Live By Faith

January 18, 2017

If we are willing to let God guide our lives, the results will be pretty amazing.

I.  What Will He Say?  Habakkuk 2:1

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

Sometimes we need to stop moving.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to be very busy.  I always have stuff that should be done.  I have a list.  It’s long.  One of the most important things on that list is to pray.  In prayer, we are not to just bring a list of requests before God, we should take time to be still in His presence.  I remember, long ago, I was a tanker in the Marine Corps serving in Beirut.  I had guard duty every other day, six hours on, six hours off, two shifts, so twelve hours of guard duty every other day.  We were not located in an area with traffic and the threat level at the time was minimal, so there was lots of time to stand, pray and listen.  Sometimes I miss having those large chunks of time for prayer.

It is good to take time to “see what He will say to me”.  God may speak to us if we take the time to listen.  Are we giving him time?  Or in our times of prayer are we the only ones speaking?

If God corrects us, how will we respond?  Will we make excuses?  Will we blame someone else?  Or will we take responsibility for our past mistakes and put forth our best effort to do better?

If God gives us direction, will we follow?  Or do we think that we know what is best?

II.  Live By Faith:  Habakkuk 2:4

Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

The proud will not accept correction or direction .  They do not think that they should listen to God because they believe that they know what they are doing and are already good enough.

The just do not place their confidence in their own abilities but in the mercy and grace of God.  “The just shall live by his faith.” inspired Paul and later Martin Luther to recognize that our relationship with God is indeed based on faith, not our good works.

Our faith in God will incline us to listen to God and to accept both His correction and direction.  If we are willing to accept the correction of God,  to follow the direction of God and to live the lives that He has for us, we will be amazed at the results.

 

III.  God is the Source:  Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

Here in America today, there are some who face hunger, but actually starvation is pretty rare.  In Habakkuk’s day, the possibility of starvation was very real.  If you have a pile of gold, but there is nothing to eat, the gold will not sustain you.

Even if it all goes badly, I will rejoice in the Lord.   I love this thought.  Our joy is not based on the things of this world but rather in our relationship with the God of our salvation.

God also is our source of strength.  He will enable us to do what we have to do.  We do not operate in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

Listen to God

Walk in faith.

Let God be your source of joy and strength.

God has an amazing life for you!

These are the sermon notes from 1/15/17.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

From The Inside Out

January 11, 2017

Certainly there are times when life is complex.  I know that my life is complex.  Maybe that is why I really do appreciate simplicity.  I realize that as a philosophy instructor this may seem contradictory, as most philosophy is anything but simple.  Theology can be the same way.  We can make the teachings of God very complex, or we can make them simple.  I like simple.

I.  Seek Good: Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil,
That you may live;
So the Lord God of hosts will be with you,
As you have spoken.
15 Hate evil, love good;
Establish justice in the gate.
It may be that the Lord God of hosts
Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Amos was prophesying to the people of Israel.  They had stopped following the law and were living sinful lives.  Judgement was coming for their evil ways.  They could avoid that judgement by simply doing what was good in the sight of God.

We need to recognize that we are to hate evil, not the people who do evil.  Evil acts bring harm to all it involves.  God loves people and calls them to turn away from evil and do what is good.

This is not done in our own strength or wisdom.  God has given us His Word to help us to identify what is good and what is evil.  He has also given us His Spirit which will help both is knowing what is good, and in doing what is good.

God is just.  He is concerned with justice of all kinds.  We as His people should also seek for, and work for, justice in our midst.

II.  Do Good:  Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
24 But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream

God cannot be bought.  We cannot simply go through the motions of commitment, we need to be fully committed to Him.  The people in the time of Amos were going through the motions.  They gathered together, they offered sacrifices, they sang worship songs, and they lived in sin.

God was not impressed.

As I was praying about these verses I believe that God spoke to me that in v.24 justice was our dealings with other people and righteousness was our walk before God.  That made me think of the simplicity of loving God and loving people, and of doing to others what we would want others to do to us.

III.  Be Good: James 2:14-17

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

We recognize that we are not saved by our works.  “By grace, through faith!”  (Ephesians 2:8)  We also recognize that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.  (Ephesians 3:17)  If our faith is a living faith, then it will produce the fruit of righteousness and justice.  If Christ is truly in our hearts, our lives will be changed.  This change is not worked from the outside to the inside, but from the inside to the outside.  We don’t change our works so that our heart will change, our hearts are changed and so our acts change.

