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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Word For The Week

Pedro Martinez is one of the best pitchers of all time - batters often fear facing him - but Pedro could never beat the New York Yankees when it counted in big games. Yankee fans began to taunt him with a chant - "Who's your daddy?" Sigmund Freud taught about the male desire to replace the father and it is colloquially said that in order to be the man you have to beat the man, and I believe this all goes back to mankind's Fall from grace, where man first went for the okie-doke - "...and you shall be like God." Martin Luther King spoke about the Drum Major Instinct, about the human desire to exercise authority over others, about mankind's desire for recognition and importance, about man's desire to be out front. King noted that the first cry from a baby is the desire for attention, and that throughout childhood the obsession with attention is all-consuming - children seek their daddy's love and affirmation. Whose affirmation do you seek? Whose approval do you need? In whom do you place your imani, your faith? Who's your daddy?

The general context of our text today begins with the woman who was caught in adultery being dragged before Jesus. (See Trapped In The Closet) Later, once the Pharisees picked their cracked faces up off of the ground, they stepped to Jesus to ask Him point-blank whether or not He was the Messiah. The Pharisees believed that their salvation came from their blood-connection to their father - Abraham. Jesus responded that their damnation came from their spiritual connection to their father - Satan. There are three things that we can learn about faith - imani - from this text.

First, we have to hear our Daddy. Jesus said, "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." Do you remember being a child, playing with your friends, and then your daddy called for you? You might not have recognized anyone else's voice - you may not have even heard anyone else's voice - but when your daddy called you knew who it was and what he wanted. The same is true with our heavenly Father. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." We have the privilege of speaking with God, as Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Jesus also said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." If we remain in Christ and walk according to His will we have the privilege of speaking with our Daddy, and we need to hear from our Daddy.

Second, we have to resist the devil. Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies. He deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden and he tried to tempt the Father Himself in the book of Job. Satan tried to tempt Jesus with that which seemed good, but looks can be deceiving and Jesus took Satan back to the source of all authority - the Word of God. It is Satan's desire to replace God, such that the term "Antichrist" - which popularly connotes "against Christ" - could be rendered, "instead of Christ." Someone once said, "That which controls your thinking is your God." Who controls your thinking? Who sits on the throne of your life? Who is your God? Who's your daddy? Many Americans have an Invictus mentality - "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." For too many Americans man is the measure of all things and they are the measure of all men - it's all about self (however they define "self") and everyone else should live up to their standard. It is much like the days of the Judges - in those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

In this self-centered situation God's truth holds no value to those who are perishing - it is foolishness to them. God says, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." God says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" Jesus said, "Go. From now on sin no more." Yet the world says, "It's your thang, do what you want to do!" The world says, "Let a playa cut somethin'!" So what you gonna do when e’rbody at the club getting’ tipsy? You gonna tell them to pass the Courvoisier? You gonna shake it like a Polaroid picture? You gonna make like Lil' John and get low? You gonna act juvenile and drop it like it’s hot? Doesn't that sound Ludicrous? You wanna have some fun - hook up everyone - you with Satan or the Son? Talk to me! Who's your daddy?

Third, we find in this text that we have to love the Son. If God is your Father then you will love the Son - it’s in the text. Those to whom Jesus’ teaching is foolishness simply do not belong to Him, they are of their daddy - Satan.

Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Daddy who is in heaven."

Jesus said, "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus said, "You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Daddy is perfect."

Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to Daddy but through Me."

Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

Who's your Daddy? Jesus has come to save everyone who wishes to be delivered from Satan’s influence. As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For the consequence of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. So if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Once Pedro confessed with his mouth he overcame his enemy – not by power nor by might but by his team. You cannot defeat Satan’s grip on your own, but Jesus has overcome him and will save you from Satan’s influence if you will submit to Jesus and join His team. Will you join God’s team or will you continue falling for the oldest trick in the Book? This first day of the year, this final day of Kwanzaa, in whom do you place your faith, your imani?

Who's your Daddy?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants to be your Daddy,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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