Disowning Jesus

47  While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 
48  but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” – Luke 22:47-48 (ESV)

It is interesting that two stories are back to back in the gospel of Luke. Both having to do with the topic of disowning Jesus. A closer look today will help us understand better how to own Jesus.

The first of the two stories is recorded above. Judas is easy to despise. He had the advantages of a disciple. He knew Jesus personally, intimately. He knew him well. Yet he was not fully connected to Jesus’ heart. So pretending intimacy he came to betray Jesus. With the irony that the symbol for intimate adoration was the signal to arrest Jesus, he disowned him. Later he would regret this act of disowning him. He actually takes his own life because he cannot get over the fact that his betrayal begins the process of the crucifixion.

The next story is the story of Peter’s disowning Jesus. He continues to follow Jesus after others have fled. From a distance, he must know the outcome of these events. But a young girl calls him out. She tells it like it is and he is forced by his determined self preservation to lie and disown Christ. He too, is weeping in agony after the fact. But he returns to the risen Christ and is forgiven and empowered to be a witness for Jesus.

There are many ways that we can disown Christ. Some by the things we do and say. Some by the things that are left undone. Some because of their disappointment with God. Some because they are safeguarding their reputation. Jesus was very direct, “if you deny be before men, I will deny you before my Father in Heaven”. (Mt 10.32-33)


The Coming Suffering

39  And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 
40  And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 
41  And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 
42  saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 
43  And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 
44  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 
45  And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 
46  and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22:39-46 (ESV)

Jesus can feel the coming of the end. He knows that there is suffering and his soul is anxious. Wouldn’t yours be? Recently I had surgery and the doctor told me that there would be some soreness, agony and stiffness of my muscles as he cut me on my neck. Knowing what was coming helped me not panic when I awoke from the anesthesia to discover the discomfort. But the foreknowledge also increased the anxiety level!

Jesus knows full well that the cross is his future. He “endured the cross for the joy set before him” we are told in Hebrews. But it is clear as our Savior approaches the stressful moments of wrestling with the will of God that he needed something from his brothers. He needed to know that they were praying. Just a few chapters before this he rebuked and condemned Israel’s religion because it had become prayerless. Now he asks that his brothers pray with and for him.

They are in the distance. Their prayers, like all of our prayers for others, are without the labor and pain. Their prayers are easy to be lulled to sleep by because they are not provoked by a passion like our Lord’s. But Jesus in contrast is in intense agony, sweating blood, and being overwhelmed by the sorrow of an innocent sent to slaughter. And after he has wrestled with God’s design, his will, his plan- he returns for his church.

And the church was asleep.

Irresponsible Giving

1  Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 
2  and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 
3  And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 
4  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

               -Luke 21:1-4 (ESV)

I give to God regularly. I have adjusted my lifestyle to honor the Lord. There is much to be gained by doing so if you believe the Bible’s promises. Those regarding giving are as real as those regarding salvation! Prov 3.9-10 tells me that honoring God by bringing him the first fruits will “overflow my barns and fill my vats”. God has been so faithful to me that it is inconceivable that I would ever not honor Him. I have structured my finances to make it so.

Yet, here Jesus is telling us some powerful things. 1) That God watches what we give; 2) that faith is demonstrated not by how much goes in the basket but by how much is left; 3) that God would not tell this poor woman that she should share no part of the Kingdom work; 4) that God recognizes (and rewards) irresponsible financial giving.

The fact that God sees what we give is not always something that we live in. When we give are we aware that the same Jesus who watched the poor widow also watches us? She demonstrated great faith by giving sacrificially. Some would accuse her of being irresponsible in her giving. Some would tell her that she needn’t bother herself with the offering as her two pennies wouldn’t help much anyway. But in doing so they would cut her off from her reward! God promises to reward the diligent givers. Why would we think he wouldn’t.

As we look at Jesus’ sacrifice this week let us also recognize that the Kingdom demands that little people, people who are not independently wealthy, must have a part in giving to the Kingdoms advance. If we truly understood that we would likely be giving a little irresponsibly as an act of worship.

To Whom do you Belong?

19  The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 
20  So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 
21  So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 
22  Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 
23  But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 
24  “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 
25  He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 
26  And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. – Luke 20:19-26 (ESV)

Whenever I hear someone quote this verse it usually has to do with paying taxes to the government here on earth. That is, of course, a good and fine thing to do. Certainly these words of Jesus can be interpreted to be a reminder to be good citizens in handing over to the government what belongs, by law, to them. But in reading this verse in that fashion we miss Jesus main point

Political discussions are replete with offensive and divisive comments regarding the scandals of the day. Yet, we need to see that the scripture here clearly tells us that these were not sincere concerns of dedicated citizens. These were trick questions to trip up the Savior. Jesus answers directly but turns the whole discussion to something even more scandalous. The scandal that Jesus mentions is a scandal of the soul.

