to the Lord before that great and terrible day.
 
THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME.
 
*Ezekiel saw the Day of the Lord approaching for Judah and Jerusalem. “Doom has come upon you, upon you who dwell in the land. The time has come! The day is near!” (Ez. 7:7).
  • The land, the people, their wealth, their titles and their economy will all be destroyed (Ez. 7:1-13).
  • The people will experience sword and famine (Ez. 7:14-18).
  • Material things (gold and silver), spiritual leaders (prophets and priests), and the government will fail them (Ez. 7:19-27).
  • “‘Then they will know that I am the Lord’” (Ez. 7:27).
 
*The prophet Joel saw the impending disaster of the Day of the Lord in his time. “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God,    and cry out to the Lord. Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:14-15).
  • A plague of locusts and drought was coming like an invading army (1:1-2:11).
  • The nation needs to repent and return to the Lord (2:12-17). “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” (2:12).
  • God promises to bless his people and judge his enemies (2:18-3:21). “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:28-32).
  • The Apostle Peter quoted Joel’s prophecy on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21). The Day of the Lord had come, the people had killed the Messiah, and they needed to repent and return to the Lord (2:22-41). Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
 
*The Day of the Lord will come with the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 24:30).
 
RETURN TO THE LORD TODAY.
 
*We need to return to the Lord as a nation. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar…” (2 Peter 3:9-10).
 
*We need to return to the Lord personally. “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
 
Are you ready for the Day of the Lord?

EZEKIEL: Pantomimes with Meaning

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/12/15
 
“Pantomimes with Meaning”
                      Ezekiel 4:1 – 6:14                         
 
INTRODUCTION: The French actor Marcel Marceau was a master of mime for over 60 years. Mime is the use of gestures to convey a story or message. Marceau called mime “the art of silence.” Ezekiel the prophet used pantomime to share his message with meaning. We must use every means possible to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our message must be wrapped in a package that can be opened and understood. Marshall McLuhan used to say that “the medium is the message.” How we share the message is just as important as the message itself. We must continually look for new ways to tell the Good News. Chapters 4-6 in Ezekiel show how Ezekiel did this.
 
OUR MESSAGE MUST BE CLEAR AND UNDERSTANDABLE.
 
*Ezekiel’s message was that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations” (Ezekiel 5:8).
 
*The medium Ezekiel used to deliver his message was pantomime.
 
  • The pantomime of the siege of Jerusalem (Ez. 4:1-3).
  • The pantomime of the long exile (Ez. 4:4-8).
  • The pantomime of famine (Ez. 4:9-17).
  • The pantomime of famine, plague and sword (Ez. 5:1-17).
  • The pantomime of facing toward the mountains of Israel (Ez. 6:1-10).
  • The pantomime of clapping and stamping (Ez. 6:11-14).
 
WE MUST USE EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE TO PRESENT THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST.
 
*Proclamation is only as good as the presentation.
 
  • Jesus used parables. Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable (Matthew 13:34).
  • The New Testament lists several means used to share the message:
 
  1. Preaching (Mark 3:14)
  2. Teaching (Luke 4:32)
  3. Witness (Acts 1:8)
  4. Drama (Mark 1:4-8)
  5. Multi-media (Acts 21:10-11)
  6. Service (Acts 4:32-35)
  7. Music (Ephesians 5:18-20)
  8. Literature (2 Timothy 3:14-16)
 
*Paul went to the synagogues to preach to the Jews and he used a Greek altar as an object lesson to speak to the Greek scholars in Athens. Paul’s principle for telling the Good News was this:
 
I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
 
*How are you telling others about Jesus? What means do you use to share the Good News?
 
  • Ezekiel used pantomime
  • Jesus used parables
  • Paul used every means possible
 
What are you going to use?
 
 
 

EZEKIEL: "The Watchman's Duty"

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/05/15
 
“The Watchman’s Duty”
                     Ezekiel 3:16 - 27                         
 
INTRODUCTION: A watchman’s duty was to warn the city of approaching danger. He sounded the alarm. If he failed in his duty, the city would be destroyed. God made Ezekiel the watchman for Israel. He was to warn Israel of the coming catastrophe – the fall of Jerusalem. “At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (Ez. 3:16-17). Christians must continue to sound the alarm when the nation or individuals go astray. We are God’s watchmen for our generation.
 
WATCHMEN WARN THE WICKED OF THEIR WRONGS.
 
“When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself”” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).
 
WATCHMEN REBUKE THE RIGHTEOUS FOR THEIR REBELLION.
 
“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself” (Ezekiel 3:20-21).
 
WATCHMEN SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.
 
“But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people” (Ezekiel 3:27).

