Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Good and Faithful Servant

February 18, 2016

We hear a lot about leadership these days.  Today I want to address the idea of being a servant.

I.  Washing Feet:  John 13:1-5, 12-15

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Don’t get nervous, we are not going to have a foot washing service.  Although there are some churches that practice that ritual, we are not going to do that here today.

I do want us to recognize this action of Jesus as a powerful symbol of humble service.  We are called to be the servants of God.  If we are to follow the example of Jesus then we would recognize that there is nothing that we are ‘too good’ to do.

II.  Be a Servant:  Matthew 20:25-28

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

We have a tendency to dream of greatness.  We want to be powerful, successful leaders; not humble servants.  Yet, we are called to serve.

There are many ways to serve.  If we ask God to guide us, He will.

Sometimes faithful servants are elevated into positions of leadership.  Sometimes they are not.  The goal for us as Christians is not worldly success, but faithful service to the Father in whatever capacity He calls us to serve.

III.  Bearing Burdens:  Galatians 6:2-5

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.

At first glance these verses seem contradictory.  Which is it?  Bear one another’s burden, or bear our own load?

It is both.  A part of our load is to help each other.  However, when we stand before God, we will not be able to point our finger at someone else to blame them for our choices.  We are to help each other, and we will each answer for our own choices.

IV.  Not Grow Weary:  Galatians 6:9*

 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

A life of service is hard work.  Sometimes we see the fruit of our labor, and sometimes we do not.  We are called to continue to do good, and not lose heart.  God is faithful.  We should be faithful to Him.

Our ultimate goal should not have anything to do with success as this world measures it.  Our ultimate goal should be to one day stand before the Father and hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:21)

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Who Do You Serve?

November 9, 2015

As we think about the future, there is a great deal of uncertainty: the fluctuations in global economy, the rising national debt, the rise of terrorist organizations,  the growing intolerance towards those who practice conservative religion, and the increasing polarization of politics, all contribute to a sense that we may be headed for serious trouble.  I am very glad that the Bible addresses how to live in troubling times.

I.  Where is Your Treasure?  Matthew 6:19-21

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We have limited resources.  There is only so much money, time and energy.  How are we investing our resources?  Of course, most of us have to work a job, or attend classes.  We all have daily tasks that need to be performed, but what do we do with what is left?  Certainly it is possible that we can use up all of our resources on ourselves, but is that what we are supposed to do?  Is that what we have to do?  We should ask God to help us prioritize our lives in such a way that they will be pleasing to Him.  We are not supposed to work ourselves to death, but we are to have the type of priorities that God has for us.  It might be enlightening to make a chart of how we use our resources, and see just what kind of priority is being given to God.  We might be surprised at what we see.

II.  Light or Dark?  Matthew 6:22-23

 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

I love to watch sunrises.  There is something very special about watching the world wake up.  Things look different in the early morning light.

Jesus is the light of the world.  How often during the day do we focus on Him.  Of course it is necessary for us to focus on the task at hand, especially if driving or doing some other task that is potentially dangerous, but Jesus should never be far from our mind or heart.  If we allow His light to shine into our spirits, then our days will be so much better.  Remember, He is with us always, but are we aware of His presence?

III.  Who Do You Serve?  Matthew 6:24

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The first question would have to be “What is mammon?”.  Certainly, it is not a word that we use in our normal conversations.  Basically, it just means money.  What is comes down to is what is the focus of our lives?  Are we serving God, or just trying to accumulate money?  There is the saying “He who dies with the most toys wins”, but that is not meant to be our focus as the children of God.   We are to serve God first.  He will take care of us.  Only one thing can be most important in our lives.  That should be God.

IV.  God Will Provide  Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If we seek God first, He will take care of us.  God knows our needs.  He can bless us with employment and can help what we have go further than we would expect if we will but trust in Him.  Jesus was a carpenter, but He referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd will guide, provide and protect His sheep.  We can trust that God will take care of us if we put our trust in Him by making our relationship with Him our top priority.

