Savior and Lord

October 8, 2015

Sometimes a beloved verse is lifted out of context and used in a way that it was not originally intended.  That may be what has happened in our understanding of Revelation 3:20.

I.  At The Door:  Revelation 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 well known verse is often used to support the practice of inviting Jesus into our heart.  In this view, the door that Jesus knocks on is the door to our heart.  It is a way of understanding our salvation experience, the means by which we are born again.  Christ comes into our hearts and we are never the same.  Christ knocks, it is up to us to let Him in.  Christ has the initiative.  We must respond.

II.  Examine Your Works:  Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Here are the verses that introduce the concept of the lukewarm Christian.  We are not meant to be lukewarm, we are meant to be on fire for Christ.  One thing about fires is that they are always changing.  They are either building up, or burning down.  If we want the fire to build up, we must add fuel to the fire.  If we want our relationship with Christ to burn brightly we must spend time in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, and in service.

III.  Blinded:  Revelation 3:17-18

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Many people are blinded to the true nature of their spiritual reality.  May our eyes be opened to our condition.  May we be changed by the ongoing work of the Spirit in our lives.  May we be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and transformed by His Spirit.  May we may truly become the children of God.

IV.  Growth:  Revelation 3:19

 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

God loves us.  He does not leave us in the condition that He found us. He challenges us to be the people that we are meant to be.  He rebukes, and corrects us as needed.  We are to listen to His voice and change our ways.   This is the context of verse 20 quoted above.  It is not in the context of initial salvation, but rather in the context of the rebuke of sin in the life of a believer. Jesus is our savior and lord. He saves us and directs our lives.

V.  Overcomes:  Revelation 3:21

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, we will be changed.  In Christ, we are more than conquerors.  It is not our strength, but His strength which enables us to overcome the sin that would seek to drag us down.

If we have a new life in Christ, then we should live for Christ.

These are the sermon notes from9/20/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

Things We Should Know

September 28, 2015

There are some things that we know, or should know, as Christians that we really ought to share with anyone who will listen.

I.  Lack of Knowledge:  Hosea 4:1 & 6

Hear the word of the Lord,
You children of Israel,
For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:

“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.

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.

There are some simple, powerful truths in the Bible that Christians should know and share.  Without that knowledge people perish.  Their lives are sorely diminished.

II.   God Loves You:  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The first thing that we need to know and share is that God loves us.  All of us.  Everyone.  He has offered us forgiveness of sins and a new eternal life through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.  We are simply called to believe this good news.

III.  Pursue Knowledge:  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.

As we pursue the knowledge of God there is a wonderful truth that we can grasp and hold on to.  God has a plan for us...and it is a good one.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The person who has given their life over to God has a future and a hope.  Whatever circumstances come our way God can give us wisdom and strength.  Wisdom to know what to do.  Strength to do it.  God will help us with the challenges of this life.  Even if this life is rough, we have a hope of an eternity with Him in heaven.

IV.  Mercy

In Hosea 4:1, already quoted above, the absence of mercy contributes to the problem.  Mercy is when we are not given the punishment that we deserve.  As Christians we are called upon to forgive those who have wronged us.  We even pray “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”  Forgiveness is a very important part of who we are as believers.   We are both forgiven and forgiving.

V.  Things Will Work Out:  Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

We are not God.  We are not capable of seeing things from His perspective.  Even when we cannot understand, we can trust.  All things will work out for good for those who believe.  We may not be able to see how they work out in this life, but once we have an eternal perspective we may understand.  For those who do not believe, their ultimate end, unfortunately, is destruction and torment.  It does not work out so well for them.

These basic truths are very important to Christians.  We should be aware of them ourselves, and we should share them with others.  These truths offer us, and all who would believe, a hope that is unshakable.

Hope can really make a difference.

God makes a difference.

These are the sermon notes from 9/13/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Their Inheritance

September 21, 2015

What is our most precious possession?  What do we own that is of greatest value?  Are they the same thing?

