Posts Tagged ‘quality of life’

Justice for All

May 17, 2017

Today on Mother’s Day, I am not going to preach about mothers, rather I am going to recognize that for thousands of years, even for kings, the words “Listen to your mother!” are good advice.

I.  A Mother’s Advice:  Proverbs 31:1, 8-9

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

In the 19th century there was a movement that thought that Christians should work to bring heaven to earth.  The emphasis was placed on making this world a better place for all.  It became known as the social gospel.  It was warmly embraced by liberal theologians.  There was a reaction to it.  Some felt that too much emphasis was placed on the things of this world to the exclusion of the more important  spiritual dimensions.  Conservative theologians gathered around this call to stress the spiritual dimension of the gospel.

It was never meant to be an either/or question.  It is not either the social gospel or the spiritual gospel.

It is both/and.  It is both the spiritual gospel and the social gospel.

II.  New Testament: James 1:27

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.

In the first century widows and orphans were in trouble.  The people of God were to help those who were in trouble.

It is still true today.  The people of God are to help those who are in trouble.  It is not just widows and orphans, but any who are in need.  We are to show compassion and offer guidance and assistance to any who need it.

III.  Justice for All

Christians are called to be salt and light.  We are to work for a better world, not just for Christians, but for all.

God is a just God and Christians should be a just people.

We should seek for justice in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our communities, our country and our world.

Christianity is not just about the life to come.  It is about life today.

 

 

These are the sermon notes from 5/14/17.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Live By Faith

January 18, 2017

If we are willing to let God guide our lives, the results will be pretty amazing.

I.  What Will He Say?  Habakkuk 2:1

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

Sometimes we need to stop moving.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to be very busy.  I always have stuff that should be done.  I have a list.  It’s long.  One of the most important things on that list is to pray.  In prayer, we are not to just bring a list of requests before God, we should take time to be still in His presence.  I remember, long ago, I was a tanker in the Marine Corps serving in Beirut.  I had guard duty every other day, six hours on, six hours off, two shifts, so twelve hours of guard duty every other day.  We were not located in an area with traffic and the threat level at the time was minimal, so there was lots of time to stand, pray and listen.  Sometimes I miss having those large chunks of time for prayer.

It is good to take time to “see what He will say to me”.  God may speak to us if we take the time to listen.  Are we giving him time?  Or in our times of prayer are we the only ones speaking?

If God corrects us, how will we respond?  Will we make excuses?  Will we blame someone else?  Or will we take responsibility for our past mistakes and put forth our best effort to do better?

If God gives us direction, will we follow?  Or do we think that we know what is best?

II.  Live By Faith:  Habakkuk 2:4

Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

The proud will not accept correction or direction .  They do not think that they should listen to God because they believe that they know what they are doing and are already good enough.

The just do not place their confidence in their own abilities but in the mercy and grace of God.  “The just shall live by his faith.” inspired Paul and later Martin Luther to recognize that our relationship with God is indeed based on faith, not our good works.

Our faith in God will incline us to listen to God and to accept both His correction and direction.  If we are willing to accept the correction of God,  to follow the direction of God and to live the lives that He has for us, we will be amazed at the results.

 

III.  God is the Source:  Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

Here in America today, there are some who face hunger, but actually starvation is pretty rare.  In Habakkuk’s day, the possibility of starvation was very real.  If you have a pile of gold, but there is nothing to eat, the gold will not sustain you.

Even if it all goes badly, I will rejoice in the Lord.   I love this thought.  Our joy is not based on the things of this world but rather in our relationship with the God of our salvation.

God also is our source of strength.  He will enable us to do what we have to do.  We do not operate in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

Listen to God

Walk in faith.

Let God be your source of joy and strength.

God has an amazing life for you!

These are the sermon notes from 1/15/17.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

The Gift of God

December 28, 2016

Many gifts were exchanged during the Christmas season.  Some were appreciated, some were not.

God has offered to us the greatest gift conceivable.

I.  Their Inheritance:  Ezekiel 44:28

 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

Every time that I read this portion of scripture I am impressed with the idea that God Himself, is their possession.  Now, obviously, no one actually possesses God, but the priests under the Law of Moses had a unique relationship with God.