EZEKIEL: "God's Call for Our Day"

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/14/15
 
“God’s Call for Our Day”
                         Ezekiel 1:1 -3:15                           
 
INTRODUCTION: God called Ezekiel to serve him in a new setting and in a strange culture. God still calls us to serve him. We may not be in a foreign land like Ezekiel but we do live in a strange culture that needs a word from the Lord. Let’s look at God’s call for us today.
 
GOD CALLS US IN UNLIKELY PLACES
(1:1 – 3; 2:1-10).
 
*Ezekiel was an exile in a foreign land with no job and an uncertain future. “On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin—the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him” (1:2-3).
 
*God calls us to serve him in a new world, a new setting, and a strange culture. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet…He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me…Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them’” (2:1-5).
 
GOD’S GLORY SUSTAINS US IN DIFFICULT PLACES
(1:4-28).
 
*Ezekiel had an unusual encounter with God and experienced God’s awesome grandeur.  “I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings…Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome…then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man” (1:4-26).
 
*A fresh vision of God keeps us strong as we go through tough challenges. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (1:28).
 
GOD’S WORD FULFILLS ITS PURPOSE IN ALL PLACES (3:1-15).
 
*Ezekiel was filled with the Spirit of God and given the message to deliver even though no one would listen to him or follow him. “And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen” (3:10-11).
 
*God’s word is true no matter what the culture says. We must stand on truth and practice love. And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel”… So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.  He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them…for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people” (3:1-9).
 
God is calling you to stand for him in this generation.

PARABLES OF JESUS: Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/31/15
 
“The Great Separation”
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
 
INTRODUCTION: We all demand justice. Some have questioned God’s power and God’s goodness because of all the evil, injustice and suffering in the world. Trying to answer these questions is a whole field of study known as Theodicy. Jesus addressed this issue in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Weeds). Jesus explains the source and the final end of evil and evildoers. Ultimately, Jesus says we are to be faithful and patient and let God deal with the evildoers. As Paul says, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Let’s look at this parable and Jesus’ explanation.
 
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PARABLE:
 
*Jesus explained the parable to his disciples privately (13:36-43).
 
  • The sower and the seed = “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom” (37-38)
  • The weeds and the enemy = “The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil” (38-39).
  • The harvest and the harvesters = “The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels” (39).
  • The end of the evildoers and evil = “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (40-42).
  • The reward of the righteous = “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (43).
 
LESSONS FOR THE JOURNEY:
 
  • We have an enemy who tries to disrupt God’s plans (25). “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Pet. 5:8).
  • We have counterfeit Christians who try to deceive God’s people (26). “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them…“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:15-21).
  • We are called to be fruit-producers not weed-pullers (27-30).
Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2).
 
*We are not to judge those outside the church but we are to maintain standards of purity within the church.  Paul wrote to Corinthian believers: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”
(1 Corinthians 5:9-12).
 
  • God will make all things right in the end (30). “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left (Matt. 25:31-33)
 
There will be a payday someday. In the meantime:
 
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?(Micah 6:8).

PARABLES OF JESUS: The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/24/15
 
“You Mean I Have to Love Them?”
Luke 10:25-37
 
INTRODUCTION: A lawyer asked Jesus what a person had to do to receive eternal life. Jesus asked him what he thought the Scriptures taught. The lawyer said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus agreed with him and told him to put his words into practice. The lawyer must have felt put on the spot so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In other words, define neighbor; who am I responsible for and how far does that responsibility go? Jesus tells a story that says your neighbor is the one who needs help from you. Place yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask what would I want you to do for me? Our neighbor is the one who needs our mercy. Love knows no boundaries.
 
BOUNDLESS LOVE OVERCOMES PERSONAL WORRIES.
 
*The Samaritan overcame…
  • Fear (30-33)
  • Social stigma and prejudice (33)
  • Struggles with personal costs of time and money (34-35)
 
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
 
BOUNDLESS LOVE SHOWS MERCY TO THOSE IN NEED.
 
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (36-37)
 
*We are to show mercy and love to
  • The hurting and wounded
  • The stranger
  • The less fortunate
  • The enemy
 
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs
                                                                               (Proverbs 10:12).

PARABLES - Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/17/15
 
“Hard Hearts Have Blind Eyes”
Luke 16:19-31
 
INTRODUCTION: Jesus was teaching about money and said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts” (Luke 16:13-15). Wealth can be of great benefit to the Kingdom of God or it can be a deceitful trap to the one who possesses it. Greed can grab the hearts of poor people too. The use and misuse of wealth depends upon the heart of the individual. Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). The drive to gain wealth and the selfish use of wealth can lead to insensitivity to the needs of others. The heart becomes calloused to the point where the affluent individual no longer sees the hurt and suffering of others. That is why hard hearts have blind eyes. Jesus told a parable using a commonly known story to illustrate his point.
 
AN OLD TALE TOLD IN A NEW WAY.
 
