Great Peace

May 28, 2015

One of our greatest assets as Christians is the peace of God that brings us through the turmoil of life.

I.  Psalms 119:165

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

The peace that God has for His people is something that this world cannot given, nor understand, nor take away.  It is not an absence of external turmoil or conflict.  It is an inner peace that allows us to face the storms of life unruffled.

This peace comes from time spent in the Word of God.  The Word of God, together with the Spirit of God, transform the people of God.  We should read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and above all, be obedient to it.

To stumble is to trip up, to almost fall.  People who are grounded in the Word will live stable Christian lives.

The King James version of the Bible says “And nothing will offend them.” for the second portion of verse 165.  Christians who are solidly grounded in the Word will not be offended by the actions of others.  We will have compassion on them, even when they are doing offensive things.

II.  John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This verse has been one of my favorites since my teenage years.  It has given me a peace within that comes from a confidence in what God can do in our lives.

We will have tribulation.  We will have problems, tests, and trials.  We can be confident that God will see us through those problems.  We can trust that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.  We are not alone.  God is with us.  It may be that we must look at our situations from an eternal perspective, because sometimes things don’t work out for us in this life.  That doesn’t meant that we are defeated.

We have the Spirit of Christ as our source of strength.  Jesus overcame the world.  Now, we too, are more than conquerors.

III.  II Timothy 3:1-5

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Whenever I read this portion of scripture I am amazed at how many of these traits are in evidence in the world today.  I believe that perilous times have come and we should guard our hearts against the corruption that is in the world.

In all of this, we may be at peace.  As our world descends into chaos, we can know that God is still on the throne.  We should continue to seek to do what is right in the eyes of God.  We should work to solve problems and to make the world in which we now live a better place, but we must realize that our true home is not in this world.

IV.  Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We cannot be at peace and be worried at the same time.  We should not worry.  Anything that we are anxious about we can bring to God and leave in His hands.  He loves us, hears us, and is able to help us.

We can be at peace in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 5/24/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them. 

His Mercy Endures Forever

May 21, 2015

There are portions of the Old Testament that clearly point to Jesus Christ.  Psalms that refer to Christ are called Messianic Psalms.  Psalms 118 is one example.

I.  Give Thanks for Mercy:  Psalms 118:1-4

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

Certainly we should give thanks to God for He is good to us in so many ways.  All good gifts come ultimately from God.  He is deserving of our thanks.

His mercy endures forever.  We should understand and appreciate God’s grace and mercy.  Grace is receiving something good that we do not deserve.  Mercy is when we do not receive punishment that we do deserve.  We all have sinned.  The wages of sin is death, but God has given us life in Jesus Christ instead of the death we deserve.  His mercy endures forever, because we have been offered life forever.

II.  Trust in the Lord:  Psalms 118: 5-9

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

We will occasionally be in distress.  Life can be hard.  In times of trouble we do not need to be afraid.  God is on our side.  Truly as Christians we should have no fear.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  We can trust God.  He will come through for us.  We should understand that sometimes we must view this from an eternal perspective.  Our greatest reward is not of this world.

III.  Rejoice!  Psalms 118:15-18

The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

We should expect that our lives will be filled with the joy of the Lord.  As Christians we should be able to rejoice over the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  We should be able to appreciate the good gifts that God has for us in this life.

In these verses we begin to see evidence that this psalm is a messianic psalm.  The “right hand of the Lord” is a reference to Jesus Christ.  Jesus does die for our sins, but he does not remain dead but is raised up to life everlasting.  So we too, have a hope that goes beyond the grave, truly a reason for rejoicing.

IV.  The Gate:  Psalms 118:19-20

Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

There is only one gate through which we can enter into the presence of the Lord.  It is, of course, Jesus Christ.  John 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”  The Hebrew word for gate is the same word as for door.  Either way, it is only through Jesus Christ that we will enter into heaven.  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.

V.  The Cornerstone:  Psalms 118:21-24

I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone upon which we can build our lives.  In Matthew 21:42 Jesus quotes this verse.  “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”  God knew from the very beginning what He was going to do about the problem of sin. God shows us mercy by the atoning death of Jesus.  Matthew 7:24 says “ “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:”  Jesus is the rock of our salvation, the rock upon which we build our lives.

VI.  The Light:  Psalms 118:25-28

Save now, I pray, O Lord;
O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world that has shown into the darkness.  Those who believe in Him are called to share His light with others.  Some reject the light and remain in darkness, but some receive His light and come into the presence of God.  Now we are called to let His light shine through us.  ” Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ” Matthew 5:16

Conclusion:  Psalms 118:29

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Time Matters

May 14, 2015

The last time that I remember being bored was the winter of 1982-83 in Beirut, Lebanon.  I was serving in the Marine Corps and was a part of the multinational peacekeeping force.  A part of my duties was to stand twelve hours of guard duty every other day.  Six hours on, six hours off, repeat.  Standing guard for twelve hours on the perimeter of an airport where you normally did not see anyone was conducive to boredom.

