Posts Tagged ‘church’

A Shepherd’s Heart

December 14, 2016

When I was a young man reading the book of Ezekiel, I read in chapter 34 about the bad shepherds and I thought that those verses would make a wonderful text if I was ever given the opportunity to speak at the college where I went to school.

I have been in ministry over 25 years and I think that I must accept that I probably won’t be invited to speak at the college.

This past week I again was reading in Ezekiel 34 and this time I had a new thought.

I.  Our Calling  Ezekiel 34:1-6

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

As I read these verses this past week, I again thought how I would like to use them to preach to young ministers in training, but then I was realized that I did not have to use this to preach to ministers.  Rather I can point out something else.

A.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd:  John 10:11

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Jesus is the prime example of the good shepherd.  Remember Psalms 23 “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…”

B.  Christ in our Hearts:  Ephesians 3:17

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

So, if Christ is the Good Shepherd, and Christ dwells in our hearts, then we have a shepherd’s heart.

So these verses need not apply only to clergy, but to us all.

II.  Our Mission

A.  Heal the Sick

We can pray for those who are physically sick.  God is the ultimate source of healing whether it is manifested supernaturally, or through the successful treatment of modern medicine.  Healing is a gift from God.  We should pray for those who are dealing with various physical illnesses.

There is also the spiritually sick.  There are many who have a faith in God, but that faith needs to grow and develop.  We can help others to grow in their faith by encouraging them to search the scriptures, by praying with them and by living an example before them.

B.  Bind Up the Broken

There are many who have been mistreated by life, or by people in the church.  God can use us to bring healing and restoration to those whose lives have been broken.

C.  Brought Back

Some have left church.  Some still believe, others have had their faith all but destroyed.  God can use us to bring people back into fellowship with Him and with the Body of Christ.  We are not meant to live in isolation.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are meant to be a part of the family of God.  God does not mean for his family to be dysfunctional.  We must seek to be the people that God has called us to be.

We need God’s help and we need each other.

D.  Seek the Lost

We all have the responsibility to look for the opportunities that God brings our way to share the gospel.  God is looking for His lost sheep and He wants us to help.

So, Ezekiel 34:1-6 doesn’t just have to apply to clergy.  We all are to have a shepherd’s heart and seek to heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring back those who have wandered off, and to seek the lost.

These are the sermon notes from 12/11/16.  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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The Elect One

October 26, 2016

The second half of Isaiah is filled with messianic verses.  There are many good scriptures to preach on.  I have selected a few.

I.  Come:  Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

A.  Are You Buying That?

These verses are not talking about bread, milk or wine.  They are a reference to the focus of our life.  Are we focused on the things of the world, or the things of God?  In Matthew 6:33 we are told to “Seek first the kingdom of God…” .  If indeed we seek God first, then other things will come into line.

B.  The Abundant Life

Jesus offers those that follow Him abundant life.  (John 10:10)  That life does not begin at our physical death, but rather at our new birth. When we give our hearts to God and seek to walk with Him in this life, we truly have a life that is abundant.

II.  Build Up:  Isaiah 42:1-4

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

A.  My Elect One

These verses are talking about Jesus.  He is the one who will bring true justice to the earth.

B.  Restores Life

As a young person I read these verses and wondered who cared about bruised reeds, or smoldering flax?  Of course, these are symbols for something else.  The bruised reed is that person who has experienced difficulties in their life.  They have been bruised and they need to be restored.  God can bring restoration and life.  The smoldering flax is that person who has drifted away from God.  God calls to them and desires to see the fire of their faith restored.  God wants to bring life to those who seek Him. He does not give up on us.

C.  Justice

There will come a day when justice will reign on this earth.  It will not be under human leadership, but under the leadership of the Lord of Hosts.

III.  Jesus is Lord:  Isaiah 45:20-25

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
24 He shall say,
‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
25 In the Lord all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

    A.  Escaped From the Nations

God is Lord over all the earth.  We have been gathered from the nations to serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

    B.  No Other God

There is no other God.  There is salvation in no other name.

    C.  Every Knee Shall Bow

It is better to serve God now and we can also rejoice later.  For those who reject Christ now, they will still one day bow before Him.  For them, that day will be a day of darkness.

