Archive for June, 2010

Who is God? by Pastor Melissa Scott

If God Who is God and is sovereign can create the worlds, can hang the stars in the sky and make this seemingly unreasonable and unruly world keep going, rotating; the sun still comes up the next day; He certainly is capable and has all power by way of the cross to work out all those other things that the ones that come to trouble you would like to disturb you with. So if I could take this, and it’s impossible to cover this in an hour; there’s just too much here.

I’ve given you the gestalt, the overview to reduce it down to at least show you that the center of Galatians’ message is very much centered on the cross of Jesus Christ and dimensions of His work at the cross, which bring us to a new and, I believe, in my opinion, a new and more powerful and more clear picture of what happened at the cross. All of these things, salvation, righteousness, freedom from the law, faith given not just something that was exclusive to the Jews, but now available to the Gentiles, persecution for those who will stand for the cause of Christ, sanctification; simply something that’s sainted to God. And this most glorious picture that whatever people may bring to you, as long as you have the cross; the cross without Jesus on it, which means He has risen, in focus, you know the power. Hopefully, God willing, we’ll look at a better and closer and deeper look at the Person of the cross, because the Person of the cross is where the power is.

The activity that was displayed is portrayed here in Galatians. And unfortunately with the clock running I feel like I’m on a marathon here. The beauty, if we only had this one book, which thank God we don’t; but if we only had the Book of Galatians, we could stay on a straight course and know that at least in doctrine, at least in view, the symbol of the cross may represent death, but it represents death of the old man, because one passage I didn’t read to you is verse 15, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availed any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” You know what? That’s what I have to look at. That’s what makes me smile. I don’t have to have the brand of the old or the baggage of the old. Brand new in Christ, that’s what the work at the cross, the very beginning-look at the work of the cross brings to me and to you.

I pray that at least, God willing, next week, we’ll take a deeper, closer look at the cross. But right now, that’s my message.

Crucifixion by Pastor Melissa Scott

He says you started with this Christ crucified. That is the only thing that has the power. As I talk to people and I travel around and I minister to many different people, lights come on. The power of positive thinking is a wonderful tool, but in the kingdom of God there’s only one thing that is going to bring you access. And that access comes through Jesus Christ, Him crucified; and forgive me for being repetitive; and resurrected. And it’s the only way. And Jesus Himself says,”this is the door.” So, here he’s talking about how salvation comes to man.

We talked about salvation from the beginning, righteousness, and in this passage he’s talking about the law versus grace. And I will put underneath it versus faith or the hearing of faith because he’s highlighting that via the cross. And the cross does not speak of circumcision. It’s a new way. It’s a completely new way. What’s the next one? Because the next one holds another key in, as I’ve put down, seven; this would be number four. And this one perhaps is the core of it all. He says, “For as many,” verse 10, 3:10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written,” and here it is.

Please change your hats for a minute and think that this pharisaical, tribe of Benjamin, Jew of Jew would even deign to put this in here which comes straight out of what he was entrenched in. That’s what’s staggering. I-maybe to you it’s, “Just, okay. Yeah.” This blows my mind, seeing we’re reading Galatians now, but think about when he penned this.

Crucifixion was still a real form of capital punishment. And Jews still believed cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree. And that’s what he came out of. That is mind-boggling at its essence. He says here, and he’s quoting Deuteronomy, “It is written, Cursed is every one that continued not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: the just shall live by faith,” three times that’s proclaimed over and repeated through the New Testament writings. And then he comes down to this here. He says, “And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”

Early Christians Symbols by Pastor Melissa Scott

Think about this based on the history we know of Paul and his Jewish background. This would be a very horrific point to highlight. If you were embedded in the Jewish faith, born and raised and acculturated in a Jewish mindset, how could you then bring forth these crucifixion passages with such ease? And not even have the slightest bit of fear that what you’re saying actually is a gross contradiction of where you’ve been. Are you following what I’m saying? So I took a look at Paul’s use and specifically because I feel there is a lack being highlighted towards the cross and its power. Pastor Melissa Scott shows us that now we have to go a little bit through the history of the cross to find out that the cross was not the emblem we always now see everywhere.

In fact, as you know, most of you know early Christians would not associate with the cross. To even have a scratching somewhere of a cross if you are identified with it, you would your; you would seal your fate with that. So much of the catacombs and much of the inscriptions in the early Christian era; the symbol of the dove representing in the Holy Spirit, a symbol of a lamb, the symbol of the Lamb of God, obviously; there were so many different symbols used. The symbol of the peacock, which had its own representation; it was a combination of pagan and Christian beliefs meshed into one.

Travels down the history and you begin to see of course those acronym; the letters for Jesus Christ of God, Iasou Kristou Theos Uios Sotar, which became the acronym for the fish. And as I’m quite grateful that it didn’t stay because we don’t; there are too many people that get confused and when they see that sign of the fish, they immediately start going to the ameba cell, single-cell theory of creation and crazy things. So I’m glad we got away from that. Plus there are too many heathen gods using the concept of the fish and the fish eggs and fertility. So we don’t need that. I’d rather look to Jesus and the name of Jesus Christ than look at fish.  But following the history of the cross, of course, the event that solely is the demarcation of when the cross begins to become acceptable is of course with the Emperor Constantine at the battle of the Milvian bridge in 312, 313 AD.

When he says, he saw the words, “Conquer in this sign,” he saw the words in the sky, “Conquer in this sign,” and it was a cross.

That sign became emblazoned on their shields and from that time forward a Christian empire began to spread and it was no longer something terrible to be associated with the cross. In fact, I’ve told you on Festival how Constantine’s aged mother, Helena made the trek in her 80′s mind you, to the Holy Land to find, she was on the quest for the true cross of Christ, which became the subject of Carston Thiede’s wonderful book. Which, of course, she believes that she found the titulus, the head board of Christ amongst other relics, which she brought back to the Emperor Constantine and hence the veneration of relics began.

The Temptation of Christ by Pastor Melissa Scott

Pastor Melissa Scott shows us that these are important keywords because the whole point of this study is to look at how we’re going to pray and how we’re going to approach the subject of temptation. And using some of these keywords “being vigilant,” praying with specificity towards God in worship, and the concept of entering in, in this case requiring something to enter in, like going through a door versus Matthew 6:13 which is essentially like being carried into a current and needing someone to rescue you from the rushing water.

Now at some point all of this is going to bring us back to Galatians. “Aw, are you being smart?” No. Well maybe. All right. So you can see these words that I’ve highlighted here to make my point. We’re not immune. This is what I wanted to say at the beginning. There is nobody who walks the face of the earth who’s immune to temptation; no one. This is why Jesus gave this in prayer and this is why in a moment in the garden setting, think about it. I mean I looked at this whole passage about Jesus in the garden and I began to think it’s the first time we are seeing the depiction of Isaiah 53, a man of sorrows.

It’s the first time we’re seeing these things that were spoken of Him, “Numbered among the transgressors,” all of the, what was foretold in the garden setting. And being filled with agony and anguish, being filled in that moment to begin to usher in the restoration, the process as I said the temptation of Christ. In Matthew, the early passage, I believe its chapter 4 that takes us to the place of understanding. Everything that’s happening is a pattern to set right what fallen man has done. And the only way back now at this point, one Door, that Door, Jesus Christ. So He had to do certain things, even fulfillment of Scripture that’s not even declared as fulfilling Scripture, such as being in this garden setting. Now what does this have to do with us? You’re going to see.

In this same passage Jesus says in Matthew 26:41, He says, “the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Think about that with regard to the fact He told Peter to be vigilant and pray. And I’m sure; I’m not, thumbing my nose at Peter, I am sure that Peter probably in his own strength, in his own iskus tried, but failed because he did it in his own strength. I’m sure he tried to stay awake. In fact, why the relevance of have Jesus come back multiple times and finds them sleeping only emphasizes the weakness of man. The miracle, of course, there’s our word right here “into temptation” peirasmon but this is what is so amazing.