søndag 30. april 2017

Mark 13 Hope in chaos.

Mark 13

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End times.

Last days.

These are the days we live in. The time between Jesus’ ascension to heaven and his imminent return.

And these days are marked by three things: false religion, wars and threats of wars, and earthquakes and famine and other natural disasters.

All these things are sings that we live in the last days, the days of chaos and confusion and upheaval as we, the human race, rebel against our creator God. That is what Mark 13 is all about. It is a time of chaos and upheaval as we try to throw God off, as we try to “free” ourselves and follow our own path. Look around! The chaos in the world today is because of us. Our rebellion. Our casting aside God. We are trying to reject our Creator and it is not going well!

God is at war with us and we are at war with each other. We live in terrible times.

But there is hope. It will end well. The future is secure. If you are in Christ.

But if you stand against him, then your future is very, very insecure. What did Jesus say would happen to the Pharisees, the religious leaders who rejected God, rejected their Messiah, and killed the son? Mk 12:911 What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do? Jesus asked. Ill tell youhe will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didnt you ever read this in the Scriptures? The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 11 This is the LORDs doing, and it is wonderful to see.’”

Jesus is that cornerstone. He is secure. Everything else will be shaken.

1. False religion is religion without knowing Jesus. And it is worthless rubble

2. True religion costs us everything. But Jesus is with us

3. Terrible judgement is coming – and only Jesus can shield us from it

4. So stay alert and live for Christ every minute of every day!

1. False religion is religion without knowing Jesus. And it is worthless rubble.

2 Jesus replied, Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!

The discussion about the future starts because of the disciples adoring their Temple building. They were proud of their spiritual heritage. It seemed immovable, secure, indestructible – like their relationship with God. They were God’s chosen race, God’s favour would forever rest upon them.

13:1 Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.

They were probably shaken by the arguments between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus clearing out the Temple. Jesus cursing the fig tree. Uncertain times. So they look to their great building. Well at least we’ve got that.

Oh, Jesus says, that may look impressive – but soon it will be rubble. Israel have rejected their cornerstone, the foundation stone, the very basis of their religious life!

Understandably that answer would have worried them, so a little while later they ask him 4 Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?

Now the disciples got a lot more than they bargained for! Now Jesus doesn’t just say “oh, in 35 years or so” – no because the destruction of the Temple is a picture of the judgement to come. It is a sign or symbol of all that is happening in these “Last Days”.
So Jesus tells them of life in the last days. He starts off with the church history in verses 5-13 (the “birth pains” of the new Creation), then zooms in to the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel in AD70 in verses 14-18, then uses the destruction of Israel as a warning of the final judgement to come in verses 19-27.

The world before Christ’s return is marked by three things: false religion, human conflict, and natural disasters. And Jesus uses the fall of the Temple in AD70 – judgement on the false religion of Israel (they worshiped themselves instead of God while outwardly pretending to be God) - and that judgement foreshadows the final judgement on the whole earth.

You know, my great-granny was once a little bit foolish. She decided that she wanted to more space downstairs, so she decided to lower the basement floor. So she merrily started digging away the foundations! As you can guess the house started leaning alarmingly to one side. And still does. If you go into the corner of the lounge in the old house on the farm, you’ll notice the floor slopes away to the corner. Thankfully she had the presence of mind to stop digging, unlike one poor fellow I heard who carried on digging until his whole house collapsed!

If you dig away the foundations, the house cannot stand. Israel has rejected its foundation, and the Temple cannot, will not, stand. Their religion is empty, false, a waste of time. And the church is not immune to the rot that set in in Israel. So Jesus warns us

5 Jesus replied, Dont let anyone mislead you, 6 for many will come in my name, claiming, I am the Messiah. They will deceive many.


21 And then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! or Look, there he is! do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

Look! They will even perform signs and wonders! So be on your guard!
There’s lots of false teaching about these days, and your ONLY defence is to know the Bible. You must know the truth yourself. You must know the character of God. Even signs and wonders are no guarantee of truth.
Are you impressed by the conmen in white suits on “Christian” TV because they do miracles and wave the Bible about and occasionally throw the name of Jesus about? Their words are poison, not truth! Man-centred salesman, selling you the lie of “Your Best Life Now” which is all about money and status rather than picking up your cross and following our Lord Jesus, claiming that you can be “Dreaming with God” or say “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” while, like Macedonius, treating the Holy Spirit like the Force from Star Wars whom we can channel to do our bidding, rather than the Almighty God. It is ugly. It is empty. And it will be destroyed.

Don’t be fooled by the false teachers, especially those like Jehovahs Witnesses or Iglesio ni Christo who claim that Jesus has already returned! Listen instead to Jesus. 5 Jesus replied, Dont let anyone mislead you, 6 for many will come in my name, claiming, I am the Messiah. They will deceive many.

Listen to Jesus. He is the secure rock, the cornerstone. Without Christ as our foundation, everything we do is worthless. Religious duties, whipping yourself, doing good deeds, saying positive things to yourself in the mirror, sending out thoughts into the universe, praying toward Mecca or anything else we do to try and be in control of our lives and win Gods favour is like the Jews looking to their empty Temple. We have that. God is on our side.

But it will soon all be rubble.

Religion without knowing Jesus Christ is worthless rubble. So trust him. Follow him. No matter the cost. Because it will cost.

2. True religion costs us everything. But Jesus is with us

9 When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.

And this is what we read about in Acts. The disciples were handed over and beaten, standing trial – and preached! The proclaimed the truth boldly, this same truth handed to us.

11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, dont worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Remember that Jesus is talking to his disciples here, and that promise is specifically for them. V11 is not an excuse for lazy Christians not knowing the Bible, but expecting the Spirit to give us the words! The Spirit gave His words to the disciples, and we are to use those inspired words to endure to the end. We need to watch out! And that means being armed with the words of the Spirit.

Jesus gave the disciples the words to say, as he promised, and he’s given us their words so that we know what to say. And you know what, the more I read the Bible, the more I know what to say in tricky times.

The golfer Gary Player had just hit a hole in one, and a journalist said “wow, Gary, that was a lucky shot”. He replied “you know, the more I practice, the luckier I get”. It’s a bit like that with us. The more we know the Bible, the more we will experience the Holy Spirit telling us what to say.

The Spirit is with us, and we will need him. For the cost of following Jesus can be very high indeed as v12-13 tell us.

12 A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.

Many of our Christian brothers and sisters have been beaten, received death threats, or even been murdered by their families. Wahab who was here last year had to flee from his family – and if they ever meet up again, they will kill him. He can never see his father, his brother again – they hate him because he follows Jesus.

So why keep following Jesus?

v13 continues But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

He is with us. His Sprit is with us. We are not alone. And he will save us in the end from the terrifying judgement to come.

True religion: following Jesus costs everything. But he is with us. And he will save us.

3. Terrible judgement is coming and only Jesus can shield us from it

24 At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the worldfrom the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

It is worth following Jesus because one day he will return. On the day when the sun fades and the moon falls we will see him. And how will we react then? In joy because we belong to him? Or in terror because we do not know him?

Jesus’ return is certain. As certain as the trees putting out new leaves and buds tells us that summer is near, the false religions, the wars, the threats of wars, the earthquakes and famine all tell us that Jesus could come at any moment.

We live in an age of Immanence – there is ONE THING left to happen: the Return of Christ. And that could happen at any moment.

Until then, we are in the “birth pains”. And these things are not out of God’s control, but v7 “must take place”.

So v5 dont panic when you hear of war and earthquake and famine. Instead, keep preaching! Because people need to hear the true truth. Not false christs, but the real Christ.

Because only Christ can shield us from the judgement to come. And we know it is coming because Jesus says in this chapter two things were coming: The Temple will fall, and Judgement Day. Both were in the future. Both after this death and resurrection. Both even after Mark wrote this book. One has already happened. v14-18 happened exactly as Jesus said it would. In AD70 the Roman army smashed a Jewish rebellion, and destroyed the Temple, planting their standards at the Temple altar, proclaiming allegiance to the Roman Emperor-God. 14 The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be. (Reader, pay attention!) – Mark is alerting his readers to the fact that he’s talking about the Romans without actually writing “the Romans” since he was writing this in the Roman Empire in a time when the Romans were not happy about these Christians!

(If you want to know the “sacrilegious object that causes desecration” is a phrase from the book of Daniel and refers to when the Roman Antiochus Ephiphanes put an idol up in the Temple).

So, when you see the Romans coming: run! Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 15 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 16 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.

It was a terrible time when the Romans came and wiped out Jerusalem. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, over 600 000 people died just from famine (lack of food). Two things caught my eye as I read about the events of AD70 – one was that the Jews fought among themselves. Yes, they had a full on civil war while the Romans were marching towards them! How many times in the Bible have we seen God throwing his enemies into confusion so they fight themselves. God’s judgement was upon the people of Israel – he was fighting against them! However, I also read that many Christians were saved because they did actually flee to the mountains. They listened!

But as terrible as the fall of Jerusalem was, it is nothing compared to what is coming.

24 At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the worldfrom the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

The “anguish of those days”, literally “troubled times”, is how the Bible talks about the world we live in. But there will come an end, when the world will be shaken, and Jesus returns.

So do not be fooled. One day, at an hour we do not know, not even the Son know, but only the Father (V32) – so all the fools trying to figure it out and proclaiming set dates can stop right now, that’s not the point! – one day he WILL return. So be on your guard.

29 when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.

Look at our world. Read the newspapers. What do you see? Wars and rumours of wars. Earthquakes and famines. False teachers performing miracles to lead astray the elect, if that were possible. See the signs. And know that he is near, right at the door.

So what do we do? Repent! Serve him! Listen to him! If you’re sinning, stop sinning and turn to him. He is coming.

Terrible judgement is coming – and only Jesus can shield us from it.

So what are we do to?

4. Stay alert!

33 And since you dont know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! 34 The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you dont know when the master of the household will returnin the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Dont let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!

