Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

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.


 

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. 

 

Stand Fast

February 8, 2020

We have been serving this church now for almost 29 years.  A lot has happened during those almost three decades.  A lot of good, and some things, not so good.  We are still here.  We are still standing.

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

I read this verse in my devotions recently.  It made me think of people whom I have known over the years.  Some have remained faithful to both God and this church.  Some have left the church, but remained faithful to God.  Some have left both the church and God.

I was then reminded of Galatians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

I am so grateful that our strength comes from God.  We do not have to fight this battle in our own strength.  We were never meant to do that.  God is our source of strength.  It becomes ever more evident as the years go by that God is the source of our strength to do His work.

People are not the enemy.  Actually, the battle is for the souls of people.  We must always keep in mind that no person who is still breathing is beyond the ability of God to touch their heart.  We are not fighting them.  We are fighting for them.

It is a spiritual battle.  I know some people who make it a regular part of their prayer time to spiritually put on the armor of God.  I do not have a problem with that practice.  If you have found it to be beneficial for you, by all means, continue the practice.  However, even though our battle is fought in the spiritual realm.  We live in the earthly realm.

In order to gird our waists with truth, we need to be people of truth.  This means that we need to learn what is the truth.  We need to speak the truth.  We need to live in the truth.  By the way, that applies to your income tax!  No cheating!!  Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we need to live righteous lives.  God will help us to learn what is right and to do what is right.  We will not be perfect, but we should be growing in righteousness.

We should be people of peace.  First, at peace with ourselves.  Then at peace with our families.  Then at peace with our neighbors, or co-workers and even with people of the opposing political party!  This can be challenging at times.  As much as you can, live at peace with all people.

The shield of faith is able to protect us against the attacks of the enemy.  We must be able to hold fast to the belief that God is able to deliver us.  That in the end we will win.  That God is able to make all things work out for good for those who believe in Him.

For quite a while a wondered about the helmet of salvation.  Then I remembered that at the core of our salvation is our relationship with God.  We have the Spirit of Christ within us.  We live in a relationship with God almighty.  Maintain that relationship through the standard Christian devotions of prayer, scripture and worship.

The sword is used both for defense and for offense.  I hope that you are regularly reading the Bible, studying  it, committing it to memory, and meditating on it.  It is ‘living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.”  (Hebrews 4:12)  We should watch for opportunities to share its truth with both believers and non-believers.  We can plant the seed of the word in our conversations.  God can then confirm that word by His spirit.

Finally, pray!  Pray about anything and everything!!  Prayer can accomplish more than we realize.  It is not our prayers, but the God who hears our prayers that makes the difference.  Yet God has directed us to do our part.  We are to pray, often, fervently, in faith believing that God is able to do even more than we ask or even think.

By the way, pray for me.  If you want to hear better messages in the future, pray harder!

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/2/20.  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. 

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. 

 

Into the Future

January 14, 2020

As we are still in the early days of 2020, I think about what lies ahead.

I.  Trust God:  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

We can trust God.  As we look to the future, we do not know what will happen.  God does.  He is not surprised by the the twists and turns that life takes.  He knows all things that are going to happen.  He is our shepherd. (Psalms 23) He will take care of us.

We do not have to understand everything.  We do not have to know everything.  We can trust God.

In every area of our life, we should acknowledge Him.  We should ask for guidance.  We should ask for strength.  We should ask for help.  We should give God thanks and glory.

God will direct our lives, if we ask Him to do so.  The question is, will we follow His directions?

II.  Directed by God:  Psalms 37:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

First of all, the Bible might say man, but in this context, women are included.  Perhaps you are concerned that you are not good.  If you have Christ in your heart, then you are indeed a good person, because of Christ who is in you.

Again,  I look back over my life between the ages of 18 and 30.  There were quite a few twists and turns.  I believe that even though it might appear erratic, that God was guiding me.  All of those experiences, together with everything else since then, have combined to make me the person that I am today.  It may seem odd, but God knows what He is doing.  If we have given our lives to Him, He will help us navigate the path of life.

