A New Life

September 29, 2014

I enjoy riding motorcycles.  The motorcycle that I now ride is over thirty years old.  If I had a new motorcycle I would only be able to ride one at a time.  If I were going on a trip, I could either ride the old bike or the new bike.  You cannot ride two motorcycles at the same time.

I.  Born Again:  John 3:3-8

 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The concept of being born again comes from this passage of scripture.  Nicodemus was obviously puzzled since it is obvious that a rebirth in the flesh is absurd.  The new birth is not a physical event, but a spiritual event.  We are born in the flesh, we must be born again in the spirit.  This happens when a person responds with repentance and faith to the message of Jesus Christ.  The message of the incarnate Christ who died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

People who have been born again should be guided by the Spirit.  It is a new life in Christ.  The guidance of the Spirit will make a difference in our lives that can be seen, but may not be understood.

II.  God Loved:  John 3:14-19

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

God loves the world.  By this is meant that God loves the people of this world.  All of us.  God loves,  and so He gave.  He gave Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins.  We are called to believe.  In believing we enter into a new relationship with God.  We respond to the gospel message with repentance and faith and He sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts.  It is when the Spirit enters our hearts that we are born again.  Born of the Spirit. It is a new life in Christ.

Some do not believe.  Some will reject the message of the love of God in Jesus.  They will be condemned, not just because they have sinned, but because they have rejected the only remedy for their sin.  If there was another way, then Jesus would not have had to give His life.  If Jesus did not have to give His life, then why would He?  Jesus is the only way of salvation, but some reject that offer of the love of God.  They will not give up their old life of sin for a new life in Christ.

III.  Serve Christ:  John 12:23-26

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Jesus gave His life so that we might have new life.  We cannot have a new life in Christ without first letting go of the old life.  We must let go of our old life so that we can take hold of our new life in Christ.  God has a plan for us.  It is a good plan.  We can trust Him.  We should give our lives to Him and let Him make of us what He wants us to be.

We can either live our old life, or the new life that we have in Christ.  We cannot do both.

These are the sermon notes from 9/21/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Call to Holiness

September 25, 2014

While reading in Leviticus in my devotions I was struck once again with the call to holiness.  God is holy.  We are called to be holy, but, what is holiness?

I.  A Holy God:  Leviticus 10:1-3

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:

‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’”

So Aaron held his peace.

What had Nadab and Abihu done wrong?  One of the jobs of the priests was to burn incense before the Lord, so why was this a problem?  Simply because God had not commanded it.  Apparently the priests were to do as God commanded, and no more.  The penalty for their sin was instant death.  God emphasized the need for obedience to His commands.  This message is not taught much today.  It is too harsh.  It is too judgmental.  We prefer the message of love, mercy and compassion.  I am concerned that our emphasis on these qualities of God have caused us to neglect the aspects of holiness, judgement and even wrath.  All of which are also qualities of God.

II.  Distinguish and Teach:  Leviticus 10:8-11

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

I remember one time, while I was a part of a denomination that approved of drinking in moderation, while I was serving in the Marine Corps, I returned to the barracks after an evening spent at a bar.  I had kept my drinks to less than one an hour and did not consider myself drunk.  There was another marine that started to talk to me about my faith.  It bothered me to think that I might not be able to adequately represent Christ at that time because of the influence of alcohol.  I did not feel good about myself or my witness, in that situation.  I have since come to the conclusion that I would rather have my senses sharp and my mind clear.  It has been many years since my last drink of alcohol.

Aaron and his sons were to distinguish between the holy and unholy, between the clean and the unclean.  Then they were to teach the people.  As Christians, we are called to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, and then to teach others.  This was, and is, a serious charge.

III.  Holiness:

Leviticus 11:45  For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 19:1-2  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Leviticus 20:7-8  Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

You might say at this point that these verses are all very good but that they are all a part of the Mosaic law from which we have been set free.  So here are some verses from the New Testament.

I Peter 1:15-16   but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Hebrews 12:14   Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

I certainly hope to see the Lord one day and so will continue the pursuit of holiness.  Now I know that we are forgiven, and that we are saved because of the righteousness of Christ, but I think that we should seriously consider the call to holiness and what it means for our lives.

