Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

What Makes Us Different

May 10, 2017

A few years ago I was asked by someone what makes our church different from other churches.

I gave the wrong answer.

I said that it was our music that made us different.  Now, it was true, at that time, that we were the only church in town that routinely used guitars, drums, and percussion, along with a keyboard or piano, but that really isn’t the most important difference.

The most important difference is our view towards the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today.

Now, all Christians recognize that the Holy Spirit plays an important role in the church.  This message is not an in-depth study of the role of the Holy Spirit, that would take far more time than what we have today.  This message is about one of the cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God.  This message is about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

I.  The Promise of the Father: 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 be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

A.  Receive the Spirit: John 20:22

 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

A person is not a Christian unless he has been born again. (John 3)  A person is born again when the Spirit of Christ, or the Holy Spirit, comes into our heart as a result of our faith in Christ.  Here in John, the Holy Spirit is first given to the disciples.  It is what makes us a part of the kingdom of God.

B.  Baptized in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit was already a part of their lives as we saw in John.  This baptism in the Holy Spirit is something different.  It is a new event.

C.  The Purpose of the Power:  The baptism of the Holy Spirit will provide power to be witnesses.

II.  The Promise is Fulfilled:  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.

In this initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit there was a sound of a rushing mighty wind, tongues of fire that appeared and they spoke in tongues.  Today when we talk about the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we only speak about speaking in tongues.  That is because in the two other incidents in Acts where the Holy Spirit is poured out, the wind and the tongues of fire do not appear.

A.  Acts 10:44-46

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

B.  Acts 19:6

 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Assemblies of God was started by people who had been asked to leave their churches after experiencing for themselves this particular manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  They became known as Pentecostals because of their emphasis on this particular experience.

Today  most Christian denominations acknowledge the authenticity of this experience, but they are not necessarily comfortable with it, or able to provide guidance to a person who may be seeking to experience this for themselves.

III.  The Promise is for All:  Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Here we are, almost two thousand years later, and thousands of miles away.  Clearly we fall under the category of ‘all who are afar off’.

Some people say that this gift was only for the apostolic age, but we believe that it is still for today.  We still need the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the world.

A.  Prayer:  Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

There are different forms of speaking in tongues, but by far the most common is for individual prayer.  A person who prays in tongues is being guided by the Holy Spirit in what is prayed.  It is a powerful experience.

B.  A Good Gift:  Luke 11:11-13

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!”

Some people believe that speaking in tongues is a demonic manifestation.  However, it is clearly listed as a Biblical experience.  When a Christian asks God for the Holy Spirit, I do not believe that God will allow a demon to come into His children when they are asking for the Holy Spirit.

C.  Use the Gift:  I Corinthians 14:14-15

 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

This gift from God is meant to be used.  It is not a one-time experience.  We are to use it as a regular part of our devotional life.  We should pray in tongues regularly.

Singing in the spirit is also a wonderful gift.  If you have never sung in the spirit, I can assure you that it is a powerful experience.

So what sets us apart?  There may be several things, but clearly the most important is our belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is available today.  At this church, at any service you could request prayer to experience this for yourself.

The power of the Holy Spirit is available today to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 5/7/17.  All 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. 

What About Sin?

March 9, 2017

We are saved by grace, through faith for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)  So what about sin in our lives?

I.  Be Serious!  (Mark 9:42-48)

 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where

‘Their worm does not die,
And the fire is not quenched.’

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

We are not expected to take these verses literally.  We are not supposed to literally cut off our hand or our foot, or to pluck out our eyes.  We are, however, to take sin seriously.  We do not earn our salvation by our works, but if we are saved our works should change.

II.  The Heart:  Mark 7:20-23

 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

When we are saved we receive the Spirit of Christ in our hearts.  (Ephesians 3:17)  If Christ is dwelling in our hearts, our lives will change.  It is not a matter of simply exercising self control, it is a matter of developing the new self.  As we develop our relationship with Christ, our hearts will be changed.  As our hearts change, our actions will change.

III.  The Mind:  II Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Sin originates in the heart, proceeds to our thoughts, and then is acted out in our bodies.  If thoughts come to our mind and we are able to recognize that they are sinful thoughts, we should not entertain them, but rather drive them from our mind.  God is at work in us, molding us into the image of His Son, but we need to cooperate with God as He seeks to make changes in our lives.

