Sunday, December 29, 2013

Excited About Being a Christian

Excited About Being a Christian

December 29, 2013

Misc. Sermon
Are You Excited About Being a Christian
Ephesians 1:3-11

(Advance Slide #1)

I am excites about a lot of things!
  • Don’t you love to see people that are excited?
  • Maybe you like to help the excitement in people.
  • Satan tries to get us excited about the wrong things.
(Advance Slide #2)

What do you get excited about?

We all get excited about different things.
  • Do you get excited about being a Christian?
  • Do you get excited about living the Christian life?
    • Some say it’s just a hard knock life…
    • But IF your not excited about being a Christian, and  worshiping God there is something wrong!
      • There is something blocking the excitement that should be there.
      • Things block our excitement…our focus gets messed up.
    • We do not see the privilege and the honor that it is to praise and worship Him!
Maybe something has happened.
  • Last week, this weekend, this morning, last month, last year
  • What might be stopping you from getting excited like you should be?
We get excited about different things for different reasons.
  • This life should be a place of promise in in your  life.
    • Think about why you should be excited about the "Christian life.”
    • Think about why you should be excited about being a child of God. 
GOAL - Try for us to pull through whatever is blocking if from the excitement we should have.
  • What is pulling the excitement of Christ and the Church from your life?
(Advance Slide #3)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-11

One of the funniest cartoons I ever saw showed a pompous lawyer reading a client’s last will and testament to a group of greedy relatives. 
  • The caption read: “I, John Jones, being of sound mind and body, spent it all!”
    • When Jesus Christ wrote His last will and testament for His church, He made it possible for us to share His spiritual riches. 
      • Instead of spending it all, Jesus Christ paid it all. 
      • His death on the cross and His resurrection make possible our salvation.
In this long sentence, Paul names just a few of the blessings that should make us excited!

Paul had several reason for why he was excited about being a Christian.

(Advance Slide #4)
  • Read vs. 1 he begins by saying, "an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,”
    • He was excited about his role as an apostle of Jesus.
  • The text goes on to say that Before the world began
    • God determined that all those who would be in Christ (united with Him) would receive the blessings of Christ.
(Advance Slide #5)

He Chose Us in Christ - vs. 4

(Advance Slide #6)

Some of us know what its like to be chosen.
  • Some of us know what its like to not be chosen.
  • Some even know what its like to not NOT be chosen
We need to be chosen.
  • Because we are sinners, because we have fallen short.
  • We need to be chosen so that God can work through us!
(Advance Slide #7)

Through Him We Have Redemption - vs. 7a
Through Him we have forgiveness through His grace.
  • For forgiveness of our sins (the very reason that we need choosing).
  • We need redemption not for eternal death but for eternal life.
(Advance Slide #8)

What is your greatest possession?
  • We have so many wordily things….
    • But our greets possession is that we have redemption.
      • Paul calls redemption, forgiveness.
(Advance Slide #9)
    • He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13-14
  • We have been saved from the wrath of God…this is personal!
In life some will withhold forgiveness from you.
  • Some might escape you or run from you.
  • However, through His blood God WILL NOT do that!
** It does not matter what you’ve done…there is redemption/forgiveness!

(Advance Slide #10)

We Can Be Excited about the "Door Prize” - vs. 7b-8
As a child of God we receive a lot of god things!

(Advance Slide #11)
  • As a child of God we receive GRACE!
    • The original language indicates that this is a prize.
    • We receive the blessing of hope, family, the Holy Spirit, but we also received His grace!
(Advance Slide #12)

God’s grace IS His gift to ALL Christians.
  • When we became Christians we received this grace!
  • God has done everything necessary for you to be saved!
(Advance Slide #13)

We Can Be Excited about the “Grand Prize” -  vs. 11
Paul was excited about the “grand prize”!
  • If grace was the door prize then HEAVEN would be the grand prize!
    • This is our eternal inheritance.
(Advance Slide #14)
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:3-4
  • There are 3 ways in which this gift is grand!
(Advance Slide #15)
  • Imperishable - it cannot be destroyed!
  • Undefiled - it will not tarnish!
  • Unfading - it will not waste away!
This is not heaven!
  • This is world is far from being these key things!

(Advance Slide #16)

Action Step
  • Be excited about our chosen state, our redemption, His grace, and our eternal inheritance! 

