Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Word: Piercing the Soul and Spirit

January 25, 2015
Click her for audio recording of the sermon
The Word
Piercing the Soul & Spirit
Hebrews 4:12-13

(Advance Slide #1)

We have a real problem in the church, in the home, and on our lives.
  • That is the lack of the Bible...God’s inspired, authoritative Word in our lives.
    • We have trouble living by it because we do not know it.
  • So what is the solution.
    • We need to turn back to the Word.

(Advance Slide #2)

This morning we are going to begin about 4-5 lessons on the Word of God.
  • This mornings lesson is about a scalpel and a surgeon.

Who here has ever had surgery?
  • I think a lot of us have...if you haven’t consider it a blessing.

Cosmetic surgery has become a popular fade in America…
  • Men and women both have had surgery to alter different parts of their body.
  • Once crazy one that I have heard of is the ‘pinky toe tuck’
    • Have bone shaved form the side of their pinky to wear more narrow shoes!

We can all think of celebrities that look nothing like their original self.

In Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 God let’s us know something.
  • He lets us know that there is a surgery that is necessary.
  • In Heb. 3:12 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”
    • You have a heart will kill you!

(Advance Slide #3)

    • In vs. 15-19 we can read about how some people refused His diagnosis…
      • These folks had a heart condition.
      • They had become callous.
      • The rebelled against God.
      • They died because they refused the diagnosis and treatment!

Do not be like that God says!
  • Listen to me...your heart is not right and it needs to be fixed.
  • How do I do that?

(Advance Slide #4)

    • Let God perform heart surgery on your heart.

(Advance Slide #5)

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

In comparing the Word of God to a sword, the writer is not suggesting that God uses His Word to slaughter the saints!
  • The opposite is true...the Word cuts the heart of sinners with conviction.
  • It is the Word defeats Satan.

(Advance Slide #6)

The Greek word translated “sword” means “a short sword or dagger.”
  • The emphasis is on the power of the Word to penetrate and expose the inner heart of man.
  • The Word is a “discerner” or “critic.”
    • The Israelites criticized God’s Word instead of allowing the Word to judge them. Consequently, they lost their inheritance.
    • The same can happen to us too!

(Advance Slide #7)

The authoritative Word of God is the scalpel that is used to get inside and work!
  • God uses His Word, the scalpel, to cut into our hearts.
NOTICE - this text lets us know that it cuts right to the soul and the judges our thoughts and attitudes!

(Advance Slide #8)

  • It is the only instrument that will DO THE JOB!

So who here is ready for some surgery?
  • Surgery is an important things and should not be entered into lightly.
  • When we open God’s Word we need to take it seriously!

(Advance Slide #9)

The Scalpel
How does the Word, God’s scalpel, work?
  • It reveals to us just what sin is.
    • EX. - Maybe you’ve been reading the Word before and you come across a passage about not forgiving someone.
      • You realize that you cannot approach God until you make that situation right.

(Advance Slide #10)

Most of us know what sin is but we try to not address it, or cover it up!
  • Consider Adam and Eve...they had a decision to make.
  • Once we are confronted with sin they have to make a decision.
    • The Bible confronts us with our sinfulness.
    • It shines light on the dark world we are trying to hide in.

I want us to make sure that we know this fact...the Bible also tells us how to fix our problems!

(Advance Slide #11)

The Surgeon
NOTICE - the second part of vs. 13, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
  • A scalpel is only as good and the one who uses it!
    • When you’re having surgery that’s what you’re worried about.
  • Jesus is our surgeon!
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We have a surgeon that we can be confident in.
  • He is good at what He does, and He knows how to fix me!
  • He understands me!
    • In our weakness, when we’re tempted, when we struggle, when were made fun of, rejected and confused!

When Jesus cut’s into our hardened hearts its not to hurt us or make us suffer.

(Advance Slide #12)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
  • Not to hurt but to heal and to change our lives.
  • So that we can have a new heart and mind


(Advance Slide #13)

Let me tell you about real cosmetic surgery:
  • Jesus DID come to fix our hearts and minds.
    • He wants us to have a face that reflects the joy we should have.
    • He wants us to have lips that praise Him.
    • He wants us to have feet that walk with Him.
    • He wants us to have hands that serve Him.

It will only happen if we open the Word and allow it to expose our sin.

  • Let’s not waste time in this book.
  • Instead, let’s take advantage of every opportunity to allow the Word to cut out hearts!
  • We need to know the Word well so that we can know it’s healing powers!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Better Life of Prayer

January 18, 2015
Better Life
Better: Life of Prayer
Col. 1:9-12

We’ve all been in that service when one child get’s a little rambunctious.
  • I read of one such incident.
    • The little boy was acting up.
    • After several warning it was time for a father/son talk in the foyer.
    • The father scooped up the boy under his arms and headed up the center aisle.
    • About half way up the little boy shouted, “Ya’ll pray for me!”

Asking for prayers...nothing wrong with that.
  • Do you only pray when things are at their worst?
  • Or, is your life one that is saturated in prayer?

