Friday, February 7, 2020

Dark Yet Bright Days In Jerusalem

By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
February 7, 2020

Matthew 20:17-19


Mat 20:17-19  And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,  18  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,  19  And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

The Beauty of Jerusalem

The Talmud teaches, “Ten measures of beauty descended on the world; nine were taken by Jerusalem, one by the rest of the world.” Years later, Mark Twain said, “There is no beauty like the beauty of Jerusalem.”

Jesus loved Jerusalem and even wept over it. The twelve apostles loved Jerusalem. All Jews loved and love Jerusalem. Jerusalem was known as the “city of God.” To the Jew it was where God dwelt. Their temple was there, their priests did their duties there, and the beauty of the garments of the high priest on the Day of Atonement must have been a striking beauty. If only every Jew by birth or by proselytism were to be able to wander inside the temple, what beauty he would be able to behold.

On this day in our text, however, Jesus was to cast a shadow over Jerusalem in the ears and hearts of his disciples due to this tragic announcement of his passion that was to come upon him in the near future.

Betrayal

The Greek word translated “betrayed” here is PARADIDOMAI and means “to surrender, or to give up.” That is exactly what Judas Iscariot did to Jesus; he gave Jesus up to the chief priests and scribes for his torture and death. Only a lost soul can give up the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers never do, because Jesus lives inside each believe. He did not live inside of Judas, for he was a devil (John 6:70).

This betrayal cast a dark shadow over the beauty in the minds of the disciples as they approached that wonderful and popular city, Jerusalem. Never would this city be what it was to the disciples who heard this great calumny pronounced against those in this great city who had dark hearts and evil intentions.

Condemnation

This, we know, was condemnation that was unjust and undeserved, but the leading Jews of that great city, Jerusalem, were angry due to their thinking that Jesus was a blasphemer, who professed to be the Son of God, who they thought could not be; because Jesus’ doctrine did not fit their own doctrine. Their doctrine was based primarily upon the doctrines and customs of men, not upon God’s word only. When Jesus proclaimed the truth, error raised its ugly head and screamed out in fear and terror and judgment against the truth. Truth lay in the street, and heresy was glorified.

Their condemnation was not a simple censure against Christ; it was a grandiose and arrogant proposal of superiority over Jesus, the Christ, and even God himself. The priests’ and scribes’ condemnation was “to death.” Nothing less would satisfy them. This man must die!

Deliverance To Death

Condemnation is one thing, but it is only one step toward complete fulfillment of that condemnation, carrying out the condemnation, handing over the Lord Jesus into the hands of the Gentiles (a disgusting people to the Jews) for the torture and death of our Savior. They delivered Jesus Christ from their hands and, hopefully, from their minds and hearts (19).

Their condemnation was that the Gentiles would mock, scourge, and crucify Jesus (19). This cruel treatment was no more than this wicked man (Jesus) should receive. He was a “glutton,” a “wine-bibber,” a “liar,” and a “blasphemer.” Their hearts would be happy upon the execution of these things.

Deliverance To Victory

Little did the priests and scribes realize that, upon their deliverance of Jesus to the Gentiles, Jesus was going to fulfill, not only the suffering that was required by God’s justice for our sins, but also that Jesus would have a great victory over his death, not at the hands of the Gentiles, but at the hands of God Himself; because on the third day he was to rise again.

If they had known that delivering Jesus to the Gentiles was a fulfillment of prophecy and was done by the determinate counsel of God (Acts 2:23), they would never have done it. When they had delivered their defendant into the hands of the Gentile jurisdiction, they could not reverse course, but God’s counsel was sure and was determined. No one could take Jesus back from that which he came to the earth to do. God was ruler over all of these attitudes and actions; and, when God determines to do a thing, he is faithful to do it.

The hatred of the Jews, the willingness of the Gentiles to torture and kill Jesus, and the hand of God were in operation. No one can reverse it. Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost,” and this is the only way he could do it. It was God’s will, Jesus’ will, and the Spirit’s will that this would take place.

It seems sad in a way that the disciples did not respond to this as recorded in Matthew, but it was because their minds were muddled against a mysterious truth that would be shown to them much later; and upon their knowledge and understanding of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, their hearts were charged with faith and boldness so that this message of the Gospel became the most significant and powerful message in the entire world.  The disciples’ fortitude in preaching the Gospel is without equal in the world in comparison to any message the world has ever heard. Many gave their lives for preaching this Gospel. The Jews and the world will either hate this message or love this message. It is the desire of everyone who knows Jesus through the preaching of the Gospel that their friends, family, and people around them would be saved. This is a God-given desire, and it can be had only by the Spirit of God.

