Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Out of the Darkness

March 4, 2020

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

I.  Change:  Titus 2:11-3:2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II.  Out of Darkness:  Titus 3:3-8

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

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

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

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

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

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

 

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

 

 

A Role of Suffering

January 11, 2020

I have been teaching for over twenty years now.  I am pleasantly surprised when students bring up things that are new to my way of thinking.  A recent example was a student who was writing about various religions views of suicide.  I have always approached the Christian perspective from the view of the sacredness of human life, that we are made in the image of God, that life is a gift and we should not waste it.  This young student in her report spoke about how a person who commits suicide is not appreciating the role of suffering in the life of a Christian.

The student became the teacher.

I should have know that.  I should have seen that.  I have dealt with the question of suffering, but never for some reason as a response to thoughts of suicide.

It got me thinking again about the role of suffering in the life of a Christian.

II Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

I.  We Suffer

Suffering comes in various forms.   The first that most people think of is probably physical suffering.  I have recently undergone hip replacement surgery.  My hip was severely degraded.  The person doing my initial screening for the surgeon, was surprised that I was still walking.  I had been dealing with various degrees of pain in my hip for about five years.  There are many people who suffer physically in a wide variety of ways.  How we respond to that physical pain can be a testimony to those around us.

Physical suffering is one thing.  Pain of the heart is something else.  There are many forms of disappointment, sorrow, stress and other experiences that may affect our hearts and minds.  Again, what we do with those feelings is important.

II.  We Are Comforted

A.  Suffering Will End:  God is able to bring healing.  God is able to bring comfort and peace.  We can bring our concerns to God and know that He is able to bring resolution.  The issues may, or may not be resolved in this life, but we can know that His grace is sufficient for us.  (II Corinthians 12:9) God has promised to be with us, to never leave us.  We are told that we can ‘do all things through him who strengthens us’  (Philippians 4:13) We do not face our suffering alone.

We also have the ability to look ahead.  We know there will be no suffering in heaven.  We may need to be patient.

B.  We are Comforted:

1.  By God:  The most important comfort that we receive is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God is able to lift us above whatever suffering we may face.  In His presence we find great joy and peace.  This joy and peace is not dependent upon external circumstances, but rather is dependent on the relationship that we have with God.

2.  By Others:  We are not meant to face the trials of this life alone.  Not only is God with us, but we are meant to have a relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ which is meant to be supportive.  We should have friends in the Lord with whom we may share our burdens.  We should be able to talk with each other, pray with each other and help to comfort one another with the comfort of Christ.

III.  We Comfort Others

As we have successfully dealt with suffering in our own lives, as we have received the comfort and consolation of Christ, so we can offer that comfort and consolation to others.  This is especially true when people are going through an experience that is similar to what we ourselves have gone through.  Certainly, each of us do not have to experience all forms of suffering, but there is something about the person who can truly relate with us because of similar experiences.  So, perhaps God allows us to suffer, so that we can truly relate to others who suffer.  We can offer hope, even as we have received hope.

Offering comfort and hope to those who suffer is truly a wonderful thing.

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/5/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

A Hymn of Salvation

October 12, 2016

Music has meaning.  Some music has more of a message than others.  As I was reading through Isaiah I came across a hymn that is filled with meaning.  This is especially true as we look back, with the knowledge of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

I.  Salvation Offered:  Isaiah 12:1-2

 And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”

    A.  You Were Angry:  We recognize that we have all sinned.  We have broken the commandments of God.  We have not been the people that God wants us to be.  We are not able to meet His standards.

    B.  Salvation and Comfort:  God is willing to forgive us.  The knowledge of salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ makes this proclamation even more comforting.

    C.  Strength:  God is our source of strength.  We do not serve God in our own power, but in the strength that God gives to us.

II.  Response to Salvation:  Isaiah 12:3-4

Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.

And in that day you will say:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.

    A.  Joy:  God is our source of joy.  As I read verse 3 I am reminded that Jesus offered his disciples living water.  (John 7:38)  When we are growing weary we can go to the well and be refreshed by the living water that God has for us.  The joy of the Lord is our strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)

    B.  Praise:  It is appropriate to respond to what God has done for us with praise.  God is worthy of our worship and praise.

    C.  Proclamation:  One of the best ways that we can share the message of salvation is by declaring what God has done for us.  God works in our lives in a whole variety of ways and we should share the good news of the hope that God gives us.

III.  Song of Salvation:  Isaiah 12:5-6

Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

    A.  Sing:  At each of our services we spend time singing songs of praise.  This is a good thing to do.  It doesn’t matter if we feel like singing, or if we are good at it.  God deserves our praise and worship.

    B.  Shout:  Every once in a while it is good to let out a good, hearty shout of praise.  Praise God!  works quite well.  Give it a try sometime.  (We did in service.  It doesn’t come across as well in writing.)