I.  I Am 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.

This passage is speaking of the priests.  Their possession was not land, but God Himself.  Of course, no one can actually possess God.  It is a means of understanding the priority, or nature, of the relationship between each priest and God. That relationship is of more value than any material thing.

II.  We Are a Royal Priesthood:  I Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

As a part of the new covenant that we have with God in Christ, the Levitical priesthood is replaced.  All Christians are a part of the new priesthood.  We are all able to enter into the presence of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  As a new priesthood, we can lay claim to the promise made to the old priesthood.  We can now consider God to be our ‘possession’.

III.  The Pearl of Great Price:  Mathew 13: 45-46

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

What could be of more value than God?  Yet how much effort do we put into developing our relationship with God?  How much time do we spend in the Word?  How much time do we spend in prayer?  How much priority do we place on being present in worship in the house of God?

IV.  A Living Sacrifice:  Romans  12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If we have recognized the value of our relationship with God, it is reasonable to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  We should be willing to submit to whatever God’s will is for our lives.  The challenge is to be able to discern what that will of God is for us.  There is that which is acceptable, that which is good, and that which is perfect.  May we be able to discern and follow the perfect will of God.

These are the sermon notes from 9/6/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Stand in the Gap

September 14, 2015

Prayer can make a difference in the events in our country.  Sin is prevalent throughout our land.  Will God send judgement?

I.  The Sins of the People:  Ezekiel 22:29

The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Oppression comes in many forms.  It may begin as a stronger child picking on those who are weaker.  It continues in the workforce as domineering individuals distribute chores unfairly.  It continues in the business and political world as the powerful create policies that favor certain parties over others.  It may be based on racial, religious, or economic factors.  It is always wrong.

Robbery is taking something that is not rightfully yours.  Yet it is also a form of robbery to cheat on our taxes, to take things from our place of employment, or to spend time at work, cruising the internet for personal reasons.

The mistreatment of the poor and needy goes beyond ensuring that they are not starving.  If they visit our churches, are they treated with the same dignity and respect as people of more influential means?  Are we showing favoritism?  God loves all people without distinguishing between class, education or ability to contribute.

How do we treat those who are new to our country?  Here in the United States we have an issue with illegal immigrants, but does that cause us to treat all immigrants with suspicion?  For that matter, is our handling of illegals just and fair?  What is the right thing to do?

II.  Stand in the Gap:  Ezekiel 22:30

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

It is our responsibility as Christians, not only to do the right thing ourselves, but to pray on behalf of our country for the forgiveness of the sin that is in our land.  Prayer is powerful.  Many people praying is even  more powerful.  The prayers of the people of God can hold off judgement that could rightly fall upon our land At what point does God send judgement?  I do not know.  I do know that prayer can make a difference.

III.  Judgement:  Ezekiel 22:31

 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

Israel was God’s own chosen people.  They had fallen into sin, ignored the prophets’ warnings, and judgement came on the land.  Some have suggested that America is like a new Israel.  I do not think that is the case.  Even if it was, we should examine our situation.  Sin has increased in our land over the last fifty years.  Is judgement coming for our sins?

I close with II Chronicles 7:14

 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.

These are the sermon notes from 8/30/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Search for Truth and Love

September 8, 2015

As a philosophy instructor I have a particular appreciation for the search for truth.  This appreciation comes from the realization that truth is not as easily grasped as one might think.  The discovery of truth provides a bedrock foundation upon which we can build our understanding of life.

I.  Truth:  II John 1-3

The Elder,

To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

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.

As I read these verses I am reminded that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  If we have placed our faith in Jesus then we are at the correct starting point.  Starting with a belief in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.  (John 16:13)  In Jesus, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)  I believe that throughout our life we can grow in our knowledge of the truth.  You could say that our life is a journey in search of the truth, which fits really well with a philosophers ‘love of wisdom’.  

