Sunday, May 25, 2008


The Great Commission

Part 20 – Divorce

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – |


Disciples argue about who is Greatest?

Jesus speaks to them about offenses and followers.

Attacking Children of God



Matthew 19:1 – 12

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things (speaking about attacking the Children of God), he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." (Spiritual gift of Celibacy)

11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. (You must be given this Spiritual Gift) 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."


Jesus left Capernaum (Peter’s house) and traveled into Judea and across the Jordan.

Mark 10 - Crowds came to Him, as was His custom, and He taught them.

It was Jesus’ custom to let the people come to Him, He preached the word, and taught, and healed.

The Pharisees also came, to test.

The question was asked;

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

They didn’t ask because they wanted to know, or understand, or gain knowledge of the Word, but because they were trying to get Jesus to say something against the Law of Moses.

I. What did Moses command you?

a. Moses permitted Divorce.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.

You see, God allows divorce for what Moses called “uncleanness”, which Jesus defined as marital unfaithfulness.

Which is not limited to adultery, which we will see in a moment.

But the Israelites took what Moses had said, and turned it into something else.

Divorcing because of selfish reasons.

God allows divorce if there is uncleanness (marital unfaithfulness) found.

Many have translated this to be fornication, but upon studying the Word, fornication means more than adultery, it can mean idol worship, or even abuse.

I have seen some stay married to abusers because they thought it was what God wanted.

I have seen people stay in situations where their children were being abused because they thought God hated divorce.

What does God hate more? Divorce, or children being viciously abused?

In Jude 1:7, fornication is described as “going after strange flesh…”

This would be going after anything other than what God intended...1 man, and 1 woman.

It’s also described as prostitution, adultery, incest…

For these reasons a man was able to divorce lawfully.

BUT, many read the law to say, if the man found anything displeasing about her, he could divorce her. And that is not what Moses wrote.

They were divorcing over the slightest displeasure, which gave way to a selfishness that was beyond reason.

Jesus said that Moses wrote this law to begin with because their hearts were hardened, this is usually the height of selfishness.

A hardening of the heart usually happens when God turns you over to your own mind.

Romans 1:21 – 24

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Remember when the scriptures said that God hardened Pharaohs heart?

God had turned Pharaoh over to His selfishness and pride…

He turned him over to the sinful desires of his heart…

His heart was hardened.

b. Because their hearts were hardened.

i. They divorced over a whim or desire.

ii. They were selfish and uncaring.

iii. Used as a means of control / threats, etc…

II. In the beginning God created them male and female.

a. 1 man & 1 woman.

b. For this reason a man will leave his father & mother and is united to his wife.

c. And the two become one flesh.

III. What God has joined together, let no man separate.

a. Why does God hate divorce?

i. Our marriage is to represent the relationship between Jesus and the Church.

This is why we are only to divorce for marital unfaithfulness.

ii. Divorce happens because of selfishness.

iii. All divorce IS PREVENTABLE…IF!

1. God put you together.

2. You are both believers.

3. You both submit to Jesus Christ and each other.

iv. All divorce IS FORGIVABLE…IF!

1. You are saved.

2. You ask for forgiveness.

The ONLY unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Churches have made Divorce, homosexuality and abortion the ultimate sins…

And they are not.

Sin against God is sin against God, and all sin is forgivable if you are saved, ask for forgiveness and repent!

b. The great assumption, God has joined two people.

i. Did God put the two together?

ii. Without God, there is no marriage.

1. Covenant is between two people and God.

2. If you do not believe in God, you are truly married.

a. God will not ordain a sinful arrangement and call it marriage because that union is to represent Christ and the Church.

b. Dennis Rodman did not really marry himself.

iii. Jesus said, “Anyone who divorces for any reason other than marital unfaithfulness, and remarries is committing adultery.

1. Is adultery forgivable?

2. When you’ve sin is God “done” with you?

3. Is there no turning back to God when you have fallen?

If you are saved, ask for forgiveness, and repent.

We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and He wants us to turn back! The scriptures tell us He is QUICK to forgive!

The scripture tells us of the time God had to divorce Israel.

Here is a Bible example. God divorces His wife Israel.

4. God divorced Israel

a. Jeremiah 3:8 "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement…"

Marriage is a lawful contract. When God married Israel at Mt. Sinai, He did it according to law. Today, we call this marriage contract the Old Covenant. The prophets thereafter referred to Israel as God's wife. Israel's following after other gods was viewed in scripture as an adulterous violation of the marriage contract. The prophets were pointing out that, because of sin, Israel had "some uncleanness" in her.


All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…

If you belong to Jesus, simply confess your sin to Him, ask for forgiveness and repent!

He will forgive!

If you do not belong to Jesus, or you’re not sure, you can do it now by prayig with me…

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The Great Commission

Part 19 – Offenses

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – |


Disciples argue about who is Greatest?

Jesus speaks to them about offenses and followers.


Mark 9:42-50

42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, where the fire never goes out. {44 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'} 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into Gehenna. {46 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'} 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Gehenna, 48 where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."


