His Banner Over Me Is Love

Series: Once a month, I get to teach the Elementary kids during our main Worship Gatherings. My incredible Children’s Pastor, Kim, does the amazing work of feeding me that weekend’s lesson, much like a lectionary. There will be a power verse, the lesson (or the reading) and then the accompanied Bible passage. Quite often, God will linked everything together to His Son and to His gospel which I am to believe the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:12) is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Here is a series with my sermon notes for the kiddos.

This week’s lesson: Banners and the Victory of God.

Our power verse was one of Christus Victor found in Psalm 20:5

“May we shout for you over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!”

In this weekend’s reading, we spoke about the colors of the tabernacle and how that compares to what we know colors to be now. Things like white for purity or gold for holiness. Also, green for life but green for jealousy.

But red. That was the most important. You see, the red came from the blood being spilled on the altar. But it was also the blood of our Saviour on the cross being spilled for the sins of His people.

Here is that distinction: Christ removed your sins and mistakes by his blood on the cross. Do you believe and trust in Jesus? It is here on the cross and Jesus’ blood that God has truly championed over all evil, once and for all.

Let’s look at Exodus 17:8-17

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

It is in this Old Testament passage about Moses, Joshua, and war that the Holy Spirit quietly reminded me how Christ did defeat sin, Satan, demons, hell, and death when He went to the cross and died.

Now, let me go off-topic just a tad and explain, “quietly reminded”? It is when His voice is so quiet that He is not even audible in your soul. If I didn’t know better, I would have confused it with my own mind, thoughts, feelings, judgments, or conscience. No. 1 Corinthians 3 declares that all truth is from God. If all of sciences belong to God and his revelations within the scientific realm, how much more when it pertains to His Word and theology and doctrine. Further more, 1 Corinthians 2 says this:

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13 ESV

Never do I ever want to think of myself to be so brilliant, wise, and smart to where I think I can come up with this stuff on my own, even it is even worth mentioning. First, I am not that smart. Second, that’s not how it works.

As a teacher of the gospel, I am reminded of a quote: “We know our skills are insufficient for an activity with such vast consequences. We recognize that our hearts are too lacking in purity to lead others to holiness. Honest evaluation inevitably causes us to conclude that we do not have sufficient eloquence, wisdom, or character to be capable of turning others from spiritual death to eternal life. Such a realization can cause young preachers to run from their first preaching assignment and experienced pastors to despair in their pulpits.” 1

I am insufficient for this sort of activity. If not just intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually, but also morally and ethically. What I mean by that is that I would even sometimes sin against God and others like my wife and kids mere moments before teaching kids the gospel. I am woefully unqualified to teach. And so many times, I want to run away because of my failings. But much like Jonah, God brings me back, gives me His Spirit in order to be obedient and faithful to what He has asked me to do. Not only that, to return to those who I have hurt, and repent, and return to Him and ask forgiveness, repent of my sins and His grace and love and mercy is more than enough for me.

You see, all of that is the power of the cross of Christ from the sovereign grace of our Father by the Almighty power of the Holy Spirit.

I ask the kids to stand and stretch out our hands like Moses.

You do the same.

What does that remind you of?

Just like Moses, when Jesus held up his hands on the cross, He was winning over our true enemies of Satan and demons, sin, hell, and death. But unlike Moses, Jesus never let his hands down because they were nailed to the cross.

Christus-VictorAnd you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15 ESV)

While Moses nor Joshua didn’t die in those battles, Exodus 17:17 states they had to fight their enemies “generation after generation”. However, Jesus died once and in his death he put Satan and demons to open shame. In his burial and resurrection, he championed over sin (Romans 6:10), hell, and death (Revelation 11:8) ad he did it once for all (Hebrews 9:23-28).

Notes:

  1. Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, 2 edition (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2005).

Mark 8:14–21 Jesus Opens Our Hearts So That We Might Receive God

Mark 8:14–21      Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

  1. According to Jesus, what was the miracles of the Loaves and Fishes really about?
  2. With every Miracle, what is God doing?

In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.”

(Romans 15:17-21 ESV)

Mark 8:11–13 Jesus Opens Our Minds So We Now Understand God

Mark 8:11–13 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

Luke 24:44-49 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

  1. How can we understand God?
  2. How can we understand the Bible?
  3. If we do not understand something, who can we turn to?

Mark 8:1-10 Jesus Opens Up Our Mouths So That We May Now Be Fed by God

Mark 8:1–10 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

1. How many of us want something? What does it mean to want something? To desire something?

2. What is desire?
If we are hungry, we get food. But sometimes, we want not just slop. We can eat anything as long as it has the right nutrients.

3. What are some of your desires?

4. Where does desires come from? How big is that desire? (Genesis 1-3; Ecclesiastes 3:11)

5. If you eat once, will you get hungry again? If you desire lots of money, and you get lots of money, do you think you will stop wanting money?

