Hold Fast

July 11, 2016

We prefer to talk about the abundant life that God has for us.  We enjoy the many blessings that we receive.

How do we respond when things don’t go as we would hope?

What do we do in the face of tragedy?

I.  Job

A.  Do What is Right:  Job 1:1

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

This is a good model for us.  We should fear God and shun evil.  We should seek to be blameless and upright.  We know that we cannot be perfect, but we should seek to live as God wants us to live.

Just because we are serving God doesn’t mean that we are exempt from hardship.  In a single day Job suffered the loss of all his great wealth and the tragic death of all ten of his children.  It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

His response has become a classic line.

B.  Response to Loss:  Job 1:20-22

 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

He mourned the loss and worshiped God.  These words were uttered long ago, but they have been repeated by countless other believers who have suffered loss.  If we turn to God, He is able to bring us comfort in times of tragedy.

Some might say, at least he still had his health.  That was the next to go.  He was stricken with painful boils that made him physically miserable.

    C.  Hold Fast:  Job 2:9-10

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

In times of hardship.  Hold fast to your integrity.  Actually, hold fast to your faith in God which is the true source of integrity.

If we are facing the loss of material things or the deterioration of our health we can still trust that God is with us.  He will help us through the difficult times.  A better day is coming.  If not in this life, then in the life to come.

Hold fast.

II.  Endure Hardship:  II Timothy 2:3

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I served in the United States Marine Corps.  I have often said that that experience prepared me better for ministry than my years at Bible college.

Why?

A marine is not allowed to quit when the mission becomes difficult.  It doesn’t matter if you are tired, hot, cold, hurt, or whatever.

Accomplish the mission!

Our devotion to God should be even more of a commitment than a marine’s commitment to his/her duty.  After all, a marine is serving an earthly kingdom, while we serve a heavenly kingdom.

There have been many times when I have been tempted to leave the ministry.  There are far easier ways to make a living.  However, it is the desire of my heart to be faithful to my calling, to accomplish the mission that God has given to me.

Never quit!

It is appropriate to ask ourselves some questions when hardship comes our way.

Is this hardship the consequence of a bad decision, or mistake on my part?  If that is the case, then learn from your mistakes.

Is God trying to get my attention?  Have I been following the direction of God?  God sometimes allows things to go badly for us so that we will get back on track.

If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if we are serving God to the best of our ability, then we can recognize hardships as a test or trial of our faith.  We should hold fast and press on.

III.  Count it all Joy:  James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

God uses the tests and trials of this life to mold us into the people that we are called to be in Christ.  We can rejoice in the knowledge that God is working in us.  The difficulties that we face actually can strengthen our faith and help in our development as Christians.

In addition  to the work that God is doing in us, God can use difficult experiences for His glory.  How we handle bad experiences can sometimes be the very best testimony that we give to unbelievers.

We can also rejoice in the knowledge that even in bad times, God is with us.  We can rejoice in the Lord.  He loves us and will help us.  His grace is sufficient for us.  (II Corinthians 12:9)

So, when we are called upon to suffer hardship;  hold fast to your faith, endure hardship, and count it all joy that God is working both in you and through you.

These are the sermon notes from 7/9/16.  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. 

 

Transformational Love

July 5, 2016

The message today is an odd mixture of fear and hope.  I suppose that is not so strange, there is an ongoing tension between the law and the gospel.

I.  Deny Him:  Tits 1:16

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

I wonder how many of the people professing Christianity today could have this statement applied to them?

I wonder how serious is this problem?

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This sounds serious to me.  It is made even more serious because the verses here in Matthew sound like they could be applied to Pentecostal pastors.

I am a Pentecostal pastor.

Now, I do not believe for a moment that we earn our salvation by our works.  Salvation is by grace, through faith.  It is a gift from God.

However, a living faith is transformational.  If we have a living faith our lives will be changed.

What sort of changes should take place?

II.  The Works of the Flesh:  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.

Now the idea here is not to look at this list and focus on the things that are not a problem for us.  Rather, we look at the list and see if there are areas that need improvement.  We do not excuse our behavior, we repent and ask God help us to change our behavior.  We cannot change on our own, but we are not on our own.  God will help us.

III.  Good Works:  Titus 2:7-8

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Here is an excellent goal!  We should try to live our lives in such a way that people will have to lie to say something bad.

How do we do this?

