Archive for October, 2015

Dealing With Temptation

October 26, 2015

We all deal with temptation.  Even Jesus was tempted.  We can look to Jesus for an example of how we should deal with temptation.

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

I.  Led By The Spirit

It is important to recognize that facing temptation does not mean that we are out of the will of God.  Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.  The temptation that Jesus would face was an important part of his mission on earth.  He was to face temptation and show us how to defeat it.  The three temptations that are recorded here may represent the temptations that we all face.  They may represent temptations to the body, soul and spirit; thus representing the temptations to our whole being.

II.  1st Temptation: Body

The first temptation begins with the phrase ” If you are..” .  Jesus knew that He was the Son of God.  He did not need to prove it to Satan, nor to Himself.  The temptation to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger may represent the various temptations that we face to fulfill the desires of the flesh.  Eating bread is obviously not a sin, but placing the flesh over the spirit, that is wrong.  Jesus responds to the temptation with the phrase “It is written…”.  Jesus uses the Word of God to resist temptation.  So should we.  The acknowledgement that we do not “live by bread alone..” helps us to remember that true life is found in God and His Word, to place spiritual needs over physical needs.

III.  2nd Temptation:  Soul

The 2nd temptation recognizes the temptations that we face to the soul, or mind.  We are tempted to be proud of our abilities, or to be envious, or jealous, or to covet, or any of the other sins of the heart, mind or soul.  Jesus did not need to show off.  In this temptation, Satan uses scripture.  It is important for us to have a good understanding of scripture so that we can accurately respond to people who try to twist it or misapply it.  We will need the help of the Spirit to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

 

This temptation is a challenge to both an understanding of scripture and of appropriate faith.  God will take care of us, but we do not need to jump off a tower to prove it.  On a related note, we need to be careful that when we are proclaiming our faith in something that God is going to do for us, that it is indeed according to the will of God.  God is not required to fulfill our whims, but His will be done.

IV.  3rd Temptation:  Spirit

Our allegiance should be only to God.  Even if Satan could fulfill our wildest dreams of this life, we should not sell our spiritual allegiance.  We should only worship and serve God.

V.  The Power of the Word:  Psalms 119:11

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

In each of the temptations that Jesus faced, He responded with the Word of God.  Jesus used the scriptures to deal with temptation as an example for us.  We should read the Word and memorize the Word. so that we can use the Word, when we are faced with temptation.

Temptation in all kinds of forms is something that we all regularly face.  We can successfully overcome temptation by using the Word of God.

These are the sermon notes from 10/18/15,  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I do not have any control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

Walk Humbly With God

October 22, 2015

I have recently been reading in the minor prophets.  I believe that they have some wonderful life lessons for us.

I.  Warning!  Jonah 3:4,5&10

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah proclaims a warning to the people of Nineveh of coming judgement.  The people believe the message and repent.  Their repentance is sincere.  It is demonstrated by their actions.  God sees the genuine nature of their repentance and forgives them.

Do we as the people of God respond as well?  When we are confronted with sin, do we believe and repent; or do we argue and make excuses?

II.  Live By Faith:  Habakkuk 2:4

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

Pride is a common sin that may not be easily recognized.  We need to guard against pride in our lives.

What does it mean to live by faith?  Paul quotes this verse in Romans 1:16-17.  Then Martin Luther used these verses to start a reformation movement that profoundly changed the church.

In my own life, I think of living by faith to mean that I will seek to know God, worship God and to serve God.  Ultimately, this is all done by faith because we must believe in the message that He has given us in the Bible, and also the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit.  “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7)

III.  Walk With God:  Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

When I was a young man torn between two Christian traditions: one, a part of the holiness movement, with its’ emphasis on rules for holy living; and the other a tradition marked by an emphasis on grace; these verses brought me comfort and direction.

I was to do justly.  I understood that to mean to do what is right in my relationships with others, with God, and with the environment.

I was to love mercy.  I appreciated that God was merciful to me.  I was to be merciful to others.  That means that as God forgives me, I was to forgive others.

I was to walk humbly with God.  This is my favorite.  I am not alone.  God is always with me.  We do not have to think too much of ourselves, but we can think much of the presence of God in our lives.

