Pentecost

June 30, 2020

I have an anniversary coming up this week.  (Actually, it it today!)  July 2nd, 1976 is the day that I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  It was a life altering experience. Pentecost Sunday was actually a few weeks ago, but I thought that I would preach about Pentecost today.

I.  Baptized in the Holy Spirit:  Acts 1:4-8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,”He said,“you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall bewitnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit plays many roles in the world, especially in the life of a believer.  We would never be saved if the Holy Spirit did not speak to our hearts, to convict us of sin and convince us of the the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We recieve the Spirit into our hearts when we respond in faith to the message of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit guides us throughout our walk with Christ.  However, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a unique experience that is especially designed to empower the believer to be a witness for Jesus.  Now, we can be a witness without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we can be a more powerful witness with it.

II.  Pentecost Sunday:  Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

This first event on the day of Pentecost is the only time that the sound of the rushing wind and the tongues of fire appeared.  There are other instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon believers with the result of them speaking in tongues.  (See Acts chapters 10 & 19)  On this day the disciples went from hiding in fear to boldly proclaiming the gospel message.  It is recognized as the birthday of the church and is celebrated by all Christian denominations that utilize the church calendar.

III.  Need Strength?  I Corinthians 14:1-5

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Now, I recognize that these verses are speaking about the superiority of prophesy over tongues.  However, it also tells us something about speaking in tongues.  First, we are told that we are not speaking to people, but to God.  Some refer to it as the perfect prayer language.  It gives us the opportunity to pray without the barrier of human language.  When we don’t know how to pray, we can pray in tongues.

Secondly, we are told that the individual who prays in tongues edifies themselves.  Edify simply means to strengthen.  Even as we saw in Acts chapter one, the baptism in the Holy Spirit provides power to the believer.

IV.  Just Ask:  Luke 11:9-13

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is available simply by asking.  You don’t have to be in a church service, a camp meeting or at an evangelistic crusade.  Wherever you are, God can hear your prayers.

Sometimes, it happens very quickly, other times a person must linger in prayer for quite a while.  Sometimes people will have to ask for it several times.  People have many different experiences of how they receive the Baptism.

Once a person receives the Baptism, it is meant to be used.  It should become a regular part of our devotional time.  We should pray in our native language, we should pray in tongues.  We should sing in our native language, we should sing in tongues.

It is is gift that God has for His children.  It is meant to be used.

But you have to ask for it.

 

These are the notes from the message that I preached on 6/28/20.  You can watch the message at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2718376931767504

All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

Joy Comes

May 21, 2020

Right now as this pandemic drags on for months, people are growing weary.  Many are struggling with depression.

There is hope.

I.  Laughing Will Come:  Job 8:21

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.

Job had experienced tremendous loss and suffering.  His friends did not offer much comfort, but this line really stood out to me.  I believe it to be true.  Our days of difficulty will come to an end some day.  There will again be a time of laughter and rejoicing.

We do not need to minimize the pain of the moment.  Right now, many are suffering, but there is hope for tomorrow.

II.  Joy Comes:  Psalms 30:5*

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Right now, things are still difficult for many people.  Things will get better.  We do not have to think of this as a single night, but rather as a period of time.

It is also not necessary to think of this as an act of God’s anger or judgment.  It could be judgment against sin, but it could also simply be a test.  What will we do during difficult days?  Will we give up?  Or will we trust God and wait for the morning to come

III.  Rejoice in the Lord  Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

These verses provide direction for how a believer should deal with difficult times.

First, we rejoice in the Lord.  God loves us and allows us the privilege of having fellowship with Him.  Nothing in this world compares to what it is like to spend time in the presence of God.  The more that we are able to be aware of His presence with us the less the troubles of this world will bother us.

Secondly, anything that does concern us, we can bring to God in prayer.  We know that He hears us and is able to help us.  We can trust Him.  God can give us the wisdom to know what we should do and the strength to do it.  He will also intervene on our behalf according to His will.  We should pray until the peace of God comes to our hearts.  It will come.

Third, look around you.  There is always something good to see.  This is not the same as closing our eyes to evil.  We pray about what is bad.  We take appropriate action to correct wrongs.  When that work is done, or when we simply need a break, we should look at the good.  Even in the midst of despair, there is beauty to be seen.

IV.  The Path of Life Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we follow God, it is a really good thing.  He will direct us through the difficulties of this life.

Life with God is a good thing.

Even in the days of darkness.