V.  Don’t Worry, Pray!  Philippians 4:6+7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

If we find ourselves becoming weighed down with the concerns of this world, remember that we can turn to God in prayer, knowing that He will take care of us.    Pray until the peace comes.  In placing our trust, not in ourselves, but in God, we will find the peace that passes understanding.  We are, most often, still called to act, but God will give us the direction that we need. He will give us wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

So as we look into an uncertain future, we can trust that God will guide, provide and protect.  We can trust that in the end all things will work out for the good of those who place their trust in God.  (Romans 8:28)

These are the sermon notes from 10/25/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Walk Humbly With God

October 22, 2015

I have recently been reading in the minor prophets.  I believe that they have some wonderful life lessons for us.

I.  Warning!  Jonah 3:4,5&10

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah proclaims a warning to the people of Nineveh of coming judgement.  The people believe the message and repent.  Their repentance is sincere.  It is demonstrated by their actions.  God sees the genuine nature of their repentance and forgives them.

Do we as the people of God respond as well?  When we are confronted with sin, do we believe and repent; or do we argue and make excuses?

II.  Live By Faith:  Habakkuk 2:4

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

Pride is a common sin that may not be easily recognized.  We need to guard against pride in our lives.

What does it mean to live by faith?  Paul quotes this verse in Romans 1:16-17.  Then Martin Luther used these verses to start a reformation movement that profoundly changed the church.

In my own life, I think of living by faith to mean that I will seek to know God, worship God and to serve God.  Ultimately, this is all done by faith because we must believe in the message that He has given us in the Bible, and also the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit.  “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7)

III.  Walk With God:  Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

When I was a young man torn between two Christian traditions: one, a part of the holiness movement, with its’ emphasis on rules for holy living; and the other a tradition marked by an emphasis on grace; these verses brought me comfort and direction.

I was to do justly.  I understood that to mean to do what is right in my relationships with others, with God, and with the environment.

I was to love mercy.  I appreciated that God was merciful to me.  I was to be merciful to others.  That means that as God forgives me, I was to forgive others.

I was to walk humbly with God.  This is my favorite.  I am not alone.  God is always with me.  We do not have to think too much of ourselves, but we can think much of the presence of God in our lives.

My hope and my prayer is that we will receive the Word of God in faith and repentance, that we will learn what it means to walk in faith, humbly with our God.

These are the sermon notes from 10/11/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Savior and Lord

October 8, 2015

Sometimes a beloved verse is lifted out of context and used in a way that it was not originally intended.  That may be what has happened in our understanding of Revelation 3:20.

I.  At The Door:  Revelation 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 well known verse is often used to support the practice of inviting Jesus into our heart.  In this view, the door that Jesus knocks on is the door to our heart.  It is a way of understanding our salvation experience, the means by which we are born again.  Christ comes into our hearts and we are never the same.  Christ knocks, it is up to us to let Him in.  Christ has the initiative.  We must respond.

II.  Examine Your Works:  Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Here are the verses that introduce the concept of the lukewarm Christian.  We are not meant to be lukewarm, we are meant to be on fire for Christ.  One thing about fires is that they are always changing.  They are either building up, or burning down.  If we want the fire to build up, we must add fuel to the fire.  If we want our relationship with Christ to burn brightly we must spend time in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, and in service.

III.  Blinded:  Revelation 3:17-18

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Many people are blinded to the true nature of their spiritual reality.  May our eyes be opened to our condition.  May we be changed by the ongoing work of the Spirit in our lives.  May we be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and transformed by His Spirit.  May we may truly become the children of God.

IV.  Growth:  Revelation 3:19

 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

God loves us.  He does not leave us in the condition that He found us. He challenges us to be the people that we are meant to be.  He rebukes, and corrects us as needed.  We are to listen to His voice and change our ways.   This is the context of verse 20 quoted above.  It is not in the context of initial salvation, but rather in the context of the rebuke of sin in the life of a believer. Jesus is our savior and lord. He saves us and directs our lives.

V.  Overcomes:  Revelation 3:21

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, we will be changed.  In Christ, we are more than conquerors.  It is not our strength, but His strength which enables us to overcome the sin that would seek to drag us down.

If we have a new life in Christ, then we should live for Christ.

