Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Your Life Matters

July 22, 2020

It has been quite a year.  It started well, but soon covid19 became a grim reality.  Then we had the death of George Floyd while in police custody, the ensuing protests, which were sometimes violent and destructive, calls for defunding the police, calls for social change.  Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, all became slogans that are now familiar and that raise various responses.

I would like to suggest one more.

Your Life Matters.

Let me explain.

I.  We Hear the Message

God Loves You:  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.

This is, without doubt, the most famous verse in the Bible.  It expresses the very important truth that God loves the world.  By this, it is meant that God loves all the people in the world.  This means that God loves you. Your Life Matters.

In recent years there has been a disturbing number of suicides.  This is especially true among young people and military veterans.  People who are contemplating suicide could really benefit from hearing the message that Your Life Matters.  This is true, if for no other reason, that God loves you.  There is more.  God has a plan for you.  God has a purpose for you.  Your Life Matters.

II.  We Believe the Message

When we believe that God loves us, that He has a plan and a purpose for us, it is natural to respond to that message.  I John 4:19

We love Him because He first loved us.

A number of years ago, there was a movie out called Agnes of God.  In this movie, Jane Fonda plays a psychiatrist who is interviewing a young nun named Agnes.  She asks Agnes:

“Have you ever been in love?”

Agnes replies:

“Oh, yes!”

“With whom?”

“God”

That is not really the response the doctor is looking for in the movie.  It is however a great place for us to start.  God loves us.  We should love God.  We can believe the message that Your Life Matters!

III.  We Share the Message

God loves us.  We love God.  We should love one another.  John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

We return to our interview in Agnes of God.  The doctor asks Agnes:

“Anyone else”

“Oh, yes!”

“Who?”

“Everyone!”

The doctor is getting a little exasperated by this time.

“Anyone particular?”

Agnes looks at her directly and says:

“Right now, you.”

The message of Your Life Matters begins with us when we hear it, but it is not meant to end with us.  We should share that message of hope with others.  We should share the message that Your Life Matters.

IV.  We Should Act as if Your Life Matters

Matthew 7:12*

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

This verse is known as the Golden Rule and some version of it is found in every major religion.  It can be stated “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  If we believe that Your Life Matters, it should influence how we act.

James 2:15-16

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

We should care about one another.  That care should be expressed not just in words, but in action.

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

We should be looking for opportunities to have a positive impact on those around us.  The message of Your Life Matters begins with us, but it does not end with us.

Our world would be a better place if we believed, and acted as if Your Life Matters.

 

 

These are my sermon notes from 7/19/20.   If you wish to watch the sermon as it was preached you may view it at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/320867209089020

The quotes from Agnes of God are from my memory and may not be completely accurate, but I am confident that I have the basic message.  All scripture 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.

This weeks memory verse is designated with an *.

 

 

Pentecost

June 30, 2020

I have an anniversary coming up this week.  (Actually, it it today!)  July 2nd, 1976 is the day that I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  It was a life altering experience. Pentecost Sunday was actually a few weeks ago, but I thought that I would preach about Pentecost today.

I.  Baptized in the Holy Spirit:  Acts 1:4-8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,”He said,“you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall bewitnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit plays many roles in the world, especially in the life of a believer.  We would never be saved if the Holy Spirit did not speak to our hearts, to convict us of sin and convince us of the the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We recieve the Spirit into our hearts when we respond in faith to the message of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit guides us throughout our walk with Christ.  However, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a unique experience that is especially designed to empower the believer to be a witness for Jesus.  Now, we can be a witness without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we can be a more powerful witness with it.

II.  Pentecost Sunday:  Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

This first event on the day of Pentecost is the only time that the sound of the rushing wind and the tongues of fire appeared.  There are other instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon believers with the result of them speaking in tongues.  (See Acts chapters 10 & 19)  On this day the disciples went from hiding in fear to boldly proclaiming the gospel message.  It is recognized as the birthday of the church and is celebrated by all Christian denominations that utilize the church calendar.

III.  Need Strength?  I Corinthians 14:1-5

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Now, I recognize that these verses are speaking about the superiority of prophesy over tongues.  However, it also tells us something about speaking in tongues.  First, we are told that we are not speaking to people, but to God.  Some refer to it as the perfect prayer language.  It gives us the opportunity to pray without the barrier of human language.  When we don’t know how to pray, we can pray in tongues.

Secondly, we are told that the individual who prays in tongues edifies themselves.  Edify simply means to strengthen.  Even as we saw in Acts chapter one, the baptism in the Holy Spirit provides power to the believer.

