Archive for February, 2014

Friendship

February 27, 2014

Sometimes people are lonely.  It is important to have friends and family to share the challenges and adventures of this life.

I.  Be Friendly:  Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

In order to have friends, we must be friendly ourselves. I have spoken with many people over the years who have been lonely.  I encourage them to reach out to others.  We are able to form friendships by recognizing things that we have in common.  As Christians, the first thing that we share is a love for Christ, and a focus on the Word.  That alone, can be the basis for friendship.  However, it is also good to find other shared interests as well.

When we do have friends it is necessary to cultivate those relationships.  They require time and attention.  Getting together for coffee, meals, and all kinds of activities are all part of developing our friendships.

In our relationships, we should share the experiences of life with our friends.  We should weep with those who weep.  We should rejoice with those who rejoice.  A happy experience, when shared, becomes even happier.  A sad experience becomes more bearable when it is shared.  Do not downplay the feelings of your friends.  Do not tell them that the thing that they are experiencing, whether by weeping or rejoicing, is no big deal.  Simply share in the experience with them.

II.  Choose Friends Carefully: Proverbs 12:26

The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

We can have many friends.  Our friendships can be on various levels.  Not everyone can be our best friend.  We should be careful to cultivate relationships in such a way that our closest friends are people who will have a godly influence.

We can be friends with unbelievers.  Actually, one of the most effective forms of evangelism is friendship evangelism.  We share the gospel with our friends.  It is important that in our friendships with unbelievers that we do not compromise our beliefs.

The idea of friendships with unbelievers does not extend to dating.  I strongly disapprove of “missionary dating” which is dating someone who is unsaved in order to share the gospel with them.  Far too often, it is the believer who is dragged down in this kind of situation.  Dating is the first step in looking for a spouse, and we should be looking for a spouse who shares our faith.

III.  Speaks Like a Sword:  Proverbs 12:18

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  This is a saying that our parents taught us as children to deal with the hurtful words of others.  Sadly, it isn’t true.  Words can hurt.  They can hurt a lot.  We should be careful in our relationships to speak words that promote health, that encourage and strengthen, rather than words that cut, and tear down.

IV.  Stop Striving:  Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.

God can give us the wisdom to end an argument.  There are times when we must simply agree to disagree, but we do not have to be disagreeable.  We do not need to get angry when people do not agree with us.  Anyone can start a fight, it takes wisdom to know how to avoid them, or to work through them.

V.  Life is Better With Friends:  Proverbs 15:16-17

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.

Life is better when we have the love of family and friends.  If we had tremendous wealth, but did not have love in our lives, that would be tragic indeed.  The person who has love, has what is truly important.

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/14.  Any advertisement that accompanies this blog is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Faith, Love & Obedience

February 24, 2014

Are we willing to follow Christ as Lord?  Or are we only interested in a savior and someone to protect and bless us?

I.  Faith: Philemon 4-5

 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,

We recognize that faith is the starting point in our relationship with God.

Ephesians 2: 8

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

John 3:16

 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.

Hebrews 11:6

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.

Faith is the beginning, but it is not the only aspect of our relationship with God.

II.  Love

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God loves us and we are expected in return to love God and one another.

John 13:34-35

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Our love for God and for one another should affect every area of our life.

III.  Obedience: Philemon 21

Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Obedience is not a word that we hear emphasized very often these days.  Certainly, we in the western culture like our independence.

A.  Submission:  Hebrews 13:17

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

In the early church, submission to authorities was emphasized.  Even today in the monastic orders, obedience is a part of the vows.  The question becomes obedience to whom?

B.  Fables: II Timothy 4:3-4

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.

Today there are many teachers.  There is wide variety over the things that are taught, so to whom should we be obedient.

    C.  Jesus:  Matthew 7:21-23

 “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. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

I am concerned that there are many people who think that they are in a right relationship with God because of some superficial lip-service.  That they are trusting in their baptism, or their church membership, or the fact that they once went down to an altar, or that they believe that God exists.  We are indeed saved by grace, through faith.  We are called to love, but we are also called to be obedient to the Lord of Lords.  Faith produces love which produces works of righteousness.

D.  Promise:  Matthew 7:24-27

 “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: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

We should continue to emphasize faith and love, but we should not neglect the aspect of obedience to Jesus, our savior and lord.

These are the sermon notes from 2/16/14.  Any advertisements that are attached are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Open My Eyes

February 20, 2014

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to build the people of God.

I.  Open My Eyes:  Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

I read somewhere that one of the early Greek philosophers made the claim that “philosophical contemplation brings the greatest joy”.  They  are wrong.  Having our eyes opened to the truth of the Word of God, easily surpasses philosophy.  It is a wonderful thing to have our eyes opened to God’s truth.  This is something that does not come about by human wisdom, but by the revelation of the Spirit.

II.  Teach Me and I Will:  Psalms 119:33-35

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

God will do His part.  He will open the eyes of our heart so that we may understand.  His Spirit will convict us of truth and righteousness.  Then we must do our part.  We must exercise our will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and do what is right.  Living for God is not a moment in time, but a lifetime of walking in obedience.