These are the sermon notes from9/20/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

Things We Should Know

September 28, 2015

There are some things that we know, or should know, as Christians that we really ought to share with anyone who will listen.

I.  Lack of Knowledge:  Hosea 4:1 & 6

Hear the word of the Lord,
You children of Israel,
For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:

“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

There are some simple, powerful truths in the Bible that Christians should know and share.  Without that knowledge people perish.  Their lives are sorely diminished.

II.   God Loves You:  John 3:16

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

The first thing that we need to know and share is that God loves us.  All of us.  Everyone.  He has offered us forgiveness of sins and a new eternal life through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.  We are simply called to believe this good news.

III.  Pursue Knowledge:  Hosea 6:3

Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

As we pursue the knowledge of God there is a wonderful truth that we can grasp and hold on to.  God has a plan for us...and it is a good one.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The person who has given their life over to God has a future and a hope.  Whatever circumstances come our way God can give us wisdom and strength.  Wisdom to know what to do.  Strength to do it.  God will help us with the challenges of this life.  Even if this life is rough, we have a hope of an eternity with Him in heaven.

IV.  Mercy

In Hosea 4:1, already quoted above, the absence of mercy contributes to the problem.  Mercy is when we are not given the punishment that we deserve.  As Christians we are called upon to forgive those who have wronged us.  We even pray “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”  Forgiveness is a very important part of who we are as believers.   We are both forgiven and forgiving.

V.  Things Will Work Out:  Romans 8:28

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

We are not God.  We are not capable of seeing things from His perspective.  Even when we cannot understand, we can trust.  All things will work out for good for those who believe.  We may not be able to see how they work out in this life, but once we have an eternal perspective we may understand.  For those who do not believe, their ultimate end, unfortunately, is destruction and torment.  It does not work out so well for them.

These basic truths are very important to Christians.  We should be aware of them ourselves, and we should share them with others.  These truths offer us, and all who would believe, a hope that is unshakable.

Hope can really make a difference.

God makes a difference.

These are the sermon notes from 9/13/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Their Inheritance

September 21, 2015

What is our most precious possession?  What do we own that is of greatest value?  Are they the same thing?

I.  I Am Their Inheritance: Ezekiel 44:28

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

This passage is speaking of the priests.  Their possession was not land, but God Himself.  Of course, no one can actually possess God.  It is a means of understanding the priority, or nature, of the relationship between each priest and God. That relationship is of more value than any material thing.

II.  We Are a Royal Priesthood:  I Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

As a part of the new covenant that we have with God in Christ, the Levitical priesthood is replaced.  All Christians are a part of the new priesthood.  We are all able to enter into the presence of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  As a new priesthood, we can lay claim to the promise made to the old priesthood.  We can now consider God to be our ‘possession’.

III.  The Pearl of Great Price:  Mathew 13: 45-46

 “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.

What could be of more value than God?  Yet how much effort do we put into developing our relationship with God?  How much time do we spend in the Word?  How much time do we spend in prayer?  How much priority do we place on being present in worship in the house of God?

IV.  A Living Sacrifice:  Romans  12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If we have recognized the value of our relationship with God, it is reasonable to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  We should be willing to submit to whatever God’s will is for our lives.  The challenge is to be able to discern what that will of God is for us.  There is that which is acceptable, that which is good, and that which is perfect.  May we be able to discern and follow the perfect will of God.

These are the sermon notes from 9/6/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Good Grief!

September 3, 2015

Why do bad things happen?  If God is in control, why does He allow tragedies?  Bad things happen for a variety of reasons.  Some things happen because of simple natural law.  We age, we get sick, we eventually die.  It is the common fate of all humanity.  No one is exempt.  Some bad things happen as a result of human choices.  If we drink and drive, we may just kill someone.  Some bad things happen as a result of demonic activity.  Satan lives to destroy.  Sometimes God allows it.  God is also able to intervene.  Actually, God is sovereign and is able to stop, or deflect all evil.  The question is “Why does He allow bad things to happen?”  Although the question could be “How many times has He intervened and we are unaware?”