IV.  Just Ask:  Luke 11:9-13

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is available simply by asking.  You don’t have to be in a church service, a camp meeting or at an evangelistic crusade.  Wherever you are, God can hear your prayers.

Sometimes, it happens very quickly, other times a person must linger in prayer for quite a while.  Sometimes people will have to ask for it several times.  People have many different experiences of how they receive the Baptism.

Once a person receives the Baptism, it is meant to be used.  It should become a regular part of our devotional time.  We should pray in our native language, we should pray in tongues.  We should sing in our native language, we should sing in tongues.

It is is gift that God has for His children.  It is meant to be used.

But you have to ask for it.

 

These are the notes from the message that I preached on 6/28/20.  You can watch the message at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2718376931767504

All scriptures 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. 

 

 

Joy Comes

May 21, 2020

Right now as this pandemic drags on for months, people are growing weary.  Many are struggling with depression.

There is hope.

I.  Laughing Will Come:  Job 8:21

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.

Job had experienced tremendous loss and suffering.  His friends did not offer much comfort, but this line really stood out to me.  I believe it to be true.  Our days of difficulty will come to an end some day.  There will again be a time of laughter and rejoicing.

We do not need to minimize the pain of the moment.  Right now, many are suffering, but there is hope for tomorrow.

II.  Joy Comes:  Psalms 30:5*

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Right now, things are still difficult for many people.  Things will get better.  We do not have to think of this as a single night, but rather as a period of time.

It is also not necessary to think of this as an act of God’s anger or judgment.  It could be judgment against sin, but it could also simply be a test.  What will we do during difficult days?  Will we give up?  Or will we trust God and wait for the morning to come

III.  Rejoice in the Lord  Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

These verses provide direction for how a believer should deal with difficult times.

First, we rejoice in the Lord.  God loves us and allows us the privilege of having fellowship with Him.  Nothing in this world compares to what it is like to spend time in the presence of God.  The more that we are able to be aware of His presence with us the less the troubles of this world will bother us.

Secondly, anything that does concern us, we can bring to God in prayer.  We know that He hears us and is able to help us.  We can trust Him.  God can give us the wisdom to know what we should do and the strength to do it.  He will also intervene on our behalf according to His will.  We should pray until the peace of God comes to our hearts.  It will come.

Third, look around you.  There is always something good to see.  This is not the same as closing our eyes to evil.  We pray about what is bad.  We take appropriate action to correct wrongs.  When that work is done, or when we simply need a break, we should look at the good.  Even in the midst of despair, there is beauty to be seen.

IV.  The Path of Life Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we follow God, it is a really good thing.  He will direct us through the difficulties of this life.

Life with God is a good thing.

Even in the days of darkness.

 

*This is the recommended memory verse for this week.  All scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisments that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

These are the sermon notes from the message I preached on 5/17/20.  If you want to view that message as it was preached, you can view it at:

 

Rest & Reconciliation

April 25, 2020

Many of the religions of the world are based in the actions that we take to find God.  In Christianity it is God who reaches out to us.  It is God who has fulfilled the requirements for reconciliation.  It is God who seeks to draw us into a relationship with Him.

I.  Rest:  Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

For some religions the quest to obtain our final goal is so difficult that it is believed to take many lives to obtain the goal.  In contrast, Jesus tells us that ‘His yoke is easy and His burden is light.’

For Christians salvation is freely offered to all who would believe in Jesus as the Christ who died for the sins of the world.  Many people are familiar with John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Salvation is the gift of God to us.  We simply need to believe.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

II.  Reconciliation:  II Corinthians 5:18-21

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We were separated from God by our sin, but God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins.  Because Christ has paid our debt, we can be reconciled with God.  This is a truly wonderful thing.  We have the ability to spend our lives in the presence of God.  We can walk with God throughout this life and into the next.

In addition, we have been give the privilege of representing God to the people of the world.  We are supposed to share the message of God’s love.  It is The Good News!  We do not have to be pastors or theologians.  We all can share the simple message of the love of God that He showed to the world through Jesus Christ.

III.  Relationship:  Revelations 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 is one of my favorite verses.  ( I have many favorites!)  The door that Jesus is knocking on is the door of our heart.  This is not our physical heart but our inner self.  When we respond to Christ with faith He will enter our hearts by His Spirit.  This allows us to be in a wonderful relationship with God Himself.  His Spirit dwells in our hearts and we can develop that relationship over time.  There is truly nothing like it in this world!!