IV.  Love

Sometimes people have made the call to holiness into a list of dos and don’t.  People who get too caught up in this line of thinking may become self-righteous and judgmental.  I would suggest that the starting point for holiness is a call to love.

Matthew 22:36-40

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are first and foremost to love God and to love people.  Let that be the primary focus of our call to holiness.

I would also add that we should develop a love for the Word of God.  Psalms 119:11

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

We are called to be a holy people.  If we pursue a love for God, a love for people, and a love for the Word of God, we will be on the right track.

These are the sermon notes from 9/14/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

Stand Firm in Your Faith

September 15, 2014

Sometimes the world around us can be pretty tempting.  If we are not careful we can easily fall into the way of the world, thinking that what we see with the eyes of the flesh is more important than the world of the spirit.

I.  Within You:  Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus were looking for a messiah who would restore the autonomy of the kingdom of Israel.  They were tired of being under the rule of the Romans and longed for independence.  In these verses above we are told that the kingdom of God is within us.  It is not a kingdom of this world. Jesus acknowledged to Pilate that He was a king, but that His kingdom was not of this world.  We are told by Paul that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  That we wrestle not with flesh and blood.  It is a spiritual battle, a battle not based in the material world of the flesh, but in the non-material world of the spirit.

II.  Serve God or Money:  Luke 16:13

 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mammon is not a word that is commonly used today.  It basically means money.  You cannot serve God and money.  It is not that money is important, it is that it is not more important than God.  God must be first.  We live in this material world, but the non-material world of the spirit is, and must be, more important to us.  We cannot serve God and the world.  Only one thing can be our top priority, and that must be God.

III.  Giving Offense:  Luke 17:1-4

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Take heed to yourselves.  Be careful that the things that we say and the life that we lead does not become a stumbling block to others in their faith.  If someone sins against us, we can rebuke them.  If they repent, we must forgive them.

IV.  Sifted:  Luke 22:31-32

 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Like Simon, our faith may be sifted, or tried, by events in this life.  If we do fail, it does not have to be permanent.  We can repent and be restored.  We should encourage others who go through trials, and occasionally fail, that momentary failure does not have to be permanent separation.  Of course, the goal is to pass the test, standing firm in our faith.

As we seek to be faithful servants of the kingdom of God, we should steadfastly give God priority in our lives.  We should seek to live lives that will encourage others in their faith and not be a hindrance to them.  We should forgive those who have wronged us even as we trust that God will forgive us.

These are the sermon notes from 9/7/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Building A Storm-Proof Life

September 11, 2014

Have you ever encountered a disaster?  Something that you were trying to accomplish that completely fell apart?  God gives us some basic directions about how we can keep our lives from falling apart.

I.  Bear Good Fruit:  Luke 6:43-45

 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

A.  Bear Good Fruit

What is good fruit?  How can we know if our lives are bearing good fruit?  Galatians 5:22-23 tells us about the fruit of the Spirit.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

This is contrasted with the deeds of the flesh found in Galatians 5:19-21.

 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So a rather simple examination of our lives can tell us if the fruit of the Spirit is evident and growing or if we are mired in the deeds of the flesh.  We should seek to weed out the          deeds of the flesh and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit.

B.  From the Heart

The development of the fruit of the Spirit is not something that we seek to force upon the outside.   We should develop a love for God and for people.  This should originate in our relationship with God that originates in our hearts.  This growing relationship with God will do a transformational work within us.  It is change from the inside out, not from the outside in.

II.  A Solid Foundation:  Luke 6:46-49

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

Obeying the commandments of God are the key to building a stable, successful life.  Christians will still encounter the storms of life, but their “house” will stand solid if it is built on the rock of Jesus Christ.

If we have heard, but do not obey, the teaching of Christ, then when the storms come, our lives will fall apart.

III.  Take Up Your Cross:  Luke 9:23-26

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him.  If we seek our own goals and pleasures we will ultimately lose.  We should seek to fulfill God’s plan for our life.  In following God’s plan we will ultimately save our life.  Daily we should say “not my will, but thine be done”.  

IV.  Life:  Luke 9:56

For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

We can trust God with our lives.  He is good to His people.

John 10:10 says:

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

May our lives be given over to God, so that He may do a work in our hearts, transforming us into the people of God.  May our lives bear the fruit of righteousness as we live in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  That is how we can truly live an abundant life in Him, a life that will be storm-proof.