    D.  Righteousness and Strength

We are not clothed in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. We do not serve in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

Isaiah is a part of the Old Testament, but clearly he points to the coming Lord.  We can more fully understand the New Testament because of the prophecies that came hundreds of years earlier.

These are the sermon notes from 10/23/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

The Christian Experience

February 22, 2016

I.  Repent!  Acts 3:19

 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

A.  Repentance involves two aspects: a turning away from sin and a turning towards God. It is not simply a cessation from sin.  It is a time of drawing closer to God.  There is the initial repentance when we are first saved, but that is not the only time that it is needed.  Repentance is needed anytime that we have strayed off the course that God has for us.  It is like a course correction.   It does not necessarily mean that we have lost our salvation, but rather that we have momentarily lost our way.  We need to get back on track.

B.  In our initial conversion, we become something new.  We are born again, a new creation.  (John 3:3, II Corinthians 5:17)

C.  At this point our sins are blotted out.  They are removed from our account even more effectively than hitting the delete button.

D.  We cannot overestimate the importance of receiving the refreshing that comes from being right with God.  God is our source of strength.  If you are feeling weary, turn to God for strength.

II.  Continue!  Acts 2:42

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

A.  They continued steadfastly.  Sometimes people fade, or go in spurts.  We should seek to be people that are consistent in our walk with God.

B.  Doctrine is not a bad word.  It simply means teaching.  We should continue to grow in our knowledge of the Word and the things of God.

C.  They continued in fellowship with other believers.  We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to be a part of a community of disciples.

Hebrews 10:23-25*

 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

D.  The breaking of bread may be a reference both to sharing communion and to sharing meals.  Both of these activities can help to bring a sense of solidarity to a group of people.

E.  Praying together is important.  Our prayers are strengthened by numbers.  Prayer is one of the most important things that we do as the people of God.

The Christian experience is not just a moment in time, but a lifetime of moments.  Once we have our new life in Christ, we are to live out that new life, not just occasionally, but continually.

These are the sermon notes from 1/24/16.  Any advertisement that might appear has been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

Who Do You Serve?

November 9, 2015

As we think about the future, there is a great deal of uncertainty: the fluctuations in global economy, the rising national debt, the rise of terrorist organizations,  the growing intolerance towards those who practice conservative religion, and the increasing polarization of politics, all contribute to a sense that we may be headed for serious trouble.  I am very glad that the Bible addresses how to live in troubling times.

I.  Where is Your Treasure?  Matthew 6:19-21

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We have limited resources.  There is only so much money, time and energy.  How are we investing our resources?  Of course, most of us have to work a job, or attend classes.  We all have daily tasks that need to be performed, but what do we do with what is left?  Certainly it is possible that we can use up all of our resources on ourselves, but is that what we are supposed to do?  Is that what we have to do?  We should ask God to help us prioritize our lives in such a way that they will be pleasing to Him.  We are not supposed to work ourselves to death, but we are to have the type of priorities that God has for us.  It might be enlightening to make a chart of how we use our resources, and see just what kind of priority is being given to God.  We might be surprised at what we see.

II.  Light or Dark?  Matthew 6:22-23

 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

I love to watch sunrises.  There is something very special about watching the world wake up.  Things look different in the early morning light.

Jesus is the light of the world.  How often during the day do we focus on Him.  Of course it is necessary for us to focus on the task at hand, especially if driving or doing some other task that is potentially dangerous, but Jesus should never be far from our mind or heart.  If we allow His light to shine into our spirits, then our days will be so much better.  Remember, He is with us always, but are we aware of His presence?

III.  Who Do You Serve?  Matthew 6:24

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The first question would have to be “What is mammon?”.  Certainly, it is not a word that we use in our normal conversations.  Basically, it just means money.  What is comes down to is what is the focus of our lives?  Are we serving God, or just trying to accumulate money?  There is the saying “He who dies with the most toys wins”, but that is not meant to be our focus as the children of God.   We are to serve God first.  He will take care of us.  Only one thing can be most important in our lives.  That should be God.

IV.  God Will Provide  Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If we seek God first, He will take care of us.  God knows our needs.  He can bless us with employment and can help what we have go further than we would expect if we will but trust in Him.  Jesus was a carpenter, but He referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd will guide, provide and protect His sheep.  We can trust that God will take care of us if we put our trust in Him by making our relationship with Him our top priority.

