Posts Tagged ‘God’

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. 

 

Appreciate Your Blessings

November 6, 2019

There is much that we can learn from the story of the Children of Israel as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.

I.  A Blessing:  Numbers 6:22-27

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

When you think about it, God had already richly blessed the Children of Israel.

Free:  The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt.  God had set them free.

Provision:  God provided for their needs as they traveled through the wilderness.  He provided their daily bread, literally, manna from heaven.

Promise:  God had promised to bring them to a land filled with milk and honey.  It was the promised land.

Presence:  God was with them all through the journey.  The column of smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night was a visible reminder that God was guiding them in their journey.

II.  The Blessing is Despised:  Numbers 11:

A.  Complaining:  vv1-2

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.

B.  Remember?: vv4-6

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

C.  Response:  vv18-20

Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?”

The people complained about the provision of the Lord.  They wanted to return to Egypt, forgetting that they had been slaves there.  God gave them meat to eat, but sent leaness into their souls.  (Psalms 106:15)

III.  Jealousy and Judgement:  Numbers 12:1-14

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said,

“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.
Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house.
I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?”

So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. 11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12 Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.

A.  Judgement:  Aaron and Miriam did not like that Moses had married an Ethiopian woman.

B.  Jealousy:  They were also jealous of the role that God had called Moses to fulfill.  They were leaders, but they wanted more.

So what does all of this have to do with us?

It is a warning to us all.

We were slaves to sin.  God has set us free.  We should recognize God’s blessings.

God provides for us.  We should be content with His provision.

God has promised to prepare a place for us.  We should believe in His promises.

God has promised to be with us always.  We should rejoice in His presence.

We should be careful not to judge our fellow servants.

We should be careful not to be jealous of what God does in the lives of others.

Before we harshly judge the actions of the Children of Israel, we may want to look carefully at our own lives.  We still have the opportunity to make things right.

 

These are the sermon notes from 11/3/19.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I do not receive any money from them, nor do I have any control over them. 

A Servant of Jesus

October 31, 2019

I.  Serve Christ: John 12:23-26

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

As a minister I have heard a lot of teaching on leadership.  I have not heard much about being a servant.  Now I suppose that you can say that the ideal thing is to be a servant leader, but my concern is on what we emphasize.

I am a servant.

A servant of Jesus.

Long ago I gave my life to Christ.  Long ago I asked God to direct me in what He wanted me to do with my life.

I regularly check in with God.  If I am supposed to be doing something other than preaching and teaching at the places where I now serve, I am confidant that God will let me know.

All Christians should be willing to let God direct their lives.  Where to go to school, what job to take, whom to marry,  all aspects of our lives should be given to God to direct.  Our first priority is to serve Him.

II.  Sons of Light:  John 12:35-36

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Now we understand that light is to be a symbol of good and darkness represents evil.  We also know that Jesus said that He was the light of the world.  (John 8:12)  Here in these verses we are challenged to ‘believe in the light’  to become ‘sons of light’.

What does this mean?

III.  Abide in the Light:  John 12:42-46

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

As I read these verses, one phrase really stood out to me.  “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”.

I remember an old song that talked about being God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers.  If we think back to the first point, we are to be servants of God.  We should want to please Him.  Sadly, there are some who are more concerned with how they look to men than to God.

We are called to abide in the light.  We are told that Jesus came as a light, but what does that mean?

IV.  The Word and The Spirit:  John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

I suggest that in order to be servants of Jesus, in order to be sons of light and to abide in the light we should be guided by the Word and the Spirit.

A.  The Word:  Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

If we were moving about in the darkness we might run into things and get hurt.  If we have a light we can see where we are going and can avoid dangerous obstacles.  God’s Word provides the direction we need to live our lives as Children of the Light.

B.  The Spirit:  John 16:33

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We need help to understand the Word of God and to apply it accurately to our lives today.  It is the job of the Spirit is ‘guide us into all truth.’  We should not rely on our own human wisdom and understanding.  The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God to the people of God.

If we want to be servants of Jesus, let us allow the Word and the Spirit to guide our lives.  Then we will truly abide in the Light and be children of the Light.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/27/19.  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. 

