Archive for August, 2014

God is Able

August 25, 2014

The children of Israel had been permitted to leave Egypt.  Then the reality of what effect the loss of all those laborers would be came into focus, and Pharaoh sent the army to bring them back.

I.  Deliverance:  Exodus 15:20-21

Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them:

“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”

When the Egyptian army caught up to Israel, God, whose presence in their midst was seen by a column of smoke went between the Egyptians and the Israelites.  This prevented the Egyptians from pursuing the Israelites.  While  they were delayed by the cloud, God parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through on dry land.  After they were through the sea, the cloud lifted and the Egyptians could see where the Israelites had gone.  They followed the Israelites,  going into the divided waters.  Once they were in the midst of the sea, they began to have problems with their chariots and realized, too late, that they were in trouble.  God allowed the waters to return to their normal place, and the Egyptians were drowned.

Psalms 28:7 tells us:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

If God is our shield, then the only things that are able to get through to us from the outside, is what God allows to come through.  Why is is that bad things happen to us if God is our shield?

One reason is the natural consequences of bad choices.  God has given us free will and that means that we do not always do what God would want us to do.  With freedom comes responsibility, and sometimes the bad things that happen to us are our own fault.  Sometimes God will protect us from our stupidity, and sometimes He does not.

Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to us to test our faith.  It is easy to say that we trust God when everything is wonderful, but can we trust Him when our world is falling apart?

Sometimes God is trying to get our attention.  Perhaps we have not been listening to the still small voice, and God uses trials to get us to refocus our attention on Him.

Sometimes bad things happen because how we handle them can be a testimony to the world of the difference that Christ makes in our lives.

God is our shield.  We can trust Him.  God is able to deliver us.

II.  Provision:  Exodus 15:22-25a

 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.[a] 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

 

God is able to provide.  The Israelites were a large body of people traveling through the wilderness.  God regularly provided manna for them to eat, and water for them to drink.  Their needs were met, yet they frequently grumbled.  They did not trust God to provide for them, and they frequently complained about what God did provide.  

Psalms 37:4 says

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

If we are willing to put God first, then He will provide for us.  If we delight ourselves in Him, then our lives will be filled with the goodness of God.  It is important that we keep God first in our lives.

III.  Obedience:  Exodus 15: 25b-26

There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

If we truly believe that God is God, then we should be obedient to Him.  Yet, even the most avid believers are not always obedient.  We all sin.  We fail the test of obedience.  This does not mean that we completely give up and live a sinful life, but it does demonstrate that we need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.

Once we have entered a relationship with Jesus.  We are forgiven and God begins the process of cleansing us, making us more like Him.  That is a lifelong process.

God is able to save us.

God is able to change us.

God is able to work both in us, and through us.

God is able.

These are the sermon notes from 8/17/14.  Any advertisement that may appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

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The End of the Age

August 18, 2014

Since I was a youngster, I have heard people talking about the return of Christ.  Certainly it is an important topic.

Mark 13:5-13

Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

Jesus answers this question in a typically prophetic manner.  By this I mean that there is a mixture of discourse about events that are relatively soon, the destruction of the temple, and events that are further off, the end of the age.

I.  Warning!  Mark 13:5-13

And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

A.  Do not be deceived.  The enemy will try to turn us away from the true faith.  The way to avoid deception is to study the Bible.  It is God’s Word to us and is the source of truth. We should read, and re-read, again and again, the Bible.  We should pray and ask God to help us understand.  We should talk with others, study, and make the pursuit of the knowledge of God through the scriptures a priority in our lives.

B.  The gospel must be preached in all the world.  The Assemblies of God has identified what they call unreached people groups.  They are working hard to bring the gospel to all the world.  They are not alone.  God works through many means to spread His gospel.

C.  The Holy Spirit speaks through us.  This is not just pastors and other professional religious leaders.  God can us all of us.  Many of us have had the experience of having a conversation when we can sense the Holy Spirit speaking through us.  It is a wonderful thing to be led by the Spirit in those moments.  When we are led by the Spirit, we are more effective than if we had spent hours in planning.

In verses 14-27 Jesus speaks about a mixture of events that will occur including the destruction of the temple, and during the tribulation, and the final return.  The message today is not focusing on these details which are addressed in many books and messages.

II.  Near and Far:  Mark 13:28-31

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

A.  It is near.  One of the things that I find most fascinating about the predictions of the Lord’s return is that it is worded in such a way that each generation of believers has sensed that the end was near.  I believe that this was intentional.  We are meant to live in an expectancy of the the Lord’s return.

B.  This generation is a Greek word that can mean either generation, or race.  Many scholars believe that a generation is about forty years.  The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and the ministry of Jesus was about 30-33 AD so, a generation before the destruction of the temple is about right.  However, if the reference is not meant to refer to the destruction of the temple but rather the end of the age, the the meaning of race is more appropriate.  The Jewish people managed to survive as a people for almost two thousand years without a homeland.  That is a remarkable feat.