Paul said in Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”  Jesus told his disciples (a commission to every local church) – Matthew 28:18  “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Easy Road

By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
1-25-2020
For the Funeral of Opal Bolton – January 25, 2020

The road is not easy living in the world,
As all the heartaches at each person are hurled.
But, when the Lord is near me in all of his love,
It is easy to trust him as he speaks from above.

The road is not easy with rocks all around
To stumble where the potholes abound;
But it is an easy road, traveling down
When the Spirit of God lives all around.

It’s not an easy road to raise your children well.
It’s not an easy road to tell them of Hell;
But it’s an easy road to see them turn
From sin and shame so they won’t burn.

It’s not an easy road to have disease,
It’s not an easy road to live life with ease;
But it is an easy road to know that Jesus cares
And trust him faithfully his mercy He shares.

It’s not an easy road to come to death
And wait for the angels to do as He saith;
But it is an easy road for me to travel on
To a new and wondrous place by God’s eternal Son.

And so through hardest of travels I go
To end with an entrance so far from below.
The shadow of death is a short, easy road
To shed all my burdens and lighten my load.

Lord, it’s been hard to travel through time;
But you were there, and you are mine.
It’s easy to trust you through all the way
And an easy road awaits at the end of the day.

Monday, November 25, 2019

So This Is Thankgiving (2019)

Ronnie W. Wolfe – November 23, 2019

So this is Thanksgiving; I know it is true.
I saw someone’s turkey and cranberries, too.
It looks much like Christmas and sounds like Noel;
I heard Christmas music and the sound of a bell.


So this is Thanksgiving; I wonder sometime.
Not many are thankful; their words are a mime.
It smells just like Christmas; the ham’s on the plate.
They’re waiting for Christmas, afraid they’ll be late.

They’re buying in bundles; their bundles they keep.
They’re all in the queue like a flock of white sheep.
They gather their jewels, in windows they shop
So furious their fancy, they barely can stop.

But let us be patient and take time to pray
On this for our country, our Thanksgiving day.
Let’s bless our Creator and praise our dear Lord
For all that He lends us; He honors His Word.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Meeting Together


Ronnie W. Wolfe – September 12, 2019

We meet on the shores of borrowed time
There to keep our souls in line
With the word of God with its ancient glow
To help our yearning hearts to grow.

Assembled with loved ones all aflame
With Gospel truth through Jesus’ name
With joy we sing the songs of Zion
And worship true the royal Lion.

The church of God will never fail,
Through generations weak and frail;
But with God’s purpose well in hand,
He keeps his watch across the land.

Assemblies true to God’s own word,
We preach the message greatest heard,
Knowing well we have the power,
Proclaiming truth from hour to hour.

The Spirit gave to his congregation
Approval for this dispensation,
For time until the Lord shall come
To do his work and take us home.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Just Beyond The Meadow

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – June 14, 2019


Just beyond the meadow, just beyond the greenest grass,
Just beyond the flowing river; that’s where my soul shall pass.
From the shadow of the valley to the highest mountain peak,
I’ll travel, quickly travel, to a land all Christians seek.

I’m glad I did not falter when I heard the Gospel sound.
I’m glad by grace I trusted in the Savior that I found.
I’m happy that I turned around from sin to set me free
From the awful, fearful judgment on those who don’t believe.

Just beyond the meadow I will leave this world behind.
I will follow Jesus’ leading as he holds this hand of mine.
“Lead on,” I say, “to righteousness,” as only He can do.
You’re welcome in this promised land, by faith you may go, too.

So, take the time to trust Him, the Lord of all the earth.
He gives a message holy that brings a second birth.
You must believe in Jesus; God’s wrath is hard and fast.
Believe He died and came to life; He gives a life that lasts.

Now, look beyond the meadow, beyond the greenest grass,
Just beyond the flowing river; that’s where your soul shall pass,
If you truly trust in Jesus; He’ll forgive you of your sin;
And, when you’ve passed the meadow, He’ll surely greet you in.



Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Just Across The River

 By Ronnie W. Wolfe -- 5-21-2019
For funeral of Patricia Combs

Just across the river there’s a great, amazing place
Where people there reside by His amazing grace,
Where angels there attend the heavenly altar pure
And grace applies the salve of God’s eternal cure.

Just across the river of death so stained with earthly dread,
Victory reigns in heavenly realms through spirits of the dead.
Come thirsty souls and drink the blessings given from above,
And bask in heavenly sunlight and the wonder of God’s love.

Just across the river we leave the world behind
And shed the stress of everyday and hurts of every kind.
We wash our hands of all the pain and sorrow we once knew,
Now enjoying heavenly bliss and blessings not a few.

