Archive for June, 2012

Who is Jesus?

June 25, 2012

A group of ministers and ministers-in-training were sitting around the other day discussing preaching themes and topics.  It just so happened that the next Sunday I was preaching on the most important topic.  I was preaching Christ.

Colossians 1:13-20

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood,[a] the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

He, meaning God, has delivered us from darkness.  Some Christians, like myself, have grown up in the church.  This is a testimony of the power of God to keep His people in a relationship.  For all of us parents who have raised our children in the church it is comforting to know that we do not have to walk away from God.  For people with this experience, we do not have much knowledge of life in the dark.

Other people have spent many years living in the darkness, for them the contrast of life before Christ, and life after Christ is crystal clear.

Jesus is a king, but His kingdom is not of this earth.  His kingdom will never end and it is the kingdom of light, filled with the love of God.

Jesus is the redeemer.  We are able to become a part of this kingdom only through our faith in Jesus who redeemed us by His blood.   Jesus is the only means of salvation.  There is no other way to be a part of the kingdom of God.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  God revealed His character through Jesus.  Christ told His disciples “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

Jesus is the firstborn over all creation.  Some people mistakenly interpret this to mean that Jesus was the first thing created.  It is better understood as a metaphor, referring to Jesus place as head over all creation.

Jesus is the creator.  At creation, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all took part in the creation of the world.

In Jesus, all things hold together.  This is particularly fascinating to me.  Science can explain only so much of the mechanics of our universe.  The force that holds everything together is Christ Himself.

Jesus is the head of the church.   There are human leaders, here on earth, but no one can usurp the unique place of Christ as supreme leader of all believers.

Jesus is the first-born from the dead.  There were people in both the Old and New Testaments who were raised from the dead.  These people later died a natural death and their lives on earth were over.  Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead and given His new body.  One day we too, will be raised and will be like Him.

Jesus was fully God.  Jesus was a human, but He was also fully God.  This is impossible in human reasoning, but not impossible with God.

Christ is the way, the only way to be reconciled with God.  Some people read verse 20 and believe that all creation will be saved; that even the devil will one day be reconciled to God.  If Colossians 1:20 were the only verse in the scriptures then we might continue to think that is true.  There are more scriptures.

Revelation 20:12-15

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God,[a] and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.[b] 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Clearly not all are saved.  Yet I believe that salvation is offered to all.  The problem is that not all receive salvation because they reject the offer of salvation in Christ and do not believe in the One who died for them.

John 3:16-19

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

So Jesus is our King, our redeemer, the image of God, the firstborn over all creation, the creator, sustainer, the head of the church, the first-born from the dead, He is God-in-the-flesh.

His offer of salvation is offered to all, but will we accept His offer?

A Father’s Advice

June 19, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, June 17th, which was Fathers’ Day.

I.  A Father’s Advice : I Kings 2:1-4

2 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

Be Strong:  This is not referring to physical strength, but the strength to live by your convictions; to do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing, to do the right thing when everyone is watching you, or when no one is watching you.

Prove Yourself A Man:  Our society has a lot of wrong ideas of what it is to be a man.  To be a man from a Biblical perspective is to be able to lead the way spiritually.

Keep the Charge of the Lord:  We are all called to live according to the teaching of scripture.  In addition, each of us has a calling on our lives.  There is something that God has planned for us.  We are to live according to the Word, and to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.

That You May Prosper:  Prosperity comes in many forms.  It is not just money, but includes many things that we might not think of at first.

II.  A Prayer For Wisdom  I Kings 3:7-9

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

Before we can do what is right, we need to know what is right.  We read the Bible, interpret the Bible and apply the Bible.  There is plenty of room for error.  We need God’s help to correctly complete the process.

So, David’s advice to his son is good advise for us today.  We are to be strong morally, to know what is right, and do it.

Be Strengthened and Filled

June 4, 2012

Here is the sermon outline from June 3, 2012.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJ)

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

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I.  That You Would Be Strengthened

We all get tired sometimes.  Life can be very demanding.  It is important to recognize that we do not have to face the trials of this world in our own strength.  We can be strengthened by the Spirit of God.  When we are worn out, or overwhelmed by life, we should remember to take extra time in the Word and in prayer, allowing God to strengthen us in our innermost being.

II.  That Christ May Dwell In Your Hearts

When I was a young adult, I wondered where the idea of “asking Jesus into your heart’ had come from in the scriptures.  I was familiar with the concept of repentance, faith, and confession, but I was uncertain of the biblical grounding for the common prayer of asking Jesus into your heart.  Ephesians 2:17 settled that issue for me.  It is a very important part of what we believe as Christians.  We are not alone, Christ is with us.

III.  That You May Know the Love of Christ

God loves us.  This basic fact can really help us in times of trouble.  If we are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ we will be able to withstand the storms of life.

As we mature in the faith we are better able to comprehend more of the love of God.  The width and length and depth and height of God’s love for us is beyond human comprehension, yet we are able to sense, and understand, more and more as we grow in Christ.

IV  The Fullness of God

Paul prays that we might be filled with the fullness of God.  Of course, we cannot possibly contain the infinite God, but we can be filled with His Spirit.  We can grow in our knowledge, understanding, and experience of God.  This is one of the ways that Christians mature.

V.  Above All That We Ask or Think

Finally, we recognize that God is able to do more than we ask or think.  God is awesome and all-powerful and we should not limit God by our own imaginations or understanding.  We can trust God to do what is best, even if we do not understand in the moment.  God is able, and His grace is sufficient for us.