Who is the greatest?

The Disciples argued this on the road to Capernaum.

Jesus corrected them by telling them that whoever wants to be first, MUST be last.

Like a child, they must believe and follow God.

And whoever receives one of these children, is really receiving Jesus. And whoever receives Jesus is really receiving God.

So we must be like children, having full faith and trust in our Father in heaven.

And we must not forbid those who do things in the name of Jesus.

Jesus said, if they are not against us (speaking or teaching anything that contradicts the Word of God) then they are for us. And we should receive them as such.

Whoever gives you even a cup of water because you belong to me, and it is done in my name, they will not lose their reward.

It is about receiving the children of God, and helping them.

But just as God rewards those who do even the smallest help for children of God, He also addresses those who do the smallest offense to the children of God.


a. 42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

Jesus makes it clear about how He feels about anyone attacking a child of God.

i. It is not hard to imagine how someone can cause you to sin.

1. They could draw you into gossip.

2. They could cause anger or strife, envy, or worse…

ii. But we too, can be the cause of others stumbling.

1. We represent the Kingdom,

a. In how we talk

b. In how we live

c. In how we respond to situations

d. In how we treat sinners

e. In everything we do, everywhere we go, and everything we say.

iii. Jesus said it is better for them (who attack a child of God’s) if they tie a millstone around their neck and cast themselves into the sea.

1. Just as the smallest help toward a child of God is rewarded, the smallest offense against a child of God is also addressed.

2. Our Father in heaven is protective of us, because we are His children.

Others may offend us, we may offend other followers, we can even cause ourselves to sin, and are warned by Jesus as well.


a. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, where the fire never goes out. {44 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'}

Their Worm… Their (autos) Greek word meaning the worm of those who are in Gehenna.

b. Do not allow yourself to be placed in a position of opposing those who are truly of God.

c. Like the Apostles telling the man to stop casting out demons on the name of Jesus simply because he wasn’t one of the 12.

i. Side not, for those who teach that the gifts were only for the 12 and the first century church, this shows how terribly wrong they are.

d. It is better to live maimed than to go to Gehenna with both hands…

i. Sometimes we need to take a survey of ourselves and what we think we want in life.

1. Do we truly take into consideration the true cost?

2. What could this world offer that is worth your eternal soul?

Matthew 16:16

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Hand = works, or deeds…what you “do”

Gehenna is the destiny for all those who oppose true believers, who are truly doing the work of God.

And if what you “do” becomes an offense, a sin against a believer or God, it is better to STOP DOING THAT OFFENSE/SIN now in this life, than to continue and lose your soul for eternity.

Foot = where you go…what message are you sending?

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

What are you proclaiming to others?

Is it peace, good tidings, salvation? Are you saying that God reigns?

Eye = what you take into yourself.

What you allow yourself to see then think on.

Jesus said;

Mark 7:15

Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'

So what is coming out of us?

What we have put in…

Luke 6:45

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

What we allow to come in, fills our hearts.

And that is what comes out of us…whatever our hearts are overflowing with.

If it is fear, we are angry.

If it is lust, we commit sexual sins.

If it is greed, we will be deceitful.

But if it is good we fill our hearts with, then from that overflow, we will speak and live.

But not until there is an overflow…

This is why so many times we do not see changes outwardly in those who get saved right away…because they do not yet have an overflow of God within them.

Fire = judgment, and salt = is the Word of God.


a. The word is Salt

i. Because it preserves the soul

b. Everyone shall BE the Word (salt) with Fire (judgment).

i. By the Word you proclaim, you will be judged. In this world and in the next.

c. Your judgment shall be reward if you;

i. Receive believers like a child with faith in your Father in heaven

ii. Help all others who believe in God.

iii. Stand behind those who are for God.

These are all choices you are in control of!

d. Your judgment shall be punishment if you;

i. Rebuke others doing God’s work in name of Christ.

ii. If your hand (doing) is an offense to the Kingdom

iii. If your foot (going/proclaiming) is an offense to the Kingdom

iv. If your eye (what you take in your mind) is an offense to the Kingdom

These things are all choices, you are in control of.

There are consequences to your actions.

Jesus said that even sacrifices have to be founded in the Word (salt).

What sacrifices do we have today? According to the Word?

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

1 Peter 2:5

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Salt is good (Jesus said only God is good…salt being the Word, Jesus being the Word made flesh, Jesus is God).

But what good is it if it loses its saltiness?

This speaks of the Word becoming diluted…

Have salt in yourself! (Have the Word in you!)

Abide, do…go…& let your eyes and mind dwell on all things according to the Word of God.

And have peace with one another.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Who is greater?

The Great Commission

Part 18 – Who is Greatest?

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – |


6:00PM Evening Service at the church –

“Seminary Students will be preaching”

May 11th – Lori Ulman

May 18th – Lynnette Higgins

May 25th – Walker Spriggs

June 8th – Deacon Kurt Ulman

June 15th – Grace Steadman


Jesus Pays the Temple Tax

Jesus visits Martha & Mary’s home

The Ten Lepers

Who is Greatest?