 

Jacob’s Vow

September 4, 2019

Most of us are familiar with the story of the twin sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau.  Jacob decieved his father into giving him the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau.  Esau was angry and planned to kill his brother after his father died.  Rebekah heard of this and had Isaac send Jacob back to her home area to get a wife.   That is where we pick up the story in Genesis.

Genesis 28:10-22

Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

I.  The Promise

A.  The Land:  God appears to Jacob and informs him that he will be the one through whom the promise given to Abraham and Isaac will be fulfilled.  His descendants will inherit the land.

B.  The Blessing:  In Jacob’s seed, all the earth will be blessed.  Of course there is no greater blessing than Jesus Christ through whom salvation is offered to all the earth.

C.  The Promise:  Jacob is a young man going on a difficult journey.  God promises to be with him, protect him provide for him and bring him safely home again.

II.  The Presence

A.  The Ladder:  Jacob sees a ladder with angels ascending and descending between heaven and earth.  There is a connection between heaven and earth.  God hears our prayers.  He is involved in life on earth.  His angels are sent to do His will.

B.  The Awareness:  When Jacob awakes he is aware of God’s presence in that place.  There are places where the presence of God is more easily noticed.  Anytime that two or three are gathered in the name of Christ, Jesus promises to be among us.  Actually, we believe that God is present everywhere.

Are we aware of His presence?

III.  The Vow

A.  The Request:  Jacob was not asking for riches.  He merely asked for food and clothing.  We also, should learn the secret of being content with our basic needs being met.  “Godliness with contentment is great gain”  (I Timothy 6:6)

B.  The Return:  Jacob did desire for a safe journey with a return home.  I am sure he did not think that it would be twenty years before he would return home.

C.  The Tithe:  Jacob vowed to give back to God a tithe of all that God gave to him.  This vow helps to clarify the principle of tithing which is commanded in the Mosaic law.  Jacob’s vow shows again that the tithing precedes the law.  (Abraham also gave a tithe to Melchizedek. cf. Genesis 14)

God will take care of us in this journey through life.  We can trust Him.  We can demonstrate that trust by the practice of tithing.   May we grow in our ability to sense His presence with us each day.

 

These are the sermon notes from 9/1/19.  All scripture references 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.   

 

Ready or Not

August 28, 2019

I wish we’d all been ready.  That is the name of a song by Larry Norman way back in the seventies.  It was a reference to the rapture, when Christ will return to gather His people to Himself.

I.  The Rapture:  Matthew 24:36-42

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

The idea of being left behind on that day gives one a terrible feeling.  Books and movies have been written and made imagining what that would be like.

One way of interpreting the order of the end of the world is: rapture, tribulation, return of Christ, millennial reign, final rebellion, final judgment, and the new heavens and new earth.

That is a lot of material all thrown in at once.  Today, I want to focus on the rapture.

There are three views of when the rapture will take place.  The pre-trib view believes that the rapture will take place before the tribulation.  The mid-trib view is that the rapture will take place three and a half years into the tribulation.  The post-trib view is that it will take place at the end of the tribulation.

I like to tell people to prepare for pre but be prepared for post.  In order to be prepared for the pre-trib rapture we simply need to be living in a right relationship with God.  To be prepared for post we need to be living in a right relationship with God, and have an understanding that we might be called upon to suffer for the name of Christ.  This is something that we should be ready for anyway, as many Christians have suffered before us.

II.  Call Upon The Lord:  Genesis 4:26

And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.

From the beginning people have called upon the name of the Lord.  Of course, in the New Testament we are introduced to Jesus; the Son of God, who is our Lord and Savior.

Acts 4: 8-12

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

So, it is not merely a faith in a generic god, but faith in Jesus that saves us.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

So, when we call on the name of the Lord, we call upon Jesus.

III.  Obedience  Genesis 6;22

Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

God gave Noah direction.  Noah obeyed God.  Obedience is important.