 

*This is the recommended memory verse for this week.  All scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisments that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

These are the sermon notes from the message I preached on 5/17/20.  If you want to view that message as it was preached, you can view it at:

 

Rest & Reconciliation

April 25, 2020

Many of the religions of the world are based in the actions that we take to find God.  In Christianity it is God who reaches out to us.  It is God who has fulfilled the requirements for reconciliation.  It is God who seeks to draw us into a relationship with Him.

I.  Rest:  Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

For some religions the quest to obtain our final goal is so difficult that it is believed to take many lives to obtain the goal.  In contrast, Jesus tells us that ‘His yoke is easy and His burden is light.’

For Christians salvation is freely offered to all who would believe in Jesus as the Christ who died for the sins of the world.  Many people are familiar with John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Salvation is the gift of God to us.  We simply need to believe.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

II.  Reconciliation:  II Corinthians 5:18-21

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We were separated from God by our sin, but God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins.  Because Christ has paid our debt, we can be reconciled with God.  This is a truly wonderful thing.  We have the ability to spend our lives in the presence of God.  We can walk with God throughout this life and into the next.

In addition, we have been give the privilege of representing God to the people of the world.  We are supposed to share the message of God’s love.  It is The Good News!  We do not have to be pastors or theologians.  We all can share the simple message of the love of God that He showed to the world through Jesus Christ.

III.  Relationship:  Revelations 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

This is one of my favorite verses.  ( I have many favorites!)  The door that Jesus is knocking on is the door of our heart.  This is not our physical heart but our inner self.  When we respond to Christ with faith He will enter our hearts by His Spirit.  This allows us to be in a wonderful relationship with God Himself.  His Spirit dwells in our hearts and we can develop that relationship over time.  There is truly nothing like it in this world!!

God loves you.

You do not need to be alone.

 

If you would like to view this message as it was preached it can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/571920860102011/

 

These are the sermon notes from 4/19/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

The Good Will Come

March 28, 2020

This is a new thing.  When I originally preached this message,  the only person in the room with me was my wife.  Our church is not allowed to meet due to the Covid 19 virus and so we went out on Facebook Live.  For my readers, you will have the opportunity for the first time to hear the original message and actually see the person who has been writing these posts.  I will include the link at the end of these notes. 

Our country is facing a difficult challenge.  The corona virus has made significant inroads into our country.  We are no longer able to hold our normal church meetings so we are coming to you from our living room on Facebook Live.

I.  God is Good:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

A.  God is Good:  Years ago I preached a message that would be very appropriate today.  The three main points were 1. God is Good 2.  Life Can Be Hard  3.  God is Still Good

I want to remind all of you, that God is still good!  Many of us have experienced that goodness time and time again.  In these challenging days, God is still good.  It is more important than ever that we turn our eyes upon Jesus, that we look to God for wisdom and strength.

B.  The Milk of the Word:  As we spend more time in our own homes than we have in a long time, use that time productively.  I encourage you to spend time in the Word of God.  God works in us by His Word and by His Spirit to transform us from what we were, to what we are meant to be.  It is an ongoing, life-long process.

This would be a good time to start memorizing scripture, if that is not already a part of your spiritual disciplines.  This week the memory verse is I Peter 2:2.  (listed above)  This practice can be very beneficial in reducing stress and worry, both of which are increased during difficult times such as we currently face.

C.  Changed by God:  We are called to lay aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking.  When we encounter God through faith in Jesus Christ we are changed.  His Spirit does a miraculous work in us.  We do, however, need to cooperate with the process.  The old nature does not die easily and we must continue to guard against a resurrection of our old nature.

II.  You Be Good:  I Peter 2:13-17

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the kin

As Americans, we treasure our freedom.  As Christians we are free in Christ.  However, we should use that freedom to serve others.

Right now, across our country we are practicing various responses depending on our area.  Shelter in place, self-quarantine, social distancing, staying home if sick, washing our hands, and wiping down services has become the norm.

Follow the directions of the governmental leaders.  This is not the time nor the event at which to rebel.  We need to work together.  We need to each do our part.  God will help us.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should each do our part and we should pray for God to bless our efforts.

III.  Good Days Will Come:  I Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

As God’s people we can have confidence that we will again see good days.  We should maintain a good attitude throughout this event.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 ” The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should do what we can and pray for God’s help. 

In addition to the hope we have for tomorrow,  we can see the good in today.  Be thankful for what you have received.  I am reminded of the old song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Most of all we can be thankful for God’s presence in our lives.  God is with us today.  One day we will go to be with Him.

God is good.  Life can be hard.  God is still good.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/22/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

If you want to view the original message it can be viewed at the following link.


 

Out of the Darkness

March 4, 2020

Life is better with God.  I am firmly convinced that having God in our lives makes everything better.