My hope and my prayer is that we will receive the Word of God in faith and repentance, that we will learn what it means to walk in faith, humbly with our God.

These are the sermon notes from 10/11/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Reality of Judgement

October 12, 2015

Some people think that because God is love, that no one will go to hell.  There is a very real day of judgement that is coming one day.

I.  The Great White Throne:  Revelation 20:11-15

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Some people deny the reality of an eternal hell.  These verses clearly present the fate of those who are not found written in the Book of Life.  They will be judged by their works.

How shall we be saved?

II.  Believe on the Lord:  Acts 16:30-31

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

This question is asked by the jailer. The response emphasizes the important role of belief in Jesus.  It is the simple truth.

III.  The Right Order:  Ephesians 2:8-10

 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The order here is very important.  Grace is first.  If God did not reach out to us, we would forever remain in out sins.  Through faith.  We are not saved by our works, but by our faith.  We could not have faith without the grace of God.  For works.  If we are saved, our life will produce the fruit of righteousness.

IV.  A Dead Faith:  James 2:17

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

We are not saved by works, but by faith.  A living faith will produce works.  If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, how could we not be changed?

V.  I Never Knew You:  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!’

These verses have always concerned me a little.  Simply giving lip-service to Jesus is not enough.  Our faith should be lived out in our lives.  This does not mean that we are saved by works, but rather, if we are saved, our works will change.  Here again, the reality of judgement is emphasized.  Not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven.

VI.  Good and Evil:  Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil,
That you may live;
So the Lord God of hosts will be with you,
As you have spoken.
15 Hate evil, love good;
Establish justice in the gate.
It may be that the Lord God of hosts
Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

The basic format for works is simply stated.  “Seek good and not evil”.  God will help us to understand what is pleasing in His sight.

VII.  The Love of God: I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

We should simply focus on developing our love for God, and for others.  The laws of God grow out of love.

VIII.  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.

All of this talk of judgement can create fear.  As Christians we do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  We love God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. “( I John 4:18)

 

Judgement is real.  Not everyone goes to heaven.  We are saved by grace, through faith, for good works.  The order is important for us to understand.  We do not change to be saved.  We are changed because we are saved.

These are the sermon notes from 9/27/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

 

Savior and Lord

October 8, 2015

Sometimes a beloved verse is lifted out of context and used in a way that it was not originally intended.  That may be what has happened in our understanding of Revelation 3:20.

I.  At The Door:  Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

This well known verse is often used to support the practice of inviting Jesus into our heart.  In this view, the door that Jesus knocks on is the door to our heart.  It is a way of understanding our salvation experience, the means by which we are born again.  Christ comes into our hearts and we are never the same.  Christ knocks, it is up to us to let Him in.  Christ has the initiative.  We must respond.

II.  Examine Your Works:  Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Here are the verses that introduce the concept of the lukewarm Christian.  We are not meant to be lukewarm, we are meant to be on fire for Christ.  One thing about fires is that they are always changing.  They are either building up, or burning down.  If we want the fire to build up, we must add fuel to the fire.  If we want our relationship with Christ to burn brightly we must spend time in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, and in service.

III.  Blinded:  Revelation 3:17-18

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Many people are blinded to the true nature of their spiritual reality.  May our eyes be opened to our condition.  May we be changed by the ongoing work of the Spirit in our lives.  May we be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and transformed by His Spirit.  May we may truly become the children of God.

IV.  Growth:  Revelation 3:19

 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

God loves us.  He does not leave us in the condition that He found us. He challenges us to be the people that we are meant to be.  He rebukes, and corrects us as needed.  We are to listen to His voice and change our ways.   This is the context of verse 20 quoted above.  It is not in the context of initial salvation, but rather in the context of the rebuke of sin in the life of a believer. Jesus is our savior and lord. He saves us and directs our lives.

V.  Overcomes:  Revelation 3:21

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, we will be changed.  In Christ, we are more than conquerors.  It is not our strength, but His strength which enables us to overcome the sin that would seek to drag us down.

If we have a new life in Christ, then we should live for Christ.

These are the sermon notes from9/20/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.