Archive for June, 2016

Keep the Faith

June 30, 2016

Once again I am turning to the letters of Paul to Timothy for the message today.

I.  A Bad Situation:  II Timothy 3:10-13

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

A.  The Example of Paul

Paul had set an example of a Christian leader that Timothy could look up to.  Each of us should take seriously the call to set an example in our own lives.  Many of us had younger siblings that we were told were watching us.  That was true then and it is true today.  People want to see an example of a godly life.  We should try to set one.

B.  Hardships and Deliverance

Paul experienced terrible persecutions and hardships.  Through them all God delivered him.  We can trust God.  We should also recognize that deliverance can come in the form of bringing us safely through a problem, or by taking us home to heaven.  With faith in Christ we cannot lose.

C.  Worse and Worse

Things get better in this life only temporarily.  Things will get worse.  That is not particularly cheery news.  It is important to remember that through it all God will be with those who trust in Him.  This does not mean that we surrender to the inevitability of evil, but rather that we not be discouraged by setbacks.  We should work together to see “thy will be done”  to the best of our abilities.

II.  All Scripture is Inspired:  II Timothy 3:14-16

 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God is perfectly capable of ensuring that the book that contains His message to the world says what He meant for it so say.  It is not a mixture of the Words of God and the words of men.  It is the Word of God spoken through men.  God inspired the authors to write what they wrote so that His message comes through.

I recommend something called the grammatical/historical approach to interpretation.  This means that we study the words that were written in their historical context.  We ask ourselves who was the author?  Who was the audience?  What message was given?  How does it apply to today?

It is not a secret code.  It is not merely the words of men.  It is the revelation of God to people throughout the world.

III.  Preach the Word:  II Timothy 4:1-5

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

When we are presenting the gospel or teaching doctrine, use the Word.  Do you think that you can say it better?

Remember Hebrews 4:12

 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Convince people of the truth!

Rebuke those who are in error!  (Although please do this in a loving manner!!  Perhaps we should think ‘correct’ rather than rebuke.)

Exhort those whose strength is failing.   Encouragement can go a long ways.

IV.  Finish the Race:  II Timothy 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

As Christians we are called to serve God throughout our life, to the very end.  The way in which we serve may change, the place may change, but our service to God continues through all stages of life.  There is no retirement.  God has a use for us as long as we are on this earth.  Let us finish the race.  Let us keep the faith.

These are the sermon notes from 6/26/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Be Diligent

June 23, 2016

The idea of mentoring is not new.  Paul was a mentor to young Timothy back in the first century.  We have in the Bible two examples of what Paul said to his young student.

I.  Beware!  I Timothy 4:1-3

 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

It is now almost two thousand years after Paul wrote these words.  Clearly, these are “latter times”.  Also clear, there are people who are deceived.  Sadly, when people are deceived, they do not know it.  Their conscience is seared and only the Word of God, combined with the Spirit of God can set them free.  We should share with them the truth, and pray that God will open their minds and hearts by His Spirit.

Today, not many people are denying marriage or abstinence from certain foods, but there still is deception and false doctrine.  Many of them are found at the extreme ranges of biblical interpretation.  One extreme is liberalism.  An example is when  a Christian minister in a Christian church performs a marriage for two people of the same sex.  The only way to justify this is to ignore certain scriptures.  (For example: Lev 18:22, 20:13, I Cor 6:9-10, I Tim 1:8-11, and Rom 1:18-32)

The other extreme is a legalism that makes salvation a matter of doing, or not doing certain works, or of holding to certain theological beliefs that are not truly essential to the Christian message.  An example is those who believe that unless you are baptized by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you cannot be saved.

Our salvation is by grace, through faith for good works.

Paul gives advice to Timothy that is even more important to us all today.  II Timothy 2:15

 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II.  Be An Example:  I Timothy 4:12

 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

This is good advice to people of all ages.  We should seek to set an example by what we say, what we do, and by our attitudes to others.  People do not just listen to our words, they observe our lives.

