Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Rest & Reconciliation

April 25, 2020

Many of the religions of the world are based in the actions that we take to find God.  In Christianity it is God who reaches out to us.  It is God who has fulfilled the requirements for reconciliation.  It is God who seeks to draw us into a relationship with Him.

I.  Rest:  Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

For some religions the quest to obtain our final goal is so difficult that it is believed to take many lives to obtain the goal.  In contrast, Jesus tells us that ‘His yoke is easy and His burden is light.’

For Christians salvation is freely offered to all who would believe in Jesus as the Christ who died for the sins of the world.  Many people are familiar with John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Salvation is the gift of God to us.  We simply need to believe.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

II.  Reconciliation:  II Corinthians 5:18-21

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We were separated from God by our sin, but God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins.  Because Christ has paid our debt, we can be reconciled with God.  This is a truly wonderful thing.  We have the ability to spend our lives in the presence of God.  We can walk with God throughout this life and into the next.

In addition, we have been give the privilege of representing God to the people of the world.  We are supposed to share the message of God’s love.  It is The Good News!  We do not have to be pastors or theologians.  We all can share the simple message of the love of God that He showed to the world through Jesus Christ.

III.  Relationship:  Revelations 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

This is one of my favorite verses.  ( I have many favorites!)  The door that Jesus is knocking on is the door of our heart.  This is not our physical heart but our inner self.  When we respond to Christ with faith He will enter our hearts by His Spirit.  This allows us to be in a wonderful relationship with God Himself.  His Spirit dwells in our hearts and we can develop that relationship over time.  There is truly nothing like it in this world!!

God loves you.

You do not need to be alone.

 

If you would like to view this message as it was preached it can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/571920860102011/

 

These are the sermon notes from 4/19/20.  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.   

The Good Will Come

March 28, 2020

This is a new thing.  When I originally preached this message,  the only person in the room with me was my wife.  Our church is not allowed to meet due to the Covid 19 virus and so we went out on Facebook Live.  For my readers, you will have the opportunity for the first time to hear the original message and actually see the person who has been writing these posts.  I will include the link at the end of these notes. 

Our country is facing a difficult challenge.  The corona virus has made significant inroads into our country.  We are no longer able to hold our normal church meetings so we are coming to you from our living room on Facebook Live.

I.  God is Good:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

A.  God is Good:  Years ago I preached a message that would be very appropriate today.  The three main points were 1. God is Good 2.  Life Can Be Hard  3.  God is Still Good

I want to remind all of you, that God is still good!  Many of us have experienced that goodness time and time again.  In these challenging days, God is still good.  It is more important than ever that we turn our eyes upon Jesus, that we look to God for wisdom and strength.

B.  The Milk of the Word:  As we spend more time in our own homes than we have in a long time, use that time productively.  I encourage you to spend time in the Word of God.  God works in us by His Word and by His Spirit to transform us from what we were, to what we are meant to be.  It is an ongoing, life-long process.

This would be a good time to start memorizing scripture, if that is not already a part of your spiritual disciplines.  This week the memory verse is I Peter 2:2.  (listed above)  This practice can be very beneficial in reducing stress and worry, both of which are increased during difficult times such as we currently face.

C.  Changed by God:  We are called to lay aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking.  When we encounter God through faith in Jesus Christ we are changed.  His Spirit does a miraculous work in us.  We do, however, need to cooperate with the process.  The old nature does not die easily and we must continue to guard against a resurrection of our old nature.

II.  You Be Good:  I Peter 2:13-17

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the kin

As Americans, we treasure our freedom.  As Christians we are free in Christ.  However, we should use that freedom to serve others.

Right now, across our country we are practicing various responses depending on our area.  Shelter in place, self-quarantine, social distancing, staying home if sick, washing our hands, and wiping down services has become the norm.

Follow the directions of the governmental leaders.  This is not the time nor the event at which to rebel.  We need to work together.  We need to each do our part.  God will help us.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should each do our part and we should pray for God to bless our efforts.

III.  Good Days Will Come:  I Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

As God’s people we can have confidence that we will again see good days.  We should maintain a good attitude throughout this event.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 ” The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should do what we can and pray for God’s help. 

In addition to the hope we have for tomorrow,  we can see the good in today.  Be thankful for what you have received.  I am reminded of the old song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Most of all we can be thankful for God’s presence in our lives.  God is with us today.  One day we will go to be with Him.

God is good.  Life can be hard.  God is still good.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/22/20.  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.   

If you want to view the original message it can be viewed at the following link.


 

You, the Church and Jesus

February 26, 2020

This mornings message begins, and ends, in I Timothy 3:14-16

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

I.  You

How we conduct ourselves matters!  Yes, we are saved by faith, not by works, but how we live matters.  James 2:17 says “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  A living faith will produce works.  A living faith will change our lives.  Our lives should change at home, at church and in the world.