IV.  The Spirit and the Flesh:  Galatians 5:16-25

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Once again, obviously we do not literally crucify ourselves.  We recognize that although we have the Spirit of God, we also are still walking in the flesh.  The flesh will pull us in one direction, the Spirit will pull us in another direction.  We should learn to recognize which is which.  We should then exercise our will by denying the flesh, and obeying the Spirit.  As we mature in Christ we will become better and better and walking in the Spirit.

Our sins have been forgiven, thank you Jesus!  We have been born in the Spirit, thank you Jesus!  Let us learn how to walk in the Spirit, no longer living according to the flesh, please help us Jesus!

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/5/17.  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. 

God Will Provide

February 22, 2017

The message today is based on a story that is familiar to most of us.

I.  Abraham’s Test:  Genesis 22:1-14

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The test that was given to Abraham was very difficult.  He was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac.  Now, we know that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, but Isaac was the son of the promise.  The language of ‘only son’ is important for further understanding.

Abraham believed God, trusted God and was obedient to God.  He knew that he had heard from God and he was obedient.  This was before the Mosaic Law had been given to the Israelites, so Moses had no frame of reference, only his ability to hear from God.  Today, we would wish to compare the voice of God’s Spirit to the revelation of His Word for confirmation.

God is able to provide.  Ultimately, God did provide the lamb for the burnt offering.  God did not want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, rather God wanted to point to the sacrifice that He Himself would one day make for the world.

Whatever test God brings our way, He will provide the resources to complete that test.

II.  The Lamb of God:  John 1:29

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

The test of Abraham pointed toward the day when Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God would be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Truly, God did provide the lamb for the ultimate sacrifice.

III.  Death to Life:  Ephesians 2:1-10

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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.

We were dead in our trespasses and sins.  It is only because of the grace of God that we may have new life.

We have been made alive in Christ, not because of what we have done, but because of what He has done for us.

It is by grace, through faith, for good works.  It is important to keep the correct order.  If God did not reach out to us, we would remain dead in our sins.  He has reached our to us by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ and given us the opportunity to respond with faith in Jesus Christ.

This faith in Jesus leads to the new life.  We do not remain as we were, we become the people of God.  Our lives are changed, not because of our efforts but because God is working in us.

Thanks be to God!

To Him alone be the glory!!

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/19/17.  All scripture quotes are from the New Kings James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I do not have any control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Walk With God

February 15, 2017

The theme for the message this week is to walk with God.  It is a simple thought, but not such an easy action.  I have been thinking about it all week and am not yet completely settled in my own mind, but I want to share what I have with you today.

I.  Noah Walked With God:  Gen 6:9

This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

It should be obvious that this is not to be taken in a literal, physical sense.  God did not take physical form and go for a walk with Abraham in the same way that my wife and I go for a walk.

I believe that God is present everywhere, at all times.  One way in which we can walk with God is to cultivate an awareness of His presence.  It is easy to sense the presence of God at certain times and in certain places, but, since God is always present, we should be able to have the eyes and ears of our heart opened so that we may sense His presence around us more and more.

We also should seek to commune with God.  We should talk to Him and we should be quiet to allow Him to speak to us.  This does not have to happen only at certain times or places, but rather frequently throughout our day.  Of course, there are times when we must focus on the task at hand, but how often through a day can we  breathe out a brief prayer to the Almighty One?

Also we should seek to be guided by God throughout our day.  This is true not only in the big decisions of life, but in many of the daily choices that we make.

II.  Noah Obeyed God:  Genesis 6:22

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

I wonder how many of us could say the same as what was said about Noah?

God has given us His Word.  The Bible is meant to provide a guide for us on how to live our lives.  We should read, apply and obey God’s Word.

God has also given us His Spirit.  We should cultivate an ability to be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Neither of these are easy, nor are we perfect in our ability to understand and to live in obedience.

The challenge is to continue to grow in that ability.

III.  Heart and Hands:  Genesis 20:1-5

And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.”

In the integrity of our heart we should seek to walk with God in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  God sees our hearts.  He loves us and will guide us if we seek to live our lives for Him.

In the innocence of our hands we should ‘cease to do evil, and learn to do good”.  God will help.

I would add that we should seek to speak words that are pleasing to God and helpful to those who hear.

IV.  Enoch:  Genesis 5:24

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch has set a high standard.  He walked with God and walked right into heaven.  For all of us still on this earth, it means that there is still room for growth.

Even as the song said,  “Just a closer walk with thee

daily Jesus let it be.”

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/12/17.  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. 