IV.  The Fruit of the Spirit:  Galatians 5:22-23

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

The Spirit of God is transformational.  The Spirit will transform us from who we were, to the people that we are meant to be in Christ.  This is something that we can offer to the unsaved.  Do people really not want to have love in their lives?  Do they have too much peace in their hearts?  Do they not desire joy?  God offers us these things and so much more.

V.  Focus on Love

A.  Motivated by Love:  I John 5:1-3

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

As we grow in our relationship with God, His love transforms us.  We love Him.  We love other people.  We do what is right naturally, because of the love that is in our hearts.

B.  The Source of Love:  I John 4:18-19

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  If we are discouraged or feeling overwhelmed we should stop and focus on the love that God has for us.  The knowledge of that love transforms us.  We love God.  We love other people.  We are strengthened.  We are encouraged.  We are changed.

The love of God is transformational.

These are the sermon notes from 7/3/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Keep the Faith

June 30, 2016

Once again I am turning to the letters of Paul to Timothy for the message today.

I.  A Bad Situation:  II Timothy 3:10-13

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

A.  The Example of Paul

Paul had set an example of a Christian leader that Timothy could look up to.  Each of us should take seriously the call to set an example in our own lives.  Many of us had younger siblings that we were told were watching us.  That was true then and it is true today.  People want to see an example of a godly life.  We should try to set one.

B.  Hardships and Deliverance

Paul experienced terrible persecutions and hardships.  Through them all God delivered him.  We can trust God.  We should also recognize that deliverance can come in the form of bringing us safely through a problem, or by taking us home to heaven.  With faith in Christ we cannot lose.

C.  Worse and Worse

Things get better in this life only temporarily.  Things will get worse.  That is not particularly cheery news.  It is important to remember that through it all God will be with those who trust in Him.  This does not mean that we surrender to the inevitability of evil, but rather that we not be discouraged by setbacks.  We should work together to see “thy will be done”  to the best of our abilities.

II.  All Scripture is Inspired:  II Timothy 3:14-16

 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God is perfectly capable of ensuring that the book that contains His message to the world says what He meant for it so say.  It is not a mixture of the Words of God and the words of men.  It is the Word of God spoken through men.  God inspired the authors to write what they wrote so that His message comes through.

I recommend something called the grammatical/historical approach to interpretation.  This means that we study the words that were written in their historical context.  We ask ourselves who was the author?  Who was the audience?  What message was given?  How does it apply to today?

It is not a secret code.  It is not merely the words of men.  It is the revelation of God to people throughout the world.

III.  Preach the Word:  II Timothy 4:1-5

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

When we are presenting the gospel or teaching doctrine, use the Word.  Do you think that you can say it better?

Remember Hebrews 4:12

 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Convince people of the truth!

Rebuke those who are in error!  (Although please do this in a loving manner!!  Perhaps we should think ‘correct’ rather than rebuke.)

Exhort those whose strength is failing.   Encouragement can go a long ways.

IV.  Finish the Race:  II Timothy 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

As Christians we are called to serve God throughout our life, to the very end.  The way in which we serve may change, the place may change, but our service to God continues through all stages of life.  There is no retirement.  God has a use for us as long as we are on this earth.  Let us finish the race.  Let us keep the faith.

These are the sermon notes from 6/26/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Be Diligent

June 23, 2016

The idea of mentoring is not new.  Paul was a mentor to young Timothy back in the first century.  We have in the Bible two examples of what Paul said to his young student.

I.  Beware!  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.

It is now almost two thousand years after Paul wrote these words.  Clearly, these are “latter times”.  Also clear, there are people who are deceived.  Sadly, when people are deceived, they do not know it.  Their conscience is seared and only the Word of God, combined with the Spirit of God can set them free.  We should share with them the truth, and pray that God will open their minds and hearts by His Spirit.

Today, not many people are denying marriage or abstinence from certain foods, but there still is deception and false doctrine.  Many of them are found at the extreme ranges of biblical interpretation.  One extreme is liberalism.  An example is when  a Christian minister in a Christian church performs a marriage for two people of the same sex.  The only way to justify this is to ignore certain scriptures.  (For example: Lev 18:22, 20:13, I Cor 6:9-10, I Tim 1:8-11, and Rom 1:18-32)

The other extreme is a legalism that makes salvation a matter of doing, or not doing certain works, or of holding to certain theological beliefs that are not truly essential to the Christian message.  An example is those who believe that unless you are baptized by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you cannot be saved.