III.  Be Content:  I Timothy 6:6-10

 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The ability to be content is a great thing.  It is not to be confused with complacency.  Being content means that we can be happy in our current state, even as we work to become the person that God means for us to be.

Please note that it is the love of money which is the root of all kinds of evil.  Many people misquote this verse by saying that money is the root.  Money is just a material thing, it is our attitude towards it, and what we do with it that can be evil.

IV.  Be Diligent:  I Timothy 6:11-12

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Be diligent to pursue the growth that God wants to bring to our lives.  We do not simply coast through life.  We should seek to be all that God calls and enables us to be.

We should be diligent to fight the good fight.  To share the hope that is within us, the gospel of Jesus Christ whenever possible and to pray that the Word will take root in the lives of people.

Don’t quit!        Beware of deception!        Be an example!        Be content!        Be diligent!

These are the sermon notes from 6/19/16.  The quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

To Our Fathers

June 20, 2016

I came across this poem that I wrote for Father’s Day back in June of 2000.  I thought that I would share it with you.

 

The job of father is not well defined.

One thing is for sure- it is full time.

Traditional chores of the trash and the yard

of fixing the broken

and of taking charge.

A father’s expected to provide and protect

but nowadays more expectations are met.

A father may help to cook and to clean

and in men’s restrooms changing tables are seen.

A father’s expected to advise and to scold

and then there’s the reason that a child is told

“Just wait, till your father gets home!”.

It’s a mystery at times,

what a dad’s supposed to do.

He may feel inadequate, confused or blue.

So it’s a good thing we’ve a Father above

who can offer us help with His Great Love.

As we turn to God with our fathering skills,

He will help us indeed, as we seek His will.

And so to our fathers on Father’s Day

remember God is our father

and seek to do things His way.

Pastor Curt

June 2000

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

A Good Example

June 15, 2016

Some Christians only read the New Testament.  That is a mistake.  There are many wonderful stories and truths revealed to us in the pages of the Old Testament.  Today’s message comes from the book of II Chronicles.  It is a portion of the story of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah.

II Chronicles 17:3-6

 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

I.  Our Choice

King Jehoshaphat made the right choice.  He chose to seek God rather than Baal.  Obviously, God is not lost, but sometimes our ability to see Him is hindered by the things of this world.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us

 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

We seek God through prayer and by reading His revealed word, the Bible.  These activities should be a part of our daily lives.

KIng Jehoshaphat also walked in His commandments.  His faith in God was not dead, but produced a life of obedience to God.  James 2: 17-18 tells us:

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

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If we are spending time in God’s presence and in God’s Word, there should be a change taking place in our lives.  We should become more and more the people that we are supposed to be.

It is always still a choice, but we can choose to seek God, and we can choose to do what is right in His eyes.

II.  Our Reward

King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed by God.  God will bless those who serve Him.  This blessing may come in various forms.  It is not meant to be a means of getting rich, but rather a means of appreciating what is truly important in this life.

Psalms 37:16-17

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that our greatest reward is yet to come.  As believers we have an eternity in heaven waiting for us.  Even if we received nothing in this life, the promise of the life to come is great reward.

III.  Our Delight

Even though King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed, his true delight was in the Lord.  If our true delight is in God, no one can take that from us.

As the king continued to mature, he continued to look for ways to please God.  We too, as we mature in the Lord should look more closely at our lives and remove those things that might be displeasing to God.

I conclude today’s message with a longer quote from Psalms 37.

Psalms 37:1-11

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are the sermon notes from 6/12/16.  The Bible quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

A Prayer of David

June 9, 2016

Sometimes our prayers can reveal what is in our hearts.  David said a prayer at the dedication of the materials that had been collected to build the temple that revealed many things about his understanding of God.

I Chronicles 29:10-18

Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:

“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

13 “Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
14 But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
15 For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.

16 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You.

I.  Everything Belongs to God

If you are going to believe in a god, it might as well be a big god.  The God of the Bible is indeed over all.  Everything is His.  What we have, we do not own, we are merely stewards or managers.