What does it mean to “stay alert” and “watch for him”? It is this: to live as servants of the king, each busy with his own work. We are called to obedient service, service like the disciples are called to. For they were called to live as Christian people in a hostile world, and called to proclaim the gospel no matter what the consequences.

Endure to the end. Trust Christ. Do not give up.

Stay awake by reading the Bible, praying, telling others about Jesus, and living like a loved son or daughter of God. You are a servant of the Master. Live like it! Every moment of every day, that is your identity. You belong to him. You are his.

When Jesus returns do we want to be found looking at porn? Being unfaithful to our spouse? Nagging our husband? Angrily shouting at our kids? Do we want to be found drunk or high on drugs or stealing money or cheating on our taxes or writing angry posts on Facebook calling everyone who disagrees with our political views idiots? How embarrassing. Or just doing nothing. Not serving. Not attending church. Not sharing the gospel. A lazy Christian.

My father in law has a “five minute rule”. He asks himself “if I knew Jesus was to return in five minutes, how would that change what I do now?”

Live before the audience of one – only his opinion matters.

False religion is religion without knowing Jesus. And it is worthless rubble. So do not be lead astray by false teachers. Know your Bible. Only Christ holds the truth, no-one else, and only he can hold you secure against the judgement to come.

True religion - following Jesus costs- costs everything. But Jesus is with us. So do not be anxious. His Spirit is with us.

Terrible judgement is coming – and only Jesus can shield us from it. The Temple fell! So Judgement Day is coming. If you belong to Jesus, the day will come when he will gather you from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. You will meet him face to face. Secure. Safe.

So be alert, and serve him with joy. Read the Bible, pray, tell others about Jesus, and stop sinning, instead live like a loved son or daughter of God, secure, unshakeable, in Christ. Amen.

Åpenbaring 1. Jesus, den allmektige.

Åpenbaring 1.

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Alt du vet om Åpenbaring er feil! Hester som puster ild er ikke stridsvogner, de 144000 er ikke noen få Jehovas Vitner, og 666-mannen er ikke Hitler, Trump, Putin og han er heller ikke eller Solberg, Støre, eller Hareide!

Det handler ikke om oss i vår tid. Det er ikke som i hele historien Gud så ned på akkurat OSS og sa «ja, DU lever i den viktigste tiden noensinne”
Å tro at Jesus kom til Johannes for å fortelle ham om det som skjer i vår tid sier mye om vår generasjons arroganse og «kronologiske hovmod» som CS Lewis kalte det (kronologiske hovmod – at vi tror vår generasjon er bedre enn alle de andre som kom før. Som folk i tidligere generasjon var dummere og mer umoralske enn oss!).

Derfor våger jeg å si «alt du vet om åpenbaring er feil». For hvis du har hørt noe, er det sikkert noe om at «dette verset sier noe om Hitler og hvis du sette det sammen med disse to vers og det ordet fra dette verset da står det «land i nord er verdens redning» og det er oss». Jeg vet ikke om det er en annen bok som er blitt utsatt for mer fantasifulle tullete tolkninger og dårlig bibelhandling!

Det skal vi ikke gjør det i dag og de neste måneder! Det vi skal gjøre er å lese det som står der, i kontekst. For det er mye mer spennende, skremmende, og oppmuntrende. Det er Guds ord som er viktig, ikke bloggforfatteren som har funnet en mystisk link mellom Åpenbaring 27:33 og Den norske Bank! Det er en bra tommelregel når du leser Bibelen, inkludert åpenbaring, at hvis du finne fram en tolkning som krever ingenting fra deg, som provoserer deg ikke, og som bare bekrefte det du trodde fra før, er det sannsynligvis feil. Vi er fristet av sånne tolkninger fordi det krever ingen respons fra oss! Vi bare klapper hendene våre og si «å så fint» og fortsetter som før.

Men det å lese det nøye og med forståelse krever da en respons fra oss. For vi vil finne ut at Åpenbaring har mye å si til oss i dag, selv om det handler ikke om akkurat oss. Det kaller oss til å vende om, endrer hvordan vi ser på verden, gir oss forståelse og håp når vi ser på ondskap i verden, og hjelper oss å både frykte og ser frem til Jesu gjenkomst!
Og vi skal se Jesus som han er nå: majestet, Konge over alle konger, universitets mester og hersker, blindende hellig, stor og mektig. Og han kommer snart.
Han kom som en tjener første gang. Han fornedret seg selv til å bli en av oss – et menneske – og til og med oppleve døden for oss, slik at vi kan få evig liv. Men han er ikke tjeneren nå. Han er Kongen i al hans herlighet.


Før vi setter i gang, vil jeg bare si – ikke bli skremt av Åpenbaringen. Ja, det er noe rare bilder og beskrivelser. Men det er ikke noe verre enn å lese Harry Potter eller Narnia eller andre fantasibøker. Settingen er kanskje annerledes, men historien – beskjed – er tydelig.

Vi kan forstå Åpenbaringen! Derfor skal jeg i dag bare leser gjennom det første kapittelet, og kommentere litt på vei gjennom. Husk at vi har tid for spørsmål etterpå – men hvis det er noe som bare brenne, vær så god spør underveis.

Er dere klare!

1. Salig er vi som hører på Jesu Åpenbaring!

2. Salig er vi som kjenner Jesus, våre Herre og våre Gud!

1. Salig er vi som hører på Jesu Åpenbaring!

1:1 Dette er Jesu Kristi åpenbaring, som Gud ga ham for at han skulle vise sine tjenere det som snart skal skje. – Vi er Kristi tjenere. Hvis du er en kristen, så er denne boken skrevet til deg. Den har kommet fra Gud Faderen, til Gud sønnen, til Johannes – og så til oss. Dette er Jesu Kristi Åpenbaring, ikke Johannes’ Åpenbaring. Det er Jesus som viser oss det som snart skal skje – og derfor boken troverdig. Fordi den er fra Jesus.

Og budskapet handler om «det som snart skal skje», som er det som skjer i Johannes’ fremtiden: vår nåtid og vår fremtid. Når vi leser Åpenbaring leser vi om det som skjer NÅ. Vi få en nåtidsblikk inn i himmelen. Det er som vi har en overvåkningskamera opp i himmelen som viser oss det som skjer nå. Det er det vi leser.
I Åpenbaring sier Jesus tre ganger «jeg kommer snart». I v19 leser vi Skriv derfor ned det du har sett, det som er nå, og det som skal komme heretter.

På Engelsk har vi et ord «imminent» som betyr det skal skje akkurat nå. Slik er åpenbaring. Den varsler oss at når som helst kan plutselig framtiden, himmelen, bryter inn. Den minne oss på at Gud er aktiv, at det er store ting på gang i det usynlige verden. Og her få vi et lite innblikk.

1b Han sendte sin engel og gjorde det kjent for sin tjener Johannes. 2 Det er han som her vitner om Guds ord og bærer fram Jesu Kristi vitnesbyrd, alt det han har sett. – Johannes var en av apostlene, og deres oppgave var å vitne om det de hadde sett, hørt og opplevd. Ikke å redigere, tilpasse eller endre – bare videreformidle Guds budskap. Og det skal vi også gjør- Fra Jesus til Johannes til meg og deg! La oss formidle det videre!

For 3 Salig er den som leser opp ordene i denne profetien, og salige er de som hører dem og tar vare på det som der står skrevet. For tiden er nær.

Gud Ord er til velsignelse. Evangeliet velsigner oss fordi den er sannheten. Av og til vanskelig sannheter – men sannheten! Og ikke bare det, sannheten med kjærlighet og håp. Det vi leser i Åpenbaring er at Gud elske oss. Han har frelst oss! Veien er åpen! Lammet som var slaktet, Jesus, er verdi til å åpne boken – verdenshistorie – og han styrer det. Vi har ingenting å frykte, Jesus er på tronen.

4 Johannes hilser de sju menighetene i Asia: merk at tall i Åpenbaring er symbolsk. Sju betyr fullkommenhet, og helhet. Derfor skriver han til hele kirkesamfunnet.

Nåde være med dere og fred fra ham som er og som var og som kommer – Gud Faderen - , og fra de sju åndene som står foran hans trone, - se, sju tall igjen, det er den Hellige Ånd - 5 og fra Jesus Kristus, det troverdige vitnet, den førstefødte av de døde og herren over jordens konger.

Her ser vi hele treenighet, en Gud i tre personer. Gud Faderen på troene, den Hellige Ånd foran tronen, og Jesus, sønnen, som er det troverdige vitnet, fordi han viser oss Gud, vår Far. Som Jesus selv sa til disippelen Filip: «Den som har sett meg, Filip, har sett Faderen».

Jesus er Gud allmektig. Han er ikke en engel, ikke en skapelse.
Det er mange som sier at de kan vise oss Gud, vise oss sannheten. Men det kan de ikke, det er BARE Jesus som er det troverdige vitne, og vi finne Jesus bare i Skriftene.

Han er den førstefødte av de døde (v5) som betyr han er den første som har stått opp fra de døde. Som han selv sier i v18 jeg er den levende. Jeg var død, men se, jeg lever i all evighet.
Jesus døde på korset i cirka år 34, og sto opp igjen fra de døde fordi han hadde ikke syndet, og derfor hadde døden ingen makt over ham. Og fordi han sto opp vet vi at vi skal stå opp og leve evig.

Vårt håp, vår tro er basert på bevis, historisk bevis: Jesus døde på korset, bekreftet av både romerne, jødene, og Jesu disipliner; og han sto opp igjen til livet, bekreftet av mange øyenvitner – opp til 500 på en gang – og en dramatisk forandring i hans disipler, og innen 30 år hadde kristendom erobret hele verden og Keiseren ble så provoserte at han la ned dødsdommen for alle kristne! Og folk bare fortsatt å tro på Jesus. Det visste sannheten. De kunne gå og se hvor han ble korsfestet og snakke med de som så det – og med de som så han etter han hadde stått opp. Og de trodde.
Det er lurt og logisk forsvarlig til å tro på Jesus!