I.  Change:  Titus 2:11-3:2

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

Grace:  We need to remember that we would still be lost if not for the grace of God.  God has reached out to us by His Spirit because of His love for us.

Change:  Once we respond to the grace of God we are changed.  This is both immediate and ongoing.  We are instantly changed into a new creation when the Spirit of God enters our heart through our faith in Jesus.  At that time our outward behavior will also begin to change.  God will work in us to change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

Hope:  One day Jesus will return for His people.  It is our hope that we will be with Him forever.  Either He will come for us, or we will go to Him.  Hope for a better tomorrow is a precious gift that God has given us and that we should share with those who may be hopeless.

Redemption:  We could not save ourselves.  We could not meet God’s standard.  We need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.  Jesus Christ has redeemed us by His death on the cross.  We remember this every time that we celebrate communion.

Obedience:  As God’s people we are to be obedient to God.  We are also to obey local authorities.  Christians should be good students, good employees and good citizens.

Good Works:  Christians should live lives that bring God glory, not shame.  We should continually be growing in our ability to live as God would desire us to live.

II.  Out of Darkness:  Titus 3:3-8

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

We Were:  We were in darkness.  We lived lives that were filled with sin and wrongdoing.  If we are honest, we will acknowledge that we still struggle to be the people that we are meant to be.  The old nature occasionally reappears.  We are not yet perfect, but we are being perfected.

God’s Grace:  God did not save us because we were good.  He saves us because He loves us in spite of our sins.

Others:  There are still people who are unsaved.  They are still in darkness.  God loves them.  God wants to reach them through us.  We should love them with God’s love.  We should reach out to them as God reached out to us.  ”

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. (John 3:16)

Share:  Let us share the message of grace, hope, love and salvation to all.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/1/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

You, the Church and Jesus

February 26, 2020

This mornings message begins, and ends, in I Timothy 3:14-16

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

I.  You

How we conduct ourselves matters!  Yes, we are saved by faith, not by works, but how we live matters.  James 2:17 says “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  A living faith will produce works.  A living faith will change our lives.  Our lives should change at home, at church and in the world.

Sometimes people act worse at home than they do in public.  The first place that we represent Christ is in our homes.  Our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents all should see the difference that Jesus can make in our lives.

In the church we need to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to love each other even in our differences.  The church should be a welcoming place where people are strengthened and encouraged in their faith.  We do not come together to bicker or fight or criticize each other.  We need to show each other the love of Christ.

When we are at school, or work or anywhere out in our community, we represent Christ.  People are watching.  Do they see Christ in us?

The scriptures have been written so that we may know how we are to conduct ourselves at home, in the church and in the world.  Are you reading the Bible?  The Bible is God’s Word to us.  We should read  it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and most importantly apply it to our lives.

II.  The Church

There are many types of churches but they all have one thing in common.  Matthew 18:20 reads “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

We are “the church of the living God”.  The name on the door is not nearly as important as the presence of the Holy Spirit.  God is not dead, as some have claimed.  He is alive and well and present wherever  two or three are gathered in His name.

A pillar provides support.  The church is to provide support for believers.  We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are family, and we are not supposed to be dysfunctional.

A church should be a place of truth.  As we read our scriptures, not everything is clear to us.  As we come together, we can discuss and occasionally debate, the meanings and application of the Word of God.  We can search for the truth together.

III.  Jesus

Really it is all about Him.  I Timothy 3:16 contains a very early statement of faith used by followers of Jesus.

God was manifiested in the flesh:  We celebrate this miracle every Christmas.  God became man and not just any man, but a baby born in a stable.  This is a true mystery.

Justified in the Spirit:  Justified doesn’t mean the same here as it does when applied to sinners.  In this case it means confirmed.  The Holy Spirit confirmed the truth of Jesus’ message by the signs and wonders that were done.

 Seen by angels: This may be a reference to the host of heaven that proclaimed Glory to God at His birth.

Preached among the Gentiles: This has lost a little of it’s force because the majority of us are Gentiles.  In the first century Gentiles might come to worship God, but the Jewish people did not seek to convert them.  The outreach to the Gentiles that began with Peter and was amplified through Paul was an important recognition that Christ is of the Jews, but He is the savior of the world.

Believed on in the world: Christ was preached throughout the Roman empire and there were many converts.

Received up in glory: Christ ascended into heaven.  One day He will return or we will go to Him.  One day we will join him in glory.

So, you, the church and Jesus.

