Jacob’s Vow

September 4, 2019

Most of us are familiar with the story of the twin sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau.  Jacob decieved his father into giving him the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau.  Esau was angry and planned to kill his brother after his father died.  Rebekah heard of this and had Isaac send Jacob back to her home area to get a wife.   That is where we pick up the story in Genesis.

Genesis 28:10-22

Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

I.  The Promise

A.  The Land:  God appears to Jacob and informs him that he will be the one through whom the promise given to Abraham and Isaac will be fulfilled.  His descendants will inherit the land.

B.  The Blessing:  In Jacob’s seed, all the earth will be blessed.  Of course there is no greater blessing than Jesus Christ through whom salvation is offered to all the earth.

C.  The Promise:  Jacob is a young man going on a difficult journey.  God promises to be with him, protect him provide for him and bring him safely home again.

II.  The Presence

A.  The Ladder:  Jacob sees a ladder with angels ascending and descending between heaven and earth.  There is a connection between heaven and earth.  God hears our prayers.  He is involved in life on earth.  His angels are sent to do His will.

B.  The Awareness:  When Jacob awakes he is aware of God’s presence in that place.  There are places where the presence of God is more easily noticed.  Anytime that two or three are gathered in the name of Christ, Jesus promises to be among us.  Actually, we believe that God is present everywhere.

Are we aware of His presence?

III.  The Vow

A.  The Request:  Jacob was not asking for riches.  He merely asked for food and clothing.  We also, should learn the secret of being content with our basic needs being met.  “Godliness with contentment is great gain”  (I Timothy 6:6)

B.  The Return:  Jacob did desire for a safe journey with a return home.  I am sure he did not think that it would be twenty years before he would return home.

C.  The Tithe:  Jacob vowed to give back to God a tithe of all that God gave to him.  This vow helps to clarify the principle of tithing which is commanded in the Mosaic law.  Jacob’s vow shows again that the tithing precedes the law.  (Abraham also gave a tithe to Melchizedek. cf. Genesis 14)

God will take care of us in this journey through life.  We can trust Him.  We can demonstrate that trust by the practice of tithing.   May we grow in our ability to sense His presence with us each day.

 

These are the sermon notes from 9/1/19.  All scripture references 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.   

 

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Tough Choices

August 29, 2019

Our government on the national level has been running deficit budgets for many years.  We are currently 22 trillion dollars in debt.  I do not understand why our government is not taking this growing problem seriously.  It needs to be fixed.

Obviously, a deficit occurs when we spend more money than we receive in a certain period of time.  To erase a deficit, either income must increase, spending must decrease, or some combination of the two.

People get really upset if something that affects them is cut.  People also do not like to have their taxes raised.  Politicians are elected by these same people.

We, the people, need to realize that our government is going to have to start making some tough choices.

We cannot continue to tax less and spend more.

We may be called upon to sacrifice something that is dear to us.

Something needs to be done.

During this election cycle, let us ask what our politicians are going to do to turn our financial situation around.

Let’s not ignore this growing problem.

Ready or Not

August 28, 2019

I wish we’d all been ready.  That is the name of a song by Larry Norman way back in the seventies.  It was a reference to the rapture, when Christ will return to gather His people to Himself.

I.  The Rapture:  Matthew 24:36-42

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

The idea of being left behind on that day gives one a terrible feeling.  Books and movies have been written and made imagining what that would be like.

One way of interpreting the order of the end of the world is: rapture, tribulation, return of Christ, millennial reign, final rebellion, final judgment, and the new heavens and new earth.

That is a lot of material all thrown in at once.  Today, I want to focus on the rapture.

There are three views of when the rapture will take place.  The pre-trib view believes that the rapture will take place before the tribulation.  The mid-trib view is that the rapture will take place three and a half years into the tribulation.  The post-trib view is that it will take place at the end of the tribulation.

I like to tell people to prepare for pre but be prepared for post.  In order to be prepared for the pre-trib rapture we simply need to be living in a right relationship with God.  To be prepared for post we need to be living in a right relationship with God, and have an understanding that we might be called upon to suffer for the name of Christ.  This is something that we should be ready for anyway, as many Christians have suffered before us.