That was a long time ago.

Now, I have far more things to do than I have time or energy to do.  Since I have so much to do I find it helpful to make a daily list.  This list is kept on my computer and updated each work day.

The first thing on my list is the Today category.  In this category I list those things that are scheduled for that day, or that really should be done that day.  The minimum goal is to have those things completed each day.

The second category is Daily.  This category lists those things that I would like to do on a daily basis.  These are good, routine things that I try to make a part of each day.  This list includes things like make list, take vitamins, read the paper, do some other reading, pick up around the house, do some weeding, and so forth.  I really want to get these things done each day, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.

The third category is Should Do.  This list contains a list of things that I should do, that are waiting to be done.  Once the first two parts of my list have been completed, if I have any time or energy left, then I turn my attention to this list.  On a good day, I will get numerous things scratched off this list.

The fourth category is Call/Contact.  I place peoples names on this part of the list that I need to call or visit.

The final category is Could Do.  This part of the list is all of those things that I would like to do if I can find the time.  Sadly, if an item is on this part of the list, it is not forgotten, but it may never get done.  It’s only real hope is that someday I may feel the desire to bump it up into the Should Do category.

The nice thing about the list is that it helps me to stay organized.  I can get the things done that I need to get done.  I can have a sense of accomplishment as things are scratched off the list.  If I am having a day that is overwhelming, or that I am just not very with it, I simply go to the next thing on the list, do it, and check it off.  My wife can provide input to help me in prioritizing my day so that important things are not left out.  It works well for me.

Some people do not like lists.  They feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume, or they feel that everything must be done.

I can assure you.  Everything on my list will not be done today…or this week….or possibly ever.

I can live with that.

It is merely a tool by which I organize my time.  So if you want me to do something, I will write it down,  get it on my list, and it will get done…eventually.

Repentance

May 11, 2015

King David is said to be “a man after God’s own heart”, that is; an example for the rest of us.  Yet, King David was an adulterer, and arranged for the death of an innocent man.  Obviously, this behavior is not what we are to imitate.  What we are to learn from is how he responded when he was confronted with his sin.  Psalms 51 was written to express his repentance.

Psalms 51:10-17

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

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

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I.  A Broken and Contrite Heart

The first step is to recognize that we have sinned.  One thing that greatly bothers me is when people think that their life is right, and God’s Word is wrong.  When we measure our life by the light of God’s Word we will see that there is still room for improvement in our lives.  We still fall short of what we could, and should be.

Once we have recognized our sin, we should be sorry for our sin.  A “broken and contrite heart” does not make excuses for sin.

True repentance leads to renouncing sin.  We should turn away from sin.  As much as we can do so, we should avoid sin.  We should “cease to do evil, and learn to do good.”

II.  A Clean Heart

Once we have turned to God in repentance, we are forgiven for our sins.  We do not have to earn our forgiveness.  Forgiveness has been provided for us at the cross.  Jesus has made atonement for us.  “although our sins were as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow”.

III.  A Steadfast Spirit

As Christians we are meant to have life-altering changes take place in our lives.  A steadfast spirit is one that will be able to stand the test of time.  We are not “tossed about”  by events in our lives, but rather we are to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.

IV.  Joy

There are times when the joy of the Lord has been drained from our lives.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  It is like fuel to a car.  We top off the tank and we can run for quite a while, but the stress and strains of life can cause our tanks to run dry.  When that happens we need to spend sufficient time in the presence of the Lord, for “in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore”.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, we can expect it to be present in our lives.  If it is missing, then we must seek the presence of the Lord until it is restored to us.

V. Teach

First, God works in our lives.  Then we are able to teach others about the goodness of the Lord.

VI.  Praise

Praise is a natural and expected response to the forgiveness that God offers to us.  God is good to us in so many ways.  He is worthy of our worship and our praise.

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

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

These are the sermon notes from 5/10/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Acceptable, the Good and the Perfect

May 7, 2015

I am a percussionist.  I have played percussion instruments in performance groups and in worship teams for over thirty-five years.   As a percussionist, I have a fairly large collection of instruments.  I have a vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, timpani, congas, bongos, tempo blocks, cowbells, tambourines, a guiro, afuche, claves, various types of shakers, and more.

I played drums and percussion in school.  There was music.  I played what was written.  When I was first asked to play in church, I asked if there was music.  The director laughed, told me no, and that he would teach me to improvise.