God loves you.

You do not need to be alone.

 

If you would like to view this message as it was preached it can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/571920860102011/

 

These are the sermon notes from 4/19/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

The Good Will Come

March 28, 2020

This is a new thing.  When I originally preached this message,  the only person in the room with me was my wife.  Our church is not allowed to meet due to the Covid 19 virus and so we went out on Facebook Live.  For my readers, you will have the opportunity for the first time to hear the original message and actually see the person who has been writing these posts.  I will include the link at the end of these notes. 

Our country is facing a difficult challenge.  The corona virus has made significant inroads into our country.  We are no longer able to hold our normal church meetings so we are coming to you from our living room on Facebook Live.

I.  God is Good:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

A.  God is Good:  Years ago I preached a message that would be very appropriate today.  The three main points were 1. God is Good 2.  Life Can Be Hard  3.  God is Still Good

I want to remind all of you, that God is still good!  Many of us have experienced that goodness time and time again.  In these challenging days, God is still good.  It is more important than ever that we turn our eyes upon Jesus, that we look to God for wisdom and strength.

B.  The Milk of the Word:  As we spend more time in our own homes than we have in a long time, use that time productively.  I encourage you to spend time in the Word of God.  God works in us by His Word and by His Spirit to transform us from what we were, to what we are meant to be.  It is an ongoing, life-long process.

This would be a good time to start memorizing scripture, if that is not already a part of your spiritual disciplines.  This week the memory verse is I Peter 2:2.  (listed above)  This practice can be very beneficial in reducing stress and worry, both of which are increased during difficult times such as we currently face.

C.  Changed by God:  We are called to lay aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking.  When we encounter God through faith in Jesus Christ we are changed.  His Spirit does a miraculous work in us.  We do, however, need to cooperate with the process.  The old nature does not die easily and we must continue to guard against a resurrection of our old nature.

II.  You Be Good:  I Peter 2:13-17

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the kin

As Americans, we treasure our freedom.  As Christians we are free in Christ.  However, we should use that freedom to serve others.

Right now, across our country we are practicing various responses depending on our area.  Shelter in place, self-quarantine, social distancing, staying home if sick, washing our hands, and wiping down services has become the norm.

Follow the directions of the governmental leaders.  This is not the time nor the event at which to rebel.  We need to work together.  We need to each do our part.  God will help us.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should each do our part and we should pray for God to bless our efforts.

III.  Good Days Will Come:  I Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

As God’s people we can have confidence that we will again see good days.  We should maintain a good attitude throughout this event.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 ” The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should do what we can and pray for God’s help. 

In addition to the hope we have for tomorrow,  we can see the good in today.  Be thankful for what you have received.  I am reminded of the old song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Most of all we can be thankful for God’s presence in our lives.  God is with us today.  One day we will go to be with Him.

God is good.  Life can be hard.  God is still good.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/22/20.  All scripture 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.   

If you want to view the original message it can be viewed at the following link.


 

Out of the Darkness

March 4, 2020

Life is better with God.  I am firmly convinced that having God in our lives makes everything better.

I.  Change:  Titus 2:11-3:2

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

Grace:  We need to remember that we would still be lost if not for the grace of God.  God has reached out to us by His Spirit because of His love for us.

Change:  Once we respond to the grace of God we are changed.  This is both immediate and ongoing.  We are instantly changed into a new creation when the Spirit of God enters our heart through our faith in Jesus.  At that time our outward behavior will also begin to change.  God will work in us to change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

Hope:  One day Jesus will return for His people.  It is our hope that we will be with Him forever.  Either He will come for us, or we will go to Him.  Hope for a better tomorrow is a precious gift that God has given us and that we should share with those who may be hopeless.

Redemption:  We could not save ourselves.  We could not meet God’s standard.  We need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.  Jesus Christ has redeemed us by His death on the cross.  We remember this every time that we celebrate communion.

Obedience:  As God’s people we are to be obedient to God.  We are also to obey local authorities.  Christians should be good students, good employees and good citizens.

Good Works:  Christians should live lives that bring God glory, not shame.  We should continually be growing in our ability to live as God would desire us to live.

II.  Out of Darkness:  Titus 3:3-8

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

We Were:  We were in darkness.  We lived lives that were filled with sin and wrongdoing.  If we are honest, we will acknowledge that we still struggle to be the people that we are meant to be.  The old nature occasionally reappears.  We are not yet perfect, but we are being perfected.

God’s Grace:  God did not save us because we were good.  He saves us because He loves us in spite of our sins.

