Updated: Jan 23
1. Women’s Bible study is available on our website “refreshaz.church”. Find the women’s tab, under Ministries and click on the link to download and print your copy at home. My wife will get in touch with you about having her women’s study via Zoom until we can meet again.
2. Please pray and have faith right now. We are respecting the laws of the land by not having church in person. Please see our website and know that we are available to chat and meet with you in small groups as you feel led.
3. You can still give online- as you know, we never pass the plate (especially now) but if you feel called, you can tithe on our website as well.
Spiritual success, Jesus Style!
1. Obey and Grow
2. Are you looking for Jesus?
3. How’s your business?
4. Obey and Increase
*In review: In the past few weeks, we saw that Mary and Joseph came to be counted, Jesus was born in a stable and the 3 shepherds came to visit the Savior child. We also read of the account of Simeon and Anna who finished well.
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong [k]in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
1. Obey and grow
Joseph the earthly father of Jesus was a righteous man. Joseph and Mary were people who were obedient to the religious laws of the land. They were good people who loved God devoutly and honored God with their obedience, which at that time was obeying the law of Moses.
They did all the requirements of the law. I love the obedience to the law, and the fact that they’re raising the Son of God resulted in these good people raising a great kid. I don’t think if they had been bad parents would have been an issue raising Jesus, but their good virtue and genuinely being good people led them to raise a good soon. So that begs the question, do you obey and see growth? I would say that there are people reading right now who wish they could have raised their children in a more Christ-like arena. Thoughts race through all our minds and we know that hindsight is 20/20, but we know the song “dear younger me”. For those of you in the room today with families, ask some of our older saints what you could learn from them. Ask them what they wish they would have done differently. Ask them what they did well? Ask them what they wish they would have done better.
Look at how Jesus grew, THOUGHT - If Jesus needed strength, wisdom and grace, then so do we beloved, for Jesus is our example of how to live the (supernatural) Christian life, naturally.
NET NOTE adds that "the Child of God grew and became strong, and filled with wisdom. Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and his growth toward maturity." That’s the greatest thing about following Jesus. Look we don’t clean the fish before we catch them. WE catch the fish and then the cleaning happens.
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And [l]Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
2. Are you looking for Jesus?
This good Jewish family is going to their type of church. What a glorious thing to go to church together, even online. Unity and family. At ReFresh we teach the same concepts to the children’s ministry as we do in the main service. We believe that the Spiritual meal should be eaten together and discussed as we go down the path of life together from all ages. WE are looking for Jesus. Amen
Deuteronomy 16:16 “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.
Jesus is the Passover lamb going to the Passover. Remember this feast is the celebration and remembrance of the Children of Israel being delivered from the Angel of death who killed all the first-born male children in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh and his family and the Egyptians families all lost their first born that night. Of course, we know that the Passover was instated by putting the blood over the door post and the lentil of a house that would in essence make the shape of a cross. That would signify that the Angel of death should pass over that home and not kill the first born son.
One commentator noted this and I want to share.
We are told that “they went to Jerusalem every year, at the feast of the Passover.” They regularly honored God’s appointed ordinances, and they honored them together. The distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem was great. The journey, to poor people without any means of conveyance, was, doubtless, troublesome and fatiguing. To leave house and home for ten days or a fortnight was no slight expense. But God had given Israel a command, and Joseph and Mary strictly obeyed it. God had appointed an ordinance for their spiritual good, and they regularly kept it. And all that they did concerning the Passover they did together. When they went up to the feast, they always went up side by side. So, ought it to be with all Christian husbands and wives. They ought to help one another in spiritual things, and to encourage one another in the service of God. Marriage...is a state of life which has the greatest effect on the souls of those who enter into it. It helps them upwards or downwards. It leads them nearer to heaven or nearer to hell. We all depend much on the company we keep. Our characters are insensibly molded by those with whom we pass our time.
That’s why we go back to the point, “Are you looking for Jesus?” Are you looking for Jesus in the midst of this time? At the store? The store doesn’t offer anything you actuallyneed. People are hoarding and looking for things; store shelves are empty…but is anyone looking for Jesus? The beautiful thing about being married to a health nut, a good portion of the food we buy is still in the store! Even at the Sam’s club in Goodyear, we were able to get egg whites, vegetables and Kombucha. WE were so stoked. Anyways. But a lot of the other stuff we were looking for is gone. Isn’t it interesting that the things we thing we need to look for are not the things we really look for? You don’t need Spaghetti O’s. You don’t need to get caught up in this insanity! Are you finding Jesus in this Corona virus moment? Corona is the word for “crown” or like a “king”. Look, there is only one person who wears the crown and his name is Jesus. The Corona virus is not king! Cancer is not king, the stock market is not king, the economy is not king, your dread locks are not king, your exercise program is not King. Are you finding Jesus to be your King? Everyone who hears my voice right now, Look for and chase Jesus, our True King.
I find it no coincidence that today’s Bible App verse of the day is this, “And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-“The LORD is one, and His name one”. Zechariah 14:9
46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
3. What’s your Business?
Of course, it was 3 days. Of course, the time window to find Jesus would be 3 days. 3 days in the tomb for you and me and 3 days of separation from his earthly parents. 3 days-one day for the disappearance and one day in the middle and one day for a reappearance. Come on Jesus! No real direct connection but I find it more than coincidental. Joseph and Mary would have been super stressed out. 12 years old is old enough to maybe take care of yourself, but not so that parents are comfortable. You could probably provide for your basic needs and be able to communicate with people. Where did he sleep during this time of separation? Lots of questions swirl, don’t they? But they found him sitting in the midst of teachers doing a Bible study in the temple asking questions and also listening. It says he spoke and those who heard were astonished. I’m sure they were blown away. This reminds us of later exclamations regarding Jesus' words in (John 7:15) "The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”" and (John 7:46) The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”
I want to talk to our Champions, our young believers out there (today’s JH and HS kids), the people who are 12 years or older but not yet on their own.