We don’t do this on our own.  God changes our hearts and our works will change.

We don’t simply do good things, an outside conformity to the law.  We be good people, the people of God.  Not because of us, but because of Christ, who dwells in us.

These are the sermon notes from 1/8/17.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

Pursue the Knowledge of the Lord

January 4, 2017

This message was preached on the very first day of the new year.  It applies to all of us regardless of our level of Christian knowledge and maturity.

I.  Lack of Knowledge:  Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

As we face a new year we are uncertain of what the future holds.  It may be a great year, it may be a difficult year.  As individuals, we certainly want to avoid destruction if at all possible.  We should pursue knowledge.  If we can know what is good, if we can know what is right, then we can have a brighter future.

Some have forgotten or rejected the laws of God.  They have chosen to go their own way.  God allows us to choose. He encourages us to choose wisely.  To choose God’s way is the way to wisely choose.

II.  Pursue the Knowledge of the Lord:  Hosea 6:3

Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

There are two ways to pursue the knowledge of the Lord.  The first way is to search the scriptures.  We should read them, study them, hear them preached, discuss them, pray about them, apply them to our lives and live in obedience to them.  We will never get to the point where we know all that there is to know.  There is always more.  Press on!  Pursue the knowledge of the Lord in the Word of God!!

The second way to know the Lord is through prayer.  We have the ability to enter the very presence of God because of Jesus Christ.  He has given us the presence of His Spirit in our lives and hearts.  We should daily take time to take our eyes off of the things of this world and to focus our attention upon Him.  Let us press on!  Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord in the Spirit of Christ!!

III.  Seek the Lord:  Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Once we know what is right in the sight of the Lord, we are responsible to do what is right.  With knowledge comes responsibility.  We do not do this in our own strength, but by the power of the Spirit of God which enables us to be the people He has called us to be.  To God be the Glory!

We are to forgive, even as we have been forgiven.  We are not to “repay evil for evil” but to “overcome evil with good”.

We need to ask God to help us to recognize those parts of our life that we have not surrendered to Him already.  We need to ask God to soften our hearts so that His Word and His Spirit might continue the work in us.  May our lives not be fallow, but fruitful for His Holy Name.

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/1/17.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Gift of God

December 28, 2016

Many gifts were exchanged during the Christmas season.  Some were appreciated, some were not.

God has offered to us the greatest gift conceivable.

I.  Their Inheritance:  Ezekiel 44:28

 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

Every time that I read this portion of scripture I am impressed with the idea that God Himself, is their possession.  Now, obviously, no one actually possesses God, but the priests under the Law of Moses had a unique relationship with God.

Since Jesus died on the cross and the veil in the temple was torn, those who believe in Jesus are offered a very special relationship with God.  This relationship is more precious than anything this world has to offer and it is God’s gift to us.

II.  With All Our Heart:  Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

I wonder sometimes whether we appreciate the gift that God has offered to us.  Do we seek God with all our heart?  With most of our heart?  Or maybe just a little bit?  I am concerned that for far too many, our relationship with God is mere fire insurance.  We don’t want to go to hell, so we proclaim a faith in God, but our hearts are really set on enjoying all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

That is not how it is supposed to be.

God is meant to be our first love,  the most important thing in our lives.

III.  Draw Near:  James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

On a daily basis we should seek to draw near to God.  As we spend time in the presence of God, we will be made aware of the changes that we should make in our life.  We will want to stop doing those things that are displeasing to God.  We will want more and more to be the people that He has called us to be in thought, word and deed.

IV.  Fullness of Joy:  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 make God the top priority in out life, God will guide us by His Word and His Spirit.  He will show us the path of life.  The life that God has for us is indeed an abundant life.  (John 10:10)  The greatest joy that we can find this side of eternity is to be found in the presence of the Lord.  That opportunity has been made possible because of Jesus Christ.

So as we celebrate the Christmas season, let us always remember, be thankful for, and appreciate the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ.

 

These are the sermon notes from 12/17/16.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

A Shepherd’s Heart

December 14, 2016

When I was a young man reading the book of Ezekiel, I read in chapter 34 about the bad shepherds and I thought that those verses would make a wonderful text if I was ever given the opportunity to speak at the college where I went to school.

I have been in ministry over 25 years and I think that I must accept that I probably won’t be invited to speak at the college.

This past week I again was reading in Ezekiel 34 and this time I had a new thought.

