Archive for September, 2012

Be Holy

September 27, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from September 23.

I.  Hope and Grace in Christ: I Peter 1:13

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

God has given us the ability to reason.  We should be clear-minded in our pursuit of the things of God.  We recognize that our hope is placed, not in ourselves, but in Christ alone.  It is by God’s grace that we are able to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

II.  Be Holy:  vv.14-17

as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”[a]

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;

We are called to be obedient, to be holy, and to be respectful of God.  We need to be careful that we do not become lazy in our approach to sin and holiness.  We must learn what it means to “cease to do evil, and learn to do good”.  We must learn what it means to live as the children of God.

III.  Redeemed By the Blood of the Lamb vv. 18-21

knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Our salvation required the blood and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  We should never take this lightly.  It was not a mistake, but was planned by God from the very beginning of time.  It is good to know that our hope and our faith rest, not on our own works or abilities, but upon what has already been done for us by Christ.

IV.  Born by the Word  vv22-25a

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit[a] in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,[b] 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man[c] as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

We are born again by our response to the Word.  We hear the message of salvation.  Then the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts, confirming the Word that we have heard.  We are given the opportunity to respond the the Word and the Spirit, to believe…to have faith in the One who died for us.  As we respond in faith to the Word the Spirit enters our hearts and we are born again.  We are born to be a new creation, a person who no longer lives according to the ways of the world but a person who lives in obedience and love, not to earn our salvation, but to live out our salvation.

V.  The Lord is Good:  1:25b-2:3

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

2 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,[b] if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Since we have been saved, we should be changed.  We should continue to use our minds, and be open in our spirits to the Word of God, and the Spirit of God. We have tasted, and seen that that Lord is good, and we should continue in the pursuit of a greater depth of the knowledge of God,and  a closer walk with Him.

 

 

 

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A Lesson From Job

September 20, 2012

I.  Job’s Test: Job chapters 1&2

The summary of this story is that Job was an upright, godly man whom God had richly blessed with material wealth and ten children.  God gave permission to Satan to take away everything that Job had been given, to see if he would still praise God.  Job responded with the words. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1: 21b)

Satan is then given permission to afflict Job’s health.  He again responds with wonderful words of faith. ” Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

Clearly Job passes the test in the first stages.

Job’s friends then come to comfort him and instead of offering comfort they accuse him of wrongdoing.  He argues with them, saying that he is not guilty of anything, and that he does not understand why these things have happened to him.

II.  Job’s Misery Job 7:1-10

Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth?
Are not his days also like the days of a hired man?
Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade,
And like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages,
So I have been allotted months of futility,
And wearisome nights have been appointed to me.
When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise,
And the night be ended?’
For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn.
My flesh is caked with worms and dust,
My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
Oh, remember that my life is a breath!
My eye will never again see good.
The eye of him who sees me will see me no more;
While your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be.
As the cloud disappears and vanishes away,
So he who goes down to the grave does not come up.
10 He shall never return to his house,
Nor shall his place know him anymore.

As time has gone on and Job continues in his misery, he longs for death to take him.  He is tired of life.

III Job’s Faith Job 19:23-27

“Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

This is a wonderful declaration of faith and hope in the midst of misery and despair.  Job believed that even after his flesh was destroyed he would one day stand before God his Redeemer.  I see in these verses both hope for today and confidence in tomorrow, a confidence placed in faith in our redeemer, a hope that goes beyond the grave.

IV.  Job’s Lesson

When bad things happen in our life, I believe it is appropriate to ask ourselves some important questions.

Has this evil come about because of the consequences of some bad choices on our part?  If we get hurt because we decided to try “car surfing” and we fall off the vehicle, do we really need to look for any other reason for our injury?

Are we living in unrepentant sin?  If we are willingly, and knowingly, continuing in a sinful behavior it is entirely possible that God has removed his hedge of protection, or his hand of blessing.  If this is the case, we simply need to repent of our sin.

Are we living in rebellion or disobedience.  Are we like Jonah?  Has God given us direction that we have refused to take in our lives?  If this is the case, then we need to listen to the voice of the Spirit and follow the guidance that God has given to us.

If none of the above questions apply to us, then we can recognize that the circumstances are a test.  We can pray and ask God for deliverance.  We can remember that God is with us, that He is in control, and that we are ultimately victorious as we trust in God.

A Complete Faith

September 13, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from 9/9/12.

I.  James 1:2-5   Christian Completion

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We do not enjoy tests, but they do serve a purpose.  Tests help us to mature in Christ.  Patience is an essential component for living the Christian life.  We must be patient with others and also patient as we wait for the timing of God for things in our lives.  God is working within us to bring us to completion.  We will not be perfect in this life, but we should continue to make progress.  God will give us the wisdom that we need for the problems that we face.

II.  James 1:21-25 Doers of the Word

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

We are called as Christians to lay aside sin.  We are able to come to Christ just as we are, but we are not to remain in our sins.  God will give us the grace to change.  The Word of God sinks deep into our hearts, the Spirit of God applies that Word to our lives, and we utilize our will to bring our lives into conformity with God’s Word.  It is an ongoing process.  If we truly have a living faith, it will produce a life marked by righteousness.

III.  James 2:14-26  Faith Produces Works

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

In my garden there are the remnants of bean plants.  They have pretty much died and are no longer producing fruit.  We also have a cherry tomato plant that has grown to enormous size and is producing far more tomatoes than we can eat.

As Christians our lives should be more like the tomato plant, and not like the beans.  The beans produced for a while, but they died early because we were on vacation and it was too hot and dry.  Apparently the tomato plant had roots that went deeper into the soil and it was better able to survive.

We need to be well-rooted in Christ.  There will be times of testing and trial.  We need to hold fast to Jesus,be grounded in the Word,  gather strength from the Spirit and continue  produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

May God continue His work in us, so that in all areas of our lives, we may conform to His Word, and may His Spirit, which dwells in our hearts by faith, continue to grant to us a living faith that produces works of righteousness.

A Life of Faith

September 6, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, September 2, 012.

I.  We Must Have Faith:  Hebrews 11:5&6

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; [a] for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The first step is to have faith in the existence of God.  We must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Furthermore, we must have faith in Jesus Christ, the one and only savior of the world.

Faith in Jesus is the starting point of a new life.  Enoch is an example for us that we have not grown as close to God as is possible.  May we learn what it means to “walk with God”.

II.  We Must Obey:  Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Abraham obeyed God.  We too, must be willing to obey God as He speaks to us through the Word, and by His Spirit.  We too, should realize that there is a land promised to us as well, but it is a land not of this world.

III.  We Must Realize:  Hebrews 11:13-16

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,[a] embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

We must realize that we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth.  We are just passing through.  We should not be looking to the things of this world to provide our fulfillment.  We can enjoy the blessings that God gives to us in this life, but we must always realize that our true reward is in the life to come.

IV.  We Must Be Patient:  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.

We should look to Jesus as our example.  He endured the cross, despising the shame, because He knew that it was God’s will for Him.  We too, should be willing to endure hardship, if that is God’s plan for us.  We should be able to look beyond the cross that we carry to the glory that awaits us.

V.  We Must Serve:  Hebrews 12:25-29

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake[a] not only the earth, but also heaven.”[b] 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[c] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

We must be careful, and diligent to serve as God calls us to serve.  We should be thankful that we do not have to offer our service to God in our own strength.  God will give us the grace that we need for the task to which He calls us.  God will give us the wisdom and the strength that we need to carry out His purpose in our lives.  Remember that we work for a reward that is eternal, with consequences for us, and for others, that goes far beyond this life.