II.  Love:  II John v5

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

As I read this verse I am reminded that the great commandments, according to Jesus, are to love God, and to love one another.  (Matthew 22:36-40)

I am also reminded of the line from the famous song by the Beatles “All you need is love…”

Love is a powerful force and a powerful motivator.  It is probably true that more people search for love than truth.

In Christ we find both.

III.  Obedience:  II John v6

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Unfortunately, we may lose a few people here.  People want to do their own thing.  They want to be independent.  However “doing it my way”  is not a good thing in the Christian walk.  We are to do things His way.  We are called to be obedient.  We do have the freedom to say no to Christ, but if we have given our lives to Christ, then He is both Savior and Lord.  If He is not our Lord, then neither is He our savior.  I John 5:3 says “ For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”  We are able to keep His commandments, not in our own strength, but because of the Spirit of God that dwells in us. 

IV.  Deceit:  II John v7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

We must be careful in our search for truth.  There are those who would seek to deceive us and lead us away from the truth.

As we continue our journey through this life.  We can continue to grow in our knowledge of the truth.  We can grow in our love for God and for one another.  We can grow in our ability to be obedient to Christ, as we guard against the deceit that is in the world.

These are the sermon notes from 8/9/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   


Good Grief!

September 3, 2015

Why do bad things happen?  If God is in control, why does He allow tragedies?  Bad things happen for a variety of reasons.  Some things happen because of simple natural law.  We age, we get sick, we eventually die.  It is the common fate of all humanity.  No one is exempt.  Some bad things happen as a result of human choices.  If we drink and drive, we may just kill someone.  Some bad things happen as a result of demonic activity.  Satan lives to destroy.  Sometimes God allows it.  God is also able to intervene.  Actually, God is sovereign and is able to stop, or deflect all evil.  The question is “Why does He allow bad things to happen?”  Although the question could be “How many times has He intervened and we are unaware?”

I.  The Lord Causes Grief:  Lamentations 3:31-33

For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea that the Lord causes grief.  Does He cause, or allow, bad things to happen.  The Jewish people in the Old Testament accepted everything as if it came from God.  They emphasized the sovereignty of God.  These verses indicate that although the Lord causes grief, it is not something that He enjoys.   He does use grief as a teaching tool.  In the same way that human parents use punishment to teach their children right from wrong, God sometimes uses grief to instruct us.

II.  Punishment for Sin:  Lamentations 3:37-39

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?

Once again we see the  language that God commands what comes to pass.  Certainly,  when the bad things that happen to us are a consequence of our sin, we should recognize we may have got off easy.  We have all sinned.  God has offered forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, even though we are forgiven of the eternal consequences of sin, there is a penalty that will be paid here on earth.

III.  Examine Our Ways:  Lamentations 3:40-41

Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.

If bad things are happening to us we should examine our lives.  Are we living in unrepentant sin?  Have we repented of any known sin?  Are we caught up in the sins of others?  Is it merely a test of our faith?  Is it a learning experience?  Is God using it so that we may be a witness to others?

Even if we are unable to discern the cause we can trust that God knows what He is doing.  God is not surprised.  He will give us the wisdom and strength that we need for any challenge.

IV.  We Are Not Consumed:  Lamentations 3: 22-24

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The difficulties that we face in this life will have an end.  We must simply trust in God to see us through.  His mercies are new every morning.  He is faithful to His people.  We should not lose heart.  Our hope is in God.

V.  The Lord is Good:  Lamentations 3:25

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

This does not mean  that there will never be anything bad in our life.  Bad things happen for a variety of reasons, but through them all, God is good to His people.  In fact, in times of grief it is even more important to turn to God for help, comfort and strength.  When grief drives us closer to God, it is good grief.

Learning From the Mistakes of Others

August 24, 2015

I am not one of those people who feel that it is necessary to experience everything for myself. I do not have to try everything myself.  I can learn from the mistakes of others.

I.  An Evil Heart:  Jeremiah 7:23-28

 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

27 “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.

28 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.