I.  Our Calling  Ezekiel 34:1-6

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

As I read these verses this past week, I again thought how I would like to use them to preach to young ministers in training, but then I was realized that I did not have to use this to preach to ministers.  Rather I can point out something else.

A.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd:  John 10:11

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Jesus is the prime example of the good shepherd.  Remember Psalms 23 “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…”

B.  Christ in our Hearts:  Ephesians 3:17

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

So, if Christ is the Good Shepherd, and Christ dwells in our hearts, then we have a shepherd’s heart.

So these verses need not apply only to clergy, but to us all.

II.  Our Mission

A.  Heal the Sick

We can pray for those who are physically sick.  God is the ultimate source of healing whether it is manifested supernaturally, or through the successful treatment of modern medicine.  Healing is a gift from God.  We should pray for those who are dealing with various physical illnesses.

There is also the spiritually sick.  There are many who have a faith in God, but that faith needs to grow and develop.  We can help others to grow in their faith by encouraging them to search the scriptures, by praying with them and by living an example before them.

B.  Bind Up the Broken

There are many who have been mistreated by life, or by people in the church.  God can use us to bring healing and restoration to those whose lives have been broken.

C.  Brought Back

Some have left church.  Some still believe, others have had their faith all but destroyed.  God can use us to bring people back into fellowship with Him and with the Body of Christ.  We are not meant to live in isolation.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are meant to be a part of the family of God.  God does not mean for his family to be dysfunctional.  We must seek to be the people that God has called us to be.

We need God’s help and we need each other.

D.  Seek the Lost

We all have the responsibility to look for the opportunities that God brings our way to share the gospel.  God is looking for His lost sheep and He wants us to help.

So, Ezekiel 34:1-6 doesn’t just have to apply to clergy.  We all are to have a shepherd’s heart and seek to heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring back those who have wandered off, and to seek the lost.

These are the sermon notes from 12/11/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Real Christmas Message

December 7, 2016

There are a lot of Christmas movies on television these days.  The vast majority of them are completely missing the mark because they make no mention of Jesus Christ.  He is the real message of Christmas.

I.  God Loves You:  John 3:16-17

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.

This is the basic message that we share with the world.  God loves you.  At Christmas we see the love of God demonstrated through sending His son Jesus to be born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem.  We know that Jesus did not come to earth to reign as king, but to be the lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.  He did not come to judge the world, but to provide a means of saving the world.

Through Jesus, God offers to us the gift of eternal life.  That is the greatest gift of all!

II.  Turn and Live:  Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

A.  Turn

We are called to turn back to God.  We have made wrong choices, wrong decisions and are going the wrong way.  We are called to turn back to God, which is the true meaning of repentance.  Like the prodigal son, we have lost our way, but when we come to our senses and return to our heavenly father, we will find Him waiting for us.

B.  Live

God offers to us a new heart and and new spirit.  God desires that we would turn to Him and live.  I get very upset with people who think that God hates people and that He takes delight in sending them to hell.  God loves us and offers us a new life.  That is our message.  It is not “Turn or burn!” but rather “Turn and Live!”

III.  Born Again:  John 3:1-6

 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

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.

We are born of water, which is a reference to the physical birth.  We also have the offer of a new birth, being born of the Spirit.  These verses are where the concept of being born again originated, although they go along nicely with Ezekiel 18:31-32.

We also read in II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This is again the message that we share with the world.  II Corinthians 5:20-21

 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.

With our limited understanding we will never be able to fully appreciate what God did for us through Jesus Christ, but we can believe in His name, and say “Thank you, Jesus!”

IV.  In Our Hearts:  Ephesians 3:14-19

 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It is from these verses that we can know that Christ can dwell in our hearts through faith.  That is the way that we are born again, when the Spirit of Christ comes into our hearts through our faith in Him.  This faith is a gift from God, by His mercy and His grace.

This gift is offered to us all, but all do not accept it.

Even after Christ dwells in our hearts there is yet more to come.  We grow in our understanding of the love of Christ and are filled with the fullness of God.  This is an ongoing process which God continues to work in us throughout our lives here on earth.

As we grow in our knowledge of the love of God, our lives will become increasingly more what God would desire.  We will be more and more molded into the image of His Son.

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

God loves us.

He is at work in us.

He wants to work through us.

That is the real message of Christmas.