(Advance Slide #17)

Yes, in deed we have a great deal to be excited about!
  • This life, at best, we have financial problems, health issues, family conflict.
  • There will be conflict and strife.
But we have great blessings and gift in which we should be excited.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Passion for People (series:Passion for the New Year)

Passion for People
How did Jesus see people? Is this different then how you see other?
Passion for People
Matthew 9:35-38 (ESV)
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Passion for People
I. As Jesus went along He __________
   - Then Kingdom of __________
   He also __________ every disease
II. What was His reaction to the crowd?
    - Compassion - stirring up inside
III. How did Jesus see the harvest?
     - It was __________
     - The workers were __________
How will you work for Him?
Passion for People
What can we help you pray for?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

News Too Good To Keep

News Too Good to Keep
Luke 2:8-14


(Insert Slide #1)

The minister stood before the congregation and said "I have bad news, I have good news, and I have more bad news.” 
  • The congregation got quiet….this is never good 
    • "The bad news is: the church needs a new roof!" the minster said…the congregation groaned.
    • "The good news is: we have enough money for the new roof.”
      • A sigh of relief was heard rippling through the gathered group.
    • "The bad new is: it’s still in your pockets
(Insert Slide #2)

We love good new…don’t we?
  • In fact, when we hear something that is good what do we do?
    • If no one is right there to share it with, we pick up the phone call someone.
      • Good news has to be told!
  • Contrast that with bad news…unless your just a sick person, you don’t want to hear bad news.
This mornings lesson is all about good new!
  • News that is too good to keep to ourselves.
  • Good new about the gospel of Christ.
  • During my lesson this morning, our elders are going to present some “good news to the congregation!
GOAL - Study the importance of the “good news”
  • We will define what it is and why is it good for us and others.
  • Hopefully, this lesson will also pave the way for what the elders want to share with us today.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 

(Insert Slide #3)

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14

(Insert Slide #4)

This narrative follows the standard form found in scripture:
  • There is an appearance - vs. 9
  • The appearance causes fear - vs. 10-11
  • It is followed be a “do not be afraid” remark - vs. 12
(Insert Slide #5)

The angel is bring an important message…it is called "good news”
  • The information that is about what God is doing through Jesus.
  • This is an awesome scene that is taking place…
    • The glory of God’s presence and the heavenly host adds to the drama of the scene.
After calming their fears the angels declare what God is doing.
  • The text here refers to the announcement as “good news.”
    • This is the verbal form of the word in which we get “gospel.”
    • It literally means, and is used later in the NT, to preach the “good news.”
(Insert Slide #6)

Immediately after the giving of this “good news”…too good to be kept….the angels and heavenly host begin to worship God.
  • “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom He is pleased!”
  • What can be learn form this?
    • The good news is so joy producing that the only response is WORSHIP and PRIASE!

(Insert Slide #7)

What is the Good News?
This is an important question for us to consider, because it is about what should be the most important to us.
  • After all…it’s good news for all people!
So…what is the good news?
  • It was not that God was going send a solider or military leader
  • It was not that God was going send a reformer
(Insert Slide #8)
  • He sent a Savior…why?
  • To meet man’s greatest need!
(Insert Slide #9)

Within this good news is a message of salvation and peace! 
  • This message of peace is for a world that had known war.
    • “Pax Romana” - Roman peace had been around since 27 BC, but it didn’t guarantee peace…why?
  • The Jewish word (shalom) peace means more than a truce of life’s battles.
    • It means well-being, soundness, and completeness.
  • Life was just as difficult back then:
    • Takes were high, unemployment was high, morals were on the decline, and guess what…the government couldn’t meet the people’s needs!
Angels praised God: at the creation, and now again at this new beginning.
  • The whole propose of the plan of salvation brings glory to God.
  • God’s glory is now here is Jesus

(Insert Slide #10)

A Primary Task of the Church?
We are to glorify God, and we do so when we proclaim the message of “good news”
  • Since the “good news” brings joy it stands to reason that we’d want to share this right?
(Insert Slide #11)
  • Like it or not (and we should like it) we do have an obligation to introduce people to Jesus.
    • Man still have a great need and Jesus is the answer…the ONLY answer!
    • The power to that man needs is found in the “god news”
(Insert Slide #12)
  • Romans 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is thepower of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
(Insert Slide #13)

We are the light
  • We are the “light of the world” we are “the city on the hill that can’t be hidden”
  • Unless we choose to hid ourselves…
    • If we fail to shine our light the light of the world will go out.
    • Let’s light the fire again, and be the “light,” be the “city,” be the people and the church God wants us to be.
So we have a job to do, and the elders have challenged us this morning…how will we respond?
  • I have 3 suggestions for you:
(Insert Slide #14 and TEXT)
  1. Preach Jesus - tell people about Him…share the hope and joy that you have!
  2. Practice Jesus - love people (all people) the way He did
  3. Personify Jesus - we embody, exemplify, represent Him…all the time!
This is the essence of Christians in action.
  • Christians sharing their joy!
  • Why…because the good news is too good to keep!