A.  Obey My Voice

The nation of Israel had been given the law through Moses.  They were expected to live in obedience to that word, but they had not.  We are to obey the voice of God.  God has given us direction in the Bible.  We are to read, interpret and obey the Word of God in our lives.

B.  Following An Evil Heart

Sometimes I hear people say that they must “follow their heart”.   The problem with that is that our hearts may be inclined to evil.  We should follow God’s Word, not our own feelings.

C.  Backwards or Forwards

Our relationship with God is never stagnant.  We are either drawing closer to God, or we are drifting away from God.  We should be careful to continue to move forward in our relationship with God.  We do that by regularly spending time in prayer, the Word, and attending church.  Also we should seek to live in obedience to His Word and be sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

II.  Rejecting the Word:  Jeremiah 8:7-11

“Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.

“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.
The wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord;
So what wisdom do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to others,
And their fields to those who will inherit them;
Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.

The children of Israel had rejected the Word of God.  They had given in to covetousness.  They dealt falsely and were liars.  I listen to people today who reject the Word of God, saying that it is not for our time.  I observe the inclination in our society to find fulfillment in material things.  I recognize the degree to which our society accepts lying and the prevalence of deceit and I am concerned.    It is one thing if non-believers practice this lifestyle, but it is tragic indeed when people who claim to be followers of Jesus give in to the ways of the world.

III.  Punishment:  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.”

Jeremiah prophesied that God was sending judgement upon the nation of Israel.  That judgement was coming because they had not been obedient to God’s Word.  They had followed their own hearts and forsaken the Law of God.  Therefore they were punished by their land being conquered by foreign armies that deported the survivors to another land.

As I said earlier, I can learn from the mistakes of others.  I can see where disobedience leads and I am not interested in that destination.  I will seek to be obedient to God’s Word, to walk in His ways, to seek to draw closer to God, rather than to drift away.  I desire to see the blessing of God upon my life, rather than suffer judgement.

These are the sermon notes from 8/2/15.  Any advertisement that might appear has been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Secret to Happiness

August 3, 2015

There are a lot of self-help books on the market.  People are not happy with who they are and they want to change.  They think that their lives would be better if they found the secret to happiness.

I.  The Lord Teaches Us:  Isaiah 48:17-18

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

God will teach us how we should live.  God works in our lives by His Word and His Spirit to shape us into the people that we are meant to be.  It is a lifelong process, not a weekend seminar.

This process requires our participation and cooperation.  We need to be reading the Bible.  We need to exercise our will and follow the direction that God gives to us.  If we follow the directions that God gives to us, then we will prosper.

II.  The Lord is the Potter:  Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

God is at work in our lives.  He has a plan and a purpose for us.  He has given to us certain skills that we are to develop and opportunities that we should seize.

Sometimes we are unhappy with our lives.  We can make changes, as God leads, but sometimes we must accept who we are created to be.  We need wisdom from God to know what we are to do.

III.  That Your Joy May Be Full:  I John 1:4-7

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Joy is meant to be a regular part of our Christian experience.  The joy that God gives to us is not dependent on external circumstances, but on our internal relationship with Christ.  Our joy should be full.

If we are being led by the Spirit of God, we will be walking in the light.  That means that we will be doing what is right in the sight of God.  This too, is a process.  God cleanses us from sin.  We learn more and more what it means to be the children of God. We learn how we are to live, and God enables us to change.

IV.  Greater is He Who is in You:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Sometimes people will say that they cannot help themselves, that they are only human, that they cannot change.

That is not correct.

We are of God and have the Spirit of God within us.  We cannot change on our own, but by the power of the Spirit of God we can do whatever God calls us to do.