Now I hardly ever use written music.

One of the challenges that  a percussionist faces is determining what instrument is going to be the best choice for a particular song, or part of a song.  Personally, I pray that I will be inspired by God’s Spirit to best be in tune with the worship that is taking place.  Paul speaks of singing in the Spirit, my goal is to play in the Spirit.

Last night during the worship service, as I was selecting which instrument to play, it occurred to me that it was a good illustration of our life choices.  In the same way that I have many instruments from which I can choose to play, I also have many ways in which I can spend my time.  In fact, I have far more things that I could do, than I could possibly have time or energy to do.

I could play many instruments and sound decent, but there is only one instrument that would be best.  It is the same in life, the challenge is to select the best thing to do with our time at any given moment.

I am still working on that.

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.

In playing my instruments, I want to be the best that I can be.  In life, my desire is to be in the perfect will of God, not just the good, or the merely acceptable, but the perfect.  I am glad that God accepts me in my imperfection, but I want to be the best that I can be in my service to God, not just as a musician, but in all areas of my life.

I hope that is true for you as well.

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Look to Jesus

May 4, 2015

We are not likely to memorize the entire Bible.  One portion of scripture that I would recommend memorizing is Hebrews 12:1-2.

 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I. Witnesses

In chapter 11 the author of Hebrews listed many people of faith who had gone before us.  These people are witnesses of the faithfulness of God and the power that faith in God brings to our lives.

We are also called to account for our own lives.  We are now called to demonstrate the power of God in our own lives.  People are watching.  What do they see?  Do they see the difference that Christ makes in our lives?

II.  Lay Aside

God has a plan for each one of us, a purpose that we are to fulfill.  Are we doing the work of the kingdom?  Or have we allowed the things of the world to crowd out the call of God on our lives?  May God grant us wisdom to find the balance in our lives.   We are not meant to work ourselves to death, nor are we to sit idly by while others do the work.

We are called to be holy, to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it.  To “cease to do evil, and learn to do good’.  (Isaiah 1:16-17)  Sin slows us down and can keep us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives.

III..  Run With Endurance

Our service to God is not simply a moment.  It is a lifetime of commitment to Christ.  Our service to God will look different as we go through different stages in our life, but there is always something for us to do for the kingdom of God.  It is not a fifty yard dash, but rather an ultra-distance event.

IV.  Look to Jesus

Jesus did what God sent Him to earth to do.  Jesus knew what the cross meant.  He asked God to “let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). He also prayed “not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).  Jesus is an example to us.  We too, should not shirk whatever duty God has called us to perform. We too, should do the will of God for our lives.

Jesus is our source of strength.  We look to Him for an example and also for strength to fulfill the call of God on our lives.

V.  Our Reward

God has promised to reward those who have trusted in Jesus and served Him faithfully.  At times our life here on earth may be difficult, but the reward of God will be eternal.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

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

 

Religious Freedom or Discrimination?

April 23, 2015

Things change.

Not that many years ago, homosexual sex was against the law.  It was listed as a mental illness.  It was a sin.  Gay marriage was unthinkable.

Now, those laws have been either rescinded or forgotten.  They certainly are not enforced.  It has been taken off the list of mental illnesses.  Some churches have embraced it as an alternative lifestyle.  Many states have legalized marriage of same sex couples.

There are still a few holdouts.

Some people of religious faith continue to hold to their view that it is a sin, that gay marriage is a sin.  They want no part of it.  They base their beliefs on a few scriptures.

Leviticus 18:22

 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

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.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

 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.

I Timothy 1:8-11

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Romans 1:18-32

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There are actually still quite a few people who believe that homosexual activity is sinful.  Some of these people are in business.  They believe that it is wrong for them to support a gay marriage by providing services such as photography, baking, or catering.

Is the refusal of these services criminal discrimination, or an exercise in religious freedom?  Should the people newly in power force compliance upon those who have been slow to change?  Or who will not change?

Recently Indiana had a law passed that was meant to protect people of conservative religious views.  It was poorly written, being far too broad in scope. There was an uproar of protest.  The law was quickly changed.  I would like to suggest something more specific to be considered.  Something like:

“Business people who have strong religious convictions against gay marriage will not be forced to provide services to support a gay marriage ceremony so long as those services are available by another business within a fifty mile radius.” 

This type of law would protect the right of the individual’s religious conviction while still allowing the desired services to be obtained.

Of course, maybe we have become a society that will not tolerate disagreement or noncompliance.

 

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Word & Faith

April 20, 2015

God is able to transform our lives.  He takes us out of the darkness and into His light.  This is done by the Spirit, using the Word, and mixed with faith.