Since Jesus died on the cross and the veil in the temple was torn, those who believe in Jesus are offered a very special relationship with God.  This relationship is more precious than anything this world has to offer and it is God’s gift to us.

II.  With All Our Heart:  Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

I wonder sometimes whether we appreciate the gift that God has offered to us.  Do we seek God with all our heart?  With most of our heart?  Or maybe just a little bit?  I am concerned that for far too many, our relationship with God is mere fire insurance.  We don’t want to go to hell, so we proclaim a faith in God, but our hearts are really set on enjoying all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

That is not how it is supposed to be.

God is meant to be our first love,  the most important thing in our lives.

III.  Draw Near:  James 4:8

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

On a daily basis we should seek to draw near to God.  As we spend time in the presence of God, we will be made aware of the changes that we should make in our life.  We will want to stop doing those things that are displeasing to God.  We will want more and more to be the people that He has called us to be in thought, word and deed.

IV.  Fullness of Joy:  Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we make God the top priority in out life, God will guide us by His Word and His Spirit.  He will show us the path of life.  The life that God has for us is indeed an abundant life.  (John 10:10)  The greatest joy that we can find this side of eternity is to be found in the presence of the Lord.  That opportunity has been made possible because of Jesus Christ.

So as we celebrate the Christmas season, let us always remember, be thankful for, and appreciate the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ.

 

These are the sermon notes from 12/17/16.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

A Full Life

November 2, 2016

This past week I was reading the second epistle of John and I was struck by the third verse.

II John v3

 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I.  Grace

Grace may be defined as receiving good things from God that we do not deserve, that we have not earned.  They are a gift.  I am reminded of Ephesians 2:8 which tells us that “By grace you are saved…”  God has reached out to us.  If we were left to ourselves, we would be lost in our sins.

I am also reminded of II Corinthians 12:9.

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Whatever situation we face, whatever need we might have, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

II.  Mercy

Mercy may be defined as not receiving the punishment that we do deserve.  There are many verses on the mercy of God.  We recognize that we have all sinned and that the wages of sin is death.  However, God is merciful.

Psalms 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

On our part, we too, are to be merciful to others.  To not repay evil for evil.  To forgive those who have wronged us.  Even as we have received mercy, we should grant mercy.

III.  Peace

God offers to us a peace that is not dependent on the absence of external conflict.  The peace of God comes from the knowledge that God loves us, cares about us and is able to help us in our times of need.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

IV.  Truth

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I am reminded of when Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  I am also reminded of John 14:6 “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we are seeking truth, and if we are open to it, we  will eventually find God.  Ultimate Truth is found in God.

V.  Love

I John 4:7-11

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. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As believers we can expect to have lives that are filled with the love of God.  Love that comes from God, and love that is expressed through the people of God.  Of course we are also expected to love God and others in return.

So in this one verse we are reminded that as Christians we should have lives that are filled with grace, mercy, peace, truth and love.  That makes for a full life indeed!

These are the notes from the sermon preached 10/30/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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. 

Transformational Love

July 5, 2016

The message today is an odd mixture of fear and hope.  I suppose that is not so strange, there is an ongoing tension between the law and the gospel.

I.  Deny Him:  Tits 1:16

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

I wonder how many of the people professing Christianity today could have this statement applied to them?

I wonder how serious is this problem?

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!’

This sounds serious to me.  It is made even more serious because the verses here in Matthew sound like they could be applied to Pentecostal pastors.

I am a Pentecostal pastor.

Now, I do not believe for a moment that we earn our salvation by our works.  Salvation is by grace, through faith.  It is a gift from God.

However, a living faith is transformational.  If we have a living faith our lives will be changed.

What sort of changes should take place?

II.  The Works of 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.

Now the idea here is not to look at this list and focus on the things that are not a problem for us.  Rather, we look at the list and see if there are areas that need improvement.  We do not excuse our behavior, we repent and ask God help us to change our behavior.  We cannot change on our own, but we are not on our own.  God will help us.

III.  Good Works:  Titus 2:7-8

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Here is an excellent goal!  We should try to live our lives in such a way that people will have to lie to say something bad.