Sometimes people act worse at home than they do in public.  The first place that we represent Christ is in our homes.  Our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents all should see the difference that Jesus can make in our lives.

In the church we need to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to love each other even in our differences.  The church should be a welcoming place where people are strengthened and encouraged in their faith.  We do not come together to bicker or fight or criticize each other.  We need to show each other the love of Christ.

When we are at school, or work or anywhere out in our community, we represent Christ.  People are watching.  Do they see Christ in us?

The scriptures have been written so that we may know how we are to conduct ourselves at home, in the church and in the world.  Are you reading the Bible?  The Bible is God’s Word to us.  We should read  it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and most importantly apply it to our lives.

II.  The Church

There are many types of churches but they all have one thing in common.  Matthew 18:20 reads “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

We are “the church of the living God”.  The name on the door is not nearly as important as the presence of the Holy Spirit.  God is not dead, as some have claimed.  He is alive and well and present wherever  two or three are gathered in His name.

A pillar provides support.  The church is to provide support for believers.  We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are family, and we are not supposed to be dysfunctional.

A church should be a place of truth.  As we read our scriptures, not everything is clear to us.  As we come together, we can discuss and occasionally debate, the meanings and application of the Word of God.  We can search for the truth together.

III.  Jesus

Really it is all about Him.  I Timothy 3:16 contains a very early statement of faith used by followers of Jesus.

God was manifiested in the flesh:  We celebrate this miracle every Christmas.  God became man and not just any man, but a baby born in a stable.  This is a true mystery.

Justified in the Spirit:  Justified doesn’t mean the same here as it does when applied to sinners.  In this case it means confirmed.  The Holy Spirit confirmed the truth of Jesus’ message by the signs and wonders that were done.

 Seen by angels: This may be a reference to the host of heaven that proclaimed Glory to God at His birth.

Preached among the Gentiles: This has lost a little of it’s force because the majority of us are Gentiles.  In the first century Gentiles might come to worship God, but the Jewish people did not seek to convert them.  The outreach to the Gentiles that began with Peter and was amplified through Paul was an important recognition that Christ is of the Jews, but He is the savior of the world.

Believed on in the world: Christ was preached throughout the Roman empire and there were many converts.

Received up in glory: Christ ascended into heaven.  One day He will return or we will go to Him.  One day we will join him in glory.

So, you, the church and Jesus.

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: (Jesus)

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

 

A Joyful Life

February 15, 2020

I generally don’t think of the scriptures in terms of favorites.  It is, after all, all God’s Word.  However, Philippians chapter four would be right up there towards the top if I did keep track of these things.

I.  Rejoice in the Lord:  Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

I believe that the Christian life can be marked by joy.  It is, after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  Here in Philippians we are told to rejoice in the Lord.  This is good advice.  We may not be able to always rejoice in our circumstances because life can be difficult, but we can always rejoice in the Lord.  His love for us is overwhelming and steadfast.  He is the rock of our salvation.

II.  Be Content:  Philippians 4:10-13

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to ]be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Many people like to quote verse thirteen.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is a wonderful verse, but we should recognize the context in which it is written.  Paul is speaking about being able to be content in any circumstance.  A key to finding joy in the Lord is being able to be content, even if our circumstances are not ideal.  God will take care of us.  We can trust Him.  We need to remember to view our lives from an eternal perspective.  Difficulties may last for a while, but God’s love is eternal.  The day will come when there will be no more tests or trials.  In the mean time we can be content in our circumstances.

There is a difference between contentment and complacency.  We can be content with where we are even as we work towards what we are meant to be.  Complacency lulls us into a lethargic state where we are ‘good enough’ where we are, even if it is not what we are meant to be.

III.  Giving:  Philippians 4:15-17

Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

If people are experiencing financial issues I ask them three questions:  Do you tithe?  Do you have a budget?  Do you understand the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’?  Malachi 3:10-11 talks of the blessings that God gives and the devourer that is turned away when we honor God with our tithes and offerings.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;

I have practiced tithing since I was sixteen.  God has always taken care of my family and I.  We have a budget that we follow that includes tithes and offerings.  If there are lean months, we reduce our spending in other areas, not in our tithes and offerings.  We also have a clear understanding of the difference between need and want.  God has always provided for our needs and many of our wants.

IV.  Provision:  Philippians 4:19

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This is this weeks memory verse.  Many people like to quote it.  It is important to recognize that it talks about our needs, not our wants.  It is also important to recognize that it follows talking about giving.  Some people think that they cannot afford to give anything.  Others recognize that they cannot afford not to give.  It is important that we be good stewards of what God gives to us.  That includes our finances.

