Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

Saints? Who? Us??

June 21, 2017

As I was reading in my devotions this week I came across a phrase that really spoke to my heart.  It was found in I Corinthians 1:2.

 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

The phrase that struck me was “called to be saints”.  When we think of saints we generally think of the heroes of the faith, but that isn’t really what the term means.  The word we read as saints comes from the Greek word hagios which means: sacred, holy or saints.  Sacred or holy both imply two basic things; consecrated to God and pure or undefiled.

What would be the basic characteristics of one who is consecrated to God?

I.  Faith:  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.

The first quality must be a faith in God.  This faith is not a generic faith that there is a god that exists, but rather a faith that is placed in Jesus.  John 14:6 tells us:

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

I would challenge all of us to examine our own walk with God.  Are we diligently seeking Him, or is our effort better described as half-hearted, or occasionally, or casually?  Now, thankfully, God is loving and will reward even our feeble efforts.  James 4:8 tells us:

 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Thankfully, we can start with faith like a mustard seed and it will grow through time.

II.  Love:  John 13:34-35

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As the old song says, “they will know we are Christians by our love”.  Yet, some Christians seem to project more of an attitude of animosity, judgmentalism and even hatred.

We are to love God, other Christians and the unsaved.  God loves everyone and so should we.  This is an area that we should regular check our own attitude towards the people in our life.

Our love for others should be seen in our actions, our words and our attitudes.

Is your love showing?

III.  Unity:  I Corinthians 1:10

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

For a thousand years there was basically one church.  Then in the 11th century the first large split occurred in the church between the Orthodox and the Catholic church.  Then in the 16th century the Protestant reformation broke away from the Catholic church and eventually there were thousands of denominations. Sometimes the divisions have been incredibly bitter and filled with animosity.

What happened to the unity of the church of Jesus Christ?

We should be very careful of our passing judgment on other Christians.  Very early in the church there was a very simple creed.

Christ has come. Christ has died.  Christ has risen.  Christ will come again.

Perhaps the time has come for us to recognize the basic unity of the body of Christ.  Sure we may argue over our doctrinal differences, but it should be like a family argument, recognizing that at the end of the day we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Final judgement belongs to God, not us.  Romans 14:4 says:

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

We are united, not by the details of our doctrine but by the cross of Christ.

I Corinthians 1:18

 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

So, as Christians, called to be saints, we are consecrated to God by our faith, love and the cross of Jesus Christ.

The discussion of what it means to be pure and undefiled will have to wait for another day.

 

These are the sermon notes from 6/11/17.  All 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. 

 

 

Overcome Evil With Good

March 2, 2017

Joseph is known as an example of a suffering servant.  He became a great leader, but before that he was a slave and a prisoner.

I.  Joseph:  Genesis 50:15-21

 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”

19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Remember that Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery.  They were right to be concerned about their welfare.  If Joseph had held a grudge, he could have been waiting for his father to pass away before exacting his revenge on his brothers.

He was able to recognize that God had a plan and that it was necessary for him to go through the difficult times to arrive at the place where he was ultimately meant to be.  This attitude reminds us of Romans 8:28 where we are told that “all things work together for good, for those that love God.”

He leaves his brothers to God.  God is the true judge, who will do what is right.

II.  God Will Repay:  Romans 12:17-21

 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

As much as we can, we should live at peace with other people.  Not just the people who are like us, but with all people.  This does not mean that we cannot defend ourselves, but we ought not to provoke others, nor mistreat them.

Even when we are treated poorly, we are not to repay evil for evil.  We can leave them to God.  He will repay.

Instead, we are to do good to those who have mistreated us.  We should look for ways to show kindness and the love of God in tangible ways.

III.  Love Your Enemies:  Matthew 5:43-45

 “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.

God loves everyone.  We also should love people, even our enemies.  We should bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us and pray for everyone.

People are not our enemies, they are people who are loved by God.  Jesus died for them.  God wants them to come to repentance and faith.  He does not rejoice in the condemnation of the wicked.  All of heaven rejoices when a person comes to Christ for forgiveness.

We should not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.  We are not sent to punish, but rather to offer grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.

These are the sermon notes from 2/26/17.  All 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. 

On The Rock

December 1, 2016

I have been reading in Jeremiah.  He is known as the weeping prophet.  God called him at a young age to prophecy to the nation of Israel prior to, during, and after the Babylonian invasion.  He continually warned them of coming judgement, but occasionally offered words of hope if they would listen to the Word of the Lord.

They didn’t listen.

I.  Trust and Obey:  Jeremiah 42:7-17

 And it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: 10 ‘If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand. 12 And I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.’