The Better Way

I Was Afraid - November 3, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Cannot Come Down

October 27, 2013

Misc. Sermons
I Cannot Come Down
Neh. 6:2-3

(Advance Slide #1)


(Advance Slide #2)

Are you doing a great work?
  • Maybe the case is that you were doing a great work.
(Advance Slide #3)
  • Have you come down from your “wall”?
    • I believe that there is a great work taking place here at Una.
    • There are precious souls that need to be protected, that need to be saved.
    • The work MUST continue…we must keep building!
It must upset the devil to no end when his efforts against us fail.
  • We face so many different types of opposition to quit building.
  • Opposition will build…it will thrive…it will come but we must keep building.
Servants of God will face opposition, but we need to recognize it for what it is.
  • It is the devil trying to stop things.
  • Upset him by keeping the work.
(Advance Slide #4)

Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” Neh. 6:2-3

Nehemiah is in the process of rebuilding the wall.

(Advance Slide #5)
  • Chapter 4 - Neh. faced opposition, but was able to start back the work.
  • Chapter 5 - The poor were being oppressed, this slowed things down but Neh. was able to help them.
  • Chapter 6 - Now there is a conspiracy against Neh.
    • A meting was scheduled by his conspirators at the plain of Ono
      • There was no real business agenda for this meeting.
    • Neh. was suspicious that they might want to harm him.
    • Neh. needed to be on the wall, this meeting was not an excuse enough for him to come down.
The work had to continue, and they needed Neh.
  • They tried 4 more times to stop the work of Neh. and Israel.
  • 6:15 we read that the work was finished!

(Advance Slide #6)

Our work is difficult…it is trying!
  • If we want the enemy out and the safety of Christ within we need, no we MUST, keep going.
(Advance Slide #7)

Walls have two purposes:
  1. To keep the enemy out
  2. To keep those inside safe
(Advance Slide #8)

Are the materials that we use are important?
If a wall is going to withstand the enemy then it needs to be built of materials that the enemy cannot break through.
  • We too need to build our walls with materials that will withstand the enemy.
    • We need materials that have been covered in the blood of Jesus!
      • Our faith, our hope, the work that we do, EVERYTHING about us needs to be beaded on His work at Calvary.
(Advance Slide #9)
  • Isa. 26:1 “We have a strong city; He (God) sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.” 
Israel didn’t use pebbles did they?
  • There was a reason that they used rock….BIG ROCKS!
    • The big strong rocks would keep the enemy out.
  • What are you going to do to keep the enemy out of your life?
    • Will you study? Will you pray?
    • EX - Had all of the 3 Little Pigs built their homes out of brick it would have saved them future troubles!
(Advance Slide #10)

Why do we fail?
Do you ever wonder what we fail? Why do we walk away form the work so easily?
  • We call it a lot of different things:
    • They fell away, they quit attending, they are backsliding…well…why?
    • The reason is that there is a hole in our walls.
  • It could also be because the mortar that we are using is weak.
(Advance Slide #11)
  • Peter tells us how to strengthen our mortar.
    • "5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-11
  • In the song, The Battle Belongs to the Lord” there is this line, “no weapon thats fashioned against will stand”
(Advance Slide #12)

When do we need the wall?
The fact of the matter is that we need to resist the devil, not later but NOW!

(Advance Slide #13)
  • 1 Peter 5:8 refers to the devil as a "roaring lion”
  • While we work we must the ready and watchful!
The power that we need comes only through Jesus’ blood.
  • “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood…”
  • This requires a relationship with Him.
    • However, this takes more than a occasional trip to church.
    • It takes more than an occasional glance at the Bible.
      • This sill weaken ones mortar and will create holes in our "walls.”
If we desire to keep the enemy out it takes a lot of work.
  • It takes faith, it takes prayer.
  • We must also keep busy with the Master’s work
    • We MUST have a working faith in God!