Our salvation is by grace, through faith for good works.

Paul gives advice to Timothy that is even more important to us all today.  II Timothy 2:15

 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II.  Be An Example:  I Timothy 4:12

 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

This is good advice to people of all ages.  We should seek to set an example by what we say, what we do, and by our attitudes to others.  People do not just listen to our words, they observe our lives.

III.  Be Content:  I Timothy 6:6-10

 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The ability to be content is a great thing.  It is not to be confused with complacency.  Being content means that we can be happy in our current state, even as we work to become the person that God means for us to be.

Please note that it is the love of money which is the root of all kinds of evil.  Many people misquote this verse by saying that money is the root.  Money is just a material thing, it is our attitude towards it, and what we do with it that can be evil.

IV.  Be Diligent:  I Timothy 6:11-12

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Be diligent to pursue the growth that God wants to bring to our lives.  We do not simply coast through life.  We should seek to be all that God calls and enables us to be.

We should be diligent to fight the good fight.  To share the hope that is within us, the gospel of Jesus Christ whenever possible and to pray that the Word will take root in the lives of people.

Don’t quit!        Beware of deception!        Be an example!        Be content!        Be diligent!

These are the sermon notes from 6/19/16.  The 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. 

 

To Our Fathers

June 20, 2016

I came across this poem that I wrote for Father’s Day back in June of 2000.  I thought that I would share it with you.

 

The job of father is not well defined.

One thing is for sure- it is full time.

Traditional chores of the trash and the yard

of fixing the broken

and of taking charge.

A father’s expected to provide and protect

but nowadays more expectations are met.

A father may help to cook and to clean

and in men’s restrooms changing tables are seen.

A father’s expected to advise and to scold

and then there’s the reason that a child is told

“Just wait, till your father gets home!”.

It’s a mystery at times,

what a dad’s supposed to do.

He may feel inadequate, confused or blue.

So it’s a good thing we’ve a Father above

who can offer us help with His Great Love.

As we turn to God with our fathering skills,

He will help us indeed, as we seek His will.

And so to our fathers on Father’s Day

remember God is our father

and seek to do things His way.

Pastor Curt

June 2000

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

A Good Example

June 15, 2016

Some Christians only read the New Testament.  That is a mistake.  There are many wonderful stories and truths revealed to us in the pages of the Old Testament.  Today’s message comes from the book of II Chronicles.  It is a portion of the story of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah.

II Chronicles 17:3-6

 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

I.  Our Choice

King Jehoshaphat made the right choice.  He chose to seek God rather than Baal.  Obviously, God is not lost, but sometimes our ability to see Him is hindered by the things of this world.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us

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

We seek God through prayer and by reading His revealed word, the Bible.  These activities should be a part of our daily lives.

KIng Jehoshaphat also walked in His commandments.  His faith in God was not dead, but produced a life of obedience to God.  James 2: 17-18 tells us:

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If we are spending time in God’s presence and in God’s Word, there should be a change taking place in our lives.  We should become more and more the people that we are supposed to be.

It is always still a choice, but we can choose to seek God, and we can choose to do what is right in His eyes.

II.  Our Reward

King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed by God.  God will bless those who serve Him.  This blessing may come in various forms.  It is not meant to be a means of getting rich, but rather a means of appreciating what is truly important in this life.

Psalms 37:16-17

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that our greatest reward is yet to come.  As believers we have an eternity in heaven waiting for us.  Even if we received nothing in this life, the promise of the life to come is great reward.

III.  Our Delight

Even though King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed, his true delight was in the Lord.  If our true delight is in God, no one can take that from us.

As the king continued to mature, he continued to look for ways to please God.  We too, as we mature in the Lord should look more closely at our lives and remove those things that might be displeasing to God.

I conclude today’s message with a longer quote from Psalms 37.

Psalms 37:1-11

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are the sermon notes from 6/12/16.  The Bible 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.

A Prayer of David

June 9, 2016

Sometimes our prayers can reveal what is in our hearts.  David said a prayer at the dedication of the materials that had been collected to build the temple that revealed many things about his understanding of God.

I Chronicles 29:10-18

Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:

“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

13 “Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
14 But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
15 For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.

16 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You.

I.  Everything Belongs to God

If you are going to believe in a god, it might as well be a big god.  The God of the Bible is indeed over all.  Everything is His.  What we have, we do not own, we are merely stewards or managers.

