Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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EZEKIEL: A New Heart

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/23/15
 
“A New Heart”
               Ezekiel 36:22-38               
 
INTRODUCTION: Israel suffered in exile for many years because of their rebellion, but God was going to forgive them and restore them to their land. “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ez. 36:23). God’s acts of forgiveness and restoration would prove his holiness and power. God transforms us so we can be witnesses to his love and grace. He gives us a new heart, a new spirit, and a new way of living.
 
GOD GIVES US A NEW HEART.
 
*God forgave their sins and gave them a new nature.
 
“‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ez. 36:24-26).
 
*We are made right with God through Jesus and his love in our hearts proves it.
 
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we
 have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…And hope
 does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (John 5:1-5).
 
GOD GIVES US A NEW SPIRIT.
 
 *God would indwell them and provide a new motivation for living.
 
“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ez. 36:27).
 
*God empowers us through his Holy Spirit to tell others about Jesus.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
 
GOD GIVES US A NEW LIFE
 
*God changes our direction and shows us a new way to live.
 
“Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you…” (Ez. 36:28-29).
 
*Jesus Christ gives us abundant life now and for eternity.
 
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).
 
* God transforms us so we can be witnesses to his love and grace. He gives us a new heart, a new spirit, and a new way of living. To sum up:
 
“When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!
 
All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him.
 
For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.
 
We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God.
 
For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” (2 Cor. 5:17-21 TLB).
 
Have you received new life in Christ? Do you let others know it?

EZEKIEL: The Good Shepherd

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/16/15
 
“The Good Shepherd”
             Ezekiel 34               
 
INTRODUCTION: The Nones and Dones have given up on church. Ezekiel had to deal with leadership and relationship issues in his day as well. What does God expect of his leaders and church?
 
PEOPLE ARE DONE WITH ABUSIVE LEADERSHIP.
 
*God rebukes the leaders of Israel because they had exploited the people of Israel to benefit themselves. The leaders neglected to provide for the needs of the people and to protect the people from danger. “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock” (Ez. 34:2-3).
 
*The Lord relieved the shepherds from their duties in order to stop the injustice. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves” (Ez. 34:10).
 
GOD RESTORES TIRED AND BROKEN PEOPLE.
 
*God is the shepherd of his people and provides for their needs.
“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered…” (Ez. 34:11-12).
 
*God is in the restoration business. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake”(Ps.23:1-3).
 
*God will lead his people with justice and integrity and care. “I will
search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured
and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I
will shepherd the flock with justice” (Ez. 34:16).
 
PEOPLE WANT NONE OF THE INAUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS THAT THEY SEE IN THE CHURCH.
 
*God reminds the people that they are personally accountable for how they treat one another. The strong had bullied the weak and the rich  had trampled the poor.  “I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet...Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another” (Ez. 34:17-22).
 
*The church should be a safe place of love and support. [S]erve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Gal. 5:13-15).
 
GOD PROMISES A SAVIOR AND A COVENANT OF PEACE.
 
*God promised to send a good shepherd from the line of David to lead his people and care for them. “I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken” (Ez. 34:23-24).
 
*Jesus is the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).
 
*God will bless his people, bring them home, and give them peace.    “I will make a covenant of peace with them and…I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing…You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God” (Ez. 34:24-31).

EZEKIEL: Personal Responsibility

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/09/15
 
“Personal Responsibility”
                  Ezekiel 18                      
 
INTRODUCTION: The Jewish exiles in Babylon had been taken from their land and homes and place of worship. They were starting all over again in a new land. They had lost loved ones during the transition and their king was in captivity. They began to play the blame game. They were being punished for the sins of their fathers. The younger generation suffered because of the older generation. Ezekiel rebukes them and introduces a new principle in the religious practice of Israel: Every person must take personal responsibility for their actions and choices.
 
YOU ARE MORE THAN A PRODUCT OF BIOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT.
 
*God rejects a popular saying of fatalism and determinism in Ezekiel’s day. The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: “‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?” (Ez.18:1-2).
 
*Since all souls are the Lord’s, they are directly accountable to him. “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die” (Ez. 18:3-4).
 
Your past does not determine who you are but it does influence who you are.
 
YOUR CHOICES DETERMINE YOUR DESTINY.
 
*You can change your life by your attitudes, beliefs and decisions. The principle is “the one who sins is the one who will die.” Ezekiel gives several examples of this principle:
  • The righteous man lives as a result of his own actions (18:5-9).
  • The son of the just man, who does evil, shall die as a result of his own actions (18:10-13).
  • The son of the wicked man, who does right, shall live as a result of his own actions but his father will die. Each person is answerable for his or her own sin (Ez. 18:14-20).
  • A wicked man who turns from his sins shall live (Ez. 18:21-23)
  • A righteous man who turns to wickedness shall die (Ez. 18:24).
 
The person who sins is the one who will die not his parents or community.
 
EVERYONE IS LIABLE FOR HIS OR HER OWN CHOICES AND ACTIONS.
 
*God’s way is fair and good. He makes the rules and enforces them (Ez. 18:25-29). “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?” (Ez. 18:25).
 
*God wants everyone to repent and live. He does not want anyone to perish and die (Ez. 18:30-32).
 
“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
                                                                                     (Ez.18:30-32)
 
God holds you personally accountable for the way you live your life. There will be a payday someday. Are you ready?
 
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9).

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).
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