Others:  There are still people who are unsaved.  They are still in darkness.  God loves them.  God wants to reach them through us.  We should love them with God’s love.  We should reach out to them as God reached out to us.  ”

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. (John 3:16)

Share:  Let us share the message of grace, hope, love and salvation to all.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/1/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

You, the Church and Jesus

February 26, 2020

This mornings message begins, and ends, in I Timothy 3:14-16

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

I.  You

How we conduct ourselves matters!  Yes, we are saved by faith, not by works, but how we live matters.  James 2:17 says “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  A living faith will produce works.  A living faith will change our lives.  Our lives should change at home, at church and in the world.

Sometimes people act worse at home than they do in public.  The first place that we represent Christ is in our homes.  Our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents all should see the difference that Jesus can make in our lives.

In the church we need to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to love each other even in our differences.  The church should be a welcoming place where people are strengthened and encouraged in their faith.  We do not come together to bicker or fight or criticize each other.  We need to show each other the love of Christ.

When we are at school, or work or anywhere out in our community, we represent Christ.  People are watching.  Do they see Christ in us?

The scriptures have been written so that we may know how we are to conduct ourselves at home, in the church and in the world.  Are you reading the Bible?  The Bible is God’s Word to us.  We should read  it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and most importantly apply it to our lives.

II.  The Church

There are many types of churches but they all have one thing in common.  Matthew 18:20 reads “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

We are “the church of the living God”.  The name on the door is not nearly as important as the presence of the Holy Spirit.  God is not dead, as some have claimed.  He is alive and well and present wherever  two or three are gathered in His name.

A pillar provides support.  The church is to provide support for believers.  We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are family, and we are not supposed to be dysfunctional.

A church should be a place of truth.  As we read our scriptures, not everything is clear to us.  As we come together, we can discuss and occasionally debate, the meanings and application of the Word of God.  We can search for the truth together.

III.  Jesus

Really it is all about Him.  I Timothy 3:16 contains a very early statement of faith used by followers of Jesus.

God was manifiested in the flesh:  We celebrate this miracle every Christmas.  God became man and not just any man, but a baby born in a stable.  This is a true mystery.

Justified in the Spirit:  Justified doesn’t mean the same here as it does when applied to sinners.  In this case it means confirmed.  The Holy Spirit confirmed the truth of Jesus’ message by the signs and wonders that were done.

 Seen by angels: This may be a reference to the host of heaven that proclaimed Glory to God at His birth.

Preached among the Gentiles: This has lost a little of it’s force because the majority of us are Gentiles.  In the first century Gentiles might come to worship God, but the Jewish people did not seek to convert them.  The outreach to the Gentiles that began with Peter and was amplified through Paul was an important recognition that Christ is of the Jews, but He is the savior of the world.

Believed on in the world: Christ was preached throughout the Roman empire and there were many converts.

Received up in glory: Christ ascended into heaven.  One day He will return or we will go to Him.  One day we will join him in glory.

So, you, the church and Jesus.

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: (Jesus)

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

 

Growing Up

February 1, 2020

Act your age!  I know that I heard that a few times growing up.  At the time it was quite effective.  I did not want to be perceived as acting childishly.  I wanted to be all grown up.  It is a sad thing when grown adults act as misbehaving children.

Ephesians 4:11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I.  Equipping the Saints

Some people thing that the work of ministry is to be done by the professional clergy.  That is not what the scripture says.  The primary focus of clergy, sometimes called the five-fold ministry, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, is to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry.   We all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.  No one is supposed to sit on the bench.  We all get to play, to make a contribution, to do our share of the work of the ministry, to edify, or strengthen the body of Christ.

II.  Goals

One goal that we are working towards is that of unity.  We have a long way to go.  The various churches, the various denominations are not meant to be working in competition with each other but rather in cooperation with each other.  There is only one Lord, one savior, one Jesus.

We should be growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I have been saved for a long time and a minister for over thirty years and I recognize that I am only beginning to know Jesus.

It is not just to know Jesus, we are meant to become like Him.  Again, if we are honest, we know that we have a long way to go.  Perfection is not obtainable in this life, but we should be growing in Christ, becoming more like Him, being perfected in Christ.

III.  Growing Up

Years ago, Amy Grant sang a song Fat Baby.  Some people found it offensive.  The truth often is.  We begin our faith as children, but we are to grow up in the faith, not to remain babes in Christ.