II.  Everything Comes From God

Sometimes we think that we have worked hard for our belongings.  That nobody ever gave us anything.  We may fail to recognize that at any time our life could end or our health could fail.  Our best efforts could be thwarted.  Things may not turn out the way that we would hope.

We should do our part.  We should plan carefully and work hard, but we should recognize that unless God blesses our efforts, we will fail.

III.  We Should Give God Thanks and Praise

Since everything we have ultimately comes from God, we should give God thanks and praise.  This is not meant to be an annual tradition, done only at Thanksgiving, but a normal part of everyday.

IV.  God Will Test Us

Will we be obedient to His Word and His Spirit?  Many people want to do their own thing rather than submit to what God wants us to do.

Will we trust Him?  Sometimes things do not go well for us.  Sometimes we are tested in our finances, our families, our jobs, really in all areas of our life.  Will we trust God to bring us through the storms of life?  God is worthy of our trust.

Will we love God more than the things of the world?  The things of the world can demand our attention.  They can be very attractive.  They can be a lot of fun.  Will we love the things of the world more than we love God?  God should be the most important thing in our lives.

V.  Have a Heart for God

God loves us.  Will we love God?  Will we take the time to be in His presence?  To seek His face?  We should have a heart for God.  We should desire to be with Him more than anything else.

This prayer of David revealed some of his thoughts about God.  They would be good to include in our own life.

These are the sermon notes from 6/4/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Rejoice and Give Thanks

June 2, 2016

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

There’s no discharge on the ground!

When going through Marine Corps boot camp we ran… a lot.  When we ran, we often sang.  The lines written above are an example of some of the things that our drill instructors would call out and that we recruits would repeat.

Oddly enough, I find some wisdom in those words that can be applied to our lives as Christians today.

I Chronicles 16:8-12

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
12 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,

I.  Give Thanks

Being grateful for what we have received is not meant to be simply an annual observance.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, but if that is the only time that we are grateful, then we have an attitude problem.  At any given time, even in difficult, or bad times, we should be able to look around us and count our blessings.  Actually, once we start looking for things to be grateful for, we will be amazed at how many there are in our lives.

We should give thanks to God for his love, our salvation through Jesus Christ, His ongoing presence in our lives, His provision, His protection, His help, and so much more!

God is good to His people.  We should be grateful!

II.  Call Upon His Name

When we do experience problems, we can call upon God to help.  He is “an ever present help”.  (Psalms 46:1)

Knowing that God hears us when we pray, and that He is able to help, brings great comfort in times of difficulty.  We can trust that in any situation that we face, that if we call upon the Lord, He will give us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength that we need to do it.

III.  Make Known

Here at our church we regularly give people an opportunity to share their testimonies of what God has done in their life.  It is good to hear that God is at work both in our lives and through our lives.  God does not work only in the times of the Bible, nor in missions work overseas.  God is at work all the time in the lives of ordinary people.  We should learn to be aware of the hand of God working in our midst.  We should both give God thanks, and make known what He is doing in our lives today.  We share these testimonies, not only in church, but with our friends and family, really, with anyone with whom we are have a conversation.  We should watch for opportunities to share what God has done in our lives.

IV.  Seek the Lord

Our prayer time should be more than bringing a lists of requests to the throne of God.  Yes, it is appropriate to bring our requests before Him, but prayer is meant to be more than that.  We are to seek His presence.  Now, God is present everywhere, so it is not really a matter of trying to find where He is located, it is about having our spiritual eyes, and ears opened, so that we may see and hear Him.  It is about having our heart opened so that we may receive all that He has for us.

I encourage you to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God, to recognize that He is always with us.

V.  Rejoice!

As the people of God, we have much reason to rejoice. Our lives should not be marked by drudgery and struggle, but rather by blessings and glorious victory!  Again, do not mistake the difficulties of this world with final defeat.  Walk in faith!  See the victory that is ahead of us!  Rejoice in the God of our salvation!!

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

Look up!!

These are the sermon notes from 5/29/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The memory verse for this week is I Chronicles 16:8, or if you prefer more of a challenge; 8-10.

Attitude

May 12, 2016

Our memory verse for this week is a verse that all teenagers should be required to know.  Actually, it would be good for adults to review often as well, as it seems to address a common problem.

I.  Do Not Complain Philippians 2:14*

Do all things without complaining and disputing,

As I read this verse I am reminded of all the times that the children of Israel complained as they were traveling through the wilderness.  God had miraculously brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, provided for their daily needs: yet they complained.