Johannes hilser oss med «nåde» og «fred» fra Gud, Faderen, Sønnen og Ånden. Hvorfor. Fordi v5:

Han elsker oss og har fridd oss fra våre synder med sitt blod 6 og har gjort oss til et kongerike, til prester for Gud, sin Far – ham tilhører æren og makten i all evighet. Amen.

Halleluja og Amen!

Han har fridd oss fra våre synder med sitt blod. Hvis vi har tatt imot Jesus som Mester og Frelser så er vi uskyldige. I stedet for opprører er vi blitt del i hans kongerike, og bli gjort om til prester for Gud, sin Far. Du og jeg, vi kan formidler Gud! Vi er prester, som kan viser veien til vår Himmelske Far. Vi kan fører folk inn i Guds nærvær, på grunn av det Jesus har gjort. Vi tilhører Himmelen: vi er Guds folk! Vi har et pass som sier ”Himmelske statsborger” og det er skrevet under av allmektige kong Jesus. Nåde og fred. Jesus kommer ikke til å krige mot oss, men han kommer til å ta imot oss med åpne armer «mine søsken». Oi! Halleluja!

7 Se, han kommer med skyene! Hvert øye skal se ham, også de som har gjennomboret ham, og alle folkeslag på jorden skal bryte ut i klagerop over ham. Ja, amen!

Alle skal stå opp igjen fra de døde, og skal bryte ut i klagerop fordi Jesus kommer tilbake som Dommer, og ikke Frelser. Å for en forferdelig dag for de som har ikke tatt imot Jesus, særlig for de som latet som men aldri tjent ham som Mester. De som sier ”jeg er kristen” men gjør ikke det han sier. Det øyeblikket hvor du plutselig forstår at hele livet ditt var bortkastet. Forferdelig. Og tiden er nær.

8 Jeg er Alfa og Omega – Alfa og Omega er første og siste bokstav i gresk alfabetet. Han sier jeg er A til Å, jeg er begynnelsen og slutten - sier Herren Gud, han som er og som var og som kommer, Den allmektige.

For en begynnelsen! Her har vi et brev, et budskap fra Gud til oss via Johannes (og en engel!). Et budskap av nåde og fred. Et budskap som gi oss mot og oppmuntring til å holde ut! Fordi Jesus, Jesus er på tronen, Jesus holder oss trygge i sine mektige hende. Jesus er med oss.

Glede du deg til det?
Føler du deg velsignet når du tenke på Jesus gjenkomst? Hvis ikke, hvorfor?

Jeg snakket med en god venn av meg for noen år tilbake, og jeg sa at jeg gledet meg til Jesu gjenkomst – til å se ham ansikt i ansikt. For en dag! Min venn overrasket meg ved å si «jeg gleder meg ikke». Hva? Hvorfor det? Han sa «min bror er ikke frelst».

Det er kanskje det du tenker nå. At du kan ikke juble over Jesu plutselig gjenkomst fordi det er folk du holde kjær som er fortsatt i opprør mot Gud. Folk som har ikke tatt imot Jesus. Og når du tenke på Jesu gjenkomst blir du full av frykt for dem.
Da skal vi ber for dem nå – at de vil høre og ta vare på det som står skrevet. 30 sekunder for oss å si til Gud «vær så snill og frels dem. Fader, du er full av nåde, ser på dem med nåde. I Jesu navn.»

Men det kan hende at du ikke glede deg til Jesu gjenkomst fordi du kjenner ikke Gud. Du er ikke frelst. Du har ikke tatt imot Jesus. Og da når han kommer og alle øynene ser ham og da vil du bryter du ut i klagerop, og sier «fall på meg fjellene og gjemme meg» fordi du er så redd. Og med god grunn. Da er Åpenbaring for deg! For da fungere Åpenbaring som et varselskilt. Snu! Vend om! Katastrofe ligger foran. Bare en idiot fortsetter å bare kjøre fram når varselskiltet blinker. Vend om. Og ta imot Jesus. Nå, mens det er fortsatt tid. For når han kommer ridende på en hvit hest, med krigsdrakt på, og en kappe som drypper blod – da er det for sent.

For han kommer snart.

Salig er vi som hører på Jesu Åpenbaring! Enten fordi vi vender om. Eller fordi vi fortsetter oppmuntret.

2. Salig er vi som kjenner Jesus, våre Herre og våre Gud!

9 Jeg, Johannes, som er deres bror og sammen med dere har del i trengslene og riket og utholdenheten i Jesus, jeg var på øya Patmos. Dit var jeg kommet på grunn av Guds ord og vitnesbyrdet om Jesus.

Patmos var en fengsels-øy hvor de verste kriminelle ble sendt. Johannes ble sendt dit fordi Keiseren Domitian mislikte at kristne nektet å tilbe ham som en gud. Og når vi leser det Jesus sier til menighetene i kapittel 2 og 3 forstår vi fort at kirken i hele verden var under stor press!
Johannes beskriver seg selv og de (og oss) som brødre, deltakere i trengslene (vanskeligheter) som de opplever.
Men han minne dem at det er bare en del av sannheten – joda, du er under press nå. Du opplever forfølgelse. Men Gud er med deg. Du er i riket! Folkens, vi tilhører Guds rike!
Og utholdenheten - vi vente inntil Guds riket blir åpenbart i sin helhet.
Du kan egentlig beskriver Åpenbaringens budskap som «Jesus vinner». Derfor «Hold ut!».
Ikke gi opp. Vær trofast mot Jesus, fordi din Mester kommer snart.

Men når alt er vanskelig, når du er under press, når du er fristet til p synder eller når du er blitt lei av å kjempe mot din egen synd, eller du bare fortsetter å synder om igjen og om igjen og du er så nedbrutt og du sier «Gud kan ikke elske meg» eller «jeg kan ikke holde ut lenger» eller «er det verdt det å følge Jesus»? Har du vært der før? Ned i kjelleren. Under press. Ser ingen utvei. Johannes var der når han skrev disse ord. Året var ca. 90, og Johannes var en gammel mann. Kirken er under press overalt. Alle de andre disipler og apostler er døde. Bare han lever fortsatt – og han er på Patmos. Trengslene. Men han er i Guds riket og derfor på Herrens dag, søndag, er han å finne i gudstjeneste.

10 På Herrens dag kom Ånden over meg, og jeg hørte en røst bak meg, mektig som en basun.

Akkurat som oss. Her (Bibelen) er Åndens røst.

11 Røsten sa: «Det du får se, skal du skrive i en bok og sende til de sju menighetene: til Efesos, Smyrna, Pergamon, Tyatira, Sardes, Filadelfia og Laodikea.» 12 Jeg snudde meg for å se hvem som talte til meg. (lukk øynene! Ser for deg hvordan Jesus er nå) Da så jeg sju lysestaker av gull, 13 og midt mellom lysestakene en som var lik en menneskesønn, kledd i en fotsid kjortel og med et belte av gull om brystet. 14 Hodet og håret hans var hvitt som hvit ull eller som snø, øynene var som flammende ild, 15 føttene som bronse glødet i en ovn, og røsten var som bruset av veldige vannmasser. 16 I høyre hånd holdt han sju stjerner, og fra munnen gikk det ut et skarpt, tveegget sverd. Ansiktet var som solen når den skinner i all sin kraft.

For et syn! (Åpne øynene!) Vi er under press, ja, men vi har Jesus! Jesus, menneskesønnen, Messias – men ikke den gangen liten og ydmyk, men stor og kraftig og rett og slett skremmende! Når han kommer igjen så kommer han i sin herlighet og makt. Han kommer igjen som Mester, og ikke tjener. Jesus, Å Kong Jesus!

17 Da jeg så ham, falt jeg som død ned for føttene hans.

Så fryktelig var synet av Jesus. Og det vil vi oppleve og, alle sammen. Men hvis vi tilhører ham, så vil vi også hører de neste ordene:

Men han la sin høyre hånd på meg og sa: «Frykt ikke! Jeg er den første og den siste 18 og den levende. Jeg var død, men se, jeg lever i all evighet, og jeg har nøklene til døden og dødsriket.

– det er Jesus, den eneste som har erobret over døden – fordi døden er straffen for synd, og han var uten synd. Han døde fordi han tok på han selv vår synder, og sto opp igjen fordi han selv var uten synd og dødens makt kunne ikke holde han. Og merk det han sier til Johannes: Frykt ikke. Kristen, frykt ikke, for Jesus er med deg. JESUS! Våre synder er gjort opp. Hvis du sliter med synd, hvis du faller i samme fellen igjen og igjen – ser opp. Ser at Jesus sier til deg Frykt ikke. Ser hans hånd på din skulder. Og ser at hånden er gjennomboret – skadet – dine synder er betalt for. Frykt ikke.

19 Skriv derfor ned det du har sett, det som er nå, og det som skal komme heretter. 20 Dette er hemmeligheten med de sju stjernene som du så i min høyre hånd, og de sju lysestakene av gull: De sju stjernene er englene for de sju menighetene, og de sju lysestakene er de sju menighetene.»

Merk at i Åpenbaringen trenger vi ikke ofte å gjette på symbolikken. Vanligvis ved å lese litt videre så fortelle ham oss hva symbolene betyr. I v20 så forklarer han hva lysestakene og stjerner representerer: menigheten. (Engelen i menigheten – litt usikker, men enten menighetens eldste, eller den ”sanne kirken” i himmelen som er gjenspeilt på jorden av det jordiske kirke – dvs oss!)

Jesus går iblant lysestaker og holde stjernene i hans hender. Menigheten vår er ikke menigheten vår – men menigheten hans. Vi tilhører ham. Han er her ibalnt oss.
Hvordan ser du på denne menighet? Som din til å utnytte? Eller et sted, et folk, som er sammen med Jesus. Et sted hvor du kan høre hans røst. Et sted hvor du kan tjener Jesus.