(Advance Slide #14)

Neh. knew that he was engaged in a “great work”!
  • God’s work was THE MOST important thing for him.
    • Neh.’s opposition is not real different then the opposition we face today.
    • Can we learn from his words?
I believe we can.
  • When the devil temps us…when he distracts us…we must keep working!
(Advance Slide #15)
  • “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Awesome Hope

Our Awesome Hope

October 20, 2013

Misc. Sermons
Our Awesome Hope
1 Peter 1:1-7

(Advance Slide #1)

It was the end of WWII a submarine was coming home.
  • It's home port was to be a dock in VA.
    • The crew had made it through the war without any damage to their vessel.
  • Just of the coast of VA for an unexplained reason the sub sank.
    • The Coast Guard was mobilized…divers were sent down and they heard the sound of tapping.
(Advance Slide #2)
  • It was morse code…this was the message…IS THERE HOPE?
Many people ask this question…maybe you ask it here today.

(Advance Slide #3)
  • This is an important question to think about.
  • We live in a broken world, there are broken dream, homes relationships.
    • We have bills we can't pay, we're waiting on the doctor to call, for a job offer, for a marriage/spouse, for a family.
      • The question of hope is an essential one to life.
(Advance Slide #4)

I can speak with a 100% certainty that if you are like me you crave HOPE!
  • We will follow so many different fades in search of hope
  • When we are financially weak we become gullible and we val for scams…why? 
(Advance Slide #5)

Hope is more than wishful or positive thinking.
  • These are good, but we need something deeper…something genuine!
(Advance Slide #6)
  • Our situation might be bad, but we have a Savior/ God is still God
    • Paul said that there was one thing in which he put his hope in…
    • The security of an eternal r'ship with Jesus Christ.
LISTEN - All disappointment and discouragement comes when we put our hope in the wrong thing!

You may not need today's lesson, but maybe by the end of the week you will.
  • It might not be till next week, next month, next year.
(Advance Slide #7)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7

1 Peter is 5 chapter long.
  • It is written to suffering Christians.
    • They were suffering some bad things, but worse things were yet to come.
(Advance Slide #8)
    • Nero would be ruling Rome and Christians would be fed to the lions; Christians would be used as human torches.
  • During this time to be a Christian meant that you would die.
(Advance Slide #9)

* So the message for 1 Peter is this…it may get worse but there still is hope!


(Advance Slide #10)

For this lesson I want us to look at these first seven verses and identify 5 reasons for our AWESOME HOPE!

(Advance Slide #11)

God chose me before I chose Him (vs. 2)
Notice in vs. 2, we can rejoice because all three: God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all chose us.
  • A plan that was in place long before we were born…Go desired to save us.
    • It is as if God said, "I want them in the kingdom with me."
    • This indicates to me that there was no accident behind our choosing!
God wants us to be a holy person.
  • With this should give us confidence…it should give us hope!
(Advance Slide #12)

God has always treated me with mercy (vs. 3)
Remember that Jesus is writing to persecuted Christians, but notice vs. 3.
  • It begins, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"
  • Grace and mercy are amazing things…
    • We cannot work for them or even towards them!
    • We cannot make God love us more than He loves us right now!
      • Titus 3:5 "he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit," 
God always acts in mercy…why?
  • Because we are covered in the blood of Christ!
  • No matter how far I fall God's will treat me with mercy…this I have hope in!
You will notice in this verse there are some privileges to being a part of God's family:
  • We get to call Him Father…we ask and He listens!
  • Over 20 times in the NT you find that phrase, "Ask!"
  • James wrote, "You have not because you ask not."
(Advance Slide #13)

God has secured my future (vs. 3-4)
This is a guarantee…a guarantee of a living hope!
  • These verses are jammed pack with hopeful truth.
  • We just read vs. 3 here is 4 "to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,"
    • Another benefit or hope to being in God's family…we have an inheritance.
    • We know that it is our…"for you"
** South Carolina's state seal has this quote on it, "While I breath I have hope"
  • That's great, but in Christ we have an eternal hope!
  • Notice the 3 ways this inheritance is described:
    • Imperishable
    • Undefiled
    • Unfading
(Advance Slide #14)

God's power will protect us (vs. 5)
We are guarded!
  • "who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation" 
  • We do, and will, find ourselves in situation our natural reaction is to think that we are powerless and hopeless.
    • For a Christian…THIS IS A LIE!
We are guarded for a great salvation!
  • This means that we are bring "kept" there is a reason.
  • It has to do with our salvation.
    • We might walk away from Him, but He's not going to leave us.
    • No matter the mighty army that attacks we are guarded for our salvation in Christ. 
Paul wrote to his friend Timothy, "But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me." 2 Tim. 1:12

(Advance Slide #15)

At the revelation of Christ our faith will be found worthy (vs. 6-7)
Things may be bad right now, they might even get worse, but you have a great hope.
  • In fact, you have a genuine faith that has been tested.
  • The result of this faith will be the following:
    • "praise and glory and honor"…when?
      • At the revelation of Jesus Christ…when He returns again.
Isn't this our hope?
  • It is not an empty, wishful thinking…it's deeper it has meaning.
  • There is a certainty in our hope.
Is your life tapping out a panic message (like the submariners)…IS THERE HOPE?
  • There is, and it is an awesome hope!
(Advance Slide #16)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13
  • How can we be filled with this?
    • This is the real question…listen to the words of Jesus.
(Advance Slide #17)
    • "Come to me all that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest"
  • We have to come to Him, submit to Him to receive His blessings!