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: (Jesus)

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

 

A Joyful Life

February 15, 2020

I generally don’t think of the scriptures in terms of favorites.  It is, after all, all God’s Word.  However, Philippians chapter four would be right up there towards the top if I did keep track of these things.

I.  Rejoice in the Lord:  Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

I believe that the Christian life can be marked by joy.  It is, after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  Here in Philippians we are told to rejoice in the Lord.  This is good advice.  We may not be able to always rejoice in our circumstances because life can be difficult, but we can always rejoice in the Lord.  His love for us is overwhelming and steadfast.  He is the rock of our salvation.

II.  Be Content:  Philippians 4:10-13

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to ]be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Many people like to quote verse thirteen.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is a wonderful verse, but we should recognize the context in which it is written.  Paul is speaking about being able to be content in any circumstance.  A key to finding joy in the Lord is being able to be content, even if our circumstances are not ideal.  God will take care of us.  We can trust Him.  We need to remember to view our lives from an eternal perspective.  Difficulties may last for a while, but God’s love is eternal.  The day will come when there will be no more tests or trials.  In the mean time we can be content in our circumstances.

There is a difference between contentment and complacency.  We can be content with where we are even as we work towards what we are meant to be.  Complacency lulls us into a lethargic state where we are ‘good enough’ where we are, even if it is not what we are meant to be.

III.  Giving:  Philippians 4:15-17

Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

If people are experiencing financial issues I ask them three questions:  Do you tithe?  Do you have a budget?  Do you understand the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’?  Malachi 3:10-11 talks of the blessings that God gives and the devourer that is turned away when we honor God with our tithes and offerings.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;

I have practiced tithing since I was sixteen.  God has always taken care of my family and I.  We have a budget that we follow that includes tithes and offerings.  If there are lean months, we reduce our spending in other areas, not in our tithes and offerings.  We also have a clear understanding of the difference between need and want.  God has always provided for our needs and many of our wants.

IV.  Provision:  Philippians 4:19

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This is this weeks memory verse.  Many people like to quote it.  It is important to recognize that it talks about our needs, not our wants.  It is also important to recognize that it follows talking about giving.  Some people think that they cannot afford to give anything.  Others recognize that they cannot afford not to give.  It is important that we be good stewards of what God gives to us.  That includes our finances.

People want to have joy in their lives.  I believe that there is a connection between joy, contentment and a life of giving.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/9/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any adds that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Stand Fast

February 8, 2020

We have been serving this church now for almost 29 years.  A lot has happened during those almost three decades.  A lot of good, and some things, not so good.  We are still here.  We are still standing.

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

I read this verse in my devotions recently.  It made me think of people whom I have known over the years.  Some have remained faithful to both God and this church.  Some have left the church, but remained faithful to God.  Some have left both the church and God.

I was then reminded of Galatians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

I am so grateful that our strength comes from God.  We do not have to fight this battle in our own strength.  We were never meant to do that.  God is our source of strength.  It becomes ever more evident as the years go by that God is the source of our strength to do His work.

People are not the enemy.  Actually, the battle is for the souls of people.  We must always keep in mind that no person who is still breathing is beyond the ability of God to touch their heart.  We are not fighting them.  We are fighting for them.

It is a spiritual battle.  I know some people who make it a regular part of their prayer time to spiritually put on the armor of God.  I do not have a problem with that practice.  If you have found it to be beneficial for you, by all means, continue the practice.  However, even though our battle is fought in the spiritual realm.  We live in the earthly realm.

In order to gird our waists with truth, we need to be people of truth.  This means that we need to learn what is the truth.  We need to speak the truth.  We need to live in the truth.  By the way, that applies to your income tax!  No cheating!!  Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we need to live righteous lives.  God will help us to learn what is right and to do what is right.  We will not be perfect, but we should be growing in righteousness.

We should be people of peace.  First, at peace with ourselves.  Then at peace with our families.  Then at peace with our neighbors, or co-workers and even with people of the opposing political party!  This can be challenging at times.  As much as you can, live at peace with all people.

The shield of faith is able to protect us against the attacks of the enemy.  We must be able to hold fast to the belief that God is able to deliver us.  That in the end we will win.  That God is able to make all things work out for good for those who believe in Him.

For quite a while a wondered about the helmet of salvation.  Then I remembered that at the core of our salvation is our relationship with God.  We have the Spirit of Christ within us.  We live in a relationship with God almighty.  Maintain that relationship through the standard Christian devotions of prayer, scripture and worship.

The sword is used both for defense and for offense.  I hope that you are regularly reading the Bible, studying  it, committing it to memory, and meditating on it.  It is ‘living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.”  (Hebrews 4:12)  We should watch for opportunities to share its truth with both believers and non-believers.  We can plant the seed of the word in our conversations.  God can then confirm that word by His spirit.