The secret to happiness is to cooperate with God as He forms us into the people that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 7/19/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Our Strength and Our Shield

July 20, 2015

Some evangelicals are concerned about the future.  As our society becomes more tolerant in some ways, it becomes less tolerant in other ways.  What lies ahead? I.  God is Our Strength:  Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Our strength is limited.  There are times when we feel overwhelmed, worn out, perhaps we are questioning our ability to continue.  It is fairly normal for us to have those kinds of feelings occasionally.  Thankfully we are not expected to do the work of God in our own strength. “Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”  It is always important for Christians to spend time in the Word and in prayer.  When we are at the limit of our strength it is even more important to spend extra time in the presence of the Lord.  It is God who is the source of our strength for life and ministry. As we spend time in the presence of God through prayer and the Word, our strength will be renewed.  We can overcome obstacles by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. One of the themes that frequently reoccurs in my messages is that God will give us wisdom and strength.  If we ask God for direction and help, He is faithful to help those who turn to Him.  He will give us the wisdom to know what we should do, and the strength to do it. II.  God is our Shield:  Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

The children of Israel were well aware of how God had brought them through the waters.  The story of the salvation of Noah and his family from the flood was a part of their history.  The deliverance of Israel  from the army of Egypt at the Red Sea was still celebrated regularly.  The entrance into the promised land by passing through the Jordan was a story told over and over.  Their history clearly showed that God could bring them through the waters. For those of us who read these scriptures today, we are reminded of the friends of Daniel who were cast into the fiery furnace.  The king saw, not three men, but four in the furnace and the three men came safely out.  The fourth looked “like the son of God”.  We are not alone in our time of trial, Christ is with us.  Truly God can bring us through the fire, or the flood. We are involved in a spiritual war that is played out on two fronts; the physical and the spiritual.  God is able to protect us on both fronts.  We may never know all the ways that God has brought us through the battles.  Sometimes we can see the hand of God at work, and other times it is unknown to us. Conclusion:  Psalms 28:7

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

We do not need to worry about the future.  God is our strength and our shield.  We can face whatever comes our way. Psalms 118:6

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

These are the sermon notes from 7/5/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Good and Evil

July 9, 2015

The Supreme Court has made its’ decision. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. I had prepared this message before that news was made public. I think that the timing of this message was inspired by God.

I. Woe!: Isaiah 5:20-24

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!

Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!

Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

I cannot help but think of this recent ruling by the Supreme Court. God’s Word declares homosexual sex to be an abomination in Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 it is listed as a sin which is capable of keeping us from heaven ” Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”. It is condemned as evil in both Old and New Testaments, yet we now as a society declare it to be good.

What bothers me even more than our government endorsing gay marriage is when Christian leaders give their approval. There is a growing number of denominations and independent churches that are recognizing gay marriage. This requires either a dismissal of scripture or a drastic reinterpretation. Either route usually involves a sense of intellectual superiority. “You literalists just don’t understand how to interpret scripture.” Or so they say.

It has been a long time since I was in the Marine Corps, but I still remember that there were people who were proud of how much alcohol they could drink and still be conscious. Substance abuse in all its forms is unhealthy for our bodies, and a bad testimony for Jesus Christ.

God is concerned about justice. As the people of God, we too, should care about justice. Our society is better than many, but we should continue to press for just laws and just enforcement of those laws. There is still room for improvement.

These scriptures in Isaiah warn about coming judgement for these sins. We in America should be concerned. What is keeping God from judging our society for our sins?

As a country we have rejected the Law of God. We have removed the Bible and prayer from our schools. We have legalized sin. There is reason to be concerned.

II. Pray!! II Chronicles 7:14

“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.”

Judgement is held off by the mercy of God and the presence of Christians in our country. The missionary work that goes forth from the United States is phenomenal. Although there is much evil in our land there is also much good. As Christians we are to humble ourselves before God and ask God to forgive the sin in our lives, and in our land. If we will seek the face of God, if we will turn from our sins, then God will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land. It is not necessary for all Americans to be saved. It is important that those who call themselves Christian, behave in a Christ-like fashion. This includes our interaction with those who do not agree with us. God loves everyone. We are to call out to all to return to the God who loves them. Some will listen. Some will not.

These are the sermon notes from 6/28/15. Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.


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