Sometimes this will involve ‘speaking the truth in love’.  This is a good thing.  It is also a challenging thing.  Sometimes we have truth.  Sometimes we have love.  Having both truth and love come out of our mouths is a wonderful thing.

Ephesians 4:29 says ”  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

May our words be words of truth, spoken in love, imparting grace.

IV.  Growing Out

When every part is doing it’s share, the body grows.  The growth of the body is both growing in maturity and growing in numbers.  A healthy church will have people in many different stages of development, from seekers and new Christians to those who are mature in Christ.

Are you doing your part?

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/26/20.  All scripture 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. 

 

The Heart of the Matter

January 25, 2020

King David is known to be a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that David was perfect.  Far from it.  He made several very large mistakes in his life.  So, what does it take to be a man after God’s own heart?

I.  A Tender Heart:  I Samuel 24:1-7

Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.

King Saul was looking for David to kill him.  David had an opportunity to kill King Saul.  Instead, he simply cut off a piece of his robe.  It would be evident that he had the opportunity to kill him, but had spared his life.  It was a good strategy.

David actually felt bad about cutting the edge of Saul’s robe.  He had a tender heart.  He knew that he was not to ‘lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed.’  In his eyes, even cutting Saul’s robe was wrong.

If only our hearts were that tender!  I am concerned that many of us have given in to sin so often that we are not even troubled by brazen acts of sin, much less, simply coming close.

II.  A Hardened Heart:  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.

In order to depart from the faith, one must first have been a part of it.  I am concerned about how many of God’s people have fallen prey to deception.  Of course, if we are deceived, we do not know it.  I do believe that God will lead the heart that seeks Him to find Him.  How many though are lead astray by the desires of their own hearts?  How many refuse to listen to the ‘still, small voice’ of the Spirit that seeks to guide us into truth?  How many have their conscience seared, or hardened and are not even aware of the danger they are in?

May God be able to speak to our hearts, may we respond to His Spirit.  May our hearts be open to all that He has for us.

III.  A Condemned Heart:

Some have a different problem.  Even though they have asked God for forgiveness for their sins, they feel condemned in their heart.  They cannot seem to accept the forgiveness that God has for them.  Some people continue to feel guilty even though they have been forgiven.

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.

Some say that religion brings a sense of guilt.  That is not what it is meant to do.  We are told that if we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins.  (1 John 1:9)  We are set free.  Thank you Jesus!

IV.  A Clean Heart

David, after committing adultery and murder wrote a beautiful Psalm.  Psalms 51:10-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You

David repented of his sin.  God forgave him and restored him.

God will forgive and restore us as well.  His joy can be present in our lives once again.

We can share that hope with others.

These are the sermon notes from 1/19/20.  All scriptures 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. 

 

You Decide

December 3, 2019

I very much appreciate that God has given us the ability to make our own decisions.  When my children were young (And still today!) I would pray that God would help them, and I, to make good decisions.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.

I.  A Clear Division

I appreciate the clear division.  You can choose a blessing or a curse.  Of course, who would intentionally choose a curse?  Only someone who does not believe.

A.  Psalms 14:1

The fool has said in his heart,
There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

B.  Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

C.  Luke 11:23

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

From these verses we see a continuation of a clear-cut choice.  We can go with God, or without God.  We are either with Jesus, or against  Jesus.  There is no middle ground.  There is no neutral territory.  We must decide which side we are on.

II.  You Choose:  Joshua 24:14-15

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua reminded the Children of Israel that they had a choice.  They could serve the Lord, or they could serve other gods, or no gods.

We also have a choice.  We can serve God, or follow some other path, but there will be consequences for our choice.  It is important that we make the right one.

III.  Believe:  Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

We can read the words that tell us about Jesus and God but unless we mix that knowledge with faith, our knowledge will be useless.  We must believe that the words are true. We must have faith in God.  This faith comes about when the Spirit of God speaks to our hearts about the Word of God and we have the opportunity, by the grace of God, to choose to believe.  When we respond in faith to the message of Jesus the Spirit of God comes into our hearts and we become a new creation.

IV.  Act:  Matthew 7:21-27

“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!’

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

We do not change our lives to be saved, but if we are saved, our lives will change.  If the Spirit of God dwells inside of us, then we will not be the same.

We must daily decide to follow Jesus.  There will always be the temptation to follow old patterns, to do our own thing, but it is far better to follow Jesus, not just in what we say, but also in what we do.

Jesus has offered to us an abundant life.  It is up to us to choose whether or not we will receive it.

 

These are the sermon notes from 11/30/19.  All scripture 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.