How do we do this?

IV.  The Fruit of 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.

The Spirit of God is transformational.  The Spirit will transform us from who we were, to the people that we are meant to be in Christ.  This is something that we can offer to the unsaved.  Do people really not want to have love in their lives?  Do they have too much peace in their hearts?  Do they not desire joy?  God offers us these things and so much more.

V.  Focus on Love

A.  Motivated by Love:  I John 5:1-3

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

As we grow in our relationship with God, His love transforms us.  We love Him.  We love other people.  We do what is right naturally, because of the love that is in our hearts.

B.  The Source of Love:  I John 4:18-19

 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. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  If we are discouraged or feeling overwhelmed we should stop and focus on the love that God has for us.  The knowledge of that love transforms us.  We love God.  We love other people.  We are strengthened.  We are encouraged.  We are changed.

The love of God is transformational.

These are the sermon notes from 7/3/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

A Good Example

June 15, 2016

Some Christians only read the New Testament.  That is a mistake.  There are many wonderful stories and truths revealed to us in the pages of the Old Testament.  Today’s message comes from the book of II Chronicles.  It is a portion of the story of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah.

II Chronicles 17:3-6

 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

I.  Our Choice

King Jehoshaphat made the right choice.  He chose to seek God rather than Baal.  Obviously, God is not lost, but sometimes our ability to see Him is hindered by the things of this world.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us

 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

We seek God through prayer and by reading His revealed word, the Bible.  These activities should be a part of our daily lives.

KIng Jehoshaphat also walked in His commandments.  His faith in God was not dead, but produced a life of obedience to God.  James 2: 17-18 tells us:

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

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If we are spending time in God’s presence and in God’s Word, there should be a change taking place in our lives.  We should become more and more the people that we are supposed to be.

It is always still a choice, but we can choose to seek God, and we can choose to do what is right in His eyes.

II.  Our Reward

King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed by God.  God will bless those who serve Him.  This blessing may come in various forms.  It is not meant to be a means of getting rich, but rather a means of appreciating what is truly important in this life.

Psalms 37:16-17

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that our greatest reward is yet to come.  As believers we have an eternity in heaven waiting for us.  Even if we received nothing in this life, the promise of the life to come is great reward.

III.  Our Delight

Even though King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed, his true delight was in the Lord.  If our true delight is in God, no one can take that from us.

As the king continued to mature, he continued to look for ways to please God.  We too, as we mature in the Lord should look more closely at our lives and remove those things that might be displeasing to God.

I conclude today’s message with a longer quote from Psalms 37.

Psalms 37:1-11

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are the sermon notes from 6/12/16.  The Bible 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.

Blessings and Trials

April 11, 2016

In my devotions recently I was reading in Joshua and I was impressed with a particular passage that I felt gave excellent advice for the Christian life.

Joshua 1:8-9

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I.  An Emphasis on the Word:

As a teenager I memorized Psalms chapter one.  A portion of that Psalm supports what we have just read in Joshua.

Psalms 1:1-3

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Many Christians today are frightened by the idea of meditation.  They view it as a part of an Eastern religion, and not a part of Christianity.  They are not aware of the role that meditation has played in the Christian tradition.  As can be seen in both Bible readings listed above, the practice of meditation is encouraged.  The major difference between Christian meditation and Eastern meditation is the focus.  In Eastern meditation a person seeks to empty, or quiet their mind.  In Christian meditation, the mind is focused either on the Word of God, or on God Himself.  Instead of seeking to be empty, a Christian seeks to be full of the Word, or of the Spirit of God.

Of course, simply knowing the Word is not enough.  We need to be living in accordance to the Word.  Knowing and doing are two different things.  As Christians we should seek both to know the Word of God and to be obedient to the Word of God.  (See James)

As we live lives of obedience, we will prosper.  That prosperity may differ in manifestation from person to person.  It is not necessarily a means of financial gain.  There is far more to life than money.  A prosperous life may not have a large bank account.

II.  Endure Hardship:  II Timothy 2:3

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

A.  Be strong.  We recognize that the Christian life is not always easy.  There are many blessings, but there are also tests and trials.  We must not quit or give up just because life becomes challenging.