This chapter in Isaiah was meaningful when it was written.  It is even more meaningful as we look back at it with the knowledge of what God did for us through Jesus Christ.    We should give praise to God for our salvation in Jesus Christ.

These are the sermon notes from 10/9/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Hope and Comfort

August 17, 2016

Before I begin, I would like to make a few comments about these sermon notes.  Sermon notes are the central points of a message that was preached to a particular group of people at a certain place and time.  The central truths are presented, but much of the sermon material that connects to that particular group is not included.  The sermon notes that I am sharing today are from a funeral message for a wonderful Christian man who died at far too young of an age.  I am removing all of the personal references because there is no need for the family (If any of them read this.) to relive the pain of that day. 

I.  Tragedy:  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.

When I hear of a tragic death, or some other occurrence my thoughts go to Job.  Job lost practically everything in a single day.  His possessions were stolen or destroyed and all of his children died in a single event.  His response has become a classic line for people experiencing loss.

We are not Job.

We may not be at this point just yet.

My thoughts then turn to another famous verse.

II.  All Things  Romans 8:28

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

It is one thing to be able to acknowledge this intellectually, but our hearts may not accept it just yet.

In the later chapters of Job, Job expresses his frustration and his desire to understand.  God basically tells Job that he is not capable of understanding the workings of God, that there are times when he must simply trust and accept.

This also, does not seem to be particularly helpful today.

My thoughts turned to another well known verse.

III.  Those Who Mourn:  Matthew 5:14

Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.

This makes more sense.  Today we mourn.  We shall be comforted.  That is the promise of scripture.

Americans sometimes have a tendency to rush the mourning process.  There is no need to rush.  It is appropriate for people who have suffered loss to spend a time in mourning.

How long?

As long as it takes.

The point is, that comfort from God is available throughout the process.

IV.  Joy:  Psalms 30:5

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

Mourning will not last forever.  Joy will be restored.  This is a wonderful promise.

A part of our comfort comes from the knowledge of what lies beyond death.  We return to Job for these words.

V.  My Redeemer Lives:  Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

As far back as Job, there was a hope of a life that goes beyond the grave.  That we shall see God.  For those who believe, this is a wonderful hope.

VI.  Present With The Lord:  II Corinthians 5:4-8

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

For those who believe in Jesus there is a promise of a life to come.  We leave this life, and go to be with the Lord.

VII.  A Place For You:  John 14:1-6

 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

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

This is a wonderful promise to those who believe in Jesus.  We remember the words that Jesus said to the thief on the cross. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43)

VIII.  The Race is Finished:  II Timothy 4:7-8

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Hopefully, at the end of our lives we will be able to relate to these words.  I am fully confident that the young man that we are here for today has received his reward.  His race was shorter than we would have liked, but that is not for us to determine.  He has gone to his heavenly reward.

IX.  Well Done:  Matthew 25:21

 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

At the end of our lives this is what we want to hear from God.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I have no doubt that this young man has heard these words from the Lord.

What about us?

x.  Salvation:  Romans 10:9-10

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

At a time like this it is good to reflect on our own lives.  Are we a follower of Jesus?  Would we hear the words “Well done”?

If it were our funeral today, would our friends and family be comforted with the knowledge that we are with the Lord?

It only takes a moment to receive God’s forgiveness.

Ask God to forgive your sins, place your faith in Jesus and begin the walk with God that He intends for you to have with Him.

These are sermon notes from a funeral message preached in August of 2016.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

Life After Death

March 12, 2015

We mourn the death and celebrate the life of a loved one who passes away.

Psalms 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

God understands the emotions that we go through when a loved one dies.  In both life, and death, God is with us.  He brings comfort and strength to us in times of loss.

John 11:35

 Jesus wept.

Even though Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead he shared in the sadness of Mary and Martha.  Truly in our time of loss, God is with us.

I Thessalonians 4:13

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

Yes, we mourn the death of our loved ones because we will miss them in this life.  However, we do not mourn as others mourn because we have a hope that goes beyond the grave.

John 14:1-6

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

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

We believe that after we die, we will go to be with Jesus in heaven.  For Christians, death is the end of this life and the beginning of the next.

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

The key to entering the next life without fear is to believe in Jesus.  He is our Lord and Savior.

I Corinthians 15:50-57

 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, yes,  we mourn the death of our loved ones.  We mourn because they have passed from this life and we will miss them.  We do take comfort however, in the belief that there is a life beyond the grave, that all those who trust in the Lord Jesus will one day be reunited with those who have gone before to the place that God has prepared for them.

These are the sermon notes from a funeral that I preached a while back. All personal details have been removed.  I thought that the scriptural message of hope and comfort, that was the heart of the message was worth sharing.