These are the sermon notes from 8/31/14.  Any advertisements that may appear have been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

A Little Help Please

September 4, 2014

Many of us celebrate our independence.  We like to be able to handle our problems by ourselves.   There are times however, when we need a little help from our friends.

I.  Sometimes We Know:  Exodus 17:8-13

Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

In this battle there were many roles to be filled.  Moses had to hold up his staff.  Aaron and Hur supported the hands of Moses.  Joshua was the battle leader.  Some men were selected to go into combat.  Each one was important.  Moses realized very quickly that he could not hold up the rod of God by himself.  It became evident that as his hand lowered Amalek prevailed. So he sat on the rock and Aaron and Hur supported his hands.  The problem was solved with a little help, and the battle was won.

Sometimes we know that we need help.

II.  Sometimes Others Know:  Exodus 18:13-24

And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”

24 So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

Sometimes we try to do more than we should do on our own.  We may not even be aware that what we are doing is not good for us, or for those whom we are serving.  There are times that we need help, but we do not recognize it.  May God give us wisdom to know when we need help, or may God bring along someone to speak truth into our lives.  May we be willing to listen to the godly council of others so that we may not bear the burden alone.

III.  All Together Now:  I Corinthians 12:12-18

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

Together we can accomplish the work of God.  We each have a task to perform and each one is important.  We are not in competition with each other, we are working together to build the kingdom of God.

May we each do our part, and may we accept a little help from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

These are the sermon notes from 8/24/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

God is Able

August 25, 2014

The children of Israel had been permitted to leave Egypt.  Then the reality of what effect the loss of all those laborers would be came into focus, and Pharaoh sent the army to bring them back.

I.  Deliverance:  Exodus 15:20-21

Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them:

“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”

When the Egyptian army caught up to Israel, God, whose presence in their midst was seen by a column of smoke went between the Egyptians and the Israelites.  This prevented the Egyptians from pursuing the Israelites.  While  they were delayed by the cloud, God parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through on dry land.  After they were through the sea, the cloud lifted and the Egyptians could see where the Israelites had gone.  They followed the Israelites,  going into the divided waters.  Once they were in the midst of the sea, they began to have problems with their chariots and realized, too late, that they were in trouble.  God allowed the waters to return to their normal place, and the Egyptians were drowned.

Psalms 28:7 tells us:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

If God is our shield, then the only things that are able to get through to us from the outside, is what God allows to come through.  Why is is that bad things happen to us if God is our shield?

One reason is the natural consequences of bad choices.  God has given us free will and that means that we do not always do what God would want us to do.  With freedom comes responsibility, and sometimes the bad things that happen to us are our own fault.  Sometimes God will protect us from our stupidity, and sometimes He does not.

Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to us to test our faith.  It is easy to say that we trust God when everything is wonderful, but can we trust Him when our world is falling apart?

Sometimes God is trying to get our attention.  Perhaps we have not been listening to the still small voice, and God uses trials to get us to refocus our attention on Him.

Sometimes bad things happen because how we handle them can be a testimony to the world of the difference that Christ makes in our lives.

God is our shield.  We can trust Him.  God is able to deliver us.

II.  Provision:  Exodus 15:22-25a

 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.[a] 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

 

God is able to provide.  The Israelites were a large body of people traveling through the wilderness.  God regularly provided manna for them to eat, and water for them to drink.  Their needs were met, yet they frequently grumbled.  They did not trust God to provide for them, and they frequently complained about what God did provide.  

Psalms 37:4 says

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

If we are willing to put God first, then He will provide for us.  If we delight ourselves in Him, then our lives will be filled with the goodness of God.  It is important that we keep God first in our lives.

III.  Obedience:  Exodus 15: 25b-26

There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

If we truly believe that God is God, then we should be obedient to Him.  Yet, even the most avid believers are not always obedient.  We all sin.  We fail the test of obedience.  This does not mean that we completely give up and live a sinful life, but it does demonstrate that we need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.

Once we have entered a relationship with Jesus.  We are forgiven and God begins the process of cleansing us, making us more like Him.  That is a lifelong process.

God is able to save us.

God is able to change us.

God is able to work both in us, and through us.

God is able.

These are the sermon notes from 8/17/14.  Any advertisement that may appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

The End of the Age

August 18, 2014

Since I was a youngster, I have heard people talking about the return of Christ.  Certainly it is an important topic.