C.  Heaven and earth will pass away.  Some groups teach that this world will be renewed.  I believe that it will be replaced.

D.  Even though this world will pass away and everything will change, the Word of God will not pass away.  It is eternal.

III.  Watch!  Mark 13:32-37

 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

We are not able to predict the day or the hour.  The important thing is to know that it is coming, and to be ready.

Do not be deceived.  Christ will one day return for his people.

If it were today, are you ready?

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/10/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

Walk With God

August 12, 2014

I really, really appreciate the knowledge that God is with us always.  Our journey through life can be described as a walk with God.

Genesis 48:15-16

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said:

“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

I) Our Walk With God

In his prayer Jacob referred to Abraham and Isaac walking before God.  There are other expressions that are used to describe our relationship with God.

Genesis 5:24

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

We do not know much about Enoch, except that he walked with God.  I really like the idea that Enoch drew so close to God, that God simply took him into heaven.  Unless we have walked on into heaven like Enoch, there is still room for growth.

John 14:16-17

 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

One of the words used for the Holy Spirit is the Greek word paraclete which means ‘one who comes alongside’.  The Holy Spirit comes alongside us as we go through this life.  Indeed, the Holy Spirit dwells with us and will be in us, so that we can truly say that we walk with God.

Galatians 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The challenge is to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  Even though we are born-again Christians, we still have struggles in the flesh.  We need to learn to be led by the Spirit, not by the flesh.  It is a life-long learning process.

II.  God Will Provide

Psalms 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

In Jacob’s prayer he makes reference to God’s provision for him throughout his life.  He did not mention that God had made him rich, he simply thanked him for his provision.

I Timothy 6:8

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

I am concerned for Christians in America.  I am concerned that we are having a love affair with the things of the world.  God has blessed us and we are finding far too much joy in the material world and it is causing us to lose our focus.  Instead of praying for material blessings, we should seek to be a blessing to those around us both materially and more importantly, spiritually.  We have lost the ability to be content, and constantly want something more, or better.  We need to learn to be content.

I Timothy 6:6

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

Instead of seeking material gain, we should be seeking to grow in godliness.

God will provide for us…but will we be content with the provision of God?

III.  Redeemed From Evil

Ephesians 2:1

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

The most important redemption that God has provided for us in our forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.  There is nothing more important than that gift.

Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

God will both guide us through this life, and protect us from evil.  If we are walking with God we have nothing to fear….ever.  There may be difficult times, but God will be with us, see us through to the end, and in the end…we win.

Let us continue to walk with God throughout this life.  We can place our trust in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 8/3/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

God Will Provide

August 7, 2014

My wife and I recently returned from our vacation.  On this vacation we took our 1983 Yamaha Venture motorcycle on a tour of national parks in the west.  We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.  We put over 3000 miles on the bike and had a wonderful trip.  A couple of days after returning home, I had dropped Gloria off at Walmart and was headed to the school.  There was a flash and a puff of smoke from up near the battery compartment of the motorcycle.  I immediately pulled over and shut off the engine.  Then I pushed the bike a short distance up to a side road so that I would not have to deal with traffic.  I removed the cover and looked down at some charred wires.  Meanwhile, a man who had been cutting the grass on the property where I stopped came up and introduced himself.  He was a former motorcycle mechanic who looked over my bike, disconnected a wire he said I didn’t need, changed a fuse, and I was on my way.  I believe that those wires could have shorted out any time on our trip, but God arranged for them to short out at the right time for me to have help immediately available.

God will provide.

I.  Abraham:  Genesis 22:1-14

 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

We recognize that the near sacrifice of Isaac is meant to be a symbol of the sacrifice that God would make of His only begotten son, Jesus.

God will provide.  He provides for our redemption through “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” .  He will certainly provide for our needs.   We can trust Him.

II.  Isaac:  Genesis 24: 7, 12-19

The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there…

 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”

15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”

18 So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”

Abraham wanted a wife for his son from back home.  He sent his servant to get the job done.  Both Abraham and the servant trusted that God would provide the woman that was meant to be the wife of Isaac.  God directed things so that they worked out perfectly.  God is able to do things like that, not just in biblical times, but for us today.

III.  Jacob:

A.  Genesis 28:20-22

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.”

Jacob left home and trusted that God would provide.  He also promised to give God a tenth of what God gave to him.

B.  Genesis 32:9-10

Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.

God richly blessed Jacob.  It had been many years but God had done far more than simply provide food to eat and clothes to wear.

Not all of us will be made materially rich, but God will provide for His people.  We can trust Him.

God will provide.

These are the sermon notes from 7/27/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.