People want to have joy in their lives.  I believe that there is a connection between joy, contentment and a life of giving.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/9/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any adds that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Growing Up

February 1, 2020

Act your age!  I know that I heard that a few times growing up.  At the time it was quite effective.  I did not want to be perceived as acting childishly.  I wanted to be all grown up.  It is a sad thing when grown adults act as misbehaving children.

Ephesians 4:11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I.  Equipping the Saints

Some people thing that the work of ministry is to be done by the professional clergy.  That is not what the scripture says.  The primary focus of clergy, sometimes called the five-fold ministry, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, is to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry.   We all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.  No one is supposed to sit on the bench.  We all get to play, to make a contribution, to do our share of the work of the ministry, to edify, or strengthen the body of Christ.

II.  Goals

One goal that we are working towards is that of unity.  We have a long way to go.  The various churches, the various denominations are not meant to be working in competition with each other but rather in cooperation with each other.  There is only one Lord, one savior, one Jesus.

We should be growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I have been saved for a long time and a minister for over thirty years and I recognize that I am only beginning to know Jesus.

It is not just to know Jesus, we are meant to become like Him.  Again, if we are honest, we know that we have a long way to go.  Perfection is not obtainable in this life, but we should be growing in Christ, becoming more like Him, being perfected in Christ.

III.  Growing Up

Years ago, Amy Grant sang a song Fat Baby.  Some people found it offensive.  The truth often is.  We begin our faith as children, but we are to grow up in the faith, not to remain babes in Christ.

Sometimes this will involve ‘speaking the truth in love’.  This is a good thing.  It is also a challenging thing.  Sometimes we have truth.  Sometimes we have love.  Having both truth and love come out of our mouths is a wonderful thing.

Ephesians 4:29 says ”  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

May our words be words of truth, spoken in love, imparting grace.

IV.  Growing Out

When every part is doing it’s share, the body grows.  The growth of the body is both growing in maturity and growing in numbers.  A healthy church will have people in many different stages of development, from seekers and new Christians to those who are mature in Christ.

Are you doing your part?

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/26/20.  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. 

 

The Heart of the Matter

January 25, 2020

King David is known to be a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that David was perfect.  Far from it.  He made several very large mistakes in his life.  So, what does it take to be a man after God’s own heart?

I.  A Tender Heart:  I Samuel 24:1-7

Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.

King Saul was looking for David to kill him.  David had an opportunity to kill King Saul.  Instead, he simply cut off a piece of his robe.  It would be evident that he had the opportunity to kill him, but had spared his life.  It was a good strategy.

David actually felt bad about cutting the edge of Saul’s robe.  He had a tender heart.  He knew that he was not to ‘lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed.’  In his eyes, even cutting Saul’s robe was wrong.

If only our hearts were that tender!  I am concerned that many of us have given in to sin so often that we are not even troubled by brazen acts of sin, much less, simply coming close.

II.  A Hardened Heart:  I Timothy 4:1-3

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

In order to depart from the faith, one must first have been a part of it.  I am concerned about how many of God’s people have fallen prey to deception.  Of course, if we are deceived, we do not know it.  I do believe that God will lead the heart that seeks Him to find Him.  How many though are lead astray by the desires of their own hearts?  How many refuse to listen to the ‘still, small voice’ of the Spirit that seeks to guide us into truth?  How many have their conscience seared, or hardened and are not even aware of the danger they are in?

May God be able to speak to our hearts, may we respond to His Spirit.  May our hearts be open to all that He has for us.

III.  A Condemned Heart:

Some have a different problem.  Even though they have asked God for forgiveness for their sins, they feel condemned in their heart.  They cannot seem to accept the forgiveness that God has for them.  Some people continue to feel guilty even though they have been forgiven.

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.

Some say that religion brings a sense of guilt.  That is not what it is meant to do.  We are told that if we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins.  (1 John 1:9)  We are set free.  Thank you Jesus!

IV.  A Clean Heart

David, after committing adultery and murder wrote a beautiful Psalm.  Psalms 51:10-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You

David repented of his sin.  God forgave him and restored him.

God will forgive and restore us as well.  His joy can be present in our lives once again.

We can share that hope with others.

These are the sermon notes from 1/19/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

For The New Year

December 31, 2019

I don’t make New Years resolutions.  I do typically start a diet after the holidays, but it is not a resolution, it is an effort to remain in my clothes.  I don’t want to spend the money for larger sizes.

However, this year I believe that I have come up with three resolutions that I can truly get behind and try to implement in my own life.  I would even recommend them to you as well. They occurred to me after reading I Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prizeis temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

The word that stands out to me here is discipline.  Now, I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps.  I have been an athlete all of my life.  I understand and like discipline and I believe that most of us can use a little more of it in our lives.  Especially if it is used for a good purpose.  I believe that the following three purposes are worth pursuing.