III.  We are the Clay:  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.

The people that we become, the success that we achieve,  it is ultimately not up to us.  God molds us into the people that we were meant to be.  We do cooperate with God.  We listen for His voice.  We act in obedience to Him.  Paul put it this way.  “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”  (I Corinthians 3:8)  I do sometimes wonder why God withholds the increase, but I trust Him to do His part.  I seek to do my part as a faithful servant.

IV.  God’s Grace:  II Corinthians 12:9-10

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. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I cannot promise that all of our dreams will come true.  I cannot promise that we will become healthy, wealthy and wise.  I can promise that God’s grace is sufficient for whatever trials we might face.  I can promise that one day, in heaven, there will be no more sickness, nor sadness.  I can promise that God will be with us through the journey of this life.

Whatever that journey might be.

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/12/20.  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.   

Appreciate Your Blessings

November 6, 2019

There is much that we can learn from the story of the Children of Israel as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.

I.  A Blessing:  Numbers 6:22-27

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

When you think about it, God had already richly blessed the Children of Israel.

Free:  The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt.  God had set them free.

Provision:  God provided for their needs as they traveled through the wilderness.  He provided their daily bread, literally, manna from heaven.

Promise:  God had promised to bring them to a land filled with milk and honey.  It was the promised land.

Presence:  God was with them all through the journey.  The column of smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night was a visible reminder that God was guiding them in their journey.

II.  The Blessing is Despised:  Numbers 11:

A.  Complaining:  vv1-2

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.

B.  Remember?: vv4-6

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

C.  Response:  vv18-20

Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?”

The people complained about the provision of the Lord.  They wanted to return to Egypt, forgetting that they had been slaves there.  God gave them meat to eat, but sent leaness into their souls.  (Psalms 106:15)

III.  Jealousy and Judgement:  Numbers 12:1-14

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said,

“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.
Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house.
I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?”

So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. 11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12 Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.

A.  Judgement:  Aaron and Miriam did not like that Moses had married an Ethiopian woman.

B.  Jealousy:  They were also jealous of the role that God had called Moses to fulfill.  They were leaders, but they wanted more.

So what does all of this have to do with us?

It is a warning to us all.

We were slaves to sin.  God has set us free.  We should recognize God’s blessings.

God provides for us.  We should be content with His provision.

God has promised to prepare a place for us.  We should believe in His promises.

God has promised to be with us always.  We should rejoice in His presence.

We should be careful not to judge our fellow servants.

We should be careful not to be jealous of what God does in the lives of others.

Before we harshly judge the actions of the Children of Israel, we may want to look carefully at our own lives.  We still have the opportunity to make things right.

 

These are the sermon notes from 11/3/19.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I do not receive any money from them, nor do I have any control over them. 

A Servant of Jesus

October 31, 2019

I.  Serve Christ: John 12:23-26

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

As a minister I have heard a lot of teaching on leadership.  I have not heard much about being a servant.  Now I suppose that you can say that the ideal thing is to be a servant leader, but my concern is on what we emphasize.

I am a servant.

A servant of Jesus.

Long ago I gave my life to Christ.  Long ago I asked God to direct me in what He wanted me to do with my life.

I regularly check in with God.  If I am supposed to be doing something other than preaching and teaching at the places where I now serve, I am confidant that God will let me know.

All Christians should be willing to let God direct their lives.  Where to go to school, what job to take, whom to marry,  all aspects of our lives should be given to God to direct.  Our first priority is to serve Him.

II.  Sons of Light:  John 12:35-36

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Now we understand that light is to be a symbol of good and darkness represents evil.  We also know that Jesus said that He was the light of the world.  (John 8:12)  Here in these verses we are challenged to ‘believe in the light’  to become ‘sons of light’.

What does this mean?

III.  Abide in the Light:  John 12:42-46

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

As I read these verses, one phrase really stood out to me.  “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”.

I remember an old song that talked about being God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers.  If we think back to the first point, we are to be servants of God.  We should want to please Him.  Sadly, there are some who are more concerned with how they look to men than to God.

We are called to abide in the light.  We are told that Jesus came as a light, but what does that mean?

IV.  The Word and The Spirit:  John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

I suggest that in order to be servants of Jesus, in order to be sons of light and to abide in the light we should be guided by the Word and the Spirit.