Jesus er med oss! La oss juble!
Salig er vi som kjenner Jesus, våre Herre og våre Gud!

Jeg startet i dag ved å so at «Alt du vet om åpenbaring er feil».
Er ikke dette mer spennende enn «å dette kan ha noe med Putin å gjøre»? Vi ser Jesus i al hans herlighet. Han styrer verden. Han sitter på tronen. Han holder oss, denne menighet, i hans hender. Han går iblant oss.
Det er åpenbaringens budskap. Er ikke det bra! Blir du ikke fylt av glede, fylt av mot og framgang. Vil du ikke bare ut, uten frykt, og fortelle alle du møte «Jeg kjenner Jesus! Kom og møt ham. Nå, før det er for sent.» Halleluja. Amen!

søndag 16. april 2017

The story of Easter: the Death of God and the gift of Eternal life.

MP3 link

The meal was over. Jesus looked with love at his disciples, his companions, his friends. “Brothers, it is time,” he said. “The hour has come.”

Then he looked at Judas and said: “Do what you must.”

Judas, troubled, got up abruptly from the table, and fled out into the night towards the Temple.

Then Jesus rose from the table, and asked the eleven to follow him. They went up to a grove just outside Jerusalem called the Mount of Olives, and there Jesus asked them to wait for him and keep him company as he prayed, for he was deeply troubled in spirit.

In the grove Jesus knelt to pray. It was a dark night, the moon pale and faded. The shadows were dark and foreboding. The trees were gnarled and knotted, and seemed somehow to be grasping at the frightened and confused band of disciples. An evil presence filled the grove.

Jesus looked up towards heaven, his face a picture of agony, and cried out “Father!”

The cry of anguish echoed in the night sky.

“Is there another way?”

There was silence.

Then he bowed his head and whispered “Your will be done”, as the soldiers emerged from the shadows to arrest him.

Jesus stood up to meet the traitor Judas and the soldiers who followed him.

“Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” shouted the captain of the guard.

“I am,” said Jesus.

As he said this, the soldiers and all those with them fell backward, struck by the power inherent in this solitary man.

Encouraged, Peter lunged with his sword at one of the men closest to him and cut off his ear.
I can imagine a cheer rising up in the heavenly realms amongst the angels, as they stood poised to strike down the enemy! The Host of Heaven rising up with one voice “For the Lamb!”. And then they hear Jesus, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, the Lion of Judah, rebuke Peter. “Put away your sword!”

There would be no rescue tonight. Because this is God’s great plan of salvation. Jesus was led away, chained, alone.


Well, Jesus had explained this time and time again in the months and years before his arrest. Because he looks upon us with compassion, he told us about the stain of sin that grips the heart of every human.

“All men have turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there are none who do good, not even one.”

He said this to the Jews, God Holy people. People shifted uncomfortably, recognising the quote from the 14th Psalm. But surely Jesus was not implicating them? This was not what they were accustomed to hearing in the marketplace or the synagogue!

Then Jesus spoke again “The Pharisees tell you to perform ceremonial washing rituals in order to make yourself clean before God. But I tell you that it is not what is outside a man that makes him unclean, but what is inside a man.”

The crowd began to murmur and stir restlessly.

“Indeed, it is what comes out of the heart of man that defiles him. For from within, out of your heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

There was silence, as each stood and pondered the words of Jesus. What he was saying was true! And if even they as God’s people were not safe from judgement, then who is?

“Repent and believe in the one that he sent!” said Jesus!

And then he continued, warning about the reality of Hell - separation from God. There will come a time when God will give people what they want! For we say to him “I do not want you”.
And that is Hell. We are cut off forever from God, the source of all light, all happiness, all joy.
So Jesus warned of the terrors of hell – but at the same time told them the way out “trust in me, follow me and you will live!” He held out the hope of redemption, in hands that would soon be pierced to pay the cost of that redemption.

And that is why he was lead away. That is why he said to Peter “put away your sword”. Because every one of us is facing Hell. Every one of us is in deep, deep trouble, and none of us can save ourselves because what makes us unclean comes from within. Our sin comes from within us, and condemns us to death.

And the only way to save us is to swap places with us. It is to die our death in our place, so that we can live, and then remake us from the inside out. So that is what Jesus did. That is why Jesus died. That is why he came. For you and for me.

First he appeared before the Pharisee council, then before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. The trials were full of false accusations, fake witnesses, lies, deceit and cowardice.
Yet, amidst all this, Jesus’ innocence shone out all the brighter - so much so that even the Roman governor declared “This man has done nothing wrong.”

But the priests, the leaders of Israel, those who should have been saying “there is the Messiah”, instead shouted “Crucify him!” And the crowd followed their lead. “Crucify him”! And Pilate bowed to their will, instead of to the truth, and condemned Jesus to death.

Pilate had him whipped to the point of death. Then beaten and torn, Jesus was forced to carry the cross from the Roman palace to the place of execution. There he was stripped naked, and strapped to the cross - the shorn lamb awaiting the sacrifice.

Then the Roman soldier picked up a hammer and some nails. He grabbed Jesus’ arm, held the nail in place, and lifted the hammer.


The nails pierced His skin, and He cried out in agony.

Then the soldier nailed his other arm to the cross, and then his feet.

There was no respite from the pain - and then with a shout and a heave, the cross was lifted into the air. Jesus’ tendons in his arms and feet began to tear as they took the full weight of his broken body. And as the cross of wood slammed into the ground He shuddered and shook. “Father, forgive them” He cried out as He paid the price so that He could forgive them.

And the sky grew dark, and the sun gave no light.

Creation mourned, and God the Father turned His head.

For a brief moment, the Universe stood still....

And then all of the sins from all of the people in all of time – all who were and who are and who will be covered by the blood of the Innocent One – all their sins, all our sins, were poured out on one concentrated spot: the Lamb Himself on the Cross of Death.

A dreadful cry was heard of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” as Jesus felt the unbearable pain of facing the wrath of God. His body trembled and shook. Then he prayed: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”, the prayer of the innocent dying for the guilty. And then raising himself up he took a deep breath and shouted “It is FINISHED!”. His body slumped down. And he was dead.

God the Father looked towards the Temple and tore down the curtain of the Most Holy Place, the symbol of the barrier between God and Man. The barrier was broken! The way to God was open. In Jesus we have access to God.

But at what a cost! The Lamb - the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, the King of Israel, Jesus, the Christ... was dead.

Creation mourned, the skies were black, and the sun was dead. The curtain was torn, but the Lamb was gone. Heaven waited for a sign from the Father....

But none was given.

Dusk was approaching. The women wept as Jesus’ broken body was taken down from the Cross. He was wrapped in linen cloths and laid gently in a tomb. A great stone was rolled in front of the tomb, and a guard of four placed outside the door.

The stars came out. The night was quiet. And the tomb was empty, but for the corpse of Jesus.

The Lamb’s broken body lay sadly on the floor: a testament to sin. A testament to a world in rebellion. And a testament to the love and mercy of the Father, who would slay the Lamb to rescue the many... even us here today.

The tomb was cold and devoid of life. The body of the Lamb lay alone.

His body lay broken, and the sun rose. Saturday dawned. Sabbath. A holy day. But Israel had killed their Messiah.

His body lay pierced, and dusk encroached on the day and consumed it.

His body lay fallen, and the second day passed away in silence.

The Lamb was dead.

Yet we know that death is a result of sin. And we know, too, that Jesus had never sinned. How could death hold him?

The King is dead. Long live the King. Is what they shout when a king dies, and the new king is crowned. But in Jesus’ case, it really was The King is dead, long live the King. For death could not hold him. Death had no right to hold him. And so Jesus broke the bonds of death. We pick up the story in John 20.

Jn 20:1–18 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home. 11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” 16 “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). 17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” 26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” 28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” 30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

Death is gone! He was defeated. And the Lamb, Jesus, is alive! As if a star had fallen to the earth and was burning with joy! His great work was finished.

I can imagine on that Easter Sunday the whole of Heaven exploding into a chorus of praise and joy: The Lamb, the Son of God, the Master - He was alive! How would the angels celebrate? Speeding through the heavens in great joy, weaving their way through the galaxies and the stars and planets and moons. Blurs of clean light, weaving an intricate tapestry of praise to our Lord.

Don’t you want to join in? Don’t you want to feel the power of God, the joy of Heaven flowing through you? He is alive! He is alive! I want to praise Him with my whole body, with my whole life!

One day we will see him face to face. He is alive. One day we will see him and dance a cosmic dance of joy like the angles danced on that first Easter Sunday so many years ago. We will speed through the heavens, past cosmic wonders, our bodies leaving a trail of pure delight, dancing to the praise of the Lamb. And even those of us who can’t dance will dance! And above all, we will hear the pure rich laughter of the Father, a laughter that speaks of a holy joy, a laughter that makes all who hear it giddy with delight. His laughter rings out through the Universe, making every atom tingle, every star burn brighter, every galaxy turn faster out of sheer joy. The Lamb is alive! Death is defeated! Creation will be restored. Satan is defeated, and his plague will be destroyed. Hope is won!
Praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit! Praise Him for His grace and power and wisdom and love. He is worthy of the praise of all Creation!

Praise Him!

So let’s do it. Let’s praise him with everything we are right here and right now. If you don’t know him – get to know him. Say God, I need to know you. If you do know him, live for him. Delight in him. Let he be your joy and heartbeat. Love him! Do everything for him. He is our all in all. He is our great delight! He is our joy! He is all, for he was dead, he died for us, he died to make us whole, to restore us, to bring us into relationship with him. And today he rose again from the dead. Today he lives! And we live for him. Amen.

søndag 9. april 2017

Mark 12:13-44 Give to God what is his

Mark 12:13-44

MP3 link

What do you owe God?