*Alexandrian Jews brought an Egyptian folk tale to Israel and turned it into the story of the poor scholar and the rich tax-collector Bar Ma’jan.  The poor scholar dies without recognition but is rewarded in death. Jesus uses this story to warn those living in ease to prepare for death.
 
HARD HEARTS FAIL TO SEE HUMAN NEEDS.
 
*The Rich Man did not notice the needs of a suffering man because of his own self-absorbed heart. He did not see or empathize with someone he could have helped.
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
 
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried…But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (16:25).
 
*God expects us to show care for those who are hurting and to provide justice and fairness for those who are suffering and have no voice.
 
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that
 is coming on you…You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you…You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter (James 5:1-5).
 
HARD HEARTS FAIL TO SEE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES.
 
*The Rich Man did not anticipate being held accountable in the afterlife for his actions in this present life. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side…“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment’ (16:22-28).
 
*Even the miracle of the resurrection will not convince the hard hearted of their need to repent.
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead’” (16:29-31).
 
Who are you serving? How is your heart toward others and God?
Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
 
Repent and follow Jesus: For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation (Romans 10:9-10 TLB).

MOTHER'S DAY: A MOTHER'S CARE

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/10/15
 
“A Mother’s Care”
Matthew 23:37-39
 
INTRODUCTION: Jesus has finished his week of teaching in Jerusalem during the week of Passover. He knows his time is short. He has pleaded with his people to repent and accept the good news of the kingdom of God. Israel has refused. As he leaves the city, Jesus looks out over Jerusalem and laments over the coming judgment. He uses the metaphor of a mother hen and her chicks to describe his great love and deep longing for his wayward people. God cares for us like a mother cares for her children.
 
A MOTHER LOVES HER CHILDREN.
 
*Jesus repeatedly called his people to repentance and to acceptance of the Kingdom of God. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together (37).
 
*God loves us and wants the best for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
 
*God loves us like a mother loves her children.
 
A MOTHER PROTECTS HER CHILDREN.
 
*Jesus compares his care for us to a mother hen defending her chicks. Jesus says, “how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (37). 
 
*“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), neither male nor female. Yet the maternal image of God sheltering his people under his wings is common in the Bible (as in Ex 19:4; Deut 32:11; Ps 17:8; 36:7; 63:7). “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91:4).
 
*Like a mother defends her young, God shelters us from all harm.

A MOTHER GRIEVES FOR HER WAYWARD CHILDREN.
 
*God’s people, especially the religious leaders, had a history of rebellion and rejection of God’s ways. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (37).
 
*Jesus warns the nation that judgment is coming because of their persistent rebellion. “Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (38-39).
 
*Like a mother who longs for her child to turn away from the wrong path, God does not want anyone to face certain punishment. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:9-10).
 
*God provides a way for us to return to him and restore the broken relationship. “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
 
*Just like a mother will lay down her life to keep her children safe, so too did Jesus sacrifice his life to bring us back to the family of God.
 
God cares for us like a mother cares for her children. Thank God.

PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/03/15
 
“Sudden Disaster”
Luke 12:16-21
 
INTRODUCTION: In Luke 12, Jesus warned his disciples that following him would bring opposition. Faithfulness would bring God’s protection and blessing (Luke 12:1-11). Someone in the crowd wanted Jesus to settle a family inheritance dispute. Jesus warned his followers against greed (12:13-15) and told them the parable of the Rich Fool. It is foolish to devote yourself to things rather than to God.
 
LIFE IS A GIFT AND SHOULD BE RECEIVED WITH GRATITUDE.
 
*God blesses us with good things. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights… (James 1:17).
 
*There is nothing wrong with wealth. It is how we receive and use wealth that counts. And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ (Luke 12:16-17).
 
WE SHOULD NEVER PRESUME ON GOD’S GOODNESS.
 
*There was nothing wrong with building bigger barns. The man’s sin was his self-dependence and assumption that he was in control of his future. “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ (Luke 12:18-19)
 
*We do not know the future. We need to humble ourselves before God and trust him with our plans and future. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”(James 4:13-14).

*Jesus was tempted to presume on God’s goodness and protection. He resisted the idea that he could depend on himself rather than God to know God’s plans for his life. The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully’” … Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:9-12).
 
*Foolishness presumes on God. It is self-dependent and self-centered.
 
BE READY. ADVERSITY CAN STRIKE AT ANY TIME.
 
*We do not know the future. We need to lean on the Lord daily and be ready for whatever happens. We need to build on a solid foundation. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21).
 
*The Rich Fool put his trust in riches. Greed is a form of idolatry that puts something else ahead of God. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
 
*Jesus warned his people that God’s hand of judgment was upon them. He ends the Sermon on the Mount with the illustration of building on the solid rock or building on shifting sand. The storm is coming.
 
*What foundation are you building on? Are you wise or foolish?
 
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
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