Ephesians 2:8-10

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

Please notice the order: grace, faith, works.  People often get this confused or out of order.  Unless God reached out to us by grace we would remain dead in our sins.  If we do not respond in faith we would have rejected the salvation that God offers us through Jesus Christ.  Our faith in Christ changes us.

James 2:17

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

Again, we need to emphasize that we do do have works to be saved.  We have works because we are saved.  We do not earn our salvation, but our salvation changes us.  Grace, faith, works, in that order.

So if we want to be ready for the rapture, if we do not want to be left behind, then we need to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and be obedient to him.

Matthew 7:21

“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.

 

Are you ready?

Ready or not….

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/25/19.  All scripture references 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. 

 

Follow Me

August 19, 2019

Sometimes you hear stories about very valuable items being donated to thrift stores or sold in garage sales for small amounts.  This is not necessarily because the owners were incredibly generous, they might not have known the the item’s true value.

I.  Great Value:  Matthew 13:44-46

  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

A.  Forgiveness: In order for us to enter the kingdom of heaven we must first receive the forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus Christ died so that our sins could be forgiven.  One way of estimating value is by acknowledging the price that is paid.  There can be no greater value than the life of the Son of God.

B. Relationship:  A part of our participation in the kingdom of heaven is the relationship that we have with God through our faith in Jesus.  Jesus said that He would be with us always.  How could we place a value on that?

C.  Eternity:  The best part of being included in the kingdom of heaven is that our hope is ultimately for eternal life.  What a day that will be when we enter the gates of heaven.

Of course, we recognize that God offers us the opportunity to be a part of the kingdom of heaven freely, through our faith in Jesus Christ.  He does this because he loves us.

II.  Follow Me:  Matthew 19:16-22

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

What God wants from us is for us to want Him.  God should be more important to us that anything in this world.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The young ruler wanted to know what he should do.  We should put God first in our lives, recognizing that He is of more value than all the money in the world.

III.  Exchange:  Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

God offers us the kingdom of heaven.  We receive it freely.  We do not buy or earn our salvation, it is the gift of God.  However, as God’s people, we should fulfill His will for our lives.  We should be willing to do whatever God wants us to do.  We receive much more than we give up. We give up our old lives in exchange for the new life that God has for us.

The new life is much better than the old.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/18/19.  All Biblical quotations 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. 

 

Good Ground

August 12, 2019

There are some Christians who focus almost exclusively on the New Testament.  They may be familiar with the famous stories of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Joshua at Jericho and Moses at the Red Sea, but speak to them about the Minor Prophets and they may not know very much.  The OLd Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the disciples.  It lays the foundation for the teachings of the New Testament.  It is good for Christians to read both the Old and the New Testaments in their daily devotions.

I.  Refined By Fire

Zechariah was a post-exilic prophet.  That means that he prophesied after the Children of Israel had returned to Jerusalem after their seventy year exile to Babylon.  This portion of his prophecy will be familiar to Christians because a portion of it is quoted in the gospels.

Zechariah 13:7-9

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lordis my God.’ ”

A.  The Shepherd:  Verse seven is the verse that is quoted in the gospels.  It refers to the betrayal of Judas, the arrest of Jesus and the scattering of the disciples.

B.  Little Ones:  The affliction of the ‘little ones’ is hard to read.  Two-thirds are cut off and die.  Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.  (cf. Matthew 7:21)  There is much debate in Christianity about the security of the believer, but even those who hold to the doctrine of eternal security recognize that some will come to the altar, profess Christ for a time, and then fall away.  They explain this by simply saying that the individual was never truly saved.  So, whether you acknowledge backsliding as an option or eternal security, there is the recognition that some for a time, claim Christianity, but will not be in heaven.

That is sad.

C.  Refined:  For those whose faith remains firm, they will go through testing.  It is meant to be a time of spiritual growth.  It is part of how we progress from being babes in Christ to mature believers.  It is an ongoing process.

II.  The Sower and the Seed

Some will not be convinced by verses from the Old Testament.  The same principle is taught in the gospels by Jesus himself.

