On May 1, 1992, after four police officers were acquitted of the savage beating of Rodney King, Rodney uttered this now famous line: “Can we all get along? Can we get along? . . .

That phrase instantly became a joke, yet as we view the world in conflict and turmoil, as we view Christians in conflict and turmoil, is it possible for us to all get along? No, not unless we commit to following the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Only at the Cross is there Peace

Colossians 1: 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting (moving or falling away) from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul addressed a fleshly church in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 12:20-21 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity(uncleanness of soul), sexual immorality (porneia-idolatry like Israel), and sensuality (seeking your own pleasure) that they have practiced.

Paul said two things that are pretty amazing in their importance.

  1. When the church is overtaken with “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder”, it should not make us quit or get angry, it should humble us, and bring us low before the Lord.
  2. The only way to cleanse such a church is to repent of uncleanness. We have been made morally and spiritually ‘dirty’. We need to repent and ask for God to cleanse us.

This is why I have been saying since 2007 that you cannot allow yourself to listen to gossip, bad reports, or ‘whispers’ that are negative about someone or something. When you do, it taints your soul, it brings uncleanness to your heart. If you listen to such reports, in order to be clean, you must go to that person and check things out.

I made a covenant with my Dad and all the employees of Tompkins Industries in 1983 that I would always give a good report. If I could not say anything good about a person, I would simply be quiet, or if able, go to that person and tell them why I could not give a good report about them. This is a wonderful way to live your life.

The Lesson of 1945 Germany Churches

If you could imagine being a pastor in Germany in 1945, you could get a glimpse of pastoring a church that has gone through a war.

Churches were torn apart, suffering and discouragement were throughout the land. God directed the pastors of the Evangelical Church in Germany to gather and issue what has been called the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. It was issued by unanimous proclamation on October 19,

The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, was issued on October 19, 1945 by the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland or EKD), in which it confessed guilt for its inadequacies in opposition to the Nazis and the Third Reich.[1]

The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt

by the Council of the Protestant Church of Germany, October 19, 1945

“we not only know that we are with our people in a large community of suffering, but also in a solidarity of guilt. With great pain we say: By us infinite wrong was brought over many peoples and countries. That which we often testified to in our communities, we express now in the name of the whole church: We did fight for long years in the name of Jesus Christ against the mentality that found its awful expression in the National Socialist regime of violence; but we accuse ourselves for not standing to our beliefs more courageously, for not praying more faithfully, for not believing more joyously, and for not loving more ardently. Now a new beginning is to be made in our churches. Based on the Holy Scripture, with complete seriousness directed to the lord of the church, they start to cleanse themselves of the influences of beliefs foreign to the faith and to reorganize themselves. We hope to the God of grace and mercy that He will use our churches as His tools and give them license to proclaim His word and to obtain obedience for His will, amongst ourselves and among our whole people[2].”

There are three elements of the Stuttgart Confession that bear noting:

1. It was an expression of solidarity with the nation in its sin and suffering.

The confessors were not standing in judgment against a guilty nation that had been brought to its knees. They were experiencing the pain of the nation and acknowledging their part in its guilt. They did not make excuses.

2. They did not give a false sense of guilt.

They stated that they opposed the Nazi regime and suffered as a consequence. But this did not take away from their share of the guilt of the nation.

3. Their sense of guilt did not drive them to despair but to fresh commitment.

They committed themselves to a new beginning. Repentance should lead to real change and a commitment to action[3].

As Germany sought to rebuild and re-unify their nation, they chose to work toward a goal rather than stagnate in blame and despair.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians church, and encouraged them to walk worthy, walk in humility, bear with one another and maintain the unity of the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:1-3 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Unity is never maintained when people resort to blaming others. Now is the time to humble our hearts before the Cross of Jesus Christ and seek His forgiveness and righteousness. Now is the time to cry out for God’s Justice to reign in our church, for His Word to have free course in our midst, and for His Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come.

Hebrews 12 is the “Keep on Pressing On” Chapter

Keep pressing on for Jesus, pressing on for His Body, pressing on for His Kingdom

Hosea 6:1-3 1 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

A. Keep on Pressing on for Jesus

  • Jesus is the head!

1. Consider the Cost

a. The Cost to Jesus

b. The Cost to all those witnesses.