III.  A Lamp to My Feet:  Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

I remember my first night on shore in Beirut, Lebanon back in 1982.  I was serving in a tank unit in the USMC.  We were there on a peacekeeping mission, but it was considered hostile territory.  Another marine and myself were brought out to a sentry post by the sergeant of the guard.  We were told not to use our flashlights.  It was so dark that I literally could not see my hand in front of my face.  It was a very long night…from midnight until six in the morning.  Every sound was startling and  suspicious.  I really was glad to see daylight arrive.

God’s Word provides a light in the darkness.  God’s Word provides a means by which we can know the right direction.  If we follow the light of  God’s Word, we won’t be fumbling around in the darkness.

IV.  Revive and Strengthen: Psalms 119: 25-28

My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
28 My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

At times we grow weary from the struggle.  Right now, there is a popular song by Tenth Ave North called “Worn”.  I am sure that it is popular because so many people can relate to the feeling of being worn out.  Spending time in God’s Word can be a means that God uses to restore our strength.

V.  Great Peace:  Psalms 119:165

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

I cannot preach from Psalms 119 without referencing this verse.  It is one of Gloria’s all time favorite verses.  As we grow in our knowledge of the Word of God we are stabilized.  We can have a peace that is maintained by a confidence that does not rest on our own abilities, but by a solid trust in God.

VI.  Rejoice:  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.

It is the Word of God that leads us to the Son of God.  Our salvation is in Jesus, the chief cornerstone.  This is marvelous and a reason to rejoice.

May God continue to open our eyes to the truth of His Word.  May His Spirit continue to use His Word to transform us into the people of God that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 2/9/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.

Psalms 100

February 17, 2014

Psalms 100

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

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.

I.  Serve the Lord With Gladness:  (verses 1-2)

Every so often we like to give a joyful shout to the Lord. Praise God!  We should probably do it more often.

We have the opportunity to serve the Lord with gladness.  God gives to us both hope and purpose.  We have hope because we can believe that God is able to give us wisdom and strength in whatever situation we might face.  God gives purpose to our lives.  Each and every one of us has a role that we play.  This knowledge gives us a lasting sense of worth.

We can all sing.  Some may sing beautifully, while others may simply make a joyful noise, but we should all sing to the Lord.  We can also use recorded music in our homes, cars, wherever we might be to create an atmosphere of worship.

II.  We Are His People:  (verse 3)

He is God and He knows what is best for us.  We can trust Him.

He has made us and without Him we could do nothing.  We are not self-made.  All glory goes to God.

God will take care of us.  We do not need to worry or be afraid.

III.  Give Thanks (verses 4-5)

We should give God thanks.  All good gifts come from God.  It is right to give Him thanks.

We should give God praise.  He is worthy of our praise.

God is good.  We do not serve a mean or vindictive God.  He is good to His people.

Conclusion:  We are God’s people.  We should serve Him with gladness and give Him thanks.

These are the sermon notes from 2/2/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Back to Basics

February 13, 2014

There are three primary ingredients for continuing Christian growth.

I.  Prayer:  Psalms 55:17

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

Prayer is spending time communicating with God.  There are a number of different components of prayer.

Praise:  We should spend some time each day expressing our praise to God.

Thanksgiving:  We should thank God for what He has done, is doing, and is going to do.

Confession:  We should regularly confess our sins, as God brings them to our attention.

Supplication:  It is appropriate to bring our concerns and needs before God.  He is able to help.

Intercession:  We should pray for the needs of others.

Listening:  Communication is a two-way street.  We should spend some time in silence, allowing God the opportunity to speak to us in our hearts.

II.  Scripture:  I Peter 2:1-3

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, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Read:  We should regularly read the Word of God.  Both the Old and New Testaments should be read.

Study:  It is appropriate to spend some time in in-depth study.  There are many study-aids available including various versions, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and so on.

Memorize:  It is a good discipline to commit scripture verses to memory.

Meditate:  Christian meditation focuses on the Word of God, or the presence of God.  It can be incorporated into our times of prayer.

III.  Fellowship: Hebrews 10:24-25

 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.

Fellowship does benefit us.  We are not meant to live in isolation, but as part of a community of believers.  This community can be called the body of Christ, or the family of God.  It is important to gather together.  Sometimes we are in need of encouragement and support, and other times we give encouragement and support.

At our church we have Sunday morning worship, Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study.  Each of these opportunities are there for believers to promote Christian growth and fellowship.

It is also good for believers to gather together outside of church.  There are many different ways that Christians can gather for fellowship.  We are not meant to be alone.  We should reach out to each other for encouragement and support.

These three things are basic components necessary for Christian growth.  In the same way that football teams need to properly execute the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and ball control; so Christians must continue to regularly spend time in prayer, scripture and fellowship.

These are the sermon notes from January 26.  Any advertisement that accompanies this blog are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any financial benefit from them.