A.  The Word:  Psalms 119:105

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

If we were moving about in the darkness we might run into things and get hurt.  If we have a light we can see where we are going and can avoid dangerous obstacles.  God’s Word provides the direction we need to live our lives as Children of the Light.

B.  The Spirit:  John 16:33

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We need help to understand the Word of God and to apply it accurately to our lives today.  It is the job of the Spirit is ‘guide us into all truth.’  We should not rely on our own human wisdom and understanding.  The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God to the people of God.

If we want to be servants of Jesus, let us allow the Word and the Spirit to guide our lives.  Then we will truly abide in the Light and be children of the Light.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/27/19.  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. 

 

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. 

 

Good Ground

August 12, 2019

There are some Christians who focus almost exclusively on the New Testament.  They may be familiar with the famous stories of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Joshua at Jericho and Moses at the Red Sea, but speak to them about the Minor Prophets and they may not know very much.  The OLd Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the disciples.  It lays the foundation for the teachings of the New Testament.  It is good for Christians to read both the Old and the New Testaments in their daily devotions.

I.  Refined By Fire

Zechariah was a post-exilic prophet.  That means that he prophesied after the Children of Israel had returned to Jerusalem after their seventy year exile to Babylon.  This portion of his prophecy will be familiar to Christians because a portion of it is quoted in the gospels.

Zechariah 13:7-9

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lordis my God.’ ”

A.  The Shepherd:  Verse seven is the verse that is quoted in the gospels.  It refers to the betrayal of Judas, the arrest of Jesus and the scattering of the disciples.

B.  Little Ones:  The affliction of the ‘little ones’ is hard to read.  Two-thirds are cut off and die.  Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.  (cf. Matthew 7:21)  There is much debate in Christianity about the security of the believer, but even those who hold to the doctrine of eternal security recognize that some will come to the altar, profess Christ for a time, and then fall away.  They explain this by simply saying that the individual was never truly saved.  So, whether you acknowledge backsliding as an option or eternal security, there is the recognition that some for a time, claim Christianity, but will not be in heaven.

That is sad.

C.  Refined:  For those whose faith remains firm, they will go through testing.  It is meant to be a time of spiritual growth.  It is part of how we progress from being babes in Christ to mature believers.  It is an ongoing process.

II.  The Sower and the Seed

Some will not be convinced by verses from the Old Testament.  The same principle is taught in the gospels by Jesus himself.

A. The Parable:  Matthew 13:3-9

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

I am sure that you will see the similarities to Zechariah’s prophecy, but we do not have to leave this parable to our own interpretation.  Jesus gave the interpretation to the disciples so that there can be no doubt.

B.  The Interpretation:  Matthew 13:18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So, some do not respond to the gospel.  They are unbelievers.  Some respond to the gospel and fall away under persecution.  Some respond but their lives are choked out by the cares and concerns of the world.  Some respond and bear fruit.   Please notice that of those that respond, two parts out of three, will not survive in their faith.

See the similarity now?

III.  The Security of the Believer:  Romans 8:37-39

  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God!  We are more than conquerors!!  We are secure in Christ!!!  These verses prove that claim.

Do they?

It is true that nothing from the outside can take us away from Christ.  But…. can we choose to leave?

I would submit that we do have that choice.  We can give up.  We can be drawn away.  Those are choices that we can make.  God does not force us to stay with Him.

So if we want to be sure that we are in ‘good ground’ what should we do?

IV.  Keep Your Eyes on Jesus:  Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Christian life is not over at the beginning.  It is not a brief sprint.  It is a life-long commitment to Christ.  It is daily making the choice to follow Jesus.  We should daily fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him.  It is basic Christian teaching that to grow in Christ we should spend time reading the Bible, we should spend time in prayer, and we should regularly gather together with other believers for worship, instruction, prayer and encouragement.

This does not mean that we go back and forth from saved to unsaved, over and over again.  Exactly at which point does our faith die?  That is only for God to judge.  I know that in my life I want to pursue a healthy life in Christ.  I want a ‘closer walk with thee’.  I don’t want to find the line just to stay above it.  I want to be all that I can be in Christ.

I hope that you do as well.

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/4/19.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I recieve any money from them.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James Version.