II.  Call Upon The Lord:  Genesis 4:26

And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.

From the beginning people have called upon the name of the Lord.  Of course, in the New Testament we are introduced to Jesus; the Son of God, who is our Lord and Savior.

Acts 4: 8-12

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

So, it is not merely a faith in a generic god, but faith in Jesus that saves us.

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.

So, when we call on the name of the Lord, we call upon Jesus.

III.  Obedience  Genesis 6;22

Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

God gave Noah direction.  Noah obeyed God.  Obedience is important.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Please notice the order: grace, faith, works.  People often get this confused or out of order.  Unless God reached out to us by grace we would remain dead in our sins.  If we do not respond in faith we would have rejected the salvation that God offers us through Jesus Christ.  Our faith in Christ changes us.

James 2:17

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

Again, we need to emphasize that we do do have works to be saved.  We have works because we are saved.  We do not earn our salvation, but our salvation changes us.  Grace, faith, works, in that order.

So if we want to be ready for the rapture, if we do not want to be left behind, then we need to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and be obedient to him.

Matthew 7:21

“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.

 

Are you ready?

Ready or not….

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/25/19.  All scripture references 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. 

 

True Transgender Diversity

August 22, 2019

There is a growing population of individuals who are confused about their personal identity.  They believe that they have the wrong body, or perhaps they believe that there are days when they feel they are female and days when they feel they are male.  This issue of being transgender creates conflicts in both personal and public life.

I believe that these conflicts are all based on a misconception.

In philosophy there is an issue referred to as the mind/body problem.  There is a recognition that we have a body.  We have a mind.  There is considerable debate over exactly what each of these are and how they are related.

I maintain that being male or female is a simple matter of body identification.  At birth, the doctor looks at our physical anatomy and declares either male or female for the birth certificate.  This issue of physically being male or female is determined, not by choice, but by our chromosomes.  Males have an XY pairing, females have an XX pairing.*  These chromosomes are present in our cells and they will not be changed by surgery or hormone therapy.  Literally, on the cellular level our bodies are either male or female and there is nothing we can do about that except accept it as a fact.

So why is there confusion?  What am I talking about when I say true transgender diversity?

For many years, and in many societies, there were expectations determined by one’s identification as male or female.  These included occupations, sexual practice and personality traits.  There were jobs that were considered appropriate for men and other jobs for women.  Men were expected to marry women and women to marry men.  There were also personality traits that were considered masculine or feminine.  Some example of masculine  traits were assertiveness, courage, strength and competitiveness.  Some examples of feminist traits were gentleness, compassion, and sensitivity.

Over the years, at least here in the United States all of these expectations have been challenged.  We no longer think of occupations as being the work of specifically men or women.  We recognize that sexual attraction is not exclusively heterosexual.  We have come a long way in redefining our expectations of personality.

We are not done.

True transgender diversity will exist when we are comfortable recognizing that we have a male or a female body and that does not say anything definitively about our minds.

When a person says that they are a female in a male body they are guilty of assigning certain feelings exclusively to a particular sex.  They literally cannot know what it feels like to have a female body, so they must be assuming that the way they feel is associated with being female.

However, feelings are not determined by our chromosomes.  Thoughts and feelings are neither male or female but are present in both sexes.  It would be better to acknowledge our personal physical identity as male or female and recognize that our individual thoughts, feelings and desires are simply our mind, individual and independent; neither male nor female, wonderfully complex and diverse.

We have minds.  We have bodies.  Gender should be a term that applies to body.

No one is in the wrong body.

We are simply diverse in our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

 

I welcome your comments.  They will be moderated.  Let us try to have a civil conversation about a complex issue.  There will be a delay in posting because I am only on this site once a day.

 

*I am aware that some individuals have an extra chromosome resulting in an XXY combination.  This results in both male and female genitalia being present.  This article is not addressing that extremely rare issue.

Most of my recent postings have been religious.  I have been encouraged to again post some articles that are more philosophical in nature. 

Follow Me

August 19, 2019

Sometimes you hear stories about very valuable items being donated to thrift stores or sold in garage sales for small amounts.  This is not necessarily because the owners were incredibly generous, they might not have known the the item’s true value.

