Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Happened at the Cross Part 5

Last Sunday we continued the series, “What Happened at the Cross?” We started at Psalms 22:16-17.  We discussed the significance of the piercing of Jesus’ feet. Throughout the Word, the feet are referred to being connected to authority. For instance, in Deuteronomy 11:24, God tells the Israelites that, if they would be obedient to Him and walk as He told them to walk, that everywhere they set their foot would be theirs.

 In Romans 16:20 it says that God would “soon crush Satan under your feet.” It is OUR feet that crush him. Jesus’ feet gave us the power and it is our responsibility, using that power, that do the crushing. But how? The rest of that verse holds the key. It goes on to say, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” It is the grace of God with you that gives us the power we need to crush the enemy. Satan is an accuser. He will continually cause you to reflect on your sin and shortcomings as a reason to believe you have no authority over the circumstances of life. We must remember that grace redeems us from having to “fully obey the law” to be eligible for blessing and authority.

 Certainly, sin is going to make it hard to succeed in life – not because God removes the blessing, but because sin causes problems. All of that considered, do not allow the enemy to allow condemnation to strip you of the power of your authority.  Ephesians 1:22 says that all things have been placed under the feet of Jesus. What was under His feet at the crucifixion? It was the cross itself --  the sign of the curse or sin. Jesus has put the curse of sin under His feet, triumphing over it. He took that ground for you.

Hebrews 2:8-9 uses the words of the Psalmist from Psalms 8:6 to remind us that Jesus took back all authority. It goes on to pose the question as to why, we do not see that authority working in our lives. The answer is in a story from the book of Joshua.  In Joshua 3, the Israelites are about to finally enter the Promised Land. They must cross the Jordan River at flood stage. God instructs Joshua to have the priests carry the ark of the covenant across the river.  As soon as their feet touch the water, God says the river will stop in a heap and all of Israel will cross over on dry land. They do as instructed and everything happens just as God said.

 A few things to consider about this event… First, the name Jordan, in Hebrew, means destroyer. The river of destruction was separating God’s people from the Promised Land. Next, that river empties into the Dead Sea. Sin and destruction leads to death. Also, the river, when it stopped, heaped up in a pile in the north near the city of Adam. Jesus cuts off the power of sin to bring death all the way back to Adam!  So, how does this relate to our feet and authority illustration? The priests were to carry the ark – which was the symbol of the presence of God on earth. To us, it is Jesus. We are carrying the presence of God Himself with us as we go and have His authority in us to overcome all sin and destruction. 

Another important part of this story that we need to apply is that the river would not stop up until the priests stepped out by faith into the water. They couldn’t wait until the river stopped before they stepped out. They had to have faith that the Lord would honor what He said would happen as they set their feet in the river. We need to not only know we have authority through Christ Jesus but walk as though we have that authority until we see it operate properly. Until we walk, we are not exercising authority. If you are born again, then you are carrying the “ark” with you. You have authority over sin and destruction.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there are areas in your life that you have not exercised the authority we have been given through the work of Jesus!


To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Happened at the Cross Part 4

Last Sunday we continued the “What Happened at the Cross?” series. We discussed the significance of the piercing of His hands. Jesus’ hands and feet are the two things that are actually physically attached to the cross. I believe this brings additional emphasis to their importance.  First, consider that the hands nailed to that cross are the hands mentioned in Psalm 8 – whose work built the entire universe. He chose to allow them to be nailed to the cross for our sake! 

The hands are symbolic of our ability to produce. Part of the curse in Genesis 3:17-19 is that our work becomes tedious and grueling and fruitless. But Galatians 3:13 tells us that Jesus redeemed us from the curse – specifically the curse of the law. The law was all about fruitless work. The work under the law was never-ending.  Adam was given work to do before the curse.  Work was supposed to be productive and meaningful though.  Deuteronomy 28:1-13 describes a blessing for first the Jews and now us (as Jesus has made us partakers in the blessing of Abraham). First, in verses 1 and 2, there is a qualifier to this blessing - -that we are fully obedient to the law. None of them were and none of us are. But Jesus fulfilled the law for us and we are IN HIM.

 The first six verses describe things that we work at and produce that God will bless. Starting at verse seven, the focus shifts to what the Lord will do. Verse 8 specifically that there will be a blessing upon everything you put your hand to. No longer should we suffer from fruitlessness in our work.   There are thoughts and beliefs about our ability to produce that must change. Stop accepting wasted time and effort as being the norm in life! Next, make it part of your daily prayer to ask God to show you what you can put your hand to that He can prosper.

 Deuteronomy 8:18 says He has given us the ability to produce wealth – wealth in all areas. This includes finance, but also health, relationships, peace. He wants this in your life for two specific reasons. One is that it shows the world that He is a good God and a God of His Word. Deuteronomy 28:10 says that this blessing is so that all the peoples of the earth will see that we are called by His name. Learning to live the blessed life and having our work be fruitful glorifies God.