Mark 13:5-13

Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

Jesus answers this question in a typically prophetic manner.  By this I mean that there is a mixture of discourse about events that are relatively soon, the destruction of the temple, and events that are further off, the end of the age.

I.  Warning!  Mark 13:5-13

And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

A.  Do not be deceived.  The enemy will try to turn us away from the true faith.  The way to avoid deception is to study the Bible.  It is God’s Word to us and is the source of truth. We should read, and re-read, again and again, the Bible.  We should pray and ask God to help us understand.  We should talk with others, study, and make the pursuit of the knowledge of God through the scriptures a priority in our lives.

B.  The gospel must be preached in all the world.  The Assemblies of God has identified what they call unreached people groups.  They are working hard to bring the gospel to all the world.  They are not alone.  God works through many means to spread His gospel.

C.  The Holy Spirit speaks through us.  This is not just pastors and other professional religious leaders.  God can us all of us.  Many of us have had the experience of having a conversation when we can sense the Holy Spirit speaking through us.  It is a wonderful thing to be led by the Spirit in those moments.  When we are led by the Spirit, we are more effective than if we had spent hours in planning.

In verses 14-27 Jesus speaks about a mixture of events that will occur including the destruction of the temple, and during the tribulation, and the final return.  The message today is not focusing on these details which are addressed in many books and messages.

II.  Near and Far:  Mark 13:28-31

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

A.  It is near.  One of the things that I find most fascinating about the predictions of the Lord’s return is that it is worded in such a way that each generation of believers has sensed that the end was near.  I believe that this was intentional.  We are meant to live in an expectancy of the the Lord’s return.

B.  This generation is a Greek word that can mean either generation, or race.  Many scholars believe that a generation is about forty years.  The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and the ministry of Jesus was about 30-33 AD so, a generation before the destruction of the temple is about right.  However, if the reference is not meant to refer to the destruction of the temple but rather the end of the age, the the meaning of race is more appropriate.  The Jewish people managed to survive as a people for almost two thousand years without a homeland.  That is a remarkable feat.

C.  Heaven and earth will pass away.  Some groups teach that this world will be renewed.  I believe that it will be replaced.

D.  Even though this world will pass away and everything will change, the Word of God will not pass away.  It is eternal.

III.  Watch!  Mark 13:32-37

 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

We are not able to predict the day or the hour.  The important thing is to know that it is coming, and to be ready.

Do not be deceived.  Christ will one day return for his people.

If it were today, are you ready?

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/10/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

Walk With God

August 12, 2014

I really, really appreciate the knowledge that God is with us always.  Our journey through life can be described as a walk with God.

Genesis 48:15-16

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said:

“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

I) Our Walk With God

In his prayer Jacob referred to Abraham and Isaac walking before God.  There are other expressions that are used to describe our relationship with God.

Genesis 5:24

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

We do not know much about Enoch, except that he walked with God.  I really like the idea that Enoch drew so close to God, that God simply took him into heaven.  Unless we have walked on into heaven like Enoch, there is still room for growth.

John 14:16-17

 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

One of the words used for the Holy Spirit is the Greek word paraclete which means ‘one who comes alongside’.  The Holy Spirit comes alongside us as we go through this life.  Indeed, the Holy Spirit dwells with us and will be in us, so that we can truly say that we walk with God.

Galatians 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The challenge is to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  Even though we are born-again Christians, we still have struggles in the flesh.  We need to learn to be led by the Spirit, not by the flesh.  It is a life-long learning process.

II.  God Will Provide

Psalms 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

In Jacob’s prayer he makes reference to God’s provision for him throughout his life.  He did not mention that God had made him rich, he simply thanked him for his provision.

I Timothy 6:8

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

I am concerned for Christians in America.  I am concerned that we are having a love affair with the things of the world.  God has blessed us and we are finding far too much joy in the material world and it is causing us to lose our focus.  Instead of praying for material blessings, we should seek to be a blessing to those around us both materially and more importantly, spiritually.  We have lost the ability to be content, and constantly want something more, or better.  We need to learn to be content.

I Timothy 6:6

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

Instead of seeking material gain, we should be seeking to grow in godliness.

God will provide for us…but will we be content with the provision of God?