These are the sermon notes from 12/4/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

On The Rock

December 1, 2016

I have been reading in Jeremiah.  He is known as the weeping prophet.  God called him at a young age to prophecy to the nation of Israel prior to, during, and after the Babylonian invasion.  He continually warned them of coming judgement, but occasionally offered words of hope if they would listen to the Word of the Lord.

They didn’t listen.

I.  Trust and Obey:  Jeremiah 42:7-17

 And it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: 10 ‘If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand. 12 And I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.’

13 “But if you say, ‘We will not dwell in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, 14 saying, ‘No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell’— 15 Then hear now the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah! Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, 16 then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. 17 So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them.’

A.  The Word

Jeremiah had given them a Word from the Lord.  The right response would have been to trust and obey.  If they had, things would have been different.  As it was they went to Egypt, literally dragging Jeremiah with them, and there they all died.  You would have thought that after all the years of seeing that the words of Jeremiah were indeed the Words of God, that they would have listened to him.

They did not.

Today, we have the Word of God in the Bible.  Do we listen to it?

B.  The Spirit

God guides His people by His Word and His Spirit.  We should study the Word to see what God has said to His people.  We should also pray and ask God to direct us by His Spirit.  It we seek guidance from God, He will indeed guide us.

Will we listen?

II.  The Discipline of the Lord:  Hebrews 12:9-11

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

A.  Disobedience

If we are disobedient to God’s Word, or to the guidance of His Spirit is should not surprise us if things do not go so well for us.

God may be trying to get our attention.

When things are not going well, when bad things happen, it is a good idea to pray and ask God if we are living in disobedience.  If we are, then God will reveal that to us.  Once we know what should change, we can, and should, change with the help of God.

Sometimes we pray and God does not reveal anything to us.  We are doing what we are supposed to be doing.  Do not be surprised by the tests and trials of our faith that will come along.  God did not promise that we would never have problems, but that He would be with us, and help us through our problems.

Obedience

In general, we can trust that if we live lives of obedience to God that He will reward us with the abundant life that He has for His people. (John 10:10)

III.  On the Rock Matthew 7:24-27

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

A.  Hears and Does

Those who live lives of obedience to Christ can expect their lives to be stable.  There will still be storms, but we will weather them by the grace of God.

B.  Hears and Does Not

Those who are disobedient can expect problems.  When the storms of life come, their lives will come crashing down around them.

C.  Wisdom

May God grant us wisdom to know the difference between the discipline of the Lord and the storms of life.  To change when we are supposed to change, and to hold fast when we are already doing the right thing.

In conclusion, it is relatively simple.

Seek the Lord.

Hear the Lord.

Obey the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from the message preached 11/27/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I do not have any control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

In God We Trust

November 16, 2016

This message was preached 11/6/16, the Sunday before election day.  I had been reading in Jeremiah in my devotions and this seemed appropriate.

I.  Judgement on the Land:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?

13 And the Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.”

A.  Not Obeyed My Voice

The children of Israel had not continued in following the law of God.  As a result, God was sending judgement upon the land.

In our country, there are many who serve God, but there are also many who do not.  It is very important that those who claim to be followers of God, are actually following God.  We should seek to live in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  We may not be able to be perfect, but we should seek to be the people God means for us to be.

B.  The Dictates of Their Own Hearts

I really have a dislike for the song “I Did It My Way”.  I am afraid that there are far too many people who are living their lives their way instead of God’s way.  In the end it will not work out so well for them.  We should be like Jesus and say “Not my will, but thine be done.”.

Is judgment coming to our country?

Only time will tell, but it is not too late.

II.  Time to Change:  Jeremiah 18:7-8

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

A.  Freedom

I firmly believe that one of the ways in which we are made in the image of God is that we have the freedom to choose how we act.  Each one of us has the freedom to choose how we will respond to God.  Now, I do not expect the entire nation to repent, but I hope and pray that many within our nation will repent.

B.  Responsibility

With freedom comes responsibility.  Since we can choose our actions, we are responsible for our actions.

C.  Consequences

There are consequences for our decisions.  When we do what is right in the eyes of God, we can expect to be blessed.  If we do what is wrong, we should not be surprised if there are unpleasant consequences.

D.  Is There Hope?

Our hope is not found in a political party or candidate.  Our hope is placed in God.  With God, there is always hope.

III.  The Right Choice:  Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

A.  Trust in the Lord

I appreciate that it still says “In God We Trust” on our money.  It is a regular reminder to trust in God, not in the things of this world.  God is worthy of our trust.  People may fail us.  God will not.