 Secondly, the blessing is not about us as much as it is about others. Ephesians 4:28 says that we should work diligently to produce increase so that we can share with those in need. Trust me, you can never outgive God. When you choose to set your hand to things to bring increase for the purpose of being able to be more generous (and you actually do that), blessing will come into your life faster than you can give it away.   I’ve often heard people say that they have no desire for financial increase, and they are happy with a meager lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with a meager lifestyle as long as you are doing it for the right reasons – not pride (I’m not like all those evil, materialistic people…). Doing it for the wrong reason is just as bad as being greedy and self-centered. You are just doing it differently. But if you honestly want nothing to do with any kind of wealth, then give it all away.  The thing is that as you give it all away, God will continue to increase you for your generosity, so that you have more to give.  Blessing in your life will confirm to others that God’s covenant is over you (Ephesians 4:22-28).

 Of course this is NOT all about money. However, that part of “wealth” is the one we really struggle with and can be unsure of. Get on fire for building the things of God’s kingdom and seek Him for things to set your hand to that will bring increase!  I have started asking God when the day starts to show me if there is anything He wants me to put my hand to, so that I can be open to additional blessing He has for me in that day.


To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Last week we talked about the power of the resurrection. Jesus’ beating and death would have little meaning without His resurrection. The resurrection is the power over the grave – power over death.
The religious leaders of the day were worried that Jesus’ disciples would come in the middle of the night to steal His body in order to perpetuate the story that He had been raised from the dead. So they assigned Roman soldiers to guard the tomb. An angel appeared and rolled away the stone. The soldiers were so frightened they passed out and eventually ran to the priests to tell them what happened.
Two women come to the tomb and are the first to hear the Good News. Then Jesus appears to them and tells them to go tell the others. So, I guess this means that women were the first evangelists J.
When the priests hear the report from the soldiers they are worried. They give the soldiers a lot of money to keep their mouths shut and to help spread the lie that the disciples took the body. You see, whenever God does a miracle, the enemy likes to come and immediately cast doubt and offer an “alternative” explanation. When you know you have received something from God, you can know that the enemy’s attempt to get you to doubt anything happened is actually confirmation of what happened!
A short time later, Jesus comes to His disciples. Among them is Thomas, who had told the others that he would not believe unless he saw and touched the wounds. Jesus immediately addresses him and allows him to touch the wounds. Thomas then believes.
Jesus next words are for all of us. He says that those who will believe without seeing are blessed. That is us. We, who choose to believe in Him, though we have not actually seen or been offered incontrovertible physical evidence, are blessed.
Choose to believe in who Jesus is and what He did for you out of His pure love and you will begin to live in His blessing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Happened at the Cross Part 3

Last week we continued our series on “What Happened at the Cross?” We looked specifically at the crown of thorns placed upon Jesus’ head.   It is commonly accepted that the crowning by the Roman soldiers was meant to humiliate Jesus and to mock His claim to be a king. There was also deeper meaning to this act. Caesar Augustus who reigned from 23BC to 14AD, was frequently referred to as the “Savior of the World” because of his conquests. It then became a tradition to crown the victorious leaders when they returned – specifically for saving the lives of Roman citizens. So, the mockery of Jesus was likely to have been because of more than His claim to be a king, but of being a “savior.”

 The thorny crown was not a random act. The thorns had meaning. In Genesis 3:18, God says that because of Adam’s sin, the ground is cursed and that it will produce thorns and thistles. Thorns were then part of the identity of the curse of sin. Next, the thorns come into play in Genesis 22 when God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. As he is about to strike Isaac, God tells him to stop and he sees a ram caught by its horns in the thorns! The horns were the sign of the ram’s power and authority and they were caught in the curse-produced thorns – just like man’s authority.   The ram was significant as well. In Leviticus chapters 5-7, the temple offerings are described. There is a sin offering that would be anything from a bull to a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, depending on your standing in society. However, there was a separate offering for guilt. That offering was a ram!

Guilt is the part of sin that we deal with on the inside – or in the mind. The crown upon Jesus head, and the blood He shed there was for the renewing of our mind. Our mind is not simply renewed because we are born again. It is work, but the power to win is there because of what Jesus did for us.  Our mind is the root of most of our problems. We have bad thoughts, beliefs and perceptions that mold and shape our actions. Anything we believe or think that is contrary to God’s Word needs to be renewed (Romans 12:2). It is sometimes a long and difficult process to change beliefs formed over a lifetime. But, because of what Jesus did, if we won’t give up, we WILL win.

 Isaiah 26:3 says that God will keep those is perfect peace (shalom) who keep their MINDS steadfast – and do so because they trust in Him. That word, steadfast, in Hebrew is camak. In ancient Hebrew, the symbol for the first letter in that word, samech, was…. A thorn!  The other two letters symbolize water (Jesus, washing in the water of the Word), and open palm (accepting or allowing).  To keep our minds steadfast, we must allow the Word and His overcoming the curse to get into our minds.  Those thorns on His head made the way for us to be able to bring peace to our minds. What good news!

 To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit