I. "IF ANY MAN LOVE NOT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.
A. The basic teaching of Jesus is that man was created as a spiritual being, and that the spiritual life is far superior to the material life.
1.The spiritual life is a life in harmony with God.
a. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
b. It is only as man's spirit is alive that he can even know God.
c. The natural man understands not the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.
d. He that is spiritual understands all things though he is not understood.
2. The purpose of God is that of redemption.
a. To take that which has been damaged or destroyed and to make something worthwhile out of it.
b. How we see this over and over again in the lives of men who in their own folly have brought their lives to the place of ruin and desolation.
c. We see how God takes the broken pieces and begins to put a person's life together.
d. He takes that which is ugly and deformed and makes something beautiful out of it.
e. He takes a life that has become mean and bitter and brings sweetness to it.
Twas battered and scarred and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks?" he cried.
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar--now two, only two--
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three" but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said; "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars--and who'll make it two?
Two thousand and who'll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
And going and gone!" said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand--
What changed its worth?" Quick came the reply,
"The touch of the master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred by sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game--and he travels on.
He's going once, he's going twice,
He's going and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
B. Jesus taught that the man whose life mastered by the desire for material things was already anathema. He said that a man's life did not consist in the abundance of things he possessed.
1. He was under the curse of sin.
2. And sin was in the process of destroying him.
3. Today you are heading in one of two directions. You are on your way down or up.
a. Some are further down than others.
b. Some have just started the downward path, you cannot really observe many signs of the deterioration as yet.
c. In a few years you will begin to notice signs.
d. One day it will show all over their life and character.
4. There are those who believe that once you have begun the downward path there is no turning back.
5. The Greeks had concluded that the redemption of a man was impossible.
6. It is true that man cannot redeem himself.
7. It is true that man cannot redeem his fellow man.
8. The purpose of the coming of Jesus was to seek and to save that which was lost.
9. Our church is full of people who were once crippled by the effect of sin in their life. They now stand with the saints of God and joyfully sing, Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
a. The curse of sin is gone. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, for it is written, cursed is everyone that is hanged on a tree.
b. If anyone love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.
C. He has chosen to use us in bringing His redemptive love to fallen man. We are either building up others or tearing down others.
1. There are those who feel it is their ministry to tear down. They have developed sites on the internet, whose sole purpose is to tear down. The tragedy is that they think they are doing it in the name of truth. But their information is thoroughly false and spurious. There is nothing on their page that seeks to edify, only destroy. They as Simon the sorcerer are obviously in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.
2. Paul commanded "Follow after things that make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another."
3. Paul said, knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up.
4. Jesus said the enemy is come to rob, kill and destroy. And if that is the fruit of your works, then you can be sure it is not the work of our Lord Jesus Christ who commanded us to love one another even as the Father loves Him.
5. It might be well for all of us to look at the fruit of our works. Does it engender love, does it build up, or does it engender hate and seek to tear down?
6. Some of the religious leaders of Jesus day were jealous of how God was using Him so they determined that they must destroy Him, in the name of religion of course.
7. These very kinds of things have marred and damaged the cause of Christ through the years.
D. If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.
1. You may profess a love with your lips, but in your actions you deny Him for you are not obedient to His commands.
2. Beware lest you be as those of whom God spake through Isaiah.
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me.
3. Again it is the work of God to build up, and the work of Satan to tear down.
4. There are those who always leave a place better than when they arrived, and those who always leave a place trashier and messier than when they arrived. Every man leaves his mark for better or for worse.
II. MARANATHA "THE LORD COMETH."
A. The early church faced much persecution, life as a Christian under Roman rule was not easy.
1. The Roman's required for a person to declare that Caesar was Lord.
2. A Christian in all good conscience could not declare that, so the Roman's looked upon them as a traitors and put them to death.
3. Living under those adverse conditions the believers morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord, hence the word Maranatha.
4. This became the common greeting of the believers, sort of replacing the shalom.
5. They were constantly reminding and being reminded that the Lord is coming.
a. It was a reminder to keep your eyes on the things of the Spirit which were eternal.
b. To keep your mind on material things is to be in constant mental turmoil.
c. It was a reminder to keep looking up.
d. Looking down we see the earth, looking around we see earthly things. Looking up we see the hope of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. To you who are discouraged today, Maranatha.
7. To you who are worried today, Maranatha.
8. To you who are filled with anxiety over the problems you are facing, Maranatha.
9. If you ever see me without a smile or a look of worry on my face just remind me, Maranatha.
10. Maranatha helped to maintain the right perspective on life.
a. It brings an immediate spark of joy.
b. There may be those who do not love our Lord Jesus Christ, and are seeking to tear you down, don't fret, let them be accursed, our Lord is coming. Keep your eyes on Jesus.