I.  Know God Better

Wherever you are in your relationship with God.  I know that it is possible to know God better than you do now.  The means by which we may know God better are simple and well known, but they are worth stating.

A.  The Bible:  We should be reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God.  God has revealed himself to us in the scriptures.

B.  Prayer:  We should be spending time in prayer.  Prayer is an opportunity for us to speak to God and for God to speak to us.

C.  Praise:  When we worship God we blur the lines between heaven and earth.  We may have an encounter with the Spirit of God that is truly transformational.

These three practices are common, but they also hold the opportunity for exceptional growth in our knowledge of God.  We can resolve to know God better than we do now.

II.  Walk With God Better:  Ephesians 5:8-11

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

When I say walk with God better, I mean that we walk as children of light.  By that I mean that we find out what is acceptable to God and choose to do what is right.  This involves three steps.

A.  Learn:  We learn what is right and acceptable by the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  As we know God better, we will also understand more what God wants of us as His people.

B.   Choose:  Just because we know what is right doesn’t mean that we will do it.  I know how to lose weight.  I may, or may not choose to do those things that I need to do.  Once we know what is right we must still choose to do what is right.

C.  Do:  Of course, this closely follows choosing.  Thankfully, God will help us.  It is also great to know that our salvation is not dependent upon our doing everything right.  By grace we have been saved, through faith, for works.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

I would suggest that for the new year, we may not walk with God perfectly, but we can resolve to walk with God better than we do now.

III.  Serve God Better:  Matthew 9:37-38

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

A.  Pray:  We can all pray.  We all should pray.  Prayer is powerful because God is powerful.

B.  Share:  We should all be willing to share the good news of what God has done for us.  You do not have to be a pastor, missionary or evangelist.  If you know John 3:16 you know enough.  (More is better of course, but we are without excuse.)

C.  Our lives:  Colossians 3:23

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

God can use us in all kinds of different ways and places.  We are called to be salt and light in the world.  Let the light of Christ shine through you wherever you may go.  Let God use you.

Resolve to serve God better in your life than you do now.

I believe that these are three resolutions I can support!

 

These are the sermon notes from 12/29/19.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

You Decide

December 3, 2019

I very much appreciate that God has given us the ability to make our own decisions.  When my children were young (And still today!) I would pray that God would help them, and I, to make good decisions.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.

I.  A Clear Division

I appreciate the clear division.  You can choose a blessing or a curse.  Of course, who would intentionally choose a curse?  Only someone who does not believe.

A.  Psalms 14:1

The fool has said in his heart,
There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

B.  Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

C.  Luke 11:23

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

From these verses we see a continuation of a clear-cut choice.  We can go with God, or without God.  We are either with Jesus, or against  Jesus.  There is no middle ground.  There is no neutral territory.  We must decide which side we are on.

II.  You Choose:  Joshua 24:14-15

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua reminded the Children of Israel that they had a choice.  They could serve the Lord, or they could serve other gods, or no gods.

We also have a choice.  We can serve God, or follow some other path, but there will be consequences for our choice.  It is important that we make the right one.

III.  Believe:  Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

We can read the words that tell us about Jesus and God but unless we mix that knowledge with faith, our knowledge will be useless.  We must believe that the words are true. We must have faith in God.  This faith comes about when the Spirit of God speaks to our hearts about the Word of God and we have the opportunity, by the grace of God, to choose to believe.  When we respond in faith to the message of Jesus the Spirit of God comes into our hearts and we become a new creation.

IV.  Act:  Matthew 7:21-27

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

We do not change our lives to be saved, but if we are saved, our lives will change.  If the Spirit of God dwells inside of us, then we will not be the same.

We must daily decide to follow Jesus.  There will always be the temptation to follow old patterns, to do our own thing, but it is far better to follow Jesus, not just in what we say, but also in what we do.

Jesus has offered to us an abundant life.  It is up to us to choose whether or not we will receive it.

 

These are the sermon notes from 11/30/19.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Ready or Not

August 28, 2019

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

I.  The Rapture:  Matthew 24:36-42

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

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

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

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

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

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

II.  Call Upon The Lord:  Genesis 4:26

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

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

Acts 4: 8-12

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

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

John 14:6

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

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

III.  Obedience  Genesis 6;22

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

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

Ephesians 2:8-10

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

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

James 2:17

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

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

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

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

 

Are you ready?

Ready or not….

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/25/19.  All scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Follow Me

August 19, 2019

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

I.  Great Value:  Matthew 13:44-46

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

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

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

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

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

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

II.  Follow Me:  Matthew 19:16-22

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

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

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 6:33

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

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

III.  Exchange:  Matthew 16:24-27

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

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

The new life is much better than the old.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/18/19.  All Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.