Archive for October, 2012

Joyful Service

October 22, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from October 21, 2012.

I.  Warning!:   Psalms 50:22-23

“Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:
23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

The warning to those who forget God is quite somber.  Once again, we are presented with a clear choice to serve God and reap the benefits, or to reject God and suffer the consequences.

II.  Recommended Prayer: Psalms 55:17

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Muslims pray faithfully five times a day.  Christians are regularly encouraged to have daily devotions.  I think that it would be appropriate to increase our commitment and have regular prayer time, three times a day.  Daniel prayed in this fashion, and it worked well for him.  In the New Testament, we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing”, so three times a day shouldn’t be too much to ask.

III.  God’s People: Psalms 100

A. Joyful Service: vv1-2

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.

We regularly come into the presence of God with singing.  It is a big part of our church services.  I do not recall ever participating in a congregational “joyful shout.  As I have been reading the Psalms I have noticed this action mentioned numerous times.  Today we are going to experiment with making a “joyful shout”

We tried out shouting “Praise God”  “Hallelujah” and “Amen”.  It was kind of fun.

I believe that joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of Christians as they serve the Lord.  Regular worship, and a joyful shout, can help bring joy and gladness to our hearts.

B.  We Are God’s People: v.3

Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

I have managed to take care of numerous pets over the years.  Our last cat lived to be 21, which is quite old for a cat.  If I can be trusted to watch over pets entrusted to my care, how much more can we trust God to take care of us?  He is my shepherd, I shall not want…Psalm 23.

C.  Thankfulness and Praise:  vv4-5

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

God is good to His people.  Giving Him thanks and praise is the least that we can do.  It should be a regular part of our worship and prayer to give God thanks and praise.

Conclusion:  Serving the Lord is not always easy, but joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of the believer as they faithfully serve the Lord.

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The Heart is the Key

October 11, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from October 7, 2012.
I.  Acceptable Thoughts and Words:  Psalms 19:14

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 can be taught to control our actions.  Change may be difficult, but with sufficient motivation, we can change.  It is more difficult to control the tongue.  James 3:8 tells us ” But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”  The key to change is the heart.  Matthew 12:33-37 tells us “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[a] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

So the key to true, lasting change, lies in a change of heart, and a change of heart is possible by exposure to God’s Spirit and His Word.

II.  The Word Can Change Our Lives: Psalms 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

The Word of God is necessary for conversion.  It is used to make us wise.  We should rejoice over the impact that the Word of God has on our lives.  The Word of God has a role in our transformation.  Roman’s 12:1&2 says:

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.

God will continue to mold our hearts by His Word and by His Spirit.

III.  God Protects and Rewards the Faithful

A.  Protection:  Psalms 33:12-22

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

We can have confidence that God is looking out for us.  Even if things are going badly, God has not abandoned us.

B.  Provision: Psalms 34:8-10

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

God is good to His people.  We can place our hope, our trust, our confidence in Him.

When God sees our hearts, what does He see?

The Path of Life

October 1, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, September 30,2012.

I.  The Will of God:  I Peter 4:1-5

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

The “will of the Gentiles” reminds me of the party culture of many colleges.  For Christians who attend those colleges, but who do not participate in the popular pastimes, there is a certain degree of alienation.  There may even be a certain amount of  rejection, or even mild persecution.  Compared to what Christians around the world go through, this is very mild.  Still, to the person experiencing it, it can feel like a major issue.  We must remember that we are called to live according to the will of God.  We should pray, as Christ prayed, “not my will, but thine, be done.  If in following the will of God for our life, we become subject to persecution, and suffering in this life, so be it.  We can remember that a day of deliverance and of judgement is coming.

II.  The Way of God: Psalms 16:7-11

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

God has given us His council in His Word.  We should read the Bible so that we can know how God would have us to live our lives.  It is the will of God for us to live according to His Word.

God also speaks to us in our hearts, by His Spirit.  We should learn to be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  By the Word of God and the Spirit of God, God’s will for our lives is revealed to us.  In the absence of specific guidance, we can pray for God’s direction and make the choice that seems best to us.  We can trust that if we have committed our ways to God, searched His Word, and asked for His guidance, that He will help us to make the right decision. He will show us the “path of life”.

As we follow the path that God has for us, the joy, gladness, peace, and the righteous pleasures of being in the will of God will be available to us.  There may be times of testing, trial, or even suffering; but overall, our lives should be filled with the joy of the Lord.

III.  The Reward of God:  Psalms 17:13-15

Arise, O Lord,
Confront him, cast him down;
Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword,
14 With Your hand from men, O Lord,
From men of the world who have their portion in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.
They are satisfied with children,
And leave the rest of their possession for their babes.

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

People who have rejected Christ receive their portion is this life.  If their lives appear to be good, we must realize that this life is all that they will have of good.  We should feel sorry for them.  As for us, we should seek the face of God in our lives daily.  One day, we will finally see Him face to face.  That will be our reward for a life of faith.  At that point, the tests, trials, and sufferings, of this life will no longer be remembered.  The things that seem so big to us now, will fade into obscurity in the light of His presence.