But there is another important part for us to have this hope…we must be washed!
  • "Repent and be baptized everyone of you, for the remission of your sins."
(Advance Slide #18)

"27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save (to bring salvation) those who are eagerly waiting for him." Heb. 9:27-28

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Proven Love

Proven Love

October 13, 2013

Misc. Sermons
Proven Love
Eph. 3:18-19

(Advance Slide #1)

This is another basic, simple, but important lesson…why?

(Advance Slide #2)
  • What we believe about God affects our whole life.
  1. What you do
  2. Who you are
  3. How you handle your past
  4. How you look to the future
(Advance Slide #3)

If we can't answer these it is likely that we have an unrealistic view of God.

Some think of God as :
  • an impersonal force - sort of a distant diety.
  • an old grandfather - someone to confuse and "pull the wool" over their eyes
  • like an unpleasant parent - always judging and you can't get things right.
  • a cruel tyrant
When we don't fully understand God we fall into one of two categories.
  • Deny Him - try to play hide and seek from Him
  • Create our own god - make thins up in our own mind.
    • The fact is that our opinion doesn't change who He is.
    • What really matter is the TRUTH!
(Advance Slide #4)

Goal - to understand a little bit of what God is like because if we do not know we build a faulty foundation.

(Advance Slide #5)

18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 

This morning we are going to look at 3 ways that God has proven His love!

(Advance Slide #6)

Revealed Himself - the only way to know Him
He chose to reveal Himself to the world…how?
  • Through creation - shows God's organization
    • He aligned the planets
    • In the human body - how each part works
  • Through nature - shows God's power
    • The power within the sun, the wind, the water
  • Through His creativity - He likes variety
    • God is creative
    • God likes beauty
* The most important way that God revealed Himself is not through these means

(Advance Slide #7)
  • Through the Bible
  • 2000 years ago God came in human form so that we can know Him…to understand Him
(Advance Slide #8)
  • Newsweek - "2000 Years of Jesus: How Christianity Shaped the Modern World"
    • Lk. 2:32 - "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
    • Col. 1:15 - "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."
    • Jn. 14:9 - "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
Was He telling the truth or not?
  • Either He is God or He is a fraud.
  • How do we know…"I'll prove it to you."
    • They will kill me
    • They will bury me
    • I will walk out of the tomb
      • He then appeared…Paul wrote that at least 500 saw and they were still alive go ask them!

(Advance Slide #9)

Rescued You - you might not know that you need saving or a Savior
Long before you knew you needed a Savior, God knew you needed one!
  • He wouldn't send His Son if you weren't worth saving.
  • Saving from what?
(Advance Slide #10)
  • Guilt of past sins - we all have some level of guilt
    • We have all made mistakes in our past.
    • Heb. 9:15 - "Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."
(Advance Text on Slide #10)
  • A meaningless life - I really believe this!
    • John 10:10 - "He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him."
    • Some don't have an abundant life, but we do!
(Advance Text on Slide #10)
  • The fear of death - this is a universal fear of all
    • Someday you will die…its a fact!
    • Eternity will begin in one of two places.
    • Where you start eternity is where you will remain for eternity.
(Advance Slide #11)

Related to You

(Advance Slide #12)

Even before you were made God knew you…He had r'ship with you!
  • We are not here to make millions, live it up, and then leave the remainders for others.
  • We are here to glorify Him…to experience this proven r'ship of love with Him.
We were created as objects of His love.
  • Now…be honest, this is hard to understand!
(Advance Slide #13)
  • 2 Cor. 5:19 - "that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."
    • Trespasses (sin) was not held against us.
    • Rather, He sent His Son instead of judging us!
Why? For a r'ship.