I.  Great Value:  Matthew 13:44-46

  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “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.

A.  Forgiveness: In order for us to enter the kingdom of heaven we must first receive the forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus Christ died so that our sins could be forgiven.  One way of estimating value is by acknowledging the price that is paid.  There can be no greater value than the life of the Son of God.

B. Relationship:  A part of our participation in the kingdom of heaven is the relationship that we have with God through our faith in Jesus.  Jesus said that He would be with us always.  How could we place a value on that?

C.  Eternity:  The best part of being included in the kingdom of heaven is that our hope is ultimately for eternal life.  What a day that will be when we enter the gates of heaven.

Of course, we recognize that God offers us the opportunity to be a part of the kingdom of heaven freely, through our faith in Jesus Christ.  He does this because he loves us.

II.  Follow Me:  Matthew 19:16-22

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

What God wants from us is for us to want Him.  God should be more important to us that anything in this world.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The young ruler wanted to know what he should do.  We should put God first in our lives, recognizing that He is of more value than all the money in the world.

III.  Exchange:  Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

God offers us the kingdom of heaven.  We receive it freely.  We do not buy or earn our salvation, it is the gift of God.  However, as God’s people, we should fulfill His will for our lives.  We should be willing to do whatever God wants us to do.  We receive much more than we give up. We give up our old lives in exchange for the new life that God has for us.

The new life is much better than the old.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/18/19.  All Biblical quotations 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. 

 

Source of Joy

August 15, 2019

I am currently reading St. Augustine’s Confessions.  One item that particularly struck me was when he commented that the source of our joy made a difference.

People find joy in many different things: a beautiful sunset, time spent with a loved one, either viewing or participating in an athletic competition, a good concert, a fine meal, and so forth.

Of course some people find joy in acts that are wrong.  Some may enjoy bullying others, or torturing animals, or destroying the property of others.

So, we cannot simply say ‘Do whatever makes you happy’.

Some things are wrong.  Your happiness should not be connected to the misery of others. (Athletic competitions may be an exception.)

I would further suggest that our greatest joy comes from God Himself.  Psalms 16:11 says:

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

It is my belief that if our relationship with God is healthy we will not only find joy in that relationship, but that we will be better able to appreciate all of God’s gifts to us.

Joy is a valuable gift.

The source of that joy does matter.

Good Ground

August 12, 2019

There are some Christians who focus almost exclusively on the New Testament.  They may be familiar with the famous stories of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Joshua at Jericho and Moses at the Red Sea, but speak to them about the Minor Prophets and they may not know very much.  The OLd Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the disciples.  It lays the foundation for the teachings of the New Testament.  It is good for Christians to read both the Old and the New Testaments in their daily devotions.

I.  Refined By Fire

Zechariah was a post-exilic prophet.  That means that he prophesied after the Children of Israel had returned to Jerusalem after their seventy year exile to Babylon.  This portion of his prophecy will be familiar to Christians because a portion of it is quoted in the gospels.

Zechariah 13:7-9

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lordis my God.’ ”

A.  The Shepherd:  Verse seven is the verse that is quoted in the gospels.  It refers to the betrayal of Judas, the arrest of Jesus and the scattering of the disciples.

B.  Little Ones:  The affliction of the ‘little ones’ is hard to read.  Two-thirds are cut off and die.  Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.  (cf. Matthew 7:21)  There is much debate in Christianity about the security of the believer, but even those who hold to the doctrine of eternal security recognize that some will come to the altar, profess Christ for a time, and then fall away.  They explain this by simply saying that the individual was never truly saved.  So, whether you acknowledge backsliding as an option or eternal security, there is the recognition that some for a time, claim Christianity, but will not be in heaven.

That is sad.

C.  Refined:  For those whose faith remains firm, they will go through testing.  It is meant to be a time of spiritual growth.  It is part of how we progress from being babes in Christ to mature believers.  It is an ongoing process.

II.  The Sower and the Seed

Some will not be convinced by verses from the Old Testament.  The same principle is taught in the gospels by Jesus himself.