It’s a funny question isn’t it? What do I owe God?

We often think about what God owes us. We get angry because life doesn’t go our way. We lash out at God when we suffer. Why me, Lord. We say.

But the truth is that God doesn’t owe us anything. And we owe him everything.

He made us. He owns us. His imprint is on us. That is, we are made in His image. He is the original, the first, the source. He is the Emperor on the coin. He is Supreme. And we are derivative, secondary, the created. Our life is dependent on him. Every breath we take is a gift from Him. Without Him, we cease to exist. We are utterly dependent.

How then should we live?

How then should we think about God our Father? How should we approach His Word, the Bible? If we are God’s image-bearers, if his mark is on us, what should we do? Give to God what belongs to God.

1. We belong to God

2. We must listen to God’s word

3. Listening to God’s Word is not enough!

4. Give everything (because Jesus has given everything)

1. We belong to God

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. is how the old translation puts v17.

And it’s a brilliant answer to a tricky question.

You see, Jesus has just publicly taken on the leaders of Israel, and called them out for ignoring God’s Word. They’re busy pretending to be servants of God, but they are only serving themselves.

This whole event started when Jesus entered the Temple and started flipping tables and chasing everyone away. “How dare you turn my Father’s house, a house of prayer, into a den of thieves” he shouted. The leaders marched in all in a huff “How dare you do this!” they say “what right have you?”.

“No, how dare YOU” responds Jesus. “How dare you ignore the words of God.” They are acting as if Israel belongs to them, and that they do not have to give an account to God. They are the evil tenant farmers who try to steal the vineyard in the story Jesus tells in 12:1-12. There is no fruit of obedience to God, no love for the Lord. The fig tree, Israel, has no fruit. And will be cursed. For the LORD, Yahweh, God himself, has come to his Temple in fulfilment of prophecy in Malachi 3, and has found… what? Corruption and evil. What will the owner do? Asked Jesus. Mk 12:9 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.

When God appears and asks “what have you done” what can you answer? We’re all in deep trouble! All we can do is say “I’m sorry”.

But the leaders, oh they don’t repent, they don’t say sorry. Even though v12 they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. They still don’t repent. No. Instead they wanted to arrest Jesus (v12) and want to kill him (11:18).

What should they do? Recognise their sin! “Oh, I ran my life as if it were mine. I forgot I had to give an account to you, O Lord. I am so ashamed at what I have done, how I have ignored you. Please forgive me because of your mercy.”
That is what they should have done, that is what we must do. Otherwise we will find that we are locked in a war against God for all eternity, a war that we cannot win. We will be killed for all eternity for we belong to God.

This is serious business. We belong to God!

And this is the point of Jesus’ response to them in v17. It is a clear warning to repent. They, of course are trying to trap him. They are afraid of the people – so they try and turn the people against Jesus. That’s what they fear! They don’t fear God! But Jesus, he is not afraid.
So just listen to their slithering snake-like, oily, disgusting, question. 14 “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. You teach the way of God truthfully. They are being obsequious, sucking up, flattering to deceive. But what they say, ironically, is true. He is everything they should be, but aren’t! They, by contrast v12 are afraid of the crowd.

So they spring their trap: Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”

Hehehe. We’ve got him! If he says “don’t pay Caesar” then we can get him arrested by the Romans. If he says “pay Caesar” then all the people will hate him. Haha!

Then Jesus says “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” 16 When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

Oh drat! You can imagine their hearts sinking as this brilliant trap totally backfires. Jesus is not afraid of the people. He’s not afraid of them. He fears no-one but his Father.
Imagine if we could stop being afraid of people – imagine what we could do! As we’ve been reading in Proverbs – the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD.

“Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

We bear the imprint of our Creator, just like a coin bears the imprint of the emperor. We belong to God.

And that’s what the leaders had forgotten. They had forgotten God! We see this pattern again and again in religious leaders, where the organisation becomes the goal, maintaining power and status is the aim, where serving God gets pushed aside and serving self becomes the thing. And then the church becomes a political organisation, throwing out the difficult and inconvenient truths in God’s Word and replacing them with our own. But our church belongs to God, not to us. We belong to God, not to us. These religious leaders were reminded that they, and Israel, the vineyard, belong to God!

Oh Lord help us to remember that we are not our own, that we are bought with a price. Let us never presume that just because we go to church, or even serve in the church, or are leaders in the church, that we are Someone Important. You are the only great God! And we belong to you. May you be our highest goal, our great vision. May we live only for you! Save us from our foolish sin, putting ourselves at the centre. When we see you face to face, let us be filled with joy, not horror and hatred because it’s not us sitting on the throne.

You (and I) belong to God. So give to God what is his. All of you. All of me. We belong to God. So

2. We must listen to God’s word

24 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

Revealing words. Aimed at a group called the Sadducees. They were basically secular Jews, like most of Israel today. They were concerned with life now, and how to use God to secure blessing. As v18 points out, they did not believe in the resurrection. So they were focussed on material blessings. The American Dream group. A bit like the prosperity gospel. God is the great vending machine in the sky, and if you can figure out the right combination of words and actions then he has to bless you. And they come to put Jesus in his place.

“Ah-ha, Jesus, now listen here to this foolish example we’ve just made up about one poor woman being married multiple times.” Their proposal is simple: resurrection is foolish because if you’ve been married, then widowed, then marry again – at the resurrection, who are you married to? All of them?! How foolish to think that we will be resurrected! It’s illogical. We are right. You are dumb.

But, of course, they take this question to the extreme, milking it for all its worth. You can imagine them telling this story to the crowd, people laughing as the seeecond husband dies, then the thiiiiird. They were probably rolling their eyes in scorn as they bring home the argument “whose wife will she be”, to the enjoyment of the crowd.

All eyes are then on Jesus. What will he do? What will he say?

His answer is brutally honest: 24 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

Wow. The Sadducees were a rich and powerful group. And Jesus is totally unafraid. You don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

How often is that us? How often are we wrong because we do not know the Scriptures, and do not know the power of God.

Just as Jesus exposed the Pharisees and Herodians - they would not give to God what is his – Jesus now exposes the Sadducees: they don’t even know God! For them the Scriptures are a means to an end – their end. The Bible gave them power, respectability, moral authority – but it was beneath them, a tool to be used, not over them, words to be listened to and obeyed. They have read the words but they do not KNOW them. And because they reject God’s Word, they do not know God. They do not know his power.

The way of the Sadducee lies very, very close. It is so easy. What of God’s Word do you refuse to believe?
In our society I can tell you what we find difficult to believe: 1. That God is sovereign over all things. “No, I have free will!” we bleat, as we are manipulated by every advertisement and jingle and shiny new gadget our eyes fall on.
2. That God will judge.
3. That we are sinners.

These are all linked. We like to think of ourselves as good people, moral people – maybe with a couple of failings, but if we try a bit we can sort them out and then God will like us. But the truth is we are “depraved”. That means sinful through and through. Like poison in a glass of water, the poison of sin runs through all of us. Not all of the water is poison – but all the water is poisoned.

Because if we could be just a little bit better and then be acceptable to God, why would Jesus have had to come and die?
No it is because we are helpless in our sin, facing eternal judgment, and because he is sovereign over all things, that he, in his great mercy, decides to do something about that, and save people who don’t deserve to be saved and who don’t want to be saved.

Guard your heart when you read the Bible, or hear it preached, and your heart says “I don’t believe that” and you gloss over it, skip over it, push it aside. You do not want to hear Jesus say to you “Do you not know the Scriptures”. We belong to God. He is God. He decides what is true and what is not. Let us humble ourselves before him!

We must listen to God.


3. Listening to God’s Word is not enough! (Understanding the Law (Scriptures) can get us close)

Now, after the failures of the power-hungry religious leaders, and the running-after-money Sadducees, enter the teacher of religious law. This is a “good” man. He is one of the best of us. He has understanding and insight. He sees the spirit of the Law. Listen again to his brilliant answer to Jesus: 32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbour as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

He gets it! The Law is about love, not about rules. The Law says put God first. Love God. Love your neighbour.

But Jesus’ response deflates us. Ruins us. No-one asked him any more questions. Everyone fell silent in dismay. 34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

Not far? Not faaaar?
But, but, who then can be saved? This man knows the path of salvation! How can he be “not far”? Why not “in”?

Because who loves God like he should? This man understood the law – but he lacked the power to actually do it. And that is what he did not see. And that is what Jesus points out. “Dear friend, you have not done what you know you should.”

Just think about the second commandment. Love your neighbour as yourself. Have any of us done that like we should? How often does a careless word slip out? An angry glare? Harsh words. Or we just don’t do something we should have done.

And that’s the second. We break it all the time. What about the first. Love God with all out heart, soul, and mind. We’re doomed.

Because how far can the law take you, even properly understood? “Not far” from the Kingdom.

But it cannot take you in. Only the King of the Kingdom, only Jesus, can grant you access.
This man has understood the Law in part. He knows that it’s not external that’s important, but the heart. The heart that must love God.
And that’s the problem. He’s outside. Because he’s not understood that HIS heart too does not love God. That he too is a sinner. This is the difficult doctrine. A difficult truth. We are all sinners.
He had certainly read the Scriptures – but probably also glossed over, did not think they applied to him. Like Genesis 6:5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.

He does not yet believe that the only way to love God and love his fellow men properly is if Jesus has first loved him, and transformed him from the inside out. He needs a Messiah, a saviour. He needs the Lord. Just knowing Scripture is not enough. That just shows us that we’re in trouble, like a man on a dark night, who in a flash of lightning suddenly sees that he’s on the thin edge of a cliff face, with a mud slide bearing down on him – but the other side is too far to jump, and the chasm is deep.
We need to be saved. We need someone from the other side to swing across and pull us to safety!

35 Later, as Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple, he asked, “Why do the teachers of religious law claim that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 For David himself, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honour at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’ 37 Since David himself called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with great delight.