I.  The Lord Causes Grief:  Lamentations 3:31-33

For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea that the Lord causes grief.  Does He cause, or allow, bad things to happen.  The Jewish people in the Old Testament accepted everything as if it came from God.  They emphasized the sovereignty of God.  These verses indicate that although the Lord causes grief, it is not something that He enjoys.   He does use grief as a teaching tool.  In the same way that human parents use punishment to teach their children right from wrong, God sometimes uses grief to instruct us.

II.  Punishment for Sin:  Lamentations 3:37-39

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?

Once again we see the  language that God commands what comes to pass.  Certainly,  when the bad things that happen to us are a consequence of our sin, we should recognize we may have got off easy.  We have all sinned.  God has offered forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, even though we are forgiven of the eternal consequences of sin, there is a penalty that will be paid here on earth.

III.  Examine Our Ways:  Lamentations 3:40-41

Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.

If bad things are happening to us we should examine our lives.  Are we living in unrepentant sin?  Have we repented of any known sin?  Are we caught up in the sins of others?  Is it merely a test of our faith?  Is it a learning experience?  Is God using it so that we may be a witness to others?

Even if we are unable to discern the cause we can trust that God knows what He is doing.  God is not surprised.  He will give us the wisdom and strength that we need for any challenge.

IV.  We Are Not Consumed:  Lamentations 3: 22-24

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The difficulties that we face in this life will have an end.  We must simply trust in God to see us through.  His mercies are new every morning.  He is faithful to His people.  We should not lose heart.  Our hope is in God.

V.  The Lord is Good:  Lamentations 3:25

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

This does not mean  that there will never be anything bad in our life.  Bad things happen for a variety of reasons, but through them all, God is good to His people.  In fact, in times of grief it is even more important to turn to God for help, comfort and strength.  When grief drives us closer to God, it is good grief.

The Secret to Happiness

August 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV.  Greater is He Who is in You:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

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

That is not correct.

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

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

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

Our Strength and Our Shield

July 20, 2015

Some evangelicals are concerned about the future.  As our society becomes more tolerant in some ways, it becomes less tolerant in other ways.  What lies ahead? I.  God is Our Strength:  Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Our strength is limited.  There are times when we feel overwhelmed, worn out, perhaps we are questioning our ability to continue.  It is fairly normal for us to have those kinds of feelings occasionally.  Thankfully we are not expected to do the work of God in our own strength. “Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”  It is always important for Christians to spend time in the Word and in prayer.  When we are at the limit of our strength it is even more important to spend extra time in the presence of the Lord.  It is God who is the source of our strength for life and ministry. As we spend time in the presence of God through prayer and the Word, our strength will be renewed.  We can overcome obstacles by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. One of the themes that frequently reoccurs in my messages is that God will give us wisdom and strength.  If we ask God for direction and help, He is faithful to help those who turn to Him.  He will give us the wisdom to know what we should do, and the strength to do it. II.  God is our Shield:  Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

The children of Israel were well aware of how God had brought them through the waters.  The story of the salvation of Noah and his family from the flood was a part of their history.  The deliverance of Israel  from the army of Egypt at the Red Sea was still celebrated regularly.  The entrance into the promised land by passing through the Jordan was a story told over and over.  Their history clearly showed that God could bring them through the waters. For those of us who read these scriptures today, we are reminded of the friends of Daniel who were cast into the fiery furnace.  The king saw, not three men, but four in the furnace and the three men came safely out.  The fourth looked “like the son of God”.  We are not alone in our time of trial, Christ is with us.  Truly God can bring us through the fire, or the flood. We are involved in a spiritual war that is played out on two fronts; the physical and the spiritual.  God is able to protect us on both fronts.  We may never know all the ways that God has brought us through the battles.  Sometimes we can see the hand of God at work, and other times it is unknown to us. Conclusion:  Psalms 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

We do not need to worry about the future.  God is our strength and our shield.  We can face whatever comes our way. Psalms 118:6

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

These are the sermon notes from 7/5/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Good and Evil

July 9, 2015

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

I. Woe!: Isaiah 5:20-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Pray!! II Chronicles 7:14

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

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

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