A. The Parable:  Matthew 13:3-9

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

I am sure that you will see the similarities to Zechariah’s prophecy, but we do not have to leave this parable to our own interpretation.  Jesus gave the interpretation to the disciples so that there can be no doubt.

B.  The Interpretation:  Matthew 13:18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So, some do not respond to the gospel.  They are unbelievers.  Some respond to the gospel and fall away under persecution.  Some respond but their lives are choked out by the cares and concerns of the world.  Some respond and bear fruit.   Please notice that of those that respond, two parts out of three, will not survive in their faith.

See the similarity now?

III.  The Security of the Believer:  Romans 8:37-39

  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God!  We are more than conquerors!!  We are secure in Christ!!!  These verses prove that claim.

Do they?

It is true that nothing from the outside can take us away from Christ.  But…. can we choose to leave?

I would submit that we do have that choice.  We can give up.  We can be drawn away.  Those are choices that we can make.  God does not force us to stay with Him.

So if we want to be sure that we are in ‘good ground’ what should we do?

IV.  Keep Your Eyes on Jesus:  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.

The Christian life is not over at the beginning.  It is not a brief sprint.  It is a life-long commitment to Christ.  It is daily making the choice to follow Jesus.  We should daily fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him.  It is basic Christian teaching that to grow in Christ we should spend time reading the Bible, we should spend time in prayer, and we should regularly gather together with other believers for worship, instruction, prayer and encouragement.

This does not mean that we go back and forth from saved to unsaved, over and over again.  Exactly at which point does our faith die?  That is only for God to judge.  I know that in my life I want to pursue a healthy life in Christ.  I want a ‘closer walk with thee’.  I don’t want to find the line just to stay above it.  I want to be all that I can be in Christ.

I hope that you do as well.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/4/19.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I recieve any money from them.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version. 

 

Walk in the Truth

June 15, 2019

The Christian life begins with a moment in which we respond to the Word and the Spirit of God in repentance and faith.  That new birth is only the beginning of our Christian life.

I.  Walk in Truth:  III John 2-4

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

A.  Prayer, not Proclamation:  There was a time when I heard people use verse two to support the idea that all Christians should prosper and be in good health.  Now, it is true that often God will bless his people both financially and with good health, but it is not a guarantee.  This verse is a prayer for them to prosper and be in good health, not a proclamation that they will be.  There is a difference.  If anything, the existence of the prayer indicates that it is not a given.

B.  Rejoice:  I have been in ministry now for many years at the same church.  I have literally watched people grow from childhood to adulthood.  I can agree with John that it brings me great joy to know that my ‘children’ are walking in the truth.  For me, I would substitute my ‘people’ so that it can refer to the young, the old, and everyone in between.  The truth is that I have known some that have left the faith.  Those people sadden me.  The ones who are faithfully serving God do indeed bring joy.

C.  Walk in Truth:  There are multiple components to walking in truth.  First there is the understanding that Jesus himself is truth.  (See John 14:6) Therefore to walk in truth is simply to walk with Jesus.  Think ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee”.  That would be a great start.  Another component of truth is having a knowledge of the truth.  That would be having an accurate understanding of the Bible and its’ teachings.  Thankfully, we do not have to have everything right.  It is not a test that we must score a certain percent on to go to heaven, but we should grow in our knowledge of truth.  The final component that I will mention today is to live our lives according to the commandments of God.  Again, it is important to know that we are not trying to earn our salvation, but rather to live out our salvation.  Christ makes a difference in our lives.

II.  Imitate:  III John 11

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

It is important to understand that we should not imitate the world’s understanding of good.  God has revealed what is good in His sight in the Bible.  The Bible should provide our standard of good.  Therefore, people who are living their lives according to God’s Word are the ones that we should be imitating.

III.  The Lord is Good:  Lamentations 3:22-25

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!”

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

    A.  Not Consumed:  God is merciful.  Those who turn to Him in repentance are forgiven through Jesus Christ.  Thank you God!

B.  New Every Morning:  Our relationship with God is not something that we have to simply remember.  God is willing to reveal Himself to us daily.  We do not have to live only with a memory of what God did some time in the past.  He desires to be a part of our life today.