V.  Don’t Worry, Pray!  Philippians 4:6+7

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.

If we find ourselves becoming weighed down with the concerns of this world, remember that we can turn to God in prayer, knowing that He will take care of us.    Pray until the peace comes.  In placing our trust, not in ourselves, but in God, we will find the peace that passes understanding.  We are, most often, still called to act, but God will give us the direction that we need. He will give us wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

So as we look into an uncertain future, we can trust that God will guide, provide and protect.  We can trust that in the end all things will work out for the good of those who place their trust in God.  (Romans 8:28)

These are the sermon notes from 10/25/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no 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. 

Learning From the Mistakes of Others

August 24, 2015

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

I.  An Evil Heart:  Jeremiah 7:23-28

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

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

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

A.  Obey My Voice

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

B.  Following An Evil Heart

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

C.  Backwards or Forwards

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

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

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

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

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

III.  Punishment:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

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

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

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

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

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

Cease to Do Evil

June 29, 2015

Faith and works have had a turbulent history. Finding the proper relationship is important to our Christian faith.

I. Worship and Evil: Isaiah 1:10-15

“Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

12
“When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13
Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood. ”

A. Offerings and Sin
Samuel said said to Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22) We cannot live sinful lives and then think that we can buy God’s forgiveness by giving a big offering. Certainly it is good to give offerings, but it is more important to be obedient.

B. Worship and Sin
We are supposed to worship God. It is good to gather together with other believers to worship and pray. Many traditional congregations begin their worship with a time of confession of sins and a request for forgiveness. That can be a good thing. The potential problem with this is that some may use it as an excuse to continue in sinful behavior. The thinking may be that I can do what I want throughout the week as long as I go to church on Sunday and ask for forgiveness. That is not how it works. We are not to use the sacrifice of Christ as a means to remain in our sins. It is by the power of God that we are able to escape the clutches of sin. To come together to worship God, and then purposely remain in sin brings no glory to God.

II. Cease to Do Evil: Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

I greatly appreciate the simplicity of the statement “cease to do evil, learn to do good”. Of course, we need to be able to recognize the difference between good and evil. That is something that we should turn to the Bible to identify. Our culture does not lead the way to godliness. As Christians, we should follow the Bible, not to earn our salvation, but to display our salvation. We should “let our light shine, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

We should seek justice. God is concerned about how we live in society. As Christians we should rebuke the oppressor and speak up for the oppressed. Evangelical Christians were opposed to the Social Gospel movement, which seemed to equate salvation with a good life on earth. The emphasis placed on forgiveness of sins is appropriate, but to ignore injustice is wrong. We should preach the forgiveness of sins first, and work for justice second. They are not equal concerns, but justice should not be ignored.

III. Forgiveness: Isaiah 1:18-20

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) Forgiveness is offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

However, we are also told, “If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15 We are forgiven for our past sins, but we are called, and enabled to turn away from the practice of sin.

Obedience will be rewarded, disobedience will be judged.

May God help us to cease to do evil and learn to do good, not because we are attempting to earn our salvation, but because we want to live out our salvation.

Repentance

May 11, 2015

King David is said to be “a man after God’s own heart”, that is; an example for the rest of us.  Yet, King David was an adulterer, and arranged for the death of an innocent man.  Obviously, this behavior is not what we are to imitate.  What we are to learn from is how he responded when he was confronted with his sin.  Psalms 51 was written to express his repentance.

Psalms 51:10-17

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.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I.  A Broken and Contrite Heart

The first step is to recognize that we have sinned.  One thing that greatly bothers me is when people think that their life is right, and God’s Word is wrong.  When we measure our life by the light of God’s Word we will see that there is still room for improvement in our lives.  We still fall short of what we could, and should be.

Once we have recognized our sin, we should be sorry for our sin.  A “broken and contrite heart” does not make excuses for sin.

True repentance leads to renouncing sin.  We should turn away from sin.  As much as we can do so, we should avoid sin.  We should “cease to do evil, and learn to do good.”

II.  A Clean Heart

Once we have turned to God in repentance, we are forgiven for our sins.  We do not have to earn our forgiveness.  Forgiveness has been provided for us at the cross.  Jesus has made atonement for us.  “although our sins were as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow”.