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

Heaven is For Real

June 19, 2014

I recently watched the movie Heaven is For Real.  I had heard a lot of good things about it.  After viewing the movie I have a mixed response.  The movie is good in that it helps people to believe in a life beyond the grave.  It gives credible support to the existence of an afterlife.  That is a good thing.  Unfortunately, one could easily come away from the movie with the belief that everyone goes to heaven.  I am told that the book did a better job of presenting that a life in heaven came as a result of faith in Jesus Christ.  The idea that everyone goes to heaven is a belief called universalism and is a very dangerous belief.  No repentance, no faith is necessary.  A loving God simply welcomes everyone home to heaven.  That is not biblical truth.  There is a line in the movie where the minister states “What if we truly believed that heaven is real?  Wouldn’t we live differently?”  (This quote may not be exact, but it is close.)  I would suggest a different question “What if we truly believe that both heaven and hell are real?  Wouldn’t we live differently?”  The Bible tells us in Revelation 20:15

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

If we truly believe this to be true, would we live any different?  If only heaven is real, that is one thing, but if both heaven and hell are real, how should we live?

 

Any advertisements that accompany this blog are placed by WordPress.  I do not have any control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Warnings & Hope

February 18, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 2/17/13.

I.  Hope for the Wicked: Ezekiel 18:19-23

Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

There is hope for the wicked.  People have the opportunity to repent, to turn away from sin and choose to do what is right.  We know from the New Testament that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  We also know from James that “faith without works is dead”.  (James 2:17-18)  What needs to take place is that people turn away from evil, and towards God.  Faith precedes works, but works do follow genuine faith.  God continues to call to the wicked, and if they turn to Him they can be saved.

II.  Warning to the Righteous:  Ezekiel 18:24-26

“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.

It is important to continue in the way of righteousness.  We cannot count on an experience of the past.  Whether we are counting on a conversion experience, baptism, confirmation,  or church membership; if our faith is not current, then we are in trouble.  We are called to continue to walk in faith, obedience, and a living relationship with Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

III.  A New Heart:  Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

The concept of a new heart is not unique to the New Testament.  Although in the New Testament we use phrases like “born again” and ” a new creation”  these concepts have been a part of God’s relationship with humanity since the beginning.  It is God’s desire to bring us life, not death: forgiveness, not judgement.  “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  (Romans 6:23)

Judgement and Hope

August 15, 2011

Today’s blog is a brief outline of the message that I preached yesterday.  I have not typed out the Bible references.  I would encourage you to read them for yourself as you go through this outline.  They are a vital part of the message.

Introduction

Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet.  He was called as a young man to proclaim a coming judgement to a people who would not listen.  He preached for years.  His message was met with disdain.  He was ridiculed, beaten, and imprisoned.  He loved his people but they did not return his love.  He lived to see the judgement of God fall upon the nation of Israel.

I.  Jeremiah 7:2-14  Warning of Coming Judgement

The children of Israel were over-confident in their standing as the people of God.  Their history would not save them.  The presence of the temple will not save them.  They cannot choose to obey some of the commandments and ignore others.

We can see ourselves in this story.  A form of godliness will not save us.  Our history will not save us.  The presence of many churches will not save us.  We cannot choose to obey some commandments and ignore others.

We are called to walk with God and be His people.  If we are doing that, we will keep His commandments.

II.  Jeremiah 7:23-24 Who Will Listen to the Truth?

The truth was spoken, but they did not listen.

Today, who listens to the truth?

How familiar is the phrase, ” I know I shouldn’t but…”

III.  Jeremiah 7:28  Truth has Perished

We believe what we want to believe.  Philosophers call it “cognitive relativism”  where people create their own truth.  Some examples are: The Bible is a good book.  Jesus was a good man.  Creation is a nice story.

IV.  Judgment and Hope

Jeremiah 9:12-16  They have followed their own ways, so judgement is coming.

9: 23-24  There is hope for the faithful, even in the midst of judgement.

17:5-6  Judgement against the unbeliever is sure

17:7-8 Hope is offered to those who trust in God.

Conclusion

Seek to walk with God, keep His commandments, and it will be well with us.

Hope

October 23, 2008

There are many things that I appreciate about being a believer in God, and especially in Jesus Christ.  One of the foremost is that as a believer I never need to lose hope.

If I am faced with a problem I believe that God is bigger than that problem.  That God, if He should chose to do so, could completely remove the problem in a supernatural way.

If that doesn’t happen, then I believe that God can give me wisdom and strength to deal with the problem.  That all things are possible.  That God will make a way.  That God can work through me to solve the problem.

If the problem remains, I know that God will give me the grace to deal with the situation.  That whatever life may throw at me, that God is my strength and my shield.  It will be OK.

Finally, my hope is not anchored in this life, but in the life to come.  That even if this life turns bad and ends ugly, that there is a new life in the future for all who believe in, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, who has said that He has gone to prepare a place for us.

No matter what,  I have hope for the future.

That is a good thing.