C. The Lord is Good:  If we seek God, we will find Him.  He is good to His people.  We should seek His presence regularly and diligently.

These are the sermon notes from 6/9/19.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

Make Me More Like You

February 27, 2019

Forms of discipline for children have varied over the years and between cultures, but one thing is true everywhere; parents have an important role in the development of their children.

I.  Discipline:  Hebrews 12:3-7

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Chastening is not a word that we use much today.  Discipline or correction might be more appropriate.  The idea that good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished is an important lesson to learn in life.  God is continually working in our lives to mold us into the people that we were meant to be.  It is an ongoing process that will last a lifetime. At times we may feel weary or discouraged but we should stay strong and finish the race that is before us.

II.  Process:  Psalms 19:12-14

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

We should embrace the process of change in ourselves.  Our thoughts, our words and our deeds should all be brought into alignment with God’s will.  It is important to remember that this is not being done to earn our salvation.  Our salvation is a gift, given to us through Jesus Christ and received by our faith in Him.  When we become Christians we are born again, now a child of God.  As a child of God we must now grow from a babe in Christ to maturity in Christ.  We will not reach perfection in this life but we will change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

III.  Help:  Psalms 25:4-5

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

God will teach us.  God will help us.  We are not in this journey alone.  We should seek the presence of God.

IV.  Image:  Romans 8:29

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

What did God foreknow?  He knows who is going to respond to the Spirit with faith in Jesus.  Those who are born again are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Lord, make us more like you.

A few years ago, WWJD was a popular acronym.  It stands for What Would Jesus Do?  Actually, it is a very good question to ask ourselves.  God is working in our lives to make us more like Jesus.  It is a work that will continue throughout this life.  We are not yet what we are meant to be, but neither are we still, the people that we were.

V.  Goal:  Psalms 17:15

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

We seek the face of God.  Now we see dimly, but one day face to face.  We seek to be more like Jesus.  One day we will be with Him.

Then we will truly be satisfied.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/24/19.  All quotations 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.   

Finish the Race

February 21, 2019

The Christian life is not a moment but a lifetime.

I.  Anchor:  Hebrews 6:17-19

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

A.  The Promises of God:  In scripture there are many promises that God makes to His people.  None is more precious than John 3:16″For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  God cannot lie and He always keeps His promises.  This is wonderful news to us and provides an anchor for our souls.  This confidence allows us to endure the storms of life.  It provides stability in times of turmoil.

B.  Also mentioned in these verses is the opportunity that we have to enter into the very presence of God.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil that separated the holiest of holys was torn in two.  This symbolizes that we are able to enter the presence of God.  This is a wonderful privilege that God has granted to us through Jesus Christ.

II.  Not Alone:  Hebrews 10:19-25

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

A.   Let Us Draw Near:  We have the opportunity to draw closer to God.  Do we take advantage of that opportunity?  If we seek God, He will let us find Him.  If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.

B.  Let Us Hold Fast:  Life can tear us away from the presence of God.  We may be tempted to give up on our faith.  Let us hold fast to the hope that God has given to us.  God allows tests and trial into our live to test us, to strengthen our faith, and to help us to draw closer to God.

C.  Let Us Consider One Another:  We are not meant to be alone in this journey through life.  We are meant to be a part of the family of God.  We are meant to encourage one another in our walk with Christ.

III.  Endurance:  Hebrews 10:36

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Christianity is not a singular event.  It does not end when we give our heart to Christ. That is only the beginning.  Our walk with Christ begins when we are born again through our faith in Jesus.  Then we must live our lives continuing to develop our relationship with God.  It is not a sprint, but rather more like an ultra distance event.  It is not a moment, it is a lifetime.

IV.  Looking to Jesus:  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.

When life gets us down.  We should look up to Jesus.  We should remember that He gave His life so that we might be forgiven.  He finished what God had sent Him to earth to do and then returned to His rightful place in heaven.  Let us also finish what God has for us to do, knowing that one day we will go to be with Jesus forever.  Let us be faithful to the end, even as Jesus was faithful.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/16/19.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.