What Jesus is pointing out is why the Messiah, the Promised Rescuer, is the thing that matters. He is the key to understanding the law. He is the door to the Kingdom of God. The law tells us there is a gap, a chasm, a huge pit, between us and God. It tells us our sin has cut us off. And no amount of being good or moral will ever be enough to bridge the gap. The most we can hope for is to be “not far”.

But the Messiah. He can bridge the gap. Why? Because he is a man AND he is God.

Jesus is the Messiah. A man, born of Mary, descended in a long line from King David. Jesus is David’s son.

But, Jesus points out, David himself calls the Messiah, his son, “Lord”. The Lord who is honoured by the LORD, Yahweh, the personal name of God, Israel’s God, the Promise Keeper. David looks and sees the Messiah, the great coming King of Israel, seated at the right hand of God Almighty. The Son of God, seated on the throne. Jesus, the Son of God, shown in power time and time again to be God Almighty, raising the dead, healing the sick, with power over Creation. Who is this man?

The bridge.

The arrogant leaders miss it. They could not conceive of the Almighty God making himself as nothing, as a human being. The incarnation (God becoming man) is mind-blowing. That he should walk on earth, limited and frail. That he should be a baby, dependant on his mother and father. Incredible. What love the King has!

But those hungry for power could never imagine giving up that power for any reason, even those they love, never mind their enemies. But God does that. For us.

They are too busy walking around in flowing robes and sitting at the heads of tables, pretending to be pious but serving themselves. They will be severely punished says Jesus!

Even the best of them is too proud of his own morality, and so is “not far”.

Listening to God’s Word is not enough. We must throw ourselves on his mercy. We must give up everything, in order to gain him, and in Him, gain everything.

4. Give everything (because Jesus has given everything)

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

It is not enough to pretend to serve God. It is not enough to give to God some of what we have. It is not enough to understand the Bible. It is not enough to go to church. It is not enough to be sexually pure, or to give our money away to gospel work, or to serve tirelessly in the church, or whatever you think will really impress God.

Oh yes, it is all good stuff – but it is not enough. We must give it all. Everything we have. We must give ourselves. There’s a mime of a man singing at church and the collection plate comes around. He gives some money. It comes around again. Annoyed he gives some more. Carry’s on singing and praising, but with a slight frown. Then the plate comes again. Now he’s angry! But the demand is unavoidable. He throws his wallet in. Sings. And it comes again. Now he’s really angry! Empty’s out his pockets. LOOK! I have nothing. The demand comes again. Then suddenly he understands.
And he climbs onto the offering plate.

Think this is unreasonable? It’s nothing less than what Jesus himself did. The great King of Israel, descendant of David, God Almighty, Ruler of Heaven and earth – shrinks himself down to become a human, one of us. And a servant. A poor preacher from a poor oppressed people. Suffering hunger and cold and want and rejection. The Suffering servant. And finally death. Why? Why does he give everything?

To be the bridge. Arms outstretched on the cross, bridging heaven and earth. Cross over! But to cross over we too must die. Die to ourselves. Be crucified. And then live for Christ!

I began with asking us the question “What do I owe God?”

What do I owe God?


søndag 2. april 2017

Mark 11:27-12:12 Who’s going to be King?

Mark 11:27-12:12

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Why is there conflict in the world? Why can’t people just get along? Why is there fighting and hurt and betrayal and suffering?

Well, it’s because everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. And all conflict stems from this.
I am, and you are, pretending. Pretending to be God.
I want to be God in my life, I want to decide what is right and wrong. And I don’t want to listen to God’s word – so I pretend to myself that I am God. Hmm-mmm-mmm, happy days.

Until I meet you. Now we have a problem. Because if I’m pretending to be God, and you’re pretending to be God – who’s going to be God when we meet?

That’s the question the leading priests and teachers of religious law, the Pharisees are asking Jesus. Who do you think you are?
Jesus’ answer is shocking. I am God, and the day of reckoning is here.

1. Only God is God, not me.

2. God will deal with everyone pretending to be him in time.

1. Only God is God, not me.

Mk 11:27–28 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”

The reason that the religious leaders are running after Jesus and demanding “who gave you the right to do these things” is because of what Jesus did in the passage we read last week.

Aaaargh! Flipping tables! 15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.

It’s a valid question! How dare you do this? On whose authority are you doing these things?

But did you notice that Jesus has already answered their question. It’s right there in v17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

Jesus told them that he was simply doing what any good Jew should do – really what they should have done. And their response is shockingly bad. Not only do they simply ignore God’s word, but they plan to kill Jesus! Whoops!

They’re so busy pretending to be God - so busy pretending to play the part of God’s concerned servants while really serving themselves that they don’t even recognise God’s word when they hear it. Or if they recognise it, they simply ignore it.

You can’t go around pretending to be God. We’re God here. We decide what is right and wrong.

Jesus shows that what he is doing is from God. He answers their question “by what authority”. But they reject it.

Oh, they’re on dangerous ground!

Last week we were reminded of the opening verses of Mark, where Mark quotes from the prophet Malachi, prophesying the coming of the Lord, Yahweh, Israel’s God, to His Temple.

Mal 3:1–3 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.

It is a frightening thing when God suddenly bursts in, isn’t it? When God upsets our neat little life, where we’ve “forgotten” who’s really God, and done our little religious duty and done a few good works here and there, but we’re sitting quite comfortably on the throne. And then God taps us on the shoulder. I believe you’re in my spot.

How should we respond when challenged by God?

Repent! Obey.

But how do the great religious leaders of Israel respond?

They slither up to him to challenge him the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders the very same who Jesus spoke of in 8:31, the first time Jesus tells the disciples he is going to die, just after they have declared him as the Christ: Mk 8:31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.

And here they are, plotting to kill him. The fig tree really is dead, isn’t it. The LORD is in His Temple, and he finds not obedience, but sinful rebellion.

“Where’s your authority?” they demand. After all, he was a backwater prophet, from Nazareth no less, and they were the legitimate, God-ordained leaders of Israel.

They were seeking to expose Jesus – but Jesus is about to expose them!

Mk 11:2930 Ill tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question, Jesus replied. 30 Did Johns authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!

Jesus’ question is brilliant, because John’s authority and Jesus’ authority come from the same source: God Almighty. And so the leaders are now stuck – if they acknowledge John’s authority, they acknowledge God’s authority, and therefore Jesus’ authority over them.
Jesus exposes their heart problem – they do not want to listen to God. They do not want to obey him. They are pretending to be God even while pretending to be God’s servants. It’s the ultimate self-delusion. Surrounded by the trappings of religion, being good Jews, the best of Jews, even; sacrificing daily, following the law slavishly – yet hating God.

Mk 11:3133 They talked it over among themselves. If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didnt believe John. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human? For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, We dont know.

They are afraid of everyone but God. They are afraid of the people, afraid that the people will turn against them. This is the problem when you pretend to be God. You are not free. You are enslaved to something or someone else. We are afraid of what others think.

Jesus is not afraid. And if we follow him, neither do we have to be.

Do not fear, but pick up your cross and follow Jesus, into your workplace, into your family, into your friendships, wherever you may be. For we are under authority, and it is not our own, but it is the Lord Jesus. We belong to him. Because God is God.

“By whose authority do you do this?”

The authority of the King, the Lord of all, Jesus, the Christ. Only God is God, not me. And that is a very comforting thought indeed.

2. God will deal with everyone pretending to be him in time.

Mk 12 Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 2 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. 3 But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 4 The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. 5 The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, 6 until there was only one lefthis son whom he loved dearly.

The history of Israel, the vineyard in this parable, reads like a tragedy of the worst kind. They had everything, given everything by a kind and generous ruler – yet they threw it all away, rebelling against the ruler and murdering his servants, his messengers bringing messages of peace. The parable of the vineyard is based on Isaiah 5:1-7 and Isaiah 5:7 puts it like this: Is 5:7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heavens Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
The tenants (Israel’s leaders) rejected the warnings of the servants (the prophets) treating them shamefully, even murdering them. John the Baptist, the greatest and last of the Old Testament prophets, was murdered by the king of Israel, King Herod. And now Jesus stands before them.

6 there was only one lefthis son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, Surely they will respect my son. 7 But the tenant farmers said to one another, Here comes the heir to this estate. Lets kill him and get the estate for ourselves! 8 So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard.

What did Jesus say in 8:31?

Mk 8:31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.

Oh do not mistake the patience and mercy of the Lord for lack of power! As Jesus tells the parable, you really feel the incredible stupidity of the tenants – do they really think they’ll get away with this?

It reflects so well the tension as we read the Old Testament and see God’s extraordinary patience and the breath-taking stupidity of rebellious Israel! But their time is up. The Lord has come to his Temple. The heir has come to claim the vineyard, and though they kill him, they will lose everything.

9 What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do? Jesus asked. Ill tell youhe will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.

They did not listen to their Elijah (John the Baptist) and the terrifying day of the Lord (as prophesied in Malachi) is at hand. The old order of Israel is about to be swept away, because they refuse to bow to the true King. Just like Israel was wiped out in Isaiah’s time – the whole nation swept off to Babylon. The warning is there!

And it does not matter that they are priests and leaders. All their religious service counts for nothing. Israel in Isaiah’s time said “We have the Temple”. And then God send Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon to burn the Temple!
If you’re counting on your religion to save you – think again. That’s just you pretending to be God with a different mask on,. And it won’t end well. Instead we must abdicate the throne to the Son, because it is his.

All those who stay on the throne will be dethroned, judged – God will kill those tenant farmers and take their vineyard from them.

But as they are judged, those with Jesus are being saved! He will give the vineyard to others. Those who are with the son.

9 What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do? Jesus asked. Ill tell youhe will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didnt you ever read this in the Scriptures? The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 11 This is the LORDs doing, and it is wonderful to see.’”