So, come, begin your journey now t’ward heaven’s open gate;
Trust that Jesus paid the price; trust him; don’t be late.
Parted saints are there, await our entrance to review,
As we by faith cross o’er the bar to where all things are new.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Every Religion Has A Book

By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Christianity Has A Book

We call our book The Bible. It is made up of 66 smaller books, which, we believe, have been inspired by God and that the Holy Spirit inspired men to write down what God wanted to be written, word for word, every word inspired to God's satisfaction.

This Bible is divided into two major parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is a testimony of God's covenant with Israel through God's law, which was given to Moses. If Israel kept the law, God would bless them and make them an everlasting kingdom; but, if they did not obey the law, God would judge them, and they would not inherit the spiritual home, a city whose builder and maker is God.

The New Testament is a testimony of the fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament which point to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived during the period of the New Testament, and he fulfilled many prophecies of his coming, his growing up, his death, his burial, and his resurrection. Also, there are other prophecies in the New Testament of conditions in the world, societal conditions to expect as time goes on, and of future events that will culminate in Jesus' coming again and of the remaking of the earth to a perfect condition and a kingdom of peace forever.

In order to enjoy the benefits of the blessings given in the Bible, a person must read it and absorb its content and meaning as much as possible. God has many blessings for those who read it (See Revelation 1:3).

The Bible also teaches us through the grace of God how we should live, how we should conduct ourselves in society, what authorities to obey, and what our morals are. We should surrender our bodies (Romans 12:1) to the Lord, our minds (Philippians 2:5) and all of our members (Romans 6:13) as instruments of righteousness.


Cults And Other Religions Have A Book

Every cult has a book by which they learn and obey certain conditions and activities concerning their belief. There are many cults, but they all go by their own code of ethics, which is usually written in a book. Jehovah's Witnesses have their own translation of the Bible, Mormon's have their Book of Mormon and other books.

Judaism uses only the part of the Bible that we call the Old Testament. They do not call it this; they call their Bible "The Jewish Scriptures." This is simply the Old Testament without the New Testament. They study this book, learn this book, try to obey this book, and they love this book.

Buddhism has a book called Tripitaka, which is the sacred text for their beliefs. They revere these texts and study them. They teach them to their followers, and they practice what the texts teach.

Hindus have several texts called Vedas, and each text deals with a certain item in their belief system, which teaches the followers how to perform specific kinds of worship, mental attitude, and practice.

Islam has a book called Koran. It also is a book which describes the attitudes and practices of the followers, which are called Muslims. 

Jainism has a book of scripture they call Agamas, which is made up of small texts called sutras, and they memorize these and pass them on to their children. 


Communism Has A Book

More than any other book, no doubt the book The Communist Manifesto is the basic text for communism. Several other well known books express the same ideals and are used for communist attitudes and practices.

Socialism And Public Education Has A Book

Public education was not the primary way of education in America in its early years. There were many private schools, which were supported by humanitarians and churches. Education was of a high caliber at that time. When Unitarians took over the operation of Harvard University in 1805, socialism's ideas began to become familiar in this country. 

Then a man named Robert Owen wrote a book in 1816 entitled A New View of Society, in which he expressed his belief that man is not depraved and that man is completely able to bring himself to perfection by the formation of good character and by keeping everyone happy, a Utopia. He thought that the earlier a student started learning his program, the better it would be for society.

This book was the beginning of what we call Socialism, so Robert Owen is considered the father of Socialism. The Unitarians loved his book and his ideas, so they began to encourage a compulsory public education system so that every student would be educated to be like all the other students, little Socialists. Thus, one writer noted, "Indeed, public education was to become the socialists' primary instrument for promoting socialism."

The ideas of Robert Owen have been memorized and taught to children for over 150 years as our country goes deeper and deeper into Socialism. Owen's ideas were written down in many textbooks, and his ideas are inculcated into almost every textbook, whether it be in philosophy, science, technology, or cooking. Socialists love their book(s).

Conclusion

Every religion, every cult, every social institution has a book. The Christian textbook, the Bible, is the only book and the only religion in the main which is not revered and loved by its people. It is neglected, scoffed, and harassed by many. Christians do not teach their children to memorize passages from our book.

We should be ashamed, because many Christians are ashamed of their book. Therefore, many are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Socialists were to neglect their writings as much as we do our Bibles, Socialism would quickly die. If the books of world religions were neglected as much as our Bible, they would collapse. Why is our religion seemingly on the brink of failure in our country? Could it be because we neglect the very book that strengthens our cause and gives us courage to stand for what we believe? Certainly I would think that is the case. What should we do?