III.  Redeemed From Evil

Ephesians 2:1

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

The most important redemption that God has provided for us in our forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.  There is nothing more important than that gift.

Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

God will both guide us through this life, and protect us from evil.  If we are walking with God we have nothing to fear….ever.  There may be difficult times, but God will be with us, see us through to the end, and in the end…we win.

Let us continue to walk with God throughout this life.  We can place our trust in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 8/3/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

God Will Provide

August 7, 2014

My wife and I recently returned from our vacation.  On this vacation we took our 1983 Yamaha Venture motorcycle on a tour of national parks in the west.  We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.  We put over 3000 miles on the bike and had a wonderful trip.  A couple of days after returning home, I had dropped Gloria off at Walmart and was headed to the school.  There was a flash and a puff of smoke from up near the battery compartment of the motorcycle.  I immediately pulled over and shut off the engine.  Then I pushed the bike a short distance up to a side road so that I would not have to deal with traffic.  I removed the cover and looked down at some charred wires.  Meanwhile, a man who had been cutting the grass on the property where I stopped came up and introduced himself.  He was a former motorcycle mechanic who looked over my bike, disconnected a wire he said I didn’t need, changed a fuse, and I was on my way.  I believe that those wires could have shorted out any time on our trip, but God arranged for them to short out at the right time for me to have help immediately available.

God will provide.

I.  Abraham:  Genesis 22:1-14

 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

We recognize that the near sacrifice of Isaac is meant to be a symbol of the sacrifice that God would make of His only begotten son, Jesus.

God will provide.  He provides for our redemption through “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” .  He will certainly provide for our needs.   We can trust Him.

II.  Isaac:  Genesis 24: 7, 12-19

The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there…

 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”

15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”

18 So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”

Abraham wanted a wife for his son from back home.  He sent his servant to get the job done.  Both Abraham and the servant trusted that God would provide the woman that was meant to be the wife of Isaac.  God directed things so that they worked out perfectly.  God is able to do things like that, not just in biblical times, but for us today.

III.  Jacob:

A.  Genesis 28:20-22

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Jacob left home and trusted that God would provide.  He also promised to give God a tenth of what God gave to him.

B.  Genesis 32:9-10

Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.

God richly blessed Jacob.  It had been many years but God had done far more than simply provide food to eat and clothes to wear.

Not all of us will be made materially rich, but God will provide for His people.  We can trust Him.

God will provide.

These are the sermon notes from 7/27/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.

Warning! Danger Ahead!!

July 28, 2014

Danger! Bridge Out!  Would you pay attention to a sign like this?  Probably so, but there are many other types of warnings that people routinely ignore.

I.  Warning!  Matthew 26:31-32

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:

‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Jesus knew what as going to happen on the night of his betrayal.  It was, in fact, a fulfillment of prophecy.  It was certainly going to happen.  When we receive warnings through the Word of God, we should take them very seriously.

II.  Pride:  Matthew 26:33-35

33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”

34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”

And so said all the disciples.

Peter, and the rest of the disciples did not believe that they would be made to stumble.  Surely, they would not fall into temptation.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

I Corinthians 10:12

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

We should take warnings seriously, recognizing that we too, can fall.

III.  The Fall:  Matthew 26:69-74

Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed

Peter did exactly what Jesus had said that he would do, he denied even knowing Jesus, not just once, but three times.

We are all capable of falling, making mistakes, of doing the wrong thing.  That is why it is so important that we listen to warnings, and pray that God will give us wisdom and strength to do the right things.  We do not do what is right in our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

IV.  Repentance:  Matthew 26:75

. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

True repentance involves both sorrow over the wrong that was committed, and a commitment to do what is right in the future.  It is a ‘turning away’ from sin.  God can give us the power to change, but we must want to change.  It is not necessarily easy, but it is possible.

V.  Restoration:  John 21:15-19

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

This passage has a number of meanings, but for today, we recognize that Peter had denied Christ three times, and now, three times is asked if he loved Christ.

If we fall away, we can be restored.

That doesn’t mean that we should intentionally fall away, counting on restoration, but it should console us that if we do stumble, we can get back up.

We should pay attention to warnings.  We too, can stumble and fall into sin.  If we do, God is willing to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  We can be restored and we can try again  to live as God would have us live.

These are the sermon notes from 7/20/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.


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