Have you ever "dropped someone's name"
  • The greatest name that we can drop is that of the one who has proven His love!
(Advance Slide #14)

How do we start?
  1. Talk, pray, ask - this is FAITH!
  2. Make a decision - that we want to live differently (repentance)
  3. Come to Him (this is submission)
  4. Then through baptism our sins are washed away!
Phil 4:19 - "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
  • This is not for everyone…only those that are in Christ.
Since He has proven His love…can you show your love back?
  • Without knowing HIm we will live a miserable life!
(Advance Slide #15)
  • This is my prayer to you….that you "may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Great Physician and Prescription

Great Physician and Prescription

September 24, 2013

Misc Sermon
Great Physician and Prescription
Mt. 9:12

(Advance Slide #1)

I think that we all feel the pressure and pain of a having a loved one who is sick.
  • When this happens we are desperately interested in a cure…aren't we?
    • We will wait and watch them as their illness progresses.
(Advance Slide #2)
  • We will spare no time (i.e. appointments, procedures, long days and long nights)
  • We spare no trouble (i.e. travel to this expert and that expert, make physical changes if needed)
  • We spare no cost (i.e. sell prized possessions, miss bills)
(Advance Slide #3)

But would we…
  • Do the same to save the soul of a stranger?
    • Now here is the rub…right?
      • Maybe the soul is less valuable, but we know thats not true.
  • Well, what did Jesus say?
(Advance Slide #4)
    • "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" Mt. 16:26
      • Jesus seems to infer that it would be awful for this to happen.
  • Yet, in the text we will read, some Pharisees grumble and growl at the efforts to save the soul.
The apostle Luke was a doctor.
  • It is easy for us to forget that the medical profession has been around for a long time.
    • Jesus in our text today says, "Those that are well have no need of a physician"
    • This seems to indicate that there were physicians in the area of Galilee.
      • The woman that had the issue of blood had gone and seen a physician…they had received fees but without result.
Most doctors have a fair amour of compassion
  • If you ask, most enter this profession to help others.
  • It is with this compassion in mind I want us to examine the life and practice of Jesus the Great Physician.
(Advance Slide #5)

"But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." Matthew 9:12

(Advance Slide #6)

In this text we find Jesus speaking to some grumbling Pharisees who are trying to put on a front like they a healthy and whole.
  • By their estimation they did not need anything that Jesus claimed to have.
  • This text hit them hardthey knew that sick people needed a physician.
  • What Jesus was doing was taking this principle from the physical to the spiritual.
    • They considered themselves healthy.
    • They defined righteousness by their strict observation to their interpretation of the lawthis was their sacrifice!
Jesus and the Pharisees had different definitions

(Advance Slide #7)
  • To the Pharisees - a sinner was who violates their interpretation of the law
  • To Jesus - a sinner was someone that violated God's will

(Advance Slide #8)

Jesus, the Great Physician
He knows…knows our dire condition and our desperate need.
  • As His patients we can have confidence in Him.
  • We can have FAITH that HE doesn't lose patients.
When sick we want a specialist…right?
  • One that knows their stuff…went to a good school.
  • One that knows our suffering, knows how we feel, but more importantly knows the cure.
  • Jesus is this Great Physician!
(Advance TEXT on Slide #8)

Our Spiritual Diagnosis
Our Great Physician chose 12 men.
  • To these men He gave the prescription for the soul.
    • Also, He sent them to preach repentance and baptism in the name of the Great Physician.
    • We find them doing this. throughout the NT
In Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost Peter pronounced their problem:
  • He said you are wicked and you murdered the Messiah.
    • Scripture says that their reaction was this, "when they heard this they were cut to the heart" - vs. 37
  • For you to get well…take the Great Physician's medicine!
    • "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - vs. 38
(Advance TEXT on Slide #8)

The Prescription
They took the prescription, and we can too
  • They took the pills of faith, repentance, and baptism
    • And they were cured of their spiritual ills.
vs. 41 stays that, "those who received the words were baptized"
  • The original language adds a little here, it says that they "gladly received the words"
  • They did not change it one bit…they had full faith and confidence in the Great Physician!
Taking the divine treat kills the sin "germs" but what is next?
  • They continued in faith…to build strength and to grow spiritually.
(Advance Slide #9)
  • Peter describes it this way: (2 Pt. 1:5-9)
    • For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
What happens if we do not follow through with the prescription for the Great Physician?
  • What was the matter with Simon in Acts 8?
(Advance  Slide #10)
    • "…your heart is not right before God." vs 21
    • He is diagnosed further, "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." - vs. 23
  • But what is the prescription?
    • He was told in vs. 22, "Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may forgive you."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Excuse Me?

Excuse Me?