Not By Might

February 1, 2017

Some of you will remember the Pentecostal Evangel the official publication of the Assemblies of God for many years.  On the cover every month was Zechariah 4:6.  Today, I would like to begin my message by reading Zechariah 4:6-10

 So he answered and said to me:

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,

I.  Not By Might

The work that God has called us to do is not done merely by human wisdom, strength and skill.  Yes, God has given each of us talents and abilities that we should use for His glory, but if we limit ourselves to what we can do, then we will fall far short of what God would have us do.

II.  Great Mountain Becomes A Plain

There is nothing that is too big for God.  I am reminded that if we have faith, we can move mountains.  (Matthew 21:21)  Now, there normally isn’t any need for us to actually move a mountain, but there may be great things that seem impossible to us that God calls us to do.  By His Spirit we can do whatever He has called us to do.

III.  Small Things

Sometimes we think that because we are not playing the lead role, that our part is insignificant.  In the plans and purposes of God, each and every part is significant.  God has a purpose for each one of us.  Some may seem insignificant, but that is because we do not see things as God sees them.  We do not see the whole picture.  Each of us has a role to play and each one is important.  Do not despise the day of small things!

IV.  Eyes of the Lord

We are to be obedient to Gods direction.  We should not be envious of others if they seem to have landed a bigger role.  We should be faithful to do the part that has been assigned to us.  God sees each one.  Our ultimate goal is to simply hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Lord!”  (Matthew 25:21)

So whether we are called to do great things or small things, let us do all things to the glory of God and fulfill His call on our life!

These are the sermon notes from 1/22/17.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Serve With Joy

October 5, 2016

The Christian life can be difficult at times.  When times become difficult we need to remember to find joy in the journey.

I.  That Your Joy Might Be Full:  I John 1:4

 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Is it possible to have too much joy?

I don’t think so.

As Christians we need the joy of the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22) As Christians, we can expect to have the joy of the Lord in our hearts, providing us with strength.  If we find ourselves running low we simply need to spend time in God’s presence, for in the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy.  (Psalms 16:11)

II.  Test the Spirits:  I John 4:1

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A.  The Word:  The first test for what is presented to us is the Word of God.  If the spirit is presenting information that is contrary to the Word of God then it is not of God.  The first and most important test is about Jesus Christ.  He is the Son of God.  God in the flesh.

B.  The Spirit:  The second test is the love test.  If a person has the Spirit of God then love for God and for people will be evident.

I John 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The Word and the Spirit work together to mold us and to guide us as the people of God.  We should not believe every spirit, but subject them to the test of the Word and the Spirit.

III.  Greater is He:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

When we feel overwhelmed it is good to know that we do not face the challenges of this life alone.  God is with us and the Spirit that He gives to us is greater than that which is in the World.  On our own we would be in trouble, but we are not alone.

As we face the challenges of serving God in this changing world it is good to be reminded that our joy can be full, that we should test the spirits, and that greater is He who is in us.

May you be encouraged in your service to the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 10/2/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Pure Religion

September 14, 2016

These are verses that I distinctly remember puzzling over as a teenager.  I had nothing to do with widows or orphans, yet I wanted to be what God wanted me to be.

James 1:26-27

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

I.  Bridle Your Tongue

James says quite a bit about controlling our tongue.

A.  James 3:8-10

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

We should be careful of what we speak.  However, the secret to controlling our tongue is not in our mouth, but in our heart.

B.  Luke 6:45

 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

The best way to control our tongue is to fill our hearts with the love of God.

Our words can be powerful. We should seek to speak words of life, words of encouragement, words of hope and words of love.

II.  Visit Orphans and Widows

A.  The first century was not like today.  There was no social security to provide for those in need.  Women did not have a place in the workforce.  A woman remained in her father’s home until she was married.  If her husband died, she needed to return to her father’s home or if she had a son that was old enough, he could provide for her.  If there was no one to provide for her, or for her young children, she was in trouble.

These are the people that James is talking about.  People who are in trouble.  People who are in desperate need.

For centuries the Christian church provided charity for those in need.  Today, with government programs, the role of the church has changed, but we should still be concerned for those who are in need and be willing to help when possible.  It is not just widows and orphans but any who are in desperate need.

B.  Balance: II Thessalonians 3:10

 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

There is a difference between being in need and being lazy.  Since resources are limited we need godly wisdom to be able to be good stewards of what God has given us.  We want to help those in need, we do not want to enable people to live unproductive lives.

C.  Retirement

In biblical times when a person could no longer work it was the responsibility of children to provide and care for their aging parents.  People would continue to contribute according to their abilities.