B.  Be courageous.   II Timothy 1:7*

   For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We should face the challenges of this life bravely.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.

C.  God is with you.  Joshua assures Israel that God is with them.  Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them always. (Matthew 28)  As Christians we can face whatever comes our way because of the knowledge that God is with us.

This life can be both rewarding and difficult.  As we serve the Lord we can expect to see His blessings in our lives, and to receive help in times of trouble.

These are the sermon notes from 3/5/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 

Why Christ Came

January 11, 2016

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ.  Jesus did not come to earth so that the American retailers can make money, He had a much greater purpose.

I.  To Save, Not Destroy:  Luke 9:51-56

 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village.

I sometimes have conversations with atheists who are very angry.  In many of these cases the atheist has had an exposure to Christianity that either over emphasized the punishment of sins with a resulting legalistic, works oriented attitude; or people were hypocritical, saying one thing, but doing another.  These people have left the church, bitter, angry, and filled with hatred for the church.

I feel very sorry for these people.  They have had an exposure to a Christianity that very poorly represented what Christ intended for His church.

Christ did not come to spread hatred, punishment and death.  He came to spread forgiveness, love and life.

II.  Abundant Life: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The life that God offers to us is not simply eternal life, it is abundant life.  An abundant life is filled with all sorts of good gifts that come from God.  Much of that comes from our growing ability to appreciate what God has done for us.  It is our ability to appreciate what God has given us in this world, but  even more important, is our ability to appreciate the relationship that we have with Him through Jesus Christ.

The abundant life does not begin when we physically die.  The abundant life begins when we are born again in Christ. (John 3: 3-6)

III.  On Our Side:  Luke 9:49-50

Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”

50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

Our society has such a competitive atmosphere that it has had an impact on the church.  We sometimes view people from other churches as if they were members of an opposing team, or even sometimes, an actual enemy.  We need to be able to recognize our allies and work together for the kingdom of God.  We need to be careful that we are not tearing down the work of God, just because it is not our work.  We especially need to be helpful to those who have been wounded in the battle.  Ministry can be very hard and sometimes people fail and sometimes people fall.  We should look to restore people to health and wholeness in Christ, not finish them off.

Christ came to love, to forgive, and to bring life.

So should we.

These are the sermon notes from 12/20/15.  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. 

 

The Secret to Happiness

August 3, 2015

There are a lot of self-help books on the market.  People are not happy with who they are and they want to change.  They think that their lives would be better if they found the secret to happiness.

I.  The Lord Teaches Us:  Isaiah 48:17-18

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

God will teach us how we should live.  God works in our lives by His Word and His Spirit to shape us into the people that we are meant to be.  It is a lifelong process, not a weekend seminar.

This process requires our participation and cooperation.  We need to be reading the Bible.  We need to exercise our will and follow the direction that God gives to us.  If we follow the directions that God gives to us, then we will prosper.

II.  The Lord is the Potter:  Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

God is at work in our lives.  He has a plan and a purpose for us.  He has given to us certain skills that we are to develop and opportunities that we should seize.

Sometimes we are unhappy with our lives.  We can make changes, as God leads, but sometimes we must accept who we are created to be.  We need wisdom from God to know what we are to do.

III.  That Your Joy May Be Full:  I John 1:4-7

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

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Joy is meant to be a regular part of our Christian experience.  The joy that God gives to us is not dependent on external circumstances, but on our internal relationship with Christ.  Our joy should be full.

If we are being led by the Spirit of God, we will be walking in the light.  That means that we will be doing what is right in the sight of God.  This too, is a process.  God cleanses us from sin.  We learn more and more what it means to be the children of God. We learn how we are to live, and God enables us to change.

IV.  Greater is He Who is in You:  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.

Sometimes people will say that they cannot help themselves, that they are only human, that they cannot change.

That is not correct.

We are of God and have the Spirit of God within us.  We cannot change on our own, but by the power of the Spirit of God we can do whatever God calls us to do.

The secret to happiness is to cooperate with God as He forms us into the people that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 7/19/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.