13 “But if you say, ‘We will not dwell in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, 14 saying, ‘No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell’— 15 Then hear now the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah! Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, 16 then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. 17 So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them.’

A.  The Word

Jeremiah had given them a Word from the Lord.  The right response would have been to trust and obey.  If they had, things would have been different.  As it was they went to Egypt, literally dragging Jeremiah with them, and there they all died.  You would have thought that after all the years of seeing that the words of Jeremiah were indeed the Words of God, that they would have listened to him.

They did not.

Today, we have the Word of God in the Bible.  Do we listen to it?

B.  The Spirit

God guides His people by His Word and His Spirit.  We should study the Word to see what God has said to His people.  We should also pray and ask God to direct us by His Spirit.  It we seek guidance from God, He will indeed guide us.

Will we listen?

II.  The Discipline of the Lord:  Hebrews 12:9-11

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

A.  Disobedience

If we are disobedient to God’s Word, or to the guidance of His Spirit is should not surprise us if things do not go so well for us.

God may be trying to get our attention.

When things are not going well, when bad things happen, it is a good idea to pray and ask God if we are living in disobedience.  If we are, then God will reveal that to us.  Once we know what should change, we can, and should, change with the help of God.

Sometimes we pray and God does not reveal anything to us.  We are doing what we are supposed to be doing.  Do not be surprised by the tests and trials of our faith that will come along.  God did not promise that we would never have problems, but that He would be with us, and help us through our problems.

Obedience

In general, we can trust that if we live lives of obedience to God that He will reward us with the abundant life that He has for His people. (John 10:10)

III.  On the Rock Matthew 7:24-27

“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.”

A.  Hears and Does

Those who live lives of obedience to Christ can expect their lives to be stable.  There will still be storms, but we will weather them by the grace of God.

B.  Hears and Does Not

Those who are disobedient can expect problems.  When the storms of life come, their lives will come crashing down around them.

C.  Wisdom

May God grant us wisdom to know the difference between the discipline of the Lord and the storms of life.  To change when we are supposed to change, and to hold fast when we are already doing the right thing.

In conclusion, it is relatively simple.

Seek the Lord.

Hear the Lord.

Obey the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from the message preached 11/27/16.  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. 

 

In God We Trust

November 16, 2016

This message was preached 11/6/16, the Sunday before election day.  I had been reading in Jeremiah in my devotions and this seemed appropriate.

I.  Judgement on the Land:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

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

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

A.  Not Obeyed My Voice

The children of Israel had not continued in following the law of God.  As a result, God was sending judgement upon the land.

In our country, there are many who serve God, but there are also many who do not.  It is very important that those who claim to be followers of God, are actually following God.  We should seek to live in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  We may not be able to be perfect, but we should seek to be the people God means for us to be.

B.  The Dictates of Their Own Hearts

I really have a dislike for the song “I Did It My Way”.  I am afraid that there are far too many people who are living their lives their way instead of God’s way.  In the end it will not work out so well for them.  We should be like Jesus and say “Not my will, but thine be done.”.

Is judgment coming to our country?

Only time will tell, but it is not too late.

II.  Time to Change:  Jeremiah 18:7-8

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

A.  Freedom

I firmly believe that one of the ways in which we are made in the image of God is that we have the freedom to choose how we act.  Each one of us has the freedom to choose how we will respond to God.  Now, I do not expect the entire nation to repent, but I hope and pray that many within our nation will repent.

B.  Responsibility

With freedom comes responsibility.  Since we can choose our actions, we are responsible for our actions.

C.  Consequences

There are consequences for our decisions.  When we do what is right in the eyes of God, we can expect to be blessed.  If we do what is wrong, we should not be surprised if there are unpleasant consequences.

D.  Is There Hope?

Our hope is not found in a political party or candidate.  Our hope is placed in God.  With God, there is always hope.

III.  The Right Choice:  Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

A.  Trust in the Lord

I appreciate that it still says “In God We Trust” on our money.  It is a regular reminder to trust in God, not in the things of this world.  God is worthy of our trust.  People may fail us.  God will not.

B.  If My People

As the people of God lead the way in repentance, perhaps others will follow. II Chronicles 7:14 says:

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

C.  Choose This Day:  Joshua 24:15

 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.”

We cannot decide for everybody, but we can decide for ourselves.  Let us choose to serve the Lord.

D.  Let Your Light Shine:  Matthew 5:13-16

 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

If we have chosen to follow the Lord, then our lives should be different from the world around us.  Let us not give way to anger, hatred or despair, but rather may we be examples of the peace, love and hope that God has for us, and for all who call upon His name.