September 15, 2013

Misc Sermon
Excuses Me?
Luke 14:15-24

(Advance Slide 1)

John L. Swigert, Jr. was last minute substitution to the the Apollo 13 mission who went to the moon in 1970. 
  • On the second day of Apollo 13, April 12, I asked Mission Control to begin work to get me an extension of the filing date for his income taxes. 
    • Since he had been a last-minute substitution things had moved so fast he simply forgot about it. 
  • The IRS didn't have to make a special ruling to grant Swigert a two-month extension because of his I'm-on-my-way-to-the-moon excuse. 
    • There was already a regulation that provided an automatic extension for anyone out of the country.
We all use them; we have one for every occasion; we might even have favorite ones.
  • What are they…EXCUSES!
  • What excuses are you using and why?
This morning we are going to briefly look at the parable found in Luke 14 and ask two questions:

(Advance Slide 2)
  1. Has God ever accepted excuses?
  2. Will He accept ours?

(Advance Slide 3)

16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses…Luke 14:16-18a

The scene here is not very different from a gathering we might plan today.

(Advance Slide 4)
  • Each guest has been given and knows the exact time that they are to present themselves.
    • They had agreed to this…yet THEY REFUSED!
      • On top of that they offered weak excuses about the change of their plans.
(Advance Text on Slide 4 x3)
  • I bought a field and need to go see it.
  • I bought 5 yoke of oxen and need to examine them.
  • I have married a wife and I cannot be there.
    • "A person good at excuses is not usually good at anything else" - unknown
  • And the nerve of those guests…they actually expected another invitation!
    • The real reason for their absence was that they were not ready.
(Advance Slide 5)

But this meal was not going to be wasted.
  • "Servant, Go and bring all the outcasts"…
    • "Master, we've done that and there is still room."
    • "Then go to highways and hedges."
  • The original guest lost their invitation…the door was shut on them.
(Advance Slide 6)
  • "none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.” vs. 24 

(Advance Slide 8)

Has God Accepted Excuses in the Past?

(Advance Text on Slide 8)

Adam and Eve - were given a law to not eat of a certain tree, but they did
  • The transgressed against God's command.
    • They tried to offer excuses, but He did not accept them.
    • They had rejected His word, and in return He rejected them.
(Advance Text on Slide 8)

The people of the Noah - the world was filled with wicked.
  • Man sought to do nothing but evil…they had rejected the word of God.
    • They were destroyed, and He did not excuse them for their actions.
(Advance Text on Slide 8)

The people of Sodom - were also filled with wickedness.
  • Lot and his family had not turned from God.
  • Like those of the time of Noah, they were destroyed.
    • Once again, He did not excuse them for their wickedness.
(Advance Text on Slide 8)

King Saul - was commanded to destroy the Amalekites and all their stock.
  • He failed to strictly obey God.
    • He tried to make excuses for himself for not obeying the word of the Lord.
    • No matter how hard he tried he was not able to form an excuse that God would accept.
(Advance Slide 9)

Will God Accept Our Excuses?
If God did accept the excuses of these, we need to ask this question, "Will He accept our excuses?"
  • Given the evidence that we see in each of these how can we think that He will accept them?
    • In fact, when I search scripture I find that the only position to be in is one of earnest obedience to the Word of God.
  • When we have the opportunity to know God and fail to do so there IS NO EXCUSE.
(Advance Slide 10)
  • 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20
I found this list on-line, it is called the top 10 list of excuses:
     1. I forgot.
     2. No one told me to go ahead.      
     3. I didn't think it was that important.
     4. Wait until the boss comes back and ask him. 
     5. I didn't know you were in a hurry for it. 
     6. That's the way we've always done it. 
     7. That's not in my department. 
     8. How was I to know this was different? 
     9. I'm waiting for an O.K. 
     10. That's his job--not mine.

(Advance Slide 11)

God has provided a way for everyone to be saved.
  • Jesus is that way…He died for us.
  • God requires that all men be taught about this Way
  • It also requires all men to obey this gospel message!
(Advance Slide 12)

God has provided a way for us to live…a standard above any other.
  • God requires that all men live according to His Way.
  • It also requires that all men obey His commands.
God will not accept excuses of those intelligent enough to obey but do not!
  • In the parable they first guests were not given another chance.
(Advance Slide 13)

El Salvador Mission Report

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I AM the Vine

I AM the Vine

September 1, 2013

I AM the Vine 
Jesus in the Present Tense
John 15:1-8

(Advance Slide 1)


(Advance Slide 2)

This is the last of the I AM statements that we find in the gospel of John.
  • The first four were made publicly.
  • One was spoken privately to Martha.
  • The last two were privately spoken to the apostles in the upper room.
(Advance Slide 3)

Jesus was explaining how they could serve in His absence.
  • A deep sea diver receives ended oxygen from above.
  • Christians grow and serve because of a living connection with Christ and abide in Him.
(Advance Slide 4)
  • Jesus was clear in His teachings…apart from Him, they could do nothing.
    • NOTICE - Jesus did not say that they were disabled or disadvantaged; they could do nothing.
(Advance Slide 5)

Our service must begin in Christ, continue by being sustained by Christ, and end at Christ (and His glory) for it to last.

