Articles Tagged with: Jesus


July 22nd, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland

    Willy Wonka is the character in Ronald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book was made into a movie in 1971, starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric owner of the chocolate factory who wants to give the factory away to some deserving young person. The movie was remade in 2005, starring Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka.

     Wonka hides five “Golden Tickets” among his famous “Wonka Bars.” The five children who find these golden tickets get to take a secret tour of his factory and receive a lifetime supply of chocolate. During the tour, Willie Wonka tempts each child to disobey his orders with something related to their individual character flaws.

     Charlie Bucket is pictured as a kind, brave, but poor young boy who wants to win the golden ticket more than anything else. Yet, when he gets into the chocolate factory, his vice is that he listens to “Grandpa Joe” in drinking the Fizzy Drink, breaking one of Wonka’s rules. He too is initially refused the grand prize, even though he was the only child who remains until the end.

     But, his redeeming virtue is that he apologizes to Willie Wonka at the end and returns the everlasting gobstopper given to him. That was enough for Willie Wonka and Charlie to win the grand prize – a lifetime supply of chocolate and ownership of the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory.

     Jesus’ system of ethics is based on His character, that is, the fact that He is the Son of God. As we study “Jesus Holds Your Golden Ticket to Heaven,” let’s look at a few facts – His perfect character, His perfect teachings, and His perfect example.


    Philippians 2:5-8 – In this passage, we see that Jesus led the life of a servant, a bond-servant. Today, we recognize that selflessness is one of the greatest virtues among men. Nobody likes selfishness. The whole world prefers selflessness in others. Jesus taught selflessness and He practiced a life of selflessness.

     The New Testament shows us that Jesus was perfect in His obedience, that is, He did not commit any sin. Think of that. He never had an evil thought. He never spoke an evil word. He never committed an evil act. He never went to an improper place. He never thought an irrational thought. He never taught anything false or misleading. He never had a bad attitude toward others. He never disobeyed the will of God in any way. He never made a false statement.

     We need a perfect standard, right? A standard which we can always use in every situation? A standard in which we can put our faith and confidence? A standard which never changes? Jesus is the standard in His character.


    The teachings of Jesus truly deal with what is the best for man, for him as an individual, for him socially, psychologically, and obviously eternally.  As we have said, the teachings of Jesus do not contain any false statement. They do not contain any illogical argument. Jesus holds before man the best challenge, to do and to be the best possible person he can do and be. He gives us, then, the highest motivation we can have to develop ourselves to the best of our ability – to serve the highest and greatest being of all – the Sovereign and Eternal God of heaven.


    Jesus left us an example that we should follow in His steps – 1 Peter 2:21.

     Jesus is our perfect example in practicing and preaching love for all mankind:

  1. For those who love us;
  2. For those who do not love us;
  3. For those who hate us;
  4. For those who strike us;
  5. For those who speak evil of us.

    Jesus is the perfect man. He is divine. He is perfect in character, perfect in example and perfect in His teachings. Now, we have a system of ethics which can help us make decisions in life.

     Pure and simply, Jesus holds your golden ticket to heavenand the key to living an abundant life here and now. Love Him; serve Him; obey Him.


February 16th, 2015 | By admin

by Paul Holland

John 12:23-33

     “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:24-26).


    The context of this statement is Jesus moving toward the cross. Non-Jews have stepped into the picture (verses 20-22) and asked if they could see Jesus.

     The brief sermon – we might call it a devotional – in verses 23-28 – are a call to Christ’s followers to deny themselves and follow Him, just as He is about to deny Himself in His effort to follow the Father.

    Observe verse 23 – ““The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Jesus, in fact, came to earth to bring glory and honor to His Father in Heaven. And He did that by serving Him.

     We are to glorify the Father and we do that by bearing fruit. Observe verse 24 where Jesus uses an illustration of the wheat. If the grain falls to the earth and dies, it is able to produce more wheat.

     The Swartz Creek church of Christ exists to glorify Jesus Christ by serving Him as He directs us.


    This idea of glorifying the Father involved self-sacrifice on the part of Jesus. Notice in verse 27: “Now is my soul troubled.” No doubt Jesus meditated on the sacrifice He was about to endure. Would Jesus ask the Father to keep Him from sacrificing Himself? No. Not if that’s what serving the Father involved. Jesus goes on to say: “But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”

     Now that He was at the cross, is He going to somehow stop the whole forward momentum of God’s eternal plan just because His soul was troubled? Certainly not. That’s when you learn if you are really in the business of serving God.

     We glorify God by sacrificing ourselves on the altar of service to Him. Notice verse 25: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” This leads us to the last point…


Jesus interprets the message from the Father to the audience (vs 30). The coming crucifixion was not going to be judgment on the Son, Jesus Christ, for His sins. The subsequent resurrection would be a glorification of the Son for His willingness to die for our sins!

We must die to self if we are to glorify Jesus Christ. This self-sacrifice carries with it a more intense picture ofdying to self. The picture of the grain of wheat in verse 24 suggests dying to self. The idea of losing our life in verse 25 suggests dying to self. The ideas of serving Christ and following Him in verse 26 suggests the idea of dying to self.

     We will bear fruit and the Swartz Creek church of Christ will continue to grow, to touch the lives of other people through our works and ministries, and lead the lost to Christ, to understand and obey the Gospel, if we will sacrifice ourselves on the altar of service to God.

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