A. The Parable:  Matthew 13:3-9

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

I am sure that you will see the similarities to Zechariah’s prophecy, but we do not have to leave this parable to our own interpretation.  Jesus gave the interpretation to the disciples so that there can be no doubt.

B.  The Interpretation:  Matthew 13:18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So, some do not respond to the gospel.  They are unbelievers.  Some respond to the gospel and fall away under persecution.  Some respond but their lives are choked out by the cares and concerns of the world.  Some respond and bear fruit.   Please notice that of those that respond, two parts out of three, will not survive in their faith.

See the similarity now?

III.  The Security of the Believer:  Romans 8:37-39

  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God!  We are more than conquerors!!  We are secure in Christ!!!  These verses prove that claim.

Do they?

It is true that nothing from the outside can take us away from Christ.  But…. can we choose to leave?

I would submit that we do have that choice.  We can give up.  We can be drawn away.  Those are choices that we can make.  God does not force us to stay with Him.

So if we want to be sure that we are in ‘good ground’ what should we do?

IV.  Keep Your Eyes on Jesus:  Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.

The Christian life is not over at the beginning.  It is not a brief sprint.  It is a life-long commitment to Christ.  It is daily making the choice to follow Jesus.  We should daily fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him.  It is basic Christian teaching that to grow in Christ we should spend time reading the Bible, we should spend time in prayer, and we should regularly gather together with other believers for worship, instruction, prayer and encouragement.

This does not mean that we go back and forth from saved to unsaved, over and over again.  Exactly at which point does our faith die?  That is only for God to judge.  I know that in my life I want to pursue a healthy life in Christ.  I want a ‘closer walk with thee’.  I don’t want to find the line just to stay above it.  I want to be all that I can be in Christ.

I hope that you do as well.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/4/19.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I recieve any money from them.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version. 

 

Walk in the Truth

June 15, 2019

The Christian life begins with a moment in which we respond to the Word and the Spirit of God in repentance and faith.  That new birth is only the beginning of our Christian life.

I.  Walk in Truth:  III John 2-4

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

A.  Prayer, not Proclamation:  There was a time when I heard people use verse two to support the idea that all Christians should prosper and be in good health.  Now, it is true that often God will bless his people both financially and with good health, but it is not a guarantee.  This verse is a prayer for them to prosper and be in good health, not a proclamation that they will be.  There is a difference.  If anything, the existence of the prayer indicates that it is not a given.

B.  Rejoice:  I have been in ministry now for many years at the same church.  I have literally watched people grow from childhood to adulthood.  I can agree with John that it brings me great joy to know that my ‘children’ are walking in the truth.  For me, I would substitute my ‘people’ so that it can refer to the young, the old, and everyone in between.  The truth is that I have known some that have left the faith.  Those people sadden me.  The ones who are faithfully serving God do indeed bring joy.

C.  Walk in Truth:  There are multiple components to walking in truth.  First there is the understanding that Jesus himself is truth.  (See John 14:6) Therefore to walk in truth is simply to walk with Jesus.  Think ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee”.  That would be a great start.  Another component of truth is having a knowledge of the truth.  That would be having an accurate understanding of the Bible and its’ teachings.  Thankfully, we do not have to have everything right.  It is not a test that we must score a certain percent on to go to heaven, but we should grow in our knowledge of truth.  The final component that I will mention today is to live our lives according to the commandments of God.  Again, it is important to know that we are not trying to earn our salvation, but rather to live out our salvation.  Christ makes a difference in our lives.

II.  Imitate:  III John 11

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

It is important to understand that we should not imitate the world’s understanding of good.  God has revealed what is good in His sight in the Bible.  The Bible should provide our standard of good.  Therefore, people who are living their lives according to God’s Word are the ones that we should be imitating.

III.  The Lord is Good:  Lamentations 3:22-25

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

    A.  Not Consumed:  God is merciful.  Those who turn to Him in repentance are forgiven through Jesus Christ.  Thank you God!

B.  New Every Morning:  Our relationship with God is not something that we have to simply remember.  God is willing to reveal Himself to us daily.  We do not have to live only with a memory of what God did some time in the past.  He desires to be a part of our life today.