B.  If My People

As the people of God lead the way in repentance, perhaps others will follow. II Chronicles 7:14 says:

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

C.  Choose This Day:  Joshua 24:15

 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We cannot decide for everybody, but we can decide for ourselves.  Let us choose to serve the Lord.

D.  Let Your Light Shine:  Matthew 5:13-16

 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

If we have chosen to follow the Lord, then our lives should be different from the world around us.  Let us not give way to anger, hatred or despair, but rather may we be examples of the peace, love and hope that God has for us, and for all who call upon His name.

Let the light of Christ shine through your lives.  May the light of Christ bring hope to the world.

This is the message that was preached 11/6/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

A Full Life

November 2, 2016

This past week I was reading the second epistle of John and I was struck by the third verse.

II John v3

 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I.  Grace

Grace may be defined as receiving good things from God that we do not deserve, that we have not earned.  They are a gift.  I am reminded of Ephesians 2:8 which tells us that “By grace you are saved…”  God has reached out to us.  If we were left to ourselves, we would be lost in our sins.

I am also reminded of II Corinthians 12:9.

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Whatever situation we face, whatever need we might have, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

II.  Mercy

Mercy may be defined as not receiving the punishment that we do deserve.  There are many verses on the mercy of God.  We recognize that we have all sinned and that the wages of sin is death.  However, God is merciful.

Psalms 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

On our part, we too, are to be merciful to others.  To not repay evil for evil.  To forgive those who have wronged us.  Even as we have received mercy, we should grant mercy.

III.  Peace

God offers to us a peace that is not dependent on the absence of external conflict.  The peace of God comes from the knowledge that God loves us, cares about us and is able to help us in our times of need.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

IV.  Truth

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I am reminded of when Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  I am also reminded of John 14:6 “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we are seeking truth, and if we are open to it, we  will eventually find God.  Ultimate Truth is found in God.

V.  Love

I John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As believers we can expect to have lives that are filled with the love of God.  Love that comes from God, and love that is expressed through the people of God.  Of course we are also expected to love God and others in return.

So in this one verse we are reminded that as Christians we should have lives that are filled with grace, mercy, peace, truth and love.  That makes for a full life indeed!

These are the notes from the sermon preached 10/30/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Elect One

October 26, 2016

The second half of Isaiah is filled with messianic verses.  There are many good scriptures to preach on.  I have selected a few.

I.  Come:  Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

A.  Are You Buying That?

These verses are not talking about bread, milk or wine.  They are a reference to the focus of our life.  Are we focused on the things of the world, or the things of God?  In Matthew 6:33 we are told to “Seek first the kingdom of God…” .  If indeed we seek God first, then other things will come into line.

B.  The Abundant Life

Jesus offers those that follow Him abundant life.  (John 10:10)  That life does not begin at our physical death, but rather at our new birth. When we give our hearts to God and seek to walk with Him in this life, we truly have a life that is abundant.

II.  Build Up:  Isaiah 42:1-4

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

A.  My Elect One

These verses are talking about Jesus.  He is the one who will bring true justice to the earth.

B.  Restores Life

As a young person I read these verses and wondered who cared about bruised reeds, or smoldering flax?  Of course, these are symbols for something else.  The bruised reed is that person who has experienced difficulties in their life.  They have been bruised and they need to be restored.  God can bring restoration and life.  The smoldering flax is that person who has drifted away from God.  God calls to them and desires to see the fire of their faith restored.  God wants to bring life to those who seek Him. He does not give up on us.

C.  Justice

There will come a day when justice will reign on this earth.  It will not be under human leadership, but under the leadership of the Lord of Hosts.

III.  Jesus is Lord:  Isaiah 45:20-25

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
24 He shall say,
‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
25 In the Lord all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

    A.  Escaped From the Nations

God is Lord over all the earth.  We have been gathered from the nations to serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

    B.  No Other God

There is no other God.  There is salvation in no other name.

    C.  Every Knee Shall Bow

It is better to serve God now and we can also rejoice later.  For those who reject Christ now, they will still one day bow before Him.  For them, that day will be a day of darkness.

    D.  Righteousness and Strength

We are not clothed in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. We do not serve in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

Isaiah is a part of the Old Testament, but clearly he points to the coming Lord.  We can more fully understand the New Testament because of the prophecies that came hundreds of years earlier.

These are the sermon notes from 10/23/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.