Let the light of Christ shine through your lives.  May the light of Christ bring hope to the world.

This is the message that was preached 11/6/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

The Reality of Judgement

October 12, 2015

Some people think that because God is love, that no one will go to hell.  There is a very real day of judgement that is coming one day.

I.  The Great White Throne:  Revelation 20:11-15

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Some people deny the reality of an eternal hell.  These verses clearly present the fate of those who are not found written in the Book of Life.  They will be judged by their works.

How shall we be saved?

II.  Believe on the Lord:  Acts 16:30-31

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

This question is asked by the jailer. The response emphasizes the important role of belief in Jesus.  It is the simple truth.

III.  The Right Order:  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.

The order here is very important.  Grace is first.  If God did not reach out to us, we would forever remain in out sins.  Through faith.  We are not saved by our works, but by our faith.  We could not have faith without the grace of God.  For works.  If we are saved, our life will produce the fruit of righteousness.

IV.  A Dead Faith:  James 2:17

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

We are not saved by works, but by faith.  A living faith will produce works.  If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, how could we not be changed?

V.  I Never Knew You:  Matthew 7:21-23

“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!’

These verses have always concerned me a little.  Simply giving lip-service to Jesus is not enough.  Our faith should be lived out in our lives.  This does not mean that we are saved by works, but rather, if we are saved, our works will change.  Here again, the reality of judgement is emphasized.  Not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven.

VI.  Good and Evil:  Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil,
That you may live;
So the Lord God of hosts will be with you,
As you have spoken.
15 Hate evil, love good;
Establish justice in the gate.
It may be that the Lord God of hosts
Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

The basic format for works is simply stated.  “Seek good and not evil”.  God will help us to understand what is pleasing in His sight.

VII.  The Love of God: I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

We should simply focus on developing our love for God, and for others.  The laws of God grow out of love.

VIII.  No Condemnation:  Romans 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

All of this talk of judgement can create fear.  As Christians we do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  We love God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. “( I John 4:18)

 

Judgement is real.  Not everyone goes to heaven.  We are saved by grace, through faith, for good works.  The order is important for us to understand.  We do not change to be saved.  We are changed because we are saved.

These are the sermon notes from 9/27/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

 

Stand in the Gap

September 14, 2015

Prayer can make a difference in the events in our country.  Sin is prevalent throughout our land.  Will God send judgement?

I.  The Sins of the People:  Ezekiel 22:29

The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Oppression comes in many forms.  It may begin as a stronger child picking on those who are weaker.  It continues in the workforce as domineering individuals distribute chores unfairly.  It continues in the business and political world as the powerful create policies that favor certain parties over others.  It may be based on racial, religious, or economic factors.  It is always wrong.

Robbery is taking something that is not rightfully yours.  Yet it is also a form of robbery to cheat on our taxes, to take things from our place of employment, or to spend time at work, cruising the internet for personal reasons.

The mistreatment of the poor and needy goes beyond ensuring that they are not starving.  If they visit our churches, are they treated with the same dignity and respect as people of more influential means?  Are we showing favoritism?  God loves all people without distinguishing between class, education or ability to contribute.

How do we treat those who are new to our country?  Here in the United States we have an issue with illegal immigrants, but does that cause us to treat all immigrants with suspicion?  For that matter, is our handling of illegals just and fair?  What is the right thing to do?

II.  Stand in the Gap:  Ezekiel 22:30

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

It is our responsibility as Christians, not only to do the right thing ourselves, but to pray on behalf of our country for the forgiveness of the sin that is in our land.  Prayer is powerful.  Many people praying is even  more powerful.  The prayers of the people of God can hold off judgement that could rightly fall upon our land At what point does God send judgement?  I do not know.  I do know that prayer can make a difference.

III.  Judgement:  Ezekiel 22:31

 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

Israel was God’s own chosen people.  They had fallen into sin, ignored the prophets’ warnings, and judgement came on the land.  Some have suggested that America is like a new Israel.  I do not think that is the case.  Even if it was, we should examine our situation.  Sin has increased in our land over the last fifty years.  Is judgement coming for our sins?

I close with II Chronicles 7:14

 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

These are the sermon notes from 8/30/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Learning From the Mistakes of Others

August 24, 2015

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

I.  An Evil Heart:  Jeremiah 7:23-28

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

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

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

A.  Obey My Voice

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

B.  Following An Evil Heart

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

C.  Backwards or Forwards

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

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

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

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

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

III.  Punishment:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

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

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

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

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

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

Good and Evil

July 9, 2015

The Supreme Court has made its’ decision. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. I had prepared this message before that news was made public. I think that the timing of this message was inspired by God.