Finally, pray!  Pray about anything and everything!!  Prayer can accomplish more than we realize.  It is not our prayers, but the God who hears our prayers that makes the difference.  Yet God has directed us to do our part.  We are to pray, often, fervently, in faith believing that God is able to do even more than we ask or even think.

By the way, pray for me.  If you want to hear better messages in the future, pray harder!

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/2/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

Growing Up

February 1, 2020

Act your age!  I know that I heard that a few times growing up.  At the time it was quite effective.  I did not want to be perceived as acting childishly.  I wanted to be all grown up.  It is a sad thing when grown adults act as misbehaving children.

Ephesians 4:11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I.  Equipping the Saints

Some people thing that the work of ministry is to be done by the professional clergy.  That is not what the scripture says.  The primary focus of clergy, sometimes called the five-fold ministry, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, is to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry.   We all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.  No one is supposed to sit on the bench.  We all get to play, to make a contribution, to do our share of the work of the ministry, to edify, or strengthen the body of Christ.

II.  Goals

One goal that we are working towards is that of unity.  We have a long way to go.  The various churches, the various denominations are not meant to be working in competition with each other but rather in cooperation with each other.  There is only one Lord, one savior, one Jesus.

We should be growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I have been saved for a long time and a minister for over thirty years and I recognize that I am only beginning to know Jesus.

It is not just to know Jesus, we are meant to become like Him.  Again, if we are honest, we know that we have a long way to go.  Perfection is not obtainable in this life, but we should be growing in Christ, becoming more like Him, being perfected in Christ.

III.  Growing Up

Years ago, Amy Grant sang a song Fat Baby.  Some people found it offensive.  The truth often is.  We begin our faith as children, but we are to grow up in the faith, not to remain babes in Christ.

Sometimes this will involve ‘speaking the truth in love’.  This is a good thing.  It is also a challenging thing.  Sometimes we have truth.  Sometimes we have love.  Having both truth and love come out of our mouths is a wonderful thing.

Ephesians 4:29 says ”  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

May our words be words of truth, spoken in love, imparting grace.

IV.  Growing Out

When every part is doing it’s share, the body grows.  The growth of the body is both growing in maturity and growing in numbers.  A healthy church will have people in many different stages of development, from seekers and new Christians to those who are mature in Christ.

Are you doing your part?

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/26/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

The Heart of the Matter

January 25, 2020

King David is known to be a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that David was perfect.  Far from it.  He made several very large mistakes in his life.  So, what does it take to be a man after God’s own heart?

I.  A Tender Heart:  I Samuel 24:1-7

Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.

King Saul was looking for David to kill him.  David had an opportunity to kill King Saul.  Instead, he simply cut off a piece of his robe.  It would be evident that he had the opportunity to kill him, but had spared his life.  It was a good strategy.

David actually felt bad about cutting the edge of Saul’s robe.  He had a tender heart.  He knew that he was not to ‘lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed.’  In his eyes, even cutting Saul’s robe was wrong.

If only our hearts were that tender!  I am concerned that many of us have given in to sin so often that we are not even troubled by brazen acts of sin, much less, simply coming close.

II.  A Hardened Heart:  I Timothy 4:1-3

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

In order to depart from the faith, one must first have been a part of it.  I am concerned about how many of God’s people have fallen prey to deception.  Of course, if we are deceived, we do not know it.  I do believe that God will lead the heart that seeks Him to find Him.  How many though are lead astray by the desires of their own hearts?  How many refuse to listen to the ‘still, small voice’ of the Spirit that seeks to guide us into truth?  How many have their conscience seared, or hardened and are not even aware of the danger they are in?

May God be able to speak to our hearts, may we respond to His Spirit.  May our hearts be open to all that He has for us.

III.  A Condemned Heart:

Some have a different problem.  Even though they have asked God for forgiveness for their sins, they feel condemned in their heart.  They cannot seem to accept the forgiveness that God has for them.  Some people continue to feel guilty even though they have been forgiven.

Romans 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Some say that religion brings a sense of guilt.  That is not what it is meant to do.  We are told that if we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins.  (1 John 1:9)  We are set free.  Thank you Jesus!

IV.  A Clean Heart

David, after committing adultery and murder wrote a beautiful Psalm.  Psalms 51:10-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You

David repented of his sin.  God forgave him and restored him.

God will forgive and restore us as well.  His joy can be present in our lives once again.

We can share that hope with others.

These are the sermon notes from 1/19/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.