People in retirement today should continue to contribute in ways that they are able.

III.  Unspotted

A.  The Flesh:  Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

These verses provide us with a good starting point of what it means to be unspotted.  The idea of this list is not to point the finger at the problems that we see in the lives of other people, but to examine our own lives and ask God to help us turn away from these things.

Some spots take some time to get out.

B.  The Spirit:  Galatians 5:22-23

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

As we spend time in the Word of God, and prayer, God will mold us into the people that he wants us to be.  The Word of God and the Spirit of God work together to build the people of God.  They are spot removers.

C.  Effort:  Galatians 5:24-25

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The flesh is stubborn.  It continues to resurface for as long as we are in these mortal bodies.  We need to exercise our will, and the self control that comes from God and chose to do what is right in the sight of God.

It is an ongoing process.

D.  God is at work in us:  Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

It is not in our own strength, but it does require our cooperation.

May God continue His work both in us, and through us.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/28.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

A Light to Our Path

September 1, 2016

God has a plan and a purpose for our lives.  If we will let Him guide us, our lives will be rich and meaningful.

I.  A Light:  Psalms 119:105

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

If there is a power outage at night when we are home we suddenly find ourselves in the dark.  Maybe we have candles or a flashlight somewhere nearby. Or of course, maybe you have a flashlight app on your phone.  The point is we want to be able to have enough light to see where we are going.

We should allow the Word of God to be a light to our paths, to direct our steps.  When you walk in the dark, you might bump into something, or trip over something.  You might get hurt.  If you live your life by the instructions in the Bible, you are less likely to be hurt.

Life goes better when you follow the instructions.

II.  Open My Eyes:  Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

The Bible should be read in an attitude of prayer.  We need God to open our eyes to the truths that are presented.  We need God to help us to understand and to apply the principles that are contained in the Word.

Even if we have been reading the Bible for decades, God can reveal wondrous things to us.

III.  Strengthen Me:  Psalms 119:28

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Life can wear us out.

Spending time in the Word can bring new strength.

IV.  Sow in Tears:  Psalms 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Here in America we may not fully understand this imagery.  Our food is purchased in stores that, in our lifetime, have never had empty shelves.  We do not grow our own food.  We do not understand the imagery of taking seed that could be eaten today, and planting it in the ground hoping for a harvest in the future.

There is a way that this illustration makes more sense to us.  If we remember the parable of the sower and the seed from the gospels.  In this parable the seed is the Word of God that we share with people and some respond in faith.  We share the Word in tears, maybe not literally, but with a breaking heart, hoping that people will receive the good news of salvation in Christ.   When people do respond to the Word with faith in Jesus, we, together with the angels in heaven, rejoice in the salvation of another person.

V.  Unless the Lord:  Psalms 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

Whatever our life’s work, we need God to help us.  We use the skills and opportunities that God gives to us to complete the work that God has planned for us.  It is a dual effort.  We must do our part, but we need God to bless our efforts.

God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.  We should ask God to direct our steps, open our eyes, give us strength and bless our efforts.

It is a wonderful thing to be living in accordance to the will of God for our lives.

These are the sermon notes from 8/28/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Power of Praise

August 22, 2016

I think that I have always enjoyed singing.  Then, shortly after graduation, I was asked to play percussion on the worship team at church.

I was hooked.

I love to worship using my instruments.   (drums and percussion)  Then a few years back I tried singing while playing.

I love it.  It is also very biblical.

I.  Sing

Psalms 95:1-3

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

Life is not a musical, but our lives should have more music.  Singing lifts the spirits.  I have seen a little boy who, when he is happy, goes around singing made up songs.  He is happy and he expresses that happiness through song.  Maybe as adults we have become too self conscious, maybe life should be a musical.

Psalms 96:1-4

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

We may sing when we are happy, but singing to the Lord is not about us.  The Lord is great and greatly to be praised.  He deserves our worship.  It is about Him, not us.

Psalms 98:1-6

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

We can sing in church.  We can sing in the car.  We can sing at home.  I would encourage you to incorporate more singing into your life.  Play the radio on Christian stations, buy Christian CDs.  God deserves our worship.

There is a secondary effect.  It does lift our spirits.  After the first service this morning, a lady mentioned to me that it actually seems to detox our spirits.  I liked that and told her that I was going to include it in the second service.  Sometimes our spirits need a cleansing detox.  Spend time in worship and praise.  God deserves it, and it will help us as well.