The issue at hand is that the people of God are not giving to God what truly belongs to Him! We attend service each Sunday and think that we are doing well. We give in the basket each time the offering comes around assuaging our consciences that we acting rightly. But Jesus reminds us that God wants more than our time, more than our money, God want to be the Lord of your life. He wants to be the Lord now; not at an altar years ago; not back when you were emotionally upset, lost and broken; not on Sundays and Wednesday nights. He is your fulltime Savior and deserves a fulltime surrender.
Please give Him what is rightfully His.

Begin today.

Praising Stones

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 
29  When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 
30  saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 
31  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 
32  So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 
33  And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 
34  And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 
35  And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 
36  And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 
37  As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 
38  saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 
39  And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 
40  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – Luke 19:28-40 (ESV)

Jesus heads for Jerusalem. He knows full well what is waiting for him there. God has revealed it to him and he has shared it with his closest followers. As he turns the corner on the mountain descending into Jerusalem he hears the accolades from the crowd. He hears the praise he is so deserving of. He is the “Blessed King” who comes in the name of the Lord. He is on mission, though many in his day and time could not see or understand the mission. So great is the sacrifice, so great is the love of God for mankind, that Jesus says the “stones would cry out” if the disciples fail to praise him.

At the foot of Sinai stones marked the tribes reception of the covenant. On the bank of the river stones bear testimony to Israel’s great founding deliverance from Egypt. So, too, would the stones cry out the testimony of the Greatest Gift. Yet singing stones was not God’s desire, he would have rather had us be unified as “living Stones” (1 Peter 2.4).

We are called to praise him 1 Peter continues (verse 9) “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”. Yes, today is the Lord’s day and we will lift our voices to sing praises to him. But what about the other days this week? Will you be a “Living Stone” that will praise Him who gave such a wonderful love at such a high cost?

Holy Week 2017

Easter Slide-3Hey CLC!

This Holy Week (2017) we are looking in the Gospel of Luke. As we direct our thoughts toward the great sacrifice of our Savior we are made aware of many things. We come face to face with the price of our salvation, we are humbled as we see the depravity of our own sinfulness, we are overwhelmed with joy as we discover afresh the amazing love of God. Would you start each day in prayer and the Word this week that we may become unified in the image of the Son?

Lord, help us to grow into the fullness of Christ.

Pastor Dave.

Why Wednesdays?

Here at CLC we have a midweek service on Wednesday evenings. It is not the same as Sunday morning services. Sunday mornings we hope that there is information, inspiration, and importation in the various ministries that happen in our building. But Wednesday evenings are different. So, why Wednesdays?

Although it is often a significant time investment to attend Wednesday night services, we think it is worth it for the following reasons…

Programs for Children and Youth

The statistics are scary but our young people are being formed right in front of us. When parents come home from work in the evening they are often too tired to remember that their children are being shaped and molded by those people of influence in their lives. Children 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of a TV. There is little doubt that they will be picking up the values that are being taught and presented as they are baptized into the philosophies of TV land. From primary grades on there is another 35 hours a week that are influencing and shaping our children. How can we ever imagine our children will pick up the values of our Christian homes by sending them to Children’s Church for 1 ½ hours each week? Granted, the parents are supposed to be praying and demonstrating the Christian way of life for their children at home but even the best parent gets too weary to do a family devotion each night of the week. 

Wednesday nights at CLC has a program for every age. Ministry happens at each age level, reinforcing those timeless Christian truths and moral values that are ignored or, worse, countermanded in the schools. Of course, schedules demand that our kids need to be home for bed so we try to be ready to leave at 8:30 pm each Wednesday evening. Please consider your child’s spiritual growth as you think about attending Wednesdays.

Discipleship for Adults

While the children and youth are learning at their level, we adults are spending time learning the Word. Wednesday nights is not simply another sermon. Each message is picked out with the idea that a teaching will be able to go a little deeper on Wednesday night. The teaching is preceded by a time of Worship, and usually there is a Going Deeper portion (on the Web) to further your study of the scriptures at home. Topics that have been recently addressed have been the Second Coming of Jesus, What the Bible says about sex, and the Heart of a Minister.These are three examples of teachings that wouldn’t have been able to be addressed as deeply except on a Wednesday night. Your spiritual growth is valuable too!