III.  A Steadfast Spirit

As Christians we are meant to have life-altering changes take place in our lives.  A steadfast spirit is one that will be able to stand the test of time.  We are not “tossed about”  by events in our lives, but rather we are to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.

IV.  Joy

There are times when the joy of the Lord has been drained from our lives.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  It is like fuel to a car.  We top off the tank and we can run for quite a while, but the stress and strains of life can cause our tanks to run dry.  When that happens we need to spend sufficient time in the presence of the Lord, for “in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore”.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, we can expect it to be present in our lives.  If it is missing, then we must seek the presence of the Lord until it is restored to us.

V. Teach

First, God works in our lives.  Then we are able to teach others about the goodness of the Lord.

VI.  Praise

Praise is a natural and expected response to the forgiveness that God offers to us.  God is good to us in so many ways.  He is worthy of our worship and our praise.

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.

These are the sermon notes from 5/10/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

New Life

April 16, 2015

Easter Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the year.  The celebration of the hope of new life that is given to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ is always a wonderful day.

Luke 24:1-12

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’

And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

I.  He is Risen

Jesus had died and was buried, but He did not stay dead.  He rose from the grave to a life that is everlasting.  It is a wonderful event that brings hope to all of us who believe in Him, that even as He has risen from the dead, so we also will have a new life beyond the grave. Death is no longer to be feared.  It is no longer the end of our story.  Death is only the transition from this life to the next.  That dramatically changes how we look at this life.

II.  The Cross Came First:  Hebrews 12:2

 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Before Jesus could enjoy the triumph of the resurrection, He had to endure the trial of the cross.  It was in the death of Jesus on the cross that His mission on earth was completed.  It was on the cross that atonement was made for the sins of the world.  Without the cross we would be lost in our sins.

It was absolutely necessary for the crucifixion to come before the resurrection.  Only on the cross could Jesus say “It is finished”

III.  Our New Life:  II Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

For all of those who have wanted an opportunity to start over, Christianity offers that chance.  In Christ, the old passes away, we become something new.  It is not exactly a do over, but rather, a begin again.  We are “born again”  a new person in Christ Jesus.

What a wonderful thing!

IV.  The Death of the Old:  Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are to die to sin and walk in the newness of life that God has for us.  In this life, while we are still in our old bodies, we are given a new spirit.  The Spirit of God gives us new life.  We are to learn to walk in the newness of that life, even while living in our old bodies.  When the time comes, we will trade these bodies for the new ones.  In the meantime we must die to sin so that we can live for Christ. The person who we were, our old nature, must die, so that the new person, who we are meant to be in Christ can fully come to life.

These are the sermon notes from 4/5/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.    

 

Rejoice Always

February 23, 2015

I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always!”  There are times in life when this is  easy and times when it is not.

I.  Rejoice in Blessings:  I Chronicles 19:16

 “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.”

Everything that we have has come from God.  We may think that our own abilities and hard work have earned us the material things that we possess, but who gave us the abilities?  Who gave us the opportunities?  Who helped the results of our efforts to be favorable?  It is appropriate to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to us.  When things are going well it is easy to rejoice.

II.  Rejoice in Trials:  II Thessalonians 1:4-7

 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

God is with us even in our times of trial.  We are not alone.  God will give us wisdom and strength to endure the times of trials.  We can rejoice that we do not face our trials alone.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

We can rest assured that the wicked will be punished.  We do not rejoice in their destruction.  We pray for them to repent, but there is a sense of justice in knowing that the wicked who have not repented, will be punished.

The faithful will be rewarded.  If not in this life, then in the next.

III.  Rejoice in Death:

Luke 10: 20: 

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

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.

As Christians we can rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Our lives on this earth may be difficult at times but we have a hope that goes beyond this world.  Our true reward is in the life to come.

We do not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.  Rather we warn them of the judgement to come upon those who do not repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  We rejoice along with the angels in heaven whenever a person turns from their sins and finds salvation in Jesus Christ.

To rejoice always seems like a difficult challenge, but when we think about it we realize that in times of blessing, in times of trial and even in death, we have reason to rejoice.  For in life, and in death, God is with us.

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