I. Woe!: Isaiah 5:20-24

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!

Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!

Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

I cannot help but think of this recent ruling by the Supreme Court. God’s Word declares homosexual sex to be an abomination in Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 it is listed as a sin which is capable of keeping us from heaven ” Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”. It is condemned as evil in both Old and New Testaments, yet we now as a society declare it to be good.

What bothers me even more than our government endorsing gay marriage is when Christian leaders give their approval. There is a growing number of denominations and independent churches that are recognizing gay marriage. This requires either a dismissal of scripture or a drastic reinterpretation. Either route usually involves a sense of intellectual superiority. “You literalists just don’t understand how to interpret scripture.” Or so they say.

It has been a long time since I was in the Marine Corps, but I still remember that there were people who were proud of how much alcohol they could drink and still be conscious. Substance abuse in all its forms is unhealthy for our bodies, and a bad testimony for Jesus Christ.

God is concerned about justice. As the people of God, we too, should care about justice. Our society is better than many, but we should continue to press for just laws and just enforcement of those laws. There is still room for improvement.

These scriptures in Isaiah warn about coming judgement for these sins. We in America should be concerned. What is keeping God from judging our society for our sins?

As a country we have rejected the Law of God. We have removed the Bible and prayer from our schools. We have legalized sin. There is reason to be concerned.

II. Pray!! II Chronicles 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Judgement is held off by the mercy of God and the presence of Christians in our country. The missionary work that goes forth from the United States is phenomenal. Although there is much evil in our land there is also much good. As Christians we are to humble ourselves before God and ask God to forgive the sin in our lives, and in our land. If we will seek the face of God, if we will turn from our sins, then God will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land. It is not necessary for all Americans to be saved. It is important that those who call themselves Christian, behave in a Christ-like fashion. This includes our interaction with those who do not agree with us. God loves everyone. We are to call out to all to return to the God who loves them. Some will listen. Some will not.

These are the sermon notes from 6/28/15. Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Call to Holiness

September 25, 2014

While reading in Leviticus in my devotions I was struck once again with the call to holiness.  God is holy.  We are called to be holy, but, what is holiness?

I.  A Holy God:  Leviticus 10:1-3

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:

‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’”

So Aaron held his peace.

What had Nadab and Abihu done wrong?  One of the jobs of the priests was to burn incense before the Lord, so why was this a problem?  Simply because God had not commanded it.  Apparently the priests were to do as God commanded, and no more.  The penalty for their sin was instant death.  God emphasized the need for obedience to His commands.  This message is not taught much today.  It is too harsh.  It is too judgmental.  We prefer the message of love, mercy and compassion.  I am concerned that our emphasis on these qualities of God have caused us to neglect the aspects of holiness, judgement and even wrath.  All of which are also qualities of God.

II.  Distinguish and Teach:  Leviticus 10:8-11

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

I remember one time, while I was a part of a denomination that approved of drinking in moderation, while I was serving in the Marine Corps, I returned to the barracks after an evening spent at a bar.  I had kept my drinks to less than one an hour and did not consider myself drunk.  There was another marine that started to talk to me about my faith.  It bothered me to think that I might not be able to adequately represent Christ at that time because of the influence of alcohol.  I did not feel good about myself or my witness, in that situation.  I have since come to the conclusion that I would rather have my senses sharp and my mind clear.  It has been many years since my last drink of alcohol.

Aaron and his sons were to distinguish between the holy and unholy, between the clean and the unclean.  Then they were to teach the people.  As Christians, we are called to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, and then to teach others.  This was, and is, a serious charge.

III.  Holiness:

Leviticus 11:45  For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 19:1-2  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Leviticus 20:7-8  Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

You might say at this point that these verses are all very good but that they are all a part of the Mosaic law from which we have been set free.  So here are some verses from the New Testament.

I Peter 1:15-16   but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Hebrews 12:14   Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

I certainly hope to see the Lord one day and so will continue the pursuit of holiness.  Now I know that we are forgiven, and that we are saved because of the righteousness of Christ, but I think that we should seriously consider the call to holiness and what it means for our lives.

IV.  Love

Sometimes people have made the call to holiness into a list of dos and don’t.  People who get too caught up in this line of thinking may become self-righteous and judgmental.  I would suggest that the starting point for holiness is a call to love.

Matthew 22:36-40

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are first and foremost to love God and to love people.  Let that be the primary focus of our call to holiness.

I would also add that we should develop a love for the Word of God.  Psalms 119:11

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

We are called to be a holy people.  If we pursue a love for God, a love for people, and a love for the Word of God, we will be on the right track.

These are the sermon notes from 9/14/14.  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?

 

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