Times of Coporate Prayer

There is always a time for prayer over those issues that have sprung up in our lives. Crisis really doesn’t care what time of the day or night it is when it arrives. You can always find a brother or sister to pray with you during your time of need. Similarly, there is always a need for people like you to minister to the brothers and sisters around you. We need each other and we need to grow in knowledge and in the use of the spiritual gifts.


So we really hope that you will think about Wednesday’s and make a concerted effort to choose to come out. We know that schedules are challenging and getting dinner on the table can be a hassle too. But we think it is worth it… eternally.

Pastor Dave.

Going Deeper on Spiritual Gifts


The Message Of Wisdom:

This gift is a revelation of divine counsel. It gives supernatural insight into some particular need or problem and brings practical application of God’s Word. It does not come through our meditation or preparation, but comes directly from the Holy Spirit (Luke 21:13–15). When the Holy Spirit dispenses a message of wisdom a limited but adequate portion of insight is given to meet the specific need.

The gift does not raise us to a new level of wisdom, nor does it prevent our making future mistakes. It only allows us to temporarily draw on God’s unlimited storehouse for the situation at hand (Romans 11:33).

It may bring guidance to the assembly of believers, as in Acts 6:2–4; 15:13–21. It may give wisdom against adversaries (Luke 21:15), as in the case of the apostles and Stephen (Acts 4:8–14,19–21; 6:9–10).

We must not depend on human wisdom for the work of God or to develop our faith (1 Corinthians 2:5). If we lack wisdom we are to ask God for it (James 1:5).

Message Of Knowledge:

This gift gives divine insight into the truth of the gospel and its application to Christian living. It goes beyond what our own study of the Word can bring. As Paul says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Many believe it may also include a partial revelation of God’s secret knowledge of the plans or actions of others. An example of this may be seen in the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–10). However, nothing in the Bible indicates a message of knowledge is meant to reveal where to find lost articles or what disease or sin a person may be suffering from—though the Spirit can reveal these things according to His sovereign will.


Faith as a gift is not saving faith. It is a miraculous faith that meets unusual opportunities, as did the heroes of Hebrews 11 and as Elijah did when he confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:33–40). It can also include the ability to communicate or build faith in others, as Paul did when the ship was about to be wrecked at the Island of Malta (Acts 27:25). This he often did (2 Corinthians 3:4–6).

Gifts Of Healing:

In the Book of Acts miraculous healings caused many to turn to the Lord for salvation. Both “gifts” and “healings” are plural in the Greek (the original language in which the New Testament was written), thus there is not one “gift” of healing but many to meet all kinds of sickness and disease. The gift of healing is not for the one who ministers the gift. It is for the sick person—the one who receives the gift. When Peter said to the lame man “what I have I give you” (Acts 3:6), he meant the Spirit was giving him a specific gift of healing to give the lame man. The Spirit did not give Peter a reservoir of healing gifts in himself. He had to look to the Lord and receive from the Spirit a new gift for each sick person who was healed. Peter recognized also that God is the Healer and He alone must receive the glory (Acts 3:12–16; Exodus 15:26). The Spirit will also encourage an atmosphere of faith, love and acceptance that will help the sick person to receive.

Miraculous Powers:

These deeds of mighty supernatural power produce results that glorify God and defeat Satan. Miracles are distinguished from healings in that miracles include a demonstration of God’s power in an unusual measure beyond the physical body. This can include spiritual deliverance from demonic forces, physical deliverance of God’s people in ominous life-threatening situations (Acts 12:6-19), a positive change of favor in the midst of difficult circumstances, and timely provisions for human need (Matthew 14:13-21).


To prophesy means to speak for God. The gift has a threefold purpose: “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3–4). This “edifies the church” (Acts 15:32). In Acts, those regularly used in this gift were called prophets. However, the Holy Spirit can use any believer. Every manifestation of this gift must be weighed by other members of the congregation to see whether it is in line with Scripture and to determine what God wants us to do concerning the prophetic message (1 Corinthians 14:29).

Distinguishing Between Spirits:

Gifts of distinguishing between spirits may be given in a variety of ways. Sometimes it may be used to “judge” or “weigh” prophecies. Sometimes it may be the means of protecting us from satanic deceptions. John warns us not to believe every spirit, but to test them “to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Some manifestations come from the human spirit, some from demon spirits. The Holy Spirit can show us the difference. This does not mean one can go around announcing what spirit is in each person. The Holy Spirit gives the gift on specific occasions when it is needed.