It did not end well for them.

God has brought us out of darkness and into the light of His love.  He watches over us, provides for us , protects us: yet often we complain.

We should learn a lesson from the children of Israel and learn to be content.

Being content, does not mean being complacent.  It is appropriate for us to work to improve the world around us.  It does mean having an attitude that is grateful for what we have received, rather than groaning about what others have that we covet for ourselves.

God is our provider.  We should not be grumbling about His provision.

God is our Lord.  We should not complain or dispute over the tasks that He sets before us.

II.  Rejoice!  Philippians 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

Whatever our circumstances may be, whatever tasks we may be called upon to do, we can rejoice in the knowledge of God’s love for us.

I am reminded about when the disciples came back from their assignment to go out in pairs and preach the gospel.  When they came back together they were excited about the demons being subject to them.  Jesus told them instead to be glad that their names were written in heaven.  (Luke  10:1-19)  We too, can rejoice that our names are written in heaven.

At any given time we can look around us and see both good and evil.  We should focus on the good.  That will make it much easier to rejoice.

Philippians 4: 8

 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.

III.  Press On: Philippians 3:12=14

 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I have participated in five 24 hour runs.  One year I completed 30 miles and quit, one year I completed 50 miles and quit, two years I completed a little over 63 miles and quit.  Only one year did I stay at the track for the full 24 hours.  That year I completed 77.45 miles.  That is the only year that I feel I actually completed the race.

In our Christian walk, we should not quit early.   There is no retirement.  God has a plan and a purpose for us for as long as we are on this earth.  It is fine to fondly remember the things that God has done in the past, but let us press on to see what God has for us today.

II Timothy 4:7-8

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Our attitude can really make a difference in our lives.  Let us not complain, but rather rejoice, as we press on to finish the race.

These are the sermon notes from 5/1/16.  All scripture is 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. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

The Cost of Sin

April 28, 2016

King David was a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that he was perfect.  Even when he was a mature man of God who had served the Lord for years,  he made some serious mistakes.

I.  If God…then God…  II Samuel 24:1-2

Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”

A.  When we read this with our cultural understanding, it seems as though God had caused David to sin so that He would have justification to punish Israel.  We have a problem with this understanding because it makes God actively causing sin and death.

Ancient Jews, and many contemporary Christians, believe that God is in control of what happens in the world.  For ancient Jews, they interpreted that to mean that God caused things.  They did not have a problem with that thinking.  Today, we do not believe that God is an active source of evil.  The way that we interpret it is that there is evil in the world, both humans and angels.  God restrains much of the evil that could happen, but sometimes He allows evil to have it’s way.  King David was not supposed to number the children of Israel,  that is one of the commandments that God had given them as a nation.  David knew the commandment, and broke it.

B.  Why God?  Why does God allow evil to have it’s way?  First, if we could not sin, then we would not truly be free.  Why does God allow some sins, but not others?  We do not have an answer to that question.  I would suggest that we be thankful for all the evil that is restrained, rather than be upset about what God does allow to happen.  God will give us the grace to deal with what He allows to happen in our lives.

II.  David Repents:  II Samuel 24:10-14

And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

A.  David’s heart condemned him.  He has grown in his relationship with God.  He did not need a prophet to confront him with his sin.  He knew he had done wrong and asked God for forgiveness.

B.   David was given a choice of what would be the penalty for his sin.  This is highly unusual.  We do not normally have a choice.   He chose the plague, perhaps thinking that God would show mercy and the price would not be too great.

III.  The Price of Sin:  2 Samuel 24:15-17

 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

We do not realize how our sin affects others.  In this case 70,000 people die.  That is a lot of people, a lot of death.  When David saw this he wanted to change his mind, but the choice had been made and it was too late.

We can be forgiven for the eternal consequences of our sins, but there may be consequences here on earth that may be severe.

We should resist sin.  James 1: 12*-13

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

We sometimes think that because God is loving and merciful, that sin is no big deal.

That is not true.

Sin hurts. 

IV.  David’s Offering:  2 Samuel 24: 18-25

 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

Jesus has paid the price for our sin.  There is nothing due.

However, out of gratitude we should offer something to God.

Actually, our whole lives should be given to God.  We are meant to be His servants.

What are we offering to God?

These are the sermon notes from 4/24/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 


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