Archive for December, 2015

Grow and Produce

December 21, 2015

I have exercised most of my life.  Physically I am well past my prime.Each year my times get a little slower and I get a little weaker.  I am simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, trying to avoid the heart decease that has plagued my family history.  I appreciate that there is an area where growth is still possible, an area that is not in decline.

I.  Grace and Peace:  II Peter 1:1-4

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

A.  A Like Precious Faith

We recognize that there are many churches that are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We recognize that people who love God and are trusting in Jesus are our spiritual family.  Family is important.

B.  Grace and Peace

The grace of God and the peace of God are multiplied in our life as we grow in our knowledge of God.  This is a process that takes a lifetime of prayer, Bible study, fellowship and worship.

C.  Divine Power

We do not grow in godliness in our own strength.  God gives us what we need to become the people He has called us to be.

D.  Divine Nature

This is a truly amazing promise, that we might be partakers of the divine nature.   The Holy Spirit comes into our heart: not the physical organ that pumps blood, but that inner part of us that is eternal.   We are still creatures of flesh and blood, but with the Spirit of God we become born again as the children of God.

II.  Abound:  II Peter 1: 5-8

 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A.  Growth

We should diligently pursue growth in our Christian life.  It takes effort and commitment on our part.

Our faith grows as it is challenged and proven to be reliable.  The challenges become greater as our faith grows stronger.

Virtue is the quality of developing righteousness on the inside and the outside, and being the same person in private as in public.

There is always more for us to learn.  We should seek to continue to grow in the knowledge of God.

As we learn the difference between right and wrong, we need to resist the temptation of the flesh to do wrong.  Exercising self control is an important part of growing in our Christian walk.

Perseverance is continuing faithfully to the end.  We do not quit.  We stand firm.

Growing in godliness is becoming more Christ-like.  I suspect that we all recognize that we have moments of godliness, but those moments should become longer and more frequent, the rule, rather than the exception.

We should be kind to all. Especially to those who least deserve it.

Over all, the love that God has given to us should be shared with all.  We should grow in our love for God, and our love for people.

B.  Produce

As we grow in these areas our very lives will be a witness of what God offers to us.  Other people will be encouraged to press on with their faith.  Those who do not yet know God, may be drawn to God.

I am thankful that I have not yet reached my prime in my spiritual walk.  I know that there is room for growth.  I have come a long way, but there is so much more.

May each one of us come to the Lord, grow in the Lord and have an impact for the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 12/5/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

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God is Able

December 14, 2015

Whatever circumstances we might face, God is able to bring us through them.  God can give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

I.  Heard Their Cry:  Exodus 3:7-8

And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

God saw the oppression that was faced by the Israelites.  God sees everything.  God sees the circumstances that we face.  He knows exactly what is going on in our lives even better than we ourselves.

God heard the cry of the Israelites as they called out to Him for Help.  God will hear us as well if we call out to Him.

God knew their sorrows.  God understands pain and suffering.  God knows exactly how we feel, what we think, and what has happened in our lives.

God knows.

God cares.

God understands.

God is able to help.

God planned to deliver the Israelites from their bondage.  They were a group of people who had been enslaved by a larger, more powerful nation.  God was going to deliver them.  God is able to deliver us as well.  Whatever our circumstances may be, nothing is too great for God.  God is able to deliver us.

II.  Brought Them Out:  Exodus 12:51

And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the Lord brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

God was indeed able to deliver what He had promised.  He brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt.

This was a process.  God spoke to Moses and gave him directions.  Moses in turn gave directions to the Israelites.  This was not something that could be done our way.  It could only be done God’s way.  If we are in need of deliverance, we can ask God for help and He will give us direction as well.

Moses was obedient to God’s directions.  The Israelites were obedient to God’s directions.  We also, need to be obedient to the directions that God gives to us.

Even though they were  obedient, things got worse before they got better.  That happens sometimes.  We are not to lose faith in God.  He is able to do what He has promised to do.  We must be patient, be obedient, and have faith in God.  Sometimes we must endure the time of affliction.  It is during those times that our faith is tested.

Eventually, God will bring success if we trust in Him and are obedient.  We are not able to do it our way, but God’s way.  We cannot skip steps that we do not like.  We must follow God’s plan, not devise our own.

III.  God is Able:  Daniel 3:17

If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.

We have skipped ahead hundreds of years to a new story in the Old Testament.  Daniel’s friends had defied a law that said that they were to bow down to a golden image.  They were told that if they did not bow down and worship that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace.  They declared their belief that God was able to deliver them.

They were thrown into the furnace and God did deliver them.  It is a wonderful story that confirms that God is with us even in the midst of fiery affliction.  Whatever we are facing we can trust that we are not facing it alone.  God is with us.

God is able.

IV.  But if Not:  Daniel 3:18

But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Sometimes Christians are called to be faithful even unto death.  Sometimes deliverance does not come in the physical world.

God is able to deliver us.

Sometimes that means that we are called to be faithful in this life, knowing that our reward, our deliverance will be in the life to come.  Over the years there have been many, many martyrs for the cause of Christ.  Even today, in various places around the world Christians are killed for their faith.  Their deliverance is still assured.  Their reward is in heaven.

God is able.

These are the sermon notes from 11/29/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

God Will Provide

December 7, 2015

Most of us know the story of Abraham.  When he was about 75 years old God told him that his descendants would be as the “sand of the sea”.  The only problem was that Abraham did not have any children yet.  Abraham believed God.  Abraham would have to wait about 25 years before the promised child, named Isaac,  would arrive.  This was a miraculous event!  When Isaac was a teenager, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son.  Abraham was obedient and set off to do what God had told him to do.

I.  God Will Provide:  Genesis 22:5-14

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.”

Abraham fully intended to sacrifice his son, and yet he believed that somehow God would restore his son to life and they would return.  It was an act of both faith and obedience.

The sacrifice that Abraham was to make was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice that God was going to make through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The words”God will provide for Himself the lamb” were truly prophetic, although Abraham probably did not realize it at the time.

II.  Jesus is the Lamb:  John 1:29

 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Here again, it is hard to say how much John truly understood about the prophetic words that he was saying, but we today can look at those words and understand.  Jesus was to be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Truly in Jesus, God had provided for Himself the lamb for the sacrifice.

III.  The Torn Veil:  Matthew 27:50-51

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

When Jesus died the veil of the temple was torn.  This signified our ability tonow enter into the sacred place, the very presence of God.  We were no longer separated from God because of our sin, but we were reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.  God had provided the sacrifice for our sin.

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.

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 salvation that God offers to us through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever offered to anyone.

IV.  All Good Gifts:  James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

All of the good things in life that we enjoy come from God.  Even those things that we think that we have earned for ourselves through our own hard work.  Who has given us the abilities that we claim as our own?  Who has allowed opportunities to come our way?  Who has allowed our efforts to be successful?  Who could stop us at anytime in a whole multitude of different ways?

It is God who provides.

We should be thankful for all that we have in this life.

We should certainly be thankful for the life that is to come.

These are the sermon notes from 11/22/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.