Hebrews 12: 1,2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1) He began the work

2) He will finish the work

c. The Cost to Us

1) We must lay aside every sin and every weight

2) We must endure, regardless of the cost.

2. Consider our Coach (and a great host of witnesses)

a. Jesus endured hostility

12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

b. We must struggle with Him against sin

12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

3. Consider our Character

a. Value Discipline

12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

b. Discipline is Sonship.

12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

12:9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

c. Discipline allows us to Share His Holiness

12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

B. Keep on Pressing for a Healthy Body

We all want healthy bodies. That usually involves exercise, training, strengthening. But as in all things, we get weary, we get tired, we may not feel like going on. Especially if we don’t lay aside those things that distract us.

12:12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

1.  Following Jesus Requires Effort.

a. Arms and Hand droop
b. Knees get wobbly
c. Feet wander, grow hesitant, even halting.
d. If there is no effort, our joints become affected and even infected. (we can even get out of joint)

Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.[4]

A little weakness can affect the whole body. Just one arthritic joint can affect your health and well-being.

2. Hold Fast to Jesus and find Healing & Growth

a. “rather be healed”

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

See the rest of the story in Isaiah:

Isaiah 35:3-6 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;The lame will leap like a deer. Blind will see, deaf will hear, mute will sing. There will be life springing up in the desert because water will break forth, there will be “streams in the desert.”

b. Strive for Peace and Holiness

12: 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

3. Hold Fast to Grace

12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

12:16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.

12:17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

a. Danger of Losing God’s Favor.

b. Lost through Bitterness

1)  Causes Trouble

2) The many are defiled
(made common, tainted)

Absalom (close to sister Tamar, who was violated by Amnon, and he became bitter)

c. Lost through uncleanness

1) Esau had “REJECT” stamped across his forehead

2) He chose his satisfaction rather than God’s.

d. Literally cross a threshold and lose your inheritance.

C.    Keep on Pressing for the Kingdom

1.  We look for an Invisible, Eternal Kingdom

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest

19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.

20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”

21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”

2. We Look for the City of the Living God

a. Consider the Prize

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

b. Always Heed His Word

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.

26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”

c. Things get shaken

12: 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

d. What remains are the true worshippers

28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Who is Mitsuo Fuchida? He Cried TORA TORA TORA! As he led the Japanese atack on Pearl Harbor!

Mitsuo Fuchida fought the United States throughout WWII and was intimately involved in the planning and leadership of the Japanese war effort as flight commander and later as a senior operations officer. After the war, Fuchida was a defeated warrior in occupied Japan, farming to meet the needs of his family. In 1950, Fuchida miraculously came to know Jesus Christ as Saviour through a tract handed to him while exiting a train in Tokyo. The tract was entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan,” written by Jacob DeShazer who was one of the famous Doolittle Raiders. DeShazer trusted Christ as his Saviour while held captive by Japan for 40 months. DeShazer went to Japan in 1948 as a missionary and preached to the nation who held him captive. Fuchida faithfully served Jesus Christ as an evangelist until his death in 1976. “From Pearl Harbor to Calvary” is Fuchida’s testimony of salvation.[5


[3] De Gruchy, John, Reconciliation: Restoring Justice, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2002, p. 109

[5] http://www.biblebelievers.com/fuchida1.html

You were first introduced to him on December 7, 1941, at 7:49 A.M. on a cloudless Sunday, the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor. In two hours:

* 2,403 Americans were killed
* 1,178 were wounded
* 169 U.S. aircraft were totally destroyed
* 5 battleships were mauled
* the Arizona was scrapped for good
* the Oklahoma, California and West Virginia were sunk
* the Nevada was beached in a sinking condition
* 18 other battleships were damaged
* nearby the airfields, barracks and dry docks were also crippled

This incredible attack was led by a 39-year-old Japanese top gun pilot, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida. whose life hero was Adolf Hitler. Fuchida led 360 Japanese airplanes into the harbor at Honolulu and devastated a whole nation and triggered, as you know, the massive death that came about through American atomic retaliation as well as conventional weaponry. Mitsuo Fuchida, a name that you read over and over and over and over in anything you ever read about World War II. His plane was hit numerous times as he came and went from Pearl Harbor, but he survived.

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Comments
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