BEING YOUNG - If you are twelve years old, one of your hardest jobs in life is obeying the adults who run your home. They are called parents, and they always think they know best. It’s very tough for a twelve-year-old to keep from taking over the family and running it according to intelligent twelve-year-old standards. But when the temptation strikes, remember Jesus…. Even though he knew his real Father, he did not reject his earthly parents. He went back to Nazareth with them and lived under their authority for another eighteen years. God’s people do not despise human relationships or family responsibilities. If the Son of God obeyed his human parents, how much more should you honor your family members?
I think this is a pre-event shows that Jesus would be broken off from his earthly family and would become the Savior of the world. He is not meaning to be disrespectful, but I think he’s showing what his real purpose is now. He is showing Joseph and Mary that his birth to them was only a thoroughfare to the next steps of his life-giving, savior of the world ministry. He understood that He was sent to do the task of redeeming the world to Himself. Why not start in the temple? Why not start where the people who taught about God are? Why not talk to them about Himself without them knowing he was talking about Himself? Think with me-who knows more about you than you? Jesus would be communicating about things that he would have known when the pen hit the paper. He would be talking in the first person to them about the things of God without them ever knowing. This is a total Jedi mind trick if you ask me. Of course, they would be astonished, of course they would be undone. How could they not be?
This is the business of Jesus. So, I have to pose this question… What is your business? What are you entrusted with? What transactions of Gods economy are you involved in?
Praying is big deal. That’s big business if you ask me. Are you praying currently about everything going on right now in front of you? Are you praying for our leaders? Are you praying for cures, and praying for those who are sick? Are you praying for the health care community to continue to stay healthy and also to be able to care and help those affected by this virus? I could go on and on right now. But listen to me, all who hear my voice. What your business today? What is your business going forward? I just gave you some ideas. Please take the time to pray, and pray like you mean it. Make sense?
51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was [m]subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
4. Obey and increase?
Jesus willingly went back with his parents back to their house. He did it because it was not yet his time. Think with me on this last point. Where’s your increase? Look, Jesus got plugged in at the temple, stirred in the Spirit, and was encouraged by sharing in the Word. These things are the same today. You can increase in wisdom by reading God’s word. God’s word gives wisdom. God gives wisdom. We get wisdom when we ask by faith and believe that it will happen. Listen, Jesus submitted himself. God-in-bod submitted to his parents after this trip to the synagogue. Jesus was under authority and increased in wisdom. I want to increase in wisdom. I want to increase in knowing what God needs me to know. It’s a real thing I want selfishly to be a better leader to Gods people. I pray that for all of us during this season of life that we get Spiritual wisdom.
Can I share a verse with you?
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Ask for wisdom.
That next word is stature.
Stature- metaphorically, of an attained state of mind fit for a thing: the age in which we are fitted to receive the fullness of Christ.
This leads me to the process of growing in Christ.
So, we are all growing in stature. Listen to me as it was outlined to me my friends.
FOUR THINGS ABOUT SPIRITUAL GROWTH:
(1) SPIRITUAL GROWTH TAKES TIME, BUT WE MUST ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS.
(2) SPIRITUAL GROWTH INVOLVES AN ACTIVE INTEREST IN THE WORD OF GOD.
(3) SPIRITUAL GROWTH SHOULD BE FOCUSED IN TWO DIRECTIONS: TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD OTHERS.
(4) SPIRITUAL GROWTH CAN GET OFF TRACK IF WE ARE NOT ON GUARD.
Let’s go back a minute to this point. One commentator noted;
Here I am not looking at the example of Jesus, but at Joseph and Mary. They both meant well when they supposed that Jesus was with them in the caravan, but they were mistaken. And, neither of them understood Jesus’ gentle words of correction. This shows us that even godly people who mean well can be mistaken. Joseph and Mary’s failure to grasp the nature of Jesus’ mission and calling will later be matched by the disciples, who did not understand the necessity of the cross. This shows that we all must maintain teachable hearts and be willing to change our views when we have gotten off track. I regret that I used to teach much of the self-esteem errors that currently flood the church. God used Calvin’s Institutes to show me where I was wrong. Joseph and Mary were humble enough to receive correction from their 12-year-old Son. We must be teachable enough to receive correction from wherever God kindly brings it. We should imitate Jesus in spiritual growth
Jesus increased in favor, humility and in the areas that we should all want to increase with regards to the Gospel.
Experience taught me and Scripture confirms that what matters is not where you grow up but how you grow up. Sometimes we feel insignificant compared to sophisticated people from prominent places. But we are significant to God, and He can make us strong in spirit and filled with His wisdom.
O teach me what it cost You, Lord,
To make a sinner whole;
And help me understand anew
The value of one soul! —Anon.
What we become is more important than where we’re from
This is a Spiritual outline for Spiritual success.
We will grow when we obey; don’t forget that.
Look for Jesus in all the mess. Tell people who have not found Him where He is. He’s not hiding in the toilet paper, or in the canned food we can’t get. He has good food that helps our soul.
How’s your business in Gods economy now? Are you growing in your Spiritual transactions of Spiritual life? Are you praying? Are you actively involved in Gods economy today?
Lastly, when you obey and are in the word, the increase will happen naturally whether you want it to or not. It’s like a lemon tree growing lemons. It doesn’t have to worry about growing fruit. It just does!