I.  The Word Mixed With Faith:  Hebrews 4:2

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

We can hear, or read the Word of God and it might not have a positive effect on us.  For the Word to have a positive effect we must believe, or have faith in what it says.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)  The basic gospel message must be believed in order to have a positive effect.  In a similar way “Do not commit murder.  Do not steal.  Do not commit adultery.”  These commands, and others must be believed to be from God or they will not have the desired effect.

II.  Faith Comes By Hearing:  Romans 10:17

 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

There appears to be a problem here.  The Word needs faith to be effective, but faith comes from hearing the Word.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, ”  I believe that we hear the Word and the Spirit of God confirms that Word in our hearts.  Then we have the option of receiving or rejecting the gift of God.  We are exposed to the Word, the Spirit speaks to our hearts, and we are called to respond.  We respond either with faith, or with disbelief.

III.  Preach the Word:  II Timothy 4:1-8

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.

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 the most effective form of witness we can use it to share the Word.  The Bible has been used by Christians for almost two thousand years.  We should commit portions of the Word to memory, and use them when appropriate to testify of what God has to say to the world.  We can share the Word.  The Spirit can confirm the Word.  People are then accountable to God for their response.  Some will reject the Word, but some will receive the Word with faith, leading to salvation and transformed lives.

IV.  The Word is Powerful:  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.

The Word will accomplish one of two things.  It will either be received with faith, resulting in salvation and transformation, or it will be rejected which will result in condemnation because of unbelief.

As believers we should look for opportunities to share the Word of God with people.  God can work through us to have an impact on people’s lives.

These are the sermon notes from 4/12/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

New Life

April 16, 2015

Easter Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the year.  The celebration of the hope of new life that is given to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ is always a wonderful day.

Luke 24:1-12

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’

And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

I.  He is Risen

Jesus had died and was buried, but He did not stay dead.  He rose from the grave to a life that is everlasting.  It is a wonderful event that brings hope to all of us who believe in Him, that even as He has risen from the dead, so we also will have a new life beyond the grave. Death is no longer to be feared.  It is no longer the end of our story.  Death is only the transition from this life to the next.  That dramatically changes how we look at this life.

II.  The Cross Came First:  Hebrews 12:2

 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Before Jesus could enjoy the triumph of the resurrection, He had to endure the trial of the cross.  It was in the death of Jesus on the cross that His mission on earth was completed.  It was on the cross that atonement was made for the sins of the world.  Without the cross we would be lost in our sins.

It was absolutely necessary for the crucifixion to come before the resurrection.  Only on the cross could Jesus say “It is finished”

III.  Our New Life:  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.

For all of those who have wanted an opportunity to start over, Christianity offers that chance.  In Christ, the old passes away, we become something new.  It is not exactly a do over, but rather, a begin again.  We are “born again”  a new person in Christ Jesus.

What a wonderful thing!

IV.  The Death of the Old:  Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are to die to sin and walk in the newness of life that God has for us.  In this life, while we are still in our old bodies, we are given a new spirit.  The Spirit of God gives us new life.  We are to learn to walk in the newness of that life, even while living in our old bodies.  When the time comes, we will trade these bodies for the new ones.  In the meantime we must die to sin so that we can live for Christ. The person who we were, our old nature, must die, so that the new person, who we are meant to be in Christ can fully come to life.

These are the sermon notes from 4/5/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.    

 

Go! Serve! Praise!

April 13, 2015

I appreciate that so many churches all around the world will be focusing on the same basic topic both today and next Sunday.  In a small way it shows the unity that there is supposed to be in the body of Christ.

Luke 19:28-40

 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

I.  Go!

The disciples were given instructions by Jesus.  They followed those directions.  We are given directions by God in the Scriptures.  We are to follow them.  We also grow in our ability to hear the voice of the Spirit.  The Spirit will also give us direction if we are willing to be sensitive and obedient.

II.  Serve!

The people lay their clothes in the road to show their love,respect and admiration.  In what ways do we show our love and respect?  We are called to lay down our lives for Christ if necessary, but what are we doing with our lives?  We should be willing to serve God in whatever capacity we are able to serve.

III.  Praise!

Certainly we should offer praise to God.  Whether it is with our voices, or our instruments, it is good, right and fitting to give thanks and praise to God.  He is worthy to receive our worship and praise.  We should praise God not just outwardly, but with our whole hearts.  Our attitudes should be humble and obedient to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.  We should praise him not just with our voices, instruments and hearts, but with all of our lives.  May our very lives be an offering of praise.

This message from Palm Sunday is not meant to be a single Sunday in the year, but rather a pattern by which we live out our lives.

This message was preached on Palm Sunday 3/29/15.  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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