Tongues And Interpretation:

Tongues are Spirit-directed languages from heaven. They are unknown, even to the one who speaks them. When people speak in tongues the Holy Spirit anoints them and they are spiritually edified (strengthened and built up) through union with God. This edification happens without one ever knowing what is said. Such edification is experienced individually by the one who prays in tongues.

The Holy Spirit edifies the church body of believers much differently. For the entire group of believers to be edified, tongues must be followed with an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:4). The interpretation of tongues is given in the language of the congregation. It encourages the people and moves them to praise and worship the Lord. The interpretation is not necessarily word for word. Rather it expresses what the Spirit is saying in a way that is clear and understood by all. This is necessary in any translation. For example, Psalm 23:1 is only four words in Hebrew, but it consists of nine words in English in the King James Version and eleven words in the New International Version.

Some say the gift of tongues is not important for it is mentioned last. However, the order in the various lists is not always the same. All the gifts are important.
The apostle Paul did not neglect tongues for he said, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:18). In the same chapter he also said, “Do not forbid speaking in tongues” (14:39). Paul asked only that “everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” in the worship service (14:40).

The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation emphasizes that God is a speaking God. Perhaps that is one reason why Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 gives so much attention to tongues, interpretation, and prophecy, with special emphasis on the importance and value of prophecy to edify the believers and touch the hearts of unbelievers. That is what happened when Peter stood up to speak on the Day of Pentecost. He spoke as he was inspired by the Spirit. Peter didn’t prepare or develop the message beforehand. The Holy Spirit spoke through him as a gift of prophecy. As a result 3,000 were saved and added to the Church.

Filled with the Spirit

I heard an interesting story the other day. The story was of a Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, CA on New Years Day. A beautiful float was coming down the parade route when it sputtered and ran out of gas. The Parade was temporarily halted and team members scrambled to get a gallon of gas of to the float to get it moving again. Ironically the float was representing the Standard Oil Company. In spite the availability of plenty of gas the float had died due to a lack of maintenance.

Christians need to maintain their lives as well. The Bible commands followers of Jesus to live “filled with the Spirit”. From the following verses we can see that living a life with the intellectual knowledge of Jesus without a spiritual surrender is unacceptable.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.                  –  Ephesians 5:18       

Under the Influence. In the verse above, living full of the Spirit is contrasted with drunkenness. Why does God use that comparison? Just as alcohol consumption affects every aspect of our bodies (our vision, our hand eye coordination, our judgment, our speech, etc) so also does the Holy Spirit. There should be a sense in which we are “under the influence” of the Spirit in our everyday lives!

Repetition. Being filled with the Spirit is an experience that was replicated again and again in the book of Acts. Those first believers were filled over and over again (Acts 2.4; 4.8,31; 6.5;7.55;11.24;13.9, etc) The tense of the verb ‘to be filled’ in Ephesians 5.18 connotes a constant refilling. Believers often call this the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. No doubt the initial experience is certainly referred to in Scripture by this term. But constantly refilling so that the believer is “full” of the Holy Spirit is due maintenance of the Christian Life.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. – Luke 24.49

Essentiality. What does Jesus tell us about the Holy Spirit in Luke 24.49? That being filled is so essential that he must request that we not do the works of evangelism, healing, preaching or any other ministry without being full of the Spirit! God wants us to be active in the ministry but knows that the powers of darkness are supernaturally equipped and that the believer cannot withstand the enemies attack without the Spirit’s fullness.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. – Ephesians 6:10-18

Receiving the Spirit. So how do we receive the Holy Spirit? Every believer receives the Holy Spirit at his conversion. However, being ‘baptized in the Spirit’ and being filled with the Holy Spirit are subsequent to that initial experience of salvation . The simple answer is to ask in faith. Read what Jesus taught his disciples about the Holy Spirit in Luke 11.9-13.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13

 I urge you to begin seeking this experience with God by faith. Ask and trust that God wants you to receive the Holy Spirit. If you would like additional materials to study please feel free to leave a question in the comments below or contact me at dtinberg@berwynag.org.

Q&A with the Pastor.

Pastor Dave talked about the Ressurection of the Church and the Return of Christ this past Wednesday. Everything from pre-trib vs post-trib to what the rapture will look like (SPOILER** it’s not like a Nicholas Cage movie). 

This forum is a place for you to ask questions about a very controversial and confusing topic. So feel free to ask away and a pastor will comment back with an answer!