6. If God fills that infinite space in your heart, will you be satisfied? (Psalm 17:15)

Mark 7:31-37 Jesus Opens Our Ears So We Now Hear God

Mark 7:31-37 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

1. This should not surprise anybody that God can heal the deaf and the mute. But why did Jesus perform this miracle.

2. After speaking at length with the Pharisees, it appears that they would not hear Jesus. For us to hear God, does God have to do something first?

1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

Mark 7:24-30 The Word of God Saves

Mark 7:24-30 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

1. How did the Jews treated Jesus?

2. How did this non-Jewish woman treated Jesus?

3. Who are the children that Jesus speaks of? Who are the “little” dogs?

4. Can we be saved by the family we are born into or the church that we attend?

5. What or who can save us?

6. Does God just give us a little crumb?

7. Would you trade your little crumb for anything else in the world?

Mark 7:14-23 The Word of God is Righteousness

Mark 7:14-23
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

1. Can we do anything to that would make us evil, bad, or clean?

2. According to Jesus, where does evil come from?

3. Is the evil that we do makes us evil?

4. Is it the good that we do makes us good?

5. Who makes us good? Who gives us good hearts?

Mark 7:7-13 The Word of God is First

Mark 7:7-13

     … in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

     And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

1. Do we do what the church says? Do we do what the pastor says?

2. What if the church told you, “Don’t raise your hands when you sing to God.” even though the Bible says, “We lift our hands to God” (Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 119:48; Psalm 134:2; Lamentations 3:41; 1 Timothy 2:8). Then what?

3. What if billions of people said that this one person (not Jesus) who is the head of our church and whatever he says is equal to God?

4. Is the church totally perfect?

5. What do you do when the church says one thing, but you find something else in the Bible? What do you do? Who can you talk to? Where do you go for help?

What we shouldn’t do is rebel for rebel’s sake. But we should examine our creeds, doctrine, traditions continuously. Remember that no one is born with theology. It always must be learned anew.

The people before us did the work already, but it wasn’t for a lifetime. That work barely makes it out of their generation. Some of us read dead guys but we are in the smallest minority. Even still, they wouldn’t answer some of the questions that we now face.

It is with that in mind that we must not assume traditions. It think it was the intention of Church Fathers that we mustn’t assume traditions. We must be diligent to ensure that what we do and say and believe lines up with the word of God first before giving way to man-made traditions.

However, the flipside of that thought is a stern warning: because we have done it a certain way for so long is not a good enough reason to stop doing or stop believing a certain way. With a tradition, creed, or doctrine, just because it is old, doesn’t make it wrong. Traditions might ebb and flow, give and take according the culture and the world around but creeds are proclamations of truth while doctrine is simply the teaching of the word of God. First, we must humbly admit that we do not know the Bible all that well. That is, the word of the Infinite God is much more than the thoughts that can be glean from one complete read of the Bible. That we must do well not judge the Bible accordingly to our own leanings, philosophical understandings,  feeligns, and prejudices and but rather let the Bible judge those assumptions. If I want something theologically or morally to be true, then humbly admit so and bring that want to the Bible.

That might seem like a far-fetched jump but to examine our assumptions is really a question of the heart. The question comes down, “Do I want what I want or do I want what God want?”

Here’s the choice: get nothing or get everything.

If I go after my own desires, I get an empty, broken heart. If I want something that God says is not good or is good but not complete, I might obtain that but that thing is finite: whether that be money, fame, marriage, relationships, kids, job, Whatever. Finite things do not fill an infinite heart. Only God, who is infinite, does that. 1

However, we know that God gives the desires of a new heart that was given to us by God. With a new heart by God, we desire God who gives Himself freely to us. Since He is infinite, we fills our hearts and then, we are satisfied not just now but forevermore. 2

Notes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:11
  2. Ezekiel 11:14-21 cf. Psalms 37:4, Psalms 16:11

Mark 7:1-7 The Word of God is Love

pharisees2Mark 7:1-6 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
     “‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;

  1. Are there times when you don’t wanna talk with God?
  2. Who can you talk to when you feel like you don’t love God or don’t want to talk to God?
  3. Are you going to get in trouble for not wanting to talk to God?
  4. Does God want to talk to you all the time?
  5. Does God loves you all the time?
  6. If you don’t love God, does God love you?
  7. Do you ever stop loving your Mom? What about your brothers and sisters?

Mark 6:53-56 The Word of God is Life

1. When we hardened our hearts against God’s love (we refuse to hear what God has to say, we refuse to believe what God has done), does God still love us?

icon_christ_woman_issue_blood_detail2. When we hardened our hearts against God (mad at him, accuse him of being bad), does God still shows us his love?

Mark 6:53-56 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

3. Where was the power coming from? Was it because Jesus had a magic cloak?

4. Did Jesus preach in this town?

5. What has more power? The healing of Jesus, the walking on water by Jesus, or the words of Jesus?

Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.