C. The Lord is Good:  If we seek God, we will find Him.  He is good to His people.  We should seek His presence regularly and diligently.

These are the sermon notes from 6/9/19.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

Make Me More Like You

February 27, 2019

Forms of discipline for children have varied over the years and between cultures, but one thing is true everywhere; parents have an important role in the development of their children.

I.  Discipline:  Hebrews 12:3-7

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Chastening is not a word that we use much today.  Discipline or correction might be more appropriate.  The idea that good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished is an important lesson to learn in life.  God is continually working in our lives to mold us into the people that we were meant to be.  It is an ongoing process that will last a lifetime. At times we may feel weary or discouraged but we should stay strong and finish the race that is before us.

II.  Process:  Psalms 19:12-14

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

We should embrace the process of change in ourselves.  Our thoughts, our words and our deeds should all be brought into alignment with God’s will.  It is important to remember that this is not being done to earn our salvation.  Our salvation is a gift, given to us through Jesus Christ and received by our faith in Him.  When we become Christians we are born again, now a child of God.  As a child of God we must now grow from a babe in Christ to maturity in Christ.  We will not reach perfection in this life but we will change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

III.  Help:  Psalms 25:4-5

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

God will teach us.  God will help us.  We are not in this journey alone.  We should seek the presence of God.

IV.  Image:  Romans 8:29

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

What did God foreknow?  He knows who is going to respond to the Spirit with faith in Jesus.  Those who are born again are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Lord, make us more like you.

A few years ago, WWJD was a popular acronym.  It stands for What Would Jesus Do?  Actually, it is a very good question to ask ourselves.  God is working in our lives to make us more like Jesus.  It is a work that will continue throughout this life.  We are not yet what we are meant to be, but neither are we still, the people that we were.

V.  Goal:  Psalms 17:15

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

We seek the face of God.  Now we see dimly, but one day face to face.  We seek to be more like Jesus.  One day we will be with Him.

Then we will truly be satisfied.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/24/19.  All quotations 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.   

Finish the Race

February 21, 2019

The Christian life is not a moment but a lifetime.

I.  Anchor:  Hebrews 6:17-19

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

A.  The Promises of God:  In scripture there are many promises that God makes to His people.  None is more precious than 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.”  God cannot lie and He always keeps His promises.  This is wonderful news to us and provides an anchor for our souls.  This confidence allows us to endure the storms of life.  It provides stability in times of turmoil.

B.  Also mentioned in these verses is the opportunity that we have to enter into the very presence of God.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil that separated the holiest of holys was torn in two.  This symbolizes that we are able to enter the presence of God.  This is a wonderful privilege that God has granted to us through Jesus Christ.

II.  Not Alone:  Hebrews 10:19-25

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 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.

A.   Let Us Draw Near:  We have the opportunity to draw closer to God.  Do we take advantage of that opportunity?  If we seek God, He will let us find Him.  If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.

B.  Let Us Hold Fast:  Life can tear us away from the presence of God.  We may be tempted to give up on our faith.  Let us hold fast to the hope that God has given to us.  God allows tests and trial into our live to test us, to strengthen our faith, and to help us to draw closer to God.

C.  Let Us Consider One Another:  We are not meant to be alone in this journey through life.  We are meant to be a part of the family of God.  We are meant to encourage one another in our walk with Christ.

III.  Endurance:  Hebrews 10:36

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Christianity is not a singular event.  It does not end when we give our heart to Christ. That is only the beginning.  Our walk with Christ begins when we are born again through our faith in Jesus.  Then we must live our lives continuing to develop our relationship with God.  It is not a sprint, but rather more like an ultra distance event.  It is not a moment, it is a lifetime.

IV.  Looking to Jesus:  Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.

When life gets us down.  We should look up to Jesus.  We should remember that He gave His life so that we might be forgiven.  He finished what God had sent Him to earth to do and then returned to His rightful place in heaven.  Let us also finish what God has for us to do, knowing that one day we will go to be with Jesus forever.  Let us be faithful to the end, even as Jesus was faithful.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/16/19.  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.