II.  Everything Comes From God

Sometimes we think that we have worked hard for our belongings.  That nobody ever gave us anything.  We may fail to recognize that at any time our life could end or our health could fail.  Our best efforts could be thwarted.  Things may not turn out the way that we would hope.

We should do our part.  We should plan carefully and work hard, but we should recognize that unless God blesses our efforts, we will fail.

III.  We Should Give God Thanks and Praise

Since everything we have ultimately comes from God, we should give God thanks and praise.  This is not meant to be an annual tradition, done only at Thanksgiving, but a normal part of everyday.

IV.  God Will Test Us

Will we be obedient to His Word and His Spirit?  Many people want to do their own thing rather than submit to what God wants us to do.

Will we trust Him?  Sometimes things do not go well for us.  Sometimes we are tested in our finances, our families, our jobs, really in all areas of our life.  Will we trust God to bring us through the storms of life?  God is worthy of our trust.

Will we love God more than the things of the world?  The things of the world can demand our attention.  They can be very attractive.  They can be a lot of fun.  Will we love the things of the world more than we love God?  God should be the most important thing in our lives.

V.  Have a Heart for God

God loves us.  Will we love God?  Will we take the time to be in His presence?  To seek His face?  We should have a heart for God.  We should desire to be with Him more than anything else.

This prayer of David revealed some of his thoughts about God.  They would be good to include in our own life.

These are the sermon notes from 6/4/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Rejoice and Give Thanks

June 2, 2016

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

There’s no discharge on the ground!

When going through Marine Corps boot camp we ran… a lot.  When we ran, we often sang.  The lines written above are an example of some of the things that our drill instructors would call out and that we recruits would repeat.

Oddly enough, I find some wisdom in those words that can be applied to our lives as Christians today.

I Chronicles 16:8-12

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
12 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,

I.  Give Thanks

Being grateful for what we have received is not meant to be simply an annual observance.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, but if that is the only time that we are grateful, then we have an attitude problem.  At any given time, even in difficult, or bad times, we should be able to look around us and count our blessings.  Actually, once we start looking for things to be grateful for, we will be amazed at how many there are in our lives.

We should give thanks to God for his love, our salvation through Jesus Christ, His ongoing presence in our lives, His provision, His protection, His help, and so much more!

God is good to His people.  We should be grateful!

II.  Call Upon His Name

When we do experience problems, we can call upon God to help.  He is “an ever present help”.  (Psalms 46:1)

Knowing that God hears us when we pray, and that He is able to help, brings great comfort in times of difficulty.  We can trust that in any situation that we face, that if we call upon the Lord, He will give us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength that we need to do it.

III.  Make Known

Here at our church we regularly give people an opportunity to share their testimonies of what God has done in their life.  It is good to hear that God is at work both in our lives and through our lives.  God does not work only in the times of the Bible, nor in missions work overseas.  God is at work all the time in the lives of ordinary people.  We should learn to be aware of the hand of God working in our midst.  We should both give God thanks, and make known what He is doing in our lives today.  We share these testimonies, not only in church, but with our friends and family, really, with anyone with whom we are have a conversation.  We should watch for opportunities to share what God has done in our lives.

IV.  Seek the Lord

Our prayer time should be more than bringing a lists of requests to the throne of God.  Yes, it is appropriate to bring our requests before Him, but prayer is meant to be more than that.  We are to seek His presence.  Now, God is present everywhere, so it is not really a matter of trying to find where He is located, it is about having our spiritual eyes, and ears opened, so that we may see and hear Him.  It is about having our heart opened so that we may receive all that He has for us.

I encourage you to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God, to recognize that He is always with us.

V.  Rejoice!

As the people of God, we have much reason to rejoice. Our lives should not be marked by drudgery and struggle, but rather by blessings and glorious victory!  Again, do not mistake the difficulties of this world with final defeat.  Walk in faith!  See the victory that is ahead of us!  Rejoice in the God of our salvation!!

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

Look up!!

These are the sermon notes from 5/29/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The memory verse for this week is I Chronicles 16:8, or if you prefer more of a challenge; 8-10.