Jesus quotes in v10 from Psalm 118:22-23, the same Psalm the crowd was quoting during the Triumphal entry (when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, being hailed as the King):
Ps 118:2229 The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 23 This is the LORDs doing, and it is wonderful to see. 24 This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. 26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you!
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Jesus is the fulfilment of this Psalm. He is the cornerstone of salvation, the gate of righteousness. He is the sacrifice, the son killed by the tenant farmers. And through his sacrifice he will save us.
Jesus is the stone, the son of God, the cornerstone of the new people of God. Jesus is the basis of the new vineyard of Israel, the new Temple of God.

We are the new Israel, Jews and Gentiles together, under the King. We are God’s vineyard, his Temple, a holy nation and royal priesthood. What great news! 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

The teachers of law are so blinded by their own egos that they miss out on this! They should be rejoicing, not plotting murder!

But they don’t. Instead 12 The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against themthey were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

They went away. Some of the worst words to read in the gospel. And it’s the worst thing to see in ministry. People who go away. They leave the hope of Christ. It’s heart-breaking, for nothing lies that way except judgement and eternal death.

Please do not be those who go away. Stick it out with the Son, for he is the only cornerstone, the only sure foundation, the only one who speaks life.

He is God, and we are not. Let’s stop pretending, shall we? Get off the throne, and listen to him.

To sum up then,

The old corrupt order is being judged (they kill their own Messiah!). External religion, with its emphasis on outward appearance, doing good in order to win favour, and letting public opinion steer the truth (hmm, sounds like the church in the West today) is once again shown to be bankrupt, ruinous, and utterly opposed to the living God. You cannot be right with God by being good enough.

By contrast, the new order is rising, with Jesus as its cornerstone and foundation, his mercy and grace and self-sacrifice setting the standard for this new order: the church. Let us remember that we belong to him, he owns us, we are twice bought, we owe Him everything, and let us follow in his footsteps.

Salomos Ordspråk – hva har vi lært.

Salomos Ordspråk

Lytt til MP3.

I dag skal vi tenke litt over det vi har lært fra boken Salomos Ordspråk eller Ordspråkene. 31 kapitler full av visdom. Praktisk visdom for livet.

Ord 1:1–5 Ordspråk fra Salomo, sønn av David og konge i Israel. 2 Til å gi kunnskap om visdom og formaning, til å forstå forstandige ord, 3 til å ta imot formaning som gir innsikt om ærlighet, rettferd og rett, 4 til å gi uvitende vett og den unge kunnskap og omtanke. 5 Den vise skal lytte og øke sin lærdom, den kloke lære å bruke sin tanke

Før vi startet boken var jeg ganske spent. Her vil vi få veiledning. Her vi vi få det vi trenger for å leve for Gud. Her finner vi nøkkelen til liv. Til å leve det beste livet nå!

Og det er delvis sant. Vi fikk jo mye god råd. Mer enn det – visdom. Visdom fra Gud. Vi ble minnet på hvordan vi må leve som Guds folk i Guds verden.

Men etter 11 uker i boken, må jeg innrømmer at jeg er litt… skuffet.
Joda, det har vært mye bra. Og visdommen er gullverdt. Og hvis vi tok imot visdommen og var lydige – faktisk gjorde det det sier og levde med visdom og forstand, ja vi vil oppleve velsignelse. Vi vil oppleve at ekteskapet går bedre, og vårt forhold med våre barn er bedre, at vi er bedre ektefeller og foreldre, at økonomien er ikke det presset det var – at vi rett og slett er mer lykkelige, mindre bekymret, mer rolige, full av fred og velbehag.

Hvorfor sier jeg da at jeg er litt skuffet?
Fordi selv om vi vet hva vi må gjøre er motivasjonen ikke der. Ordspråkene sier hva vi bør gjøre men gir oss ikke noe hjelp til å faktisk framføre det. Lev slik, sier det. Lykke til.

Jeg tenkte mye over dette i denne uken mens jeg forberedte denne preken. Hva har vi lært fra Ordspråkene? Hva har JEG lært fra Ordspråkene? Og for å være helt ærlig, ikke mye. Ikke mye som jeg ikke visste fra før!

Gå til mauren, du late. Vet det.

Sett Gud først. Det er nesten en selvfølge.

Gi minst 10% av inntekten bort - helst så mye som mulig - for å hindre grådighet i mitt hjerte, for å vise at jeg stole på Gud, for å ta del i kristent arbeid både her og verden rundt, for å investere i himmelriket. Ja! Jeg vet!

Sånne ting vet jeg. Og, ja, det er godt å bli minnet på det. Men det er noe som mangler. Det er noe feil med boken Salomos Ordspråk. Og det er samme feil som Loven – Guds lov gitt til Moses - har.

Og feilen ligger her.

Hos meg. Og hos deg.

Feilen er synd.

Guds lov sier hvordan vi må leve hvis vi skal leve evig. Og Ordspråkene sier det samme. Og evig liv begynner nå. Det er det beste, den eneste måten å leve på nå. Men selv om vi vet alt dette. Selv om vi er enig med alt det som står der. Selv om vi vet at 1:7 Å frykte HERREN er begynnelsen til kunnskap, de dumme forakter formaning og visdom. Så gjør vi ikke det vi bør allikevel.

Vi vil det. Vi vet at det er riktig. Men vi gjør det ikke. Vi vet at dom og døden er på dårskapens vei. Men vi velger det! Vi velger det! Se hvor få kommer hit hver søndag. Hvor mange av oss er på bibelgruppene. Hvor mange av våre venner og kjente vet at de bør komme at de bør finne ut mer om Jesus, at de til og med vet at de bør egentlig vende om og ta imot Jesus – men de gjør det ikke!
Se hvor lite vi dele evangeliet med de rundt oss. Og vi feste grep over lommeboken vår, og slippe ikke ut et øre som er ikke øremerket for oss. Vi ber ikke, våre Bibler er dekket av støv. Vi er trettekjær og kranglefanter og er utro i det vi ser på og i våre tanker. Og jeg kunne fortsette sånn. Og vi er Guds folk?!

Vi er syndere og syndere synder og Ordspråk har ikke noe hjelp å tilby oss fordi den kan ikke gjør noe annet enn varsler oss at vi er på feil vei – men den kan ikke gripe inn og endre det som er inni oss. Den kan ikke erstatte et død hjerte, et hjerte som er død til Gud, et liv levd i selviskhet, med MEG på tronene – ordspråk kan ikke erstatter et slikt hjerte med et levende hjerte.

Og når jeg leser Ordspråkene blir jeg avslørt som en synder. Den viser meg alt jeg ikke gjør, og som jeg har sagt gjentatte ganger, det er ikke noe nåde å finne i boken Ordspråkene.
Dette er visdom. Dette er dårskap. Hvis du lever mot Guds prinsipper – da er du en idiot, du skal ha et elendig liv og så dø og oppleve Guds vrede. Hurra.

1:26–27 Derfor skal jeg le når ulykken rammer, og spotte når dere blir slått av redsel, når redsel kommer som et uvær og ulykke som en storm, når nød og trengsel kommer over dere.

Det er konsekvensen av å avviser Guds visdom. Og fordi Ordspråkene er, i likhet med Guds lov, så omfattende – den dekke hele livet vårt – da har vi alle et problem. Gud ser ALT.
Fra det vi sier til arbeidslivet til hvordan vi er hjemme – og alt er bare blandet sammen slik at vi kan ikke si at «dette området er mer viktig for Gud» eller «vi kan vær lydig mot Gud her, for dette er hellig, men denne delen av livet vårt er han ikke interessert i» - fordi da ville vi bare ha fokusert på vår prestasjon i de «hellige» områder, og gitt blaffen i de andre. Mange prøver det i dag. Er hellig i kirken og nådeløs i business. Gud kan ikke spottes sånn. Husk 11:11 HERREN avskyr falsk vekt, men gleder seg over nøyaktige lodd.

Hele livet vårt må være perfekt og feilfri. I alt vi gjør må vi ære Gud. For det er det visdom gjør.

8:12–21 Jeg, Visdommen, bor sammen med klokskap; kunnskap og omtanke finnes hos meg.
13 Å frykte HERREN er å hate det onde. Jeg hater hovmod og stolthet, den onde vei og all svikefull tale.
14 Råd og klokskap hører meg til, jeg er innsikt, jeg har styrke. 15 Ved meg hersker konger, og fyrster fastsetter hva som er rett. 16 Ved meg rår fyrster og stormenn, alle som styrer rettferdig.
17 Jeg elsker dem som elsker meg, og de som søker, finner meg. 18 Hos meg er velstand og prakt, rettferd og varig rikdom. 19 Min frukt er bedre enn det fineste gull, den vinning jeg gir, er bedre enn utsøkt sølv. 20 Jeg går på rettferdighetens vei og holder meg på de rette stier. 21 Jeg gir rikdom i eie til dem som elsker meg, og fyller skattkamrene deres.

Og den fortsetter sånn, kapittel etter kapittel, og sette søkelys på hvert område i livet vårt.
1:10 Min sønn, følg ikke syndere om de lokker deg…
24:1–2 Misunn ikke onde mennesker, lengt ikke etter å være sammen med dem! 2 For hjertet deres tenker på vold, og leppene snakker om ulykke.
6:6 Gå til mauren, du late, se hva den gjør, og bli vis!
12:24 Flittig hånd får herske, latskap fører til slavekår.
3:9-10 Gi HERREN ære med det du eier, med førstegrøden av hele din avling. 10 Da skal din matbod fylles opp, pressekummene renner over av ny vin.

11:28 Den som stoler på sin rikdom, faller, de rettferdige vokser fram som løvet.

11:24-25 Én strør ut og får mer igjen, en annen er gjerrig og ender i fattigdom. 25 Den gavmilde får gode dager, den som øser ut til andre, får rikelig tilbake.

21:9 og 25:24 Bedre å bo i en krok på taket enn å dele hus med en trettekjær kvinne.

