Archive for August, 2015

Learning From the Mistakes of Others

August 24, 2015

I am not one of those people who feel that it is necessary to experience everything for myself. I do not have to try everything myself.  I can learn from the mistakes of others.

I.  An Evil Heart:  Jeremiah 7:23-28

 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

27 “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.

28 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.

A.  Obey My Voice

The nation of Israel had been given the law through Moses.  They were expected to live in obedience to that word, but they had not.  We are to obey the voice of God.  God has given us direction in the Bible.  We are to read, interpret and obey the Word of God in our lives.

B.  Following An Evil Heart

Sometimes I hear people say that they must “follow their heart”.   The problem with that is that our hearts may be inclined to evil.  We should follow God’s Word, not our own feelings.

C.  Backwards or Forwards

Our relationship with God is never stagnant.  We are either drawing closer to God, or we are drifting away from God.  We should be careful to continue to move forward in our relationship with God.  We do that by regularly spending time in prayer, the Word, and attending church.  Also we should seek to live in obedience to His Word and be sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

II.  Rejecting the Word:  Jeremiah 8:7-11

“Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.

“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.
The wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord;
So what wisdom do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to others,
And their fields to those who will inherit them;
Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.

The children of Israel had rejected the Word of God.  They had given in to covetousness.  They dealt falsely and were liars.  I listen to people today who reject the Word of God, saying that it is not for our time.  I observe the inclination in our society to find fulfillment in material things.  I recognize the degree to which our society accepts lying and the prevalence of deceit and I am concerned.    It is one thing if non-believers practice this lifestyle, but it is tragic indeed when people who claim to be followers of Jesus give in to the ways of the world.

III.  Punishment:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?

13 And the Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.”

Jeremiah prophesied that God was sending judgement upon the nation of Israel.  That judgement was coming because they had not been obedient to God’s Word.  They had followed their own hearts and forsaken the Law of God.  Therefore they were punished by their land being conquered by foreign armies that deported the survivors to another land.

As I said earlier, I can learn from the mistakes of others.  I can see where disobedience leads and I am not interested in that destination.  I will seek to be obedient to God’s Word, to walk in His ways, to seek to draw closer to God, rather than to drift away.  I desire to see the blessing of God upon my life, rather than suffer judgement.

These are the sermon notes from 8/2/15.  Any advertisement that might appear has been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Secret to Happiness

August 3, 2015

There are a lot of self-help books on the market.  People are not happy with who they are and they want to change.  They think that their lives would be better if they found the secret to happiness.

I.  The Lord Teaches Us:  Isaiah 48:17-18

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

God will teach us how we should live.  God works in our lives by His Word and His Spirit to shape us into the people that we are meant to be.  It is a lifelong process, not a weekend seminar.

This process requires our participation and cooperation.  We need to be reading the Bible.  We need to exercise our will and follow the direction that God gives to us.  If we follow the directions that God gives to us, then we will prosper.

II.  The Lord is the Potter:  Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

God is at work in our lives.  He has a plan and a purpose for us.  He has given to us certain skills that we are to develop and opportunities that we should seize.

Sometimes we are unhappy with our lives.  We can make changes, as God leads, but sometimes we must accept who we are created to be.  We need wisdom from God to know what we are to do.

III.  That Your Joy May Be Full:  I John 1:4-7

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Joy is meant to be a regular part of our Christian experience.  The joy that God gives to us is not dependent on external circumstances, but on our internal relationship with Christ.  Our joy should be full.

If we are being led by the Spirit of God, we will be walking in the light.  That means that we will be doing what is right in the sight of God.  This too, is a process.  God cleanses us from sin.  We learn more and more what it means to be the children of God. We learn how we are to live, and God enables us to change.

IV.  Greater is He Who is in You:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Sometimes people will say that they cannot help themselves, that they are only human, that they cannot change.

That is not correct.

We are of God and have the Spirit of God within us.  We cannot change on our own, but by the power of the Spirit of God we can do whatever God calls us to do.

The secret to happiness is to cooperate with God as He forms us into the people that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 7/19/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.