II.  Give Thanks

Psalms 100:1-4

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

God not only deserves our praise, He deserves our thanks.  When we are feeling good and things are going well it is easy to give God thanks and praise.

Psalms 107:21-22

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Some days it is not so easy.  Sometimes we may feel as if our problems are too great to give God thanks.  On those days we should still offer a sacrifice of praise.  Plus, if we would shift our focus just a little, we would see that even on the worst of days, God has blessed us in many ways.  Remember the old song and “Count Your Blessings”.

Psalms 107:31-32

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

As we are told in I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks in everything.  After all, we are told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good…”

It is always right and fitting that we give God both praise and thanks.

III.  Pray

Psalms 109:1-4

Do not keep silent,
O God of my praise!
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful
Have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without a cause.
In return for my love they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.

This is a dramatic shift from the first two points of this message.

Sometimes people are cruel.  They lie, they hurt us in a whole variety of ways.

Our response should be to pray to the God whom we praise.  He is our deliverer.

Matthew 6:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

It is human nature to hurt those that have hurt us, to reply in kind, with interest.

God has called us to be different.

We are able to be different because of God.  As we spend time in His presence in praise and thanksgiving, we are changed.  We are able to forgive and even to love our enemies, not because it comes naturally, but because we have been changed by the time we have spent in worship of the God who loves us all.

These are the sermon notes from 8/21/16,  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Hold Fast

July 11, 2016

We prefer to talk about the abundant life that God has for us.  We enjoy the many blessings that we receive.

How do we respond when things don’t go as we would hope?

What do we do in the face of tragedy?

I.  Job

A.  Do What is Right:  Job 1:1

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

This is a good model for us.  We should fear God and shun evil.  We should seek to be blameless and upright.  We know that we cannot be perfect, but we should seek to live as God wants us to live.

Just because we are serving God doesn’t mean that we are exempt from hardship.  In a single day Job suffered the loss of all his great wealth and the tragic death of all ten of his children.  It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

His response has become a classic line.

B.  Response to Loss:  Job 1:20-22

 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

He mourned the loss and worshiped God.  These words were uttered long ago, but they have been repeated by countless other believers who have suffered loss.  If we turn to God, He is able to bring us comfort in times of tragedy.

Some might say, at least he still had his health.  That was the next to go.  He was stricken with painful boils that made him physically miserable.

    C.  Hold Fast:  Job 2:9-10

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

In times of hardship.  Hold fast to your integrity.  Actually, hold fast to your faith in God which is the true source of integrity.

If we are facing the loss of material things or the deterioration of our health we can still trust that God is with us.  He will help us through the difficult times.  A better day is coming.  If not in this life, then in the life to come.

Hold fast.

II.  Endure Hardship:  II Timothy 2:3

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I served in the United States Marine Corps.  I have often said that that experience prepared me better for ministry than my years at Bible college.

Why?

A marine is not allowed to quit when the mission becomes difficult.  It doesn’t matter if you are tired, hot, cold, hurt, or whatever.

Accomplish the mission!

Our devotion to God should be even more of a commitment than a marine’s commitment to his/her duty.  After all, a marine is serving an earthly kingdom, while we serve a heavenly kingdom.

There have been many times when I have been tempted to leave the ministry.  There are far easier ways to make a living.  However, it is the desire of my heart to be faithful to my calling, to accomplish the mission that God has given to me.

Never quit!

It is appropriate to ask ourselves some questions when hardship comes our way.

Is this hardship the consequence of a bad decision, or mistake on my part?  If that is the case, then learn from your mistakes.

Is God trying to get my attention?  Have I been following the direction of God?  God sometimes allows things to go badly for us so that we will get back on track.

If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if we are serving God to the best of our ability, then we can recognize hardships as a test or trial of our faith.  We should hold fast and press on.

III.  Count it all Joy:  James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

God uses the tests and trials of this life to mold us into the people that we are called to be in Christ.  We can rejoice in the knowledge that God is working in us.  The difficulties that we face actually can strengthen our faith and help in our development as Christians.

In addition  to the work that God is doing in us, God can use difficult experiences for His glory.  How we handle bad experiences can sometimes be the very best testimony that we give to unbelievers.

We can also rejoice in the knowledge that even in bad times, God is with us.  We can rejoice in the Lord.  He loves us and will help us.  His grace is sufficient for us.  (II Corinthians 12:9)

So, when we are called upon to suffer hardship;  hold fast to your faith, endure hardship, and count it all joy that God is working both in you and through you.

These are the sermon notes from 7/9/16.  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.