    • 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:16-18

So how can be we get better?
  • We will not get better unless we stretch will take effort on our part.

Spiritually speaking, with the new year in front of you, do you want to become better?
  • Over the next few week I want us to focus on a few things that we can become better at.
  • It is possible for this to happen.

    • What will it take for you to become better?
    • It will take time, effort, and a commitment to become...better!

I hope that each of you will join me today to make a commitment to become better.
  • Last Sunday was about being a better servant
  • Last Sunday night the lesson was about having a better passion for people.

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:9-12

Paul’s prayers are always a great study.  
  • They are each unique and we can learn a great deal about him and how we should pray.  
    • I have found that those letters that he wrote while in prison were extra unique.
  • To begin he always prayed for others and not for himself.  
    • The request in his prayers is always for spiritual blessings and not material ones.  
      • Of course, it would not have been bad to pray for material things.  
      • Paul realizes that it’s the spiritual needs that are greatly more important.

So how do you pray for a group of people that you’ve never seen before?  
  • This is the situation that we find here.
    • All that Paul knew about the believers in Colossae he learned from their faithful servant, Epaphras.  

  • Paul had a strong passion for prayer, and it is the content of that intensity that I want to focus on tonight.  
    • There are many things that Paul prays for, and we should take note of these to have a BETTER prayer life this year!

Listen to these requests:

He prayed for spiritual wisdom (1:9)
The Colossians were struggling with “false teaching.”  
  • They were mislead that they would have special knowledge if they accepted a new doctrines.  
  • They used words like knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual wisdom in their religious vocabulary, so Paul did the same.

Every believer needs to have “the knowledge of His will.”
  • The Greek word translated “knowledge” in this verse carries the meaning of “full knowledge.”
    • There is always more to learn about God and His will for our lives.
    • No Christian would ever dare to say that he had “arrived” and needed to learn nothing more.  
    • We can always learn...more particular, this verse says that we need to be filled with the “full knowledge.”  
  • To be filled means “to be controlled by.”  
    • So in this prayer Paul is praying that these individuals be controlled by the full knowledge of God’s will.

He prayed for practical obedience (1:10)
The wisdom that Paul prayed for was not to simply have knowledge of deep spiritual truths.  
  • Where is true spiritual wisdom found?  Is it found in books or theology?  
    • No, true spiritual wisdom must affect daily life...that is where it is seen.  
    • Wisdom and action must go together.

Notice that in verse 9 we begin with wisdom.  
  • Then in verse 10 we find that we have to walk (servanthood/worshipping) and that is followed by work.  
  • This sequence seems important, and one that we need to take notice of.

He prayed for moral excellence (1:11-12)
Paul is letting the Colossians know that when he prays for them regularly
  • Furthermore, that he is also asking God to give his power to them.  
    • Not for any selfish gain, but so that they can live for God in a worthy manner.
  • Spiritual growth and maturity can come only as we yield to God’s power and permit Him to work in us.  
    • Not from any effort of our own.

You have to have endurance and patience.  
  • Notice that these qualities are have accentuated by the fact that we are joyful in our patience and endurance.
    • Patience is endurance in action.
      • It is not the Christian sitting in a rocking chair, waiting for God to do something.
      • It is the soldier on the battlefield, keeping on when the going is tough.

Prayer was not a new spiritual discipline, but it was one that the apostles had trouble with.  
  • How do we know that?  
    • Well, when we read the gospels we find that they came to Jesus and asked him to teach them how to pray.  
    • And he does just that.
  • How do we start in developing a better prayer life?
    • A good place is to go back to that “Lord’s prayer.”  
      • It worked for them it might just work for us
    • Look at this as a “model prayer” rather it is more of guidance and place to go for direction

Make prayer a priority in your life.  
Jesus did, Paul did, and we can too.  
  • We only need to put God first.  
    • By having God first in our lives...prayer becomes a priority to us.  
      • Because with God centered in our lives we’ll be talking to him.  
      • We will talk daily, maybe even multiple times a day.

We’ve talked about the different thing that battle for your time.  
  • Cut out some of the unnecessary things and plug in this one spiritual discipline that will make a profound difference in your life.

Be devoted to your prayer life.
The devotion we have for God will pour over into our prayer life.  
  • Why is that?
    • Devotion is when you dedicate a large portion or all of your time on one thing.  
    • At this point God will be center in our life...we are loving and loyal to only him.

Look at the way you pray and consider a change.
If you feel that you don’t have the passion you should look at the way that you’re praying.  
  • Consider journaling your prayers.  
    • You might find that your heart pours out more.  
  • Consider another prayer posture.  
    • There are many in the Bible, and while it really just matters the posture of your heart different postures can help put you in the right frame of mind.

In verse 9 we find that Paul never stopped praying for the Colossians.  
  • He was persistent in his prayer.  
  • He was devoted in his prayer.  
  • He made prayer a priority in his life...he probably got better because he had a passion for it!

But what do I have to be thankful for?

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.