13:3 Den som vokter sine lepper, tar vare på livet, den som er stor i munnen, ødelegger seg selv.

5:15 Drikk vann av din egen brønn, det som flyter fra din egen kilde! 20 Hvorfor, min sønn, bli beruset av en annen kvinne, hvorfor ta en fremmed kvinne i favn?

Og så videre, og så videre. Lever vi slik?
Og den avslutter med kapittel 31, hvor vi ser at Fru Visdom gjør det som er riktig i alt det hun gjør. Hjemme, arbeid, vennskap, det hun sier, det hun gjør. Feilfri. Perfekt.

Og Ordspråkene sier «slik må du være».

Hvorfor? Fordi 8:22 HERREN bar meg fram som sitt første verk, før hans gjerninger i fjerne tider. 23 Fra eldgammel tid ble jeg formet, i begynnelsen, før jorden ble til.
30 Jeg var byggmester hos ham. Jeg var til glede for ham dag etter dag og lekte stadig for hans ansikt. 31 Jeg lekte på hans vide jord og gledet meg med menneskene. 32 Så hør nå på meg, barn! Salige er de som følger mine veier.

Visdom er lagt ned i verdens grunnvoll, det er slik verden fungerer. Akkurat som Gud har skapt fysiske lover, som tyngdekraften, har han skapt moralske lover, visdomslover. Og trosser du de moralske lover, så svir du, på samme måte som de som trosser de fysiske. Å prøve å leve mot Guds vei, å leve i dårskap, er som å stå foran et tog og tror at «dette her gå bra».

Men vi gjør det. Vi gjør det hver gang vi velger å trosse hans ord. Hver gang vi velger dårskap. Hver gang vi åpner vår munn og hatefulle ord kommer ut. Hver gang vi ti stille i stedet for å fortelle de vi er sammen med om Jesus.
Hver gang vi gjør det som er feil og hver gang vi unnlate å gjør det som er riktig.

3:5–8 Stol på HERREN av hele ditt hjerte, støtt deg ikke til din egen innsikt! 6 Tenk på ham hvor du enn ferdes, så gjør han stiene dine jevne. 7 Vær ikke vis i egne øyne, frykt HERREN og vend deg bort fra det onde! 8 Det blir til helse for kroppen, en styrkedrikk for marg og bein.

For oss som leve i et fortsatt ”kristent” samfunn – dvs en som er blitt preget av kristendom i over tusen år – mye at dette vet vi allerede. Vi vet hva vi bør gjør.

Men vi mangler motivasjonen. Vi mangler handelskraft. Vi kan ikke gjør det! Og det er derfor jeg er skuffet over Ordspråkene. For kraften finnes ikke i boken. Vi blir bare lammet av boken.
Kanskje det er akkurat det som er Salomos Ordspråks formålet. Å lamme oss. Å gjør oss målløs. Å sette søkelyset på oss slik at vi skjønner: jeg er en dåre, uten håp.

Ja, for da er vi klare til å frykte Gud. Så lenge vi tror at vi kan greie det, så frykter vi ikke Gud. Vi kan forhandler. Vi kan komme fram til en forståelse. Gud liker jo nordmenn. Jeg er en god person. Slike tanker er idiotisk og bare rett og slett bare feil.
1:28–33 Da skal de rope, men jeg svarer ikke, de skal lete, men ikke finne meg. 29 For de hatet kunnskap, de valgte ikke å frykte HERREN, 30 de ville ikke ha mitt råd, viste ingen respekt da jeg talte til rette. 31 Derfor skal de smake frukten av sin ferd, bli mette av sine egne planer. 32 Den uvitende vender seg bort og mister livet, dåren er sorgløs og går til grunne.

Og resten av Bibelen er enda tydeligere. Frykt Herren. Vi er syndere som står imot Ham. Vi har erklært uavhengighet fra vår Konge og Skaper. Vi har gått til angrep mot ham, kriger mot ham.
Hver gang vi hører om en orkan, eller når et barn dør av kreft, eller en bombe blir utløst – er dette et tydelig advarsel og påminnelse at vi kriger mot Gud Allmektig. At denne verden er en krigssone. Elendighet og lidelser er varselsskudd som sier til oss at tiden er inne for å vinke med det vite flagget. Slutt å krige! Søk fred! Eller i Bibelsk språk: «vend om» og kaste oss på Guds nåde.

Og det vil ikke svikte oss. For selv om nåden er nesten ikke til å finne i Salomos Ordspråk, så er den en del av en helt fantastisk historie av en Gud som holde ved sine løfter og har laget en vei ut av denne kosmisk konflikten, ved å komme selv som en slags undergrunnsspionen: han kom til oss, til hans fiender, til de som hadde sagt «vi lever uten deg, trenger ikke din visdom» – han kom til oss for å redde oss. For å gi oss tilgivelse. For å gi oss ikke bare visdom, men en levende hjerte, et nytt Ånd som ikke bare vite hva som er riktig, men faktisk vil gjør det og har slagkraften til å gjøre det! For hvis vi trodde visdom var noe – og det er hun – 4:7 Viktigst er visdom. Kjøp deg visdom, kjøp deg innsikt med alt du eier! - 8:11 For Visdommen er bedre enn perler, av alle skatter er ingen som hun. – visdom er mer verdt enn noe! Men Jesus. Sammenlignet med Jesus er visdom ingenting.
For Jesus er ikke bare Guds visdom men Gud selv. Han er ikke bare visdom men frelseskraften og han som kan gi oss et nytt hjerte og nytt sinn. Han er ikke bare skiltet som viser veien men han som bærer oss på veien!

Kol 2:2 Jeg ønsker at [dere] skal få nytt mot i hjertet, bli knyttet sammen i kjærlighet og få hele rikdommen av overbevisning og innsikt, så de kan fatte Guds mysterium, som er Kristus. 3 For i ham er alle visdommens og kunnskapens skatter skjult til stede.
9 For i hans kropp bor hele guddomsfylden, 10 og i ham, som er hodet for alle makter og åndskrefter, har dere fått denne fylden.
13 Dere var døde på grunn av misgjerningene og deres uomskårne kjøtt og blod. Men han gjorde dere levende sammen med Kristus da han tilga oss alle våre misgjerninger. 14 Gjeldsbrevet mot oss slettet han, det som var skrevet med lovbud; han tok det bort fra oss da han naglet det til korset. 15 Han kledde maktene og åndskreftene nakne og stilte dem fram til spott og spe da han viste seg som seierherre over dem på korset.

Etter påske skal vi starte en ny serie, en ny bok, og denne gangen er det Johannes Åpenbaring, en fryktelig innsyn i nåtiden og fremtiden, særlig dommedagen. For en dag den er! Og den kommer, like sikkert som du og jeg kommer til å dø- En dag må vi stille oss framfor Gud, og hva skal vi da si?

For Bibelen er tydelig – for de som lever fortsatt mot Gud, blir det ingen nåde. Da er vi i Ordspråkenes verden. Feil. Ut med deg. Et evig død. Uten håp. Uten lys. Gud med ryggen til i evighet. Helvete som vi alle vil velge. «Jeg vil ikke ha noe med Gud å gjøre». Og på den dagen får vi det vi ber om. Helt grusomt.

Men for de som er i Kristus? Det er noe helt annet. Hvis vi klare å se at «oi, jeg må vifte med det vite flagget, jeg har tapt kampen, jeg gir opp og gir meg selv til deg, Gud» - da finner vi merkelig nok nåde. Da oppdager vi at gjeldsbrevet mot oss er slettet, at Satan har ikke noe makt over oss, gjort maktløs av korset, at vi er tilgitt og gjort levende!

Og vi vil oppleve at på dommedagen hvor alle våre feil blir lest opp, alt vår dårskap, at når vi se våre rulleblad – vil vi høre «betalt fullt ut!», og ser at det blir naglet til korset og vi går fri.

Hvis du har ikke tatt imot Kristus, gjør det nå. Ikke være en dåre. Vifte med det vite flagget.

Og hvordan da skal vi som har tatt imot Kristus leve? Da bør vi egentlig «gå til mauren» «kjøp visdom» «bruke riktig lodd» «bevare leppene» «være trofast» og «gi Herren ære med alt vi eier» - alt det som stå her i Ordspråkene – men med en veldig stor forskjell. Vi har den Hellige Ånd i oss som gir oss kraft til å gjør det. Det ER faktisk mulig for oss å leve et liv fullt av visdom til ære for Gud. For vi som er i Kristus har fått hans Ånd. Som vi leste i Bibelgruppene:

Ga 5:16–25 Jeg sier dere: Lev et liv i Ånden! Da følger dere ikke begjæret i menneskets kjøtt og blod. 17 For kjøttets begjær står imot Ånden, og Åndens begjær står imot kjøttet. Disse ligger i strid med hverandre, så dere ikke kan gjøre det dere vil.
22 Men Åndens frukt er kjærlighet, glede, fred, overbærenhet, vennlighet, godhet, trofasthet, 23 ydmykhet og selvbeherskelse. Slike ting rammes ikke av loven! 24 De som hører Kristus til, har korsfestet kjøttet med dets lidenskaper og begjær. 25 Lever vi ved Ånden, så la oss også vandre i Ånden.

Alt dette har vi fått! La oss bruke det vi har fått! Amen.

Jeg startet denne preken ved å si at jeg var litt skuffet over Ordspråkene. Og det er jeg. Men jeg er ufattelig glad i Jesus Kristus! For Han har gjort det umulige, og reddet en som meg. Og ikke bare det, men satte meg i stand til å følge i hans fotspor, til å leve hver dag mer og mer som Ham, med visdom.

Når du da lese Ordspråkene – ser opp. Husk Kristus. Husk hva han har gjort for deg. Og ble fylt av glede. Og gjør det som Ordspråkene sier. Lev med fred og glede!
Halleluja, vi priser deg Kong Jesus.
Makten og æren er ditt. Lovprist være ditt navn.
Halleluja! Amen.