Just as Jesus is the "true bread" He is also the "true vine" - vs. 1
  • This group of verses have a lot of practical truths in them.
  • The practical nature of their teachings is on faithful servanthood.
(Advance Slide 6)

"5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:5-7

(Advance Slide 7)

This is no better description of God's transforming work then this description.
  • In this description Jesus reveals that this transformation is a team effort.
    • Without God we would never start our journey.
  • As we consider this transformation we MUST keep in mind that we may become more like Christ
(Advance Slide 8)
    • Gal. 5:22 helps us to see what this Christlikeness look like, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control"
(Advance Slide 9)

Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
  • He is describing the believer's new life as a branch that is attached to the vine (God).
(Advance Slide 10)
  • A branch growing from a vine becomes the recipient of the life and nutrients that flow from the vine.

(Advance Slide 11)

True Living - comes from bearing fruit (Advance Slide 12)
  • In Ezekiel 15 branches are described as being good for two things:
  • Good for fruit or fuel; that is to say bearing or burning
    • If the branch is not bearing fruit it is not fulfilling its purpose in life and should be discarded.
You may be attached to the vine and be spiritually alive, but not very healthy.
  • Remember Psalm 1 last week?
    • Vs. 3 described a tree planted by water that received nutrients, yields fruits doesn't wither.
  • We can learn from this that branches do not produce fruits to feed its self but to feed others.
    • For us we need ot realize that God's will is not a punishment; rather it is fulfillment and nourishment.
(Advance Slide 13)

What is the "fruit" that we are to bear?
  • It represents those that we lead to Christ.
    • "I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles." Romans 1:13
  • Growing is another "fruit" that we harvest.
(Advance Slide 14)

Fruit Bearing - is the result of abiding in Christ (Advance Slide 15)
  • Communion begins with out unioin with Christ in baptism.
    • As the branch (i.e. Christian) we have a living union with Christ.
    • Because of this living union, we are alive and we bear fruit from this living union with Him.
  • Bearing fruit requires discipline (both agriculturaly and spiritually speaking)
(Advance Slide 16)

Sometimes living wood must be pruned to create growth.
  • Scripture confirms this:
    • Abraham - had to leave his city and family...also had to offer Isaac.
    • Jacob - had to lay aside his own plans so his family would become the nation of Israel.
    • The same process can be seen in the lives of Joseph, David, Paul, and Peter
We have this Greek word in the NT it is meno
  • It means "inward enduring personal communion.
    • Now, to me that sounds a lot like abiding.
    • To fully communon with Him is to abide with Him...those that i mentioned did.
  • Union does not always guarantee communion though.
    • "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15
Do you meet with The Lord daily and communion with Him?

Is there evidence of abiding with Christ?
  • You experience love (vs. 9; 12-13)
  • You have a joy (vs. 11)
  • You will be hated and opposed by the world (vs. 18-19)
(Advance Slide 17)

Abiding in Christ - is the result of obeying Christ
  • Every discipline in life has law that must be followed if we wish to suceed.
  • Laws goven our moral and spiritual life as well.
  • "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love." John 15:5
The best reason and way to obey is becasue you want to.

(Advance Slide 18)
  • Obey becasue you are motivated by love.
    • "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" John 14:15
    • “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23
(Advance Slide 19)

By obeying we show that we know Him.
  • Just think of all the people that you are acquanted with.
  • You know them more than you know Jesus...who you claim to be your Savior.
    • The more that we know Him, the more we will love Him       

(Advance Slide 20)

"What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” - Mark 10:9
  • Jesus was speaking about marriage, but the command is for other areas of life as well.
  • In His I AM statement Jesus joined together abundant living and fruit bearing.
We cannot manufacture spiritual fruit.
  • It must flow from our fellowship with our Savior.
  • It is joined with obeying and loving Him
The more we love Him, the more we will obey Him. The more that we obey Him, the more we abide with Him.