Archive for December, 2014

Created for a Purpose

December 29, 2014

Gideon was one of the judges of Israel.  He had seventy sons by his wives, and one son, named Abimelech, by his concubine.  After the death of Gideon, Abimelech killed all of his brothers except one, named Jotham, who got away.  Jotham later confronted Abimelech with words recorded in the book of Judges.

I.  Our Common Purpose:  Judges 9:8-15

“The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
11 But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
13 But the vine said to them,
‘Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’

Now, I know that this is a prophetic word against Abimelech.  As such, it has a specific purpose for which it was written.  Today, however, I want to focus on something other than the treachery of Abimelech.  I want to talk about the symbolism of trees.

All living trees have some things in common.  They have roots, trunks, branches and leaves.  In the word given to Abimelech, the trees were symbolic of people.  I want to talk about people.  All people are created by God with some common purposes.

1.  We are to love God and people.  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.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

2.  We are to give thanks to God.  I Thessalonians 5:18

 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

3.  We are to do good works.  Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

4.  We are to tell others about Jesus.  I Peter 3:15

 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

5.  We are to pray.  I Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing,

These actions are common to all Christians.  We do not have to ask ourselves if we should do these things.  We should be doing them.

II.  Our Different Gifts:  Romans 12:6-8

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are different types of trees that fulfill different purposes.  There are also different types of people to fulfill different purposes in the kingdom of God. There are many ways that God can use us.  We do not need to try to be something that God has not called and gifted us to be.  We should seek to identify our gifts and use them for the glory of God.

These are the sermon notes from 11/30/14.  Any advertisements that might accompany this post are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Thanks Be to God

December 15, 2014

Recently, my mother was very ill.  It was serious enough that all four of her children gathered together from different states to be with her as she went into surgery.  With the help of a lot of prayer, she came through and has since recovered enough to return to her own apartment in a senior center.

I Corinthians 15:54-58

 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

I.  Victory Over Death

As we talked with my mother about the surgery she said more than once “If the good Lord wills, I’ll come through this.”  There were two things that were important in that statement.  First, her life was in God’s hands.  She placed her trust, not in the doctors, but in God.  Second, although unsaid, it was understood that if she didn’t make it through the surgery, it was all right.  She was ready to go.  Her trust in God allowed her to face a surgery that she might not survive because death had lost its’ sting.

My mother lived out her faith in a difficult situation.  Each one of us who are believers should be able to place our trust in God who has overcome death and who holds our lives in His hands.

Thanks be to God.

II.  Victory in Life

We recognize that God has given us the victory in life as well as in death.  Our lives have purpose and meaning, even if we do not always see or understand. All good gifts ultimately come from God.  There are many  simple pleasures in this life.  Most important is the love of God, family and friends.

Thanks be to God.

III.  Be Steadfast

Since we believe that we can have victory either in life or in death, it is easier to remain steadfast.  We do not quit.  We do not give up.  We continue to carry out the purpose that God has for our life.  We know that our labor for God is not in vain.

Thanks be to God.

These are the sermon notes from 11/23/14.  Any advertisement is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Life in Christ

December 8, 2014

Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics.  The simple truth of the gospel is good every time.

I.  The Simple Truth:  Romans 10:9-10

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

“Believe in your heart” implies a private relationship.  Without the relationship, based on faith in the Lord Jesus, by which the Spirit of God enters our heart, we are not saved.  This is the “born again” experience mentioned in John chapter three.  Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.  This is essential to our salvation.

“Confess with your mouth” implies a public proclamation.  We are to proclaim our faith by both word and deed.  If we try to hide our faith, if we are ashamed of Christ, then He will be ashamed of us.  We must boldly proclaim the hope that is within us.

II.  No Condemnation:  Romans 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

We do not earn our salvation.  It is a gift from God, given to those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus in repentance and faith.  We are unable to keep the commandments and need to be forgiven.  We do not need to live in fear about whether we are “good enough” to be saved.  Salvation is by grace, through faith.

There is a difference between condemnation and conviction.  Condemnation is when we continue to feel the burden of guilt for our sins even after we have confessed and asked for forgiveness.  Condemnation is the devil telling us that we are not good enough, that we cannot be forgiven.  The scripture says in I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ”  We can believe that to be true.

Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin in our life so that we will turn away from that sin, and ask God for forgiveness.  It is an ongoing process in the believer.  It is the process of cleansing.

III.  Wages and Gift:  Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have earned condemnation and death.  God has offered us forgiveness and eternal life.  Do not ever shake your fist at God telling Him to give you what you deserve.  What we have all earned is punishment for our sins.  God is gracious and merciful and has offered us forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  We should be eternally grateful.

IV.  Nothing Can Separate:  Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can be confident in our knowledge of the love of God for us.  Nothing from the outside can ever separate us from God.  We simply must continue to trust in Him whatever the circumstances of life.  God is faithful.  His love does not end.

V.  Life in Christ

    A.  Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

We must be careful that we do not judge those who do not agree with us.  Each of us will answer to God.

    B.  Romans 14:7-8

 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

We should recognize that we live in community with other believers.  How is our life affecting others?  Are we living for Christ, or for our self?  Are we having a favorable impact or a negative impact on those around us?

    C.  Romans 14:12-13

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Let us resolve to live a life that will help people in their walk with Christ, rather than drive them away.

These are the sermon notes from 11/16/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Choose Life

December 1, 2014

Life is all about choices.  I am a firm believer in human free will.  We do have the power to choose to make the right choices in our life.

I.  Choose Life:  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

The most important choice that we will face in our lives is whether or not we will believe in and serve the Lord.  Choosing to serve God will result in a better life now, and the promise of a eternal life with God in heaven.  If we are choosing to serve God, then we should also love and obey Him.  We do not serve God out of a grudging obedience but a joyous acceptance of His will for our lives.

II.  By Faith:  Romans 4:1-3

 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Our relationship with God is not something that we earn by doing works of righteousness.  It is a simple matter of faith, of believing in God and in Jesus Christ.  We believe God  and the promises that He has given us in His Word.

III.  Be Strong:  Deuteronomy 31:6

 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

As we face the struggles of this life, we do not need to be afraid.  Our strength and courage comes from the knowledge that God is with us.  If God is with us, then there is nothing to fear.

IV.  Love Poured Out Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.  By the grace of God, we are able to face trouble, knowing that God is with us.  As we continue to serve God, we see the faithfulness of God.  The more we see of God’s faithfulness, the easier it is to endure the tests and trials of this life.  As we mature in Christ we are more easily able to maintain the hope that is within us.  Through it all, the love of God is poured out into our hearts.  The love of God brings life, joy and a peace that passes understanding.

For those who choose to place their faith in God, God will give them life.

These are the sermon notes from 11/2/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.