Mark 9:33-41

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

36 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

38 "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."

39 "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.


Traveling to Capernaum, more than likely Peter’s house, where on the way there the Apostles argued about who was greater, and Jesus heard them.

a. Disciples arguing which of them is greater

As they entered the house, Jesus asked them “what are you arguing about on the road?”

But the kept quiet because they argued about who was the greatest.

Either ashamed or afraid.

Jesus called the twelve aside and rebuked them privately, just as scripture dictates the leaders of the church are supposed to do.

Sometimes an open rebuke is needed, such as in the case of blasphemy.

Jesus explains to them the way the Kingdom of God works, because it is backwards from the way the world operates.

Jesus states, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last, and a servant to all.”

Can you imagine running a race, coming in last place, and receiving the biggest prize?

A Pastor at Bible summer camp told the kids to line up for ice cream on the last day of camp.

As the line formed you could see the kids pushing their ways into the pecking order.

After they had determined where everyone would be in line, the Pastor instructed the children to turn 180, and for the ones serving the ice cream to begin at the opposite end of the line.

Thus, those who had pushed their way to the front, ended up at the end of the line.

If you want to be great, be a servant to all.

Jesus wasn’t the world’s greatest leader because He lived the life of a tyrant.

But because He served the lowliest and those most in need.

Dictators come and go, and how many continue to follow them unless another comes along to continue the tyranny?

Yet, over 2,000 years, millions still follow the one who came in utmost humility and servitude.

“Whoever welcomes a child in my name, welcomes me…and whoever welcomes me, is really welcoming the one who sent me.”

Jesus is saying that when we do things in the name of Christ, we are really serving Christ Jesus.

And when we serve Christ, we are not serving a man, But God Himself.

We must be humble and child-like, trusting our Father in heaven for everything, serving others, it is then we are serving Christ.

It is when we serve “self” that problems begin.

Jesus, the perfect example of selflessness, and we are the perfect example of selfishness.

Why are there disputes, discord or lack of unity in a church?

Because someone is being selfish.

And if that selfishness is met with selfishness, then discord will grow and there will be disputes.

It isn’t lack of unity that causes discord, it is lack of selflessness.

Discord in the last church was caused because of pride and selfishness in a handful of people who wanted to rule the church and the Elders.

Disputes are nothing new…

b. Disputes within the church

Arguing in the church about who is greater.

We have seen this attitude in the Sadducees and Pharisees. About tithe, about prayer, about the Law, etc…

Arguing in the body of Christ continues today about who is greater.

You know how the greatest is in the church, the one you don’t even think so because they humbly and quietly serve Christ everyday of their life and never say a word about themselves or their service.

Arguing happens about operations, functions, positions…

Isn’t there one spirit? One God? Aren’t we all serving the same Christ?

Not if we are arguing about these things.

c. Division caused by pride and arrogance

The true cause for division among the body of Christ is selfish pride.

Someone thinking they are better than someone else.

Closer to God than someone else.

I have seen this so many times in the church.

People think they are more spiritual or closer to God than anyone else.

What happens? They try to run the church.

They try to dictate how everyone should act, worship, or what they should be doing in the church, like they are God’s recruiting agent.

If you want to compare yourself to someone else so badly, then do it right and compare yourself to Christ.

Maybe you need a reminder of your righteousness.

Perhaps you need to renew your perspective of who you are without Christ?

Because when you attack the body of Christ, guess what? You have to stop being part of that body to do so.

Like cancer…it’s in the body, but it is foreign to it.

It’s in the body, but does nothing but damage.

And if left alone, it will grow and destroy the body.

And the second you attack the Body of Christ, you are against Christ, not for Him.

“But Pastor, Jesus said He would never leave me nor forsake me!”

He hasn’t, nor will He.

But people walk away from Christ all the time.

This is why it says;

James 5:19, 20

19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth (Saved) and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner (One who wanders away from the truth) from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Who’s multitude of sins??? The one who walked away from the truth.

The one who walked away from salvation.

His sins can still be forgiven if he returns to the truth!

Praise God for forgiveness!!

Even when we mess up and walk away from Him!

d. How to be first

Jesus said, if you want to be first (or GREAT), you must become a servant to others.

With child-like faith depending on your Father in heaven, serve others and treat them as if they are better than yourself.

Put yourself last.


38 "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."

a. Many working for Christ

Do not attack those who serve Christ.

You may not like the way they are doing it, but if they are not blaspheming, or teaching anything that is contrary to the Word of God, leave them alone.

It was the Apostles thinking they were something more than others again that caused them to try and put a stop to someone else serving the Lord!

b. Jesus tries to create unity in the body

39 "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us.

c. Anything done in the name of Christ

41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.


a. Are you a servant of Christ?

b. Are you working dissension and discord or unity?

c. Are you doing all things in the Name of Christ?