Click on the link below to get to the podcast homepage. Enjoy our full Contemporary service including the song service and preaching. You can get a copy of the outline for the message below.
The Dead Rise
Jesus’ Raising of Lazarus from the Dead provides for us many life lessons we would do well to pay attention to…
I. Jesus Is Always On Time – We Need Not Fret (v. 17-22)
- Jesus Could Have…. Matt. 8:5; Acts 19:12
- Why did Jesus Wait? John 11:4,15,45 --- 3 Reasons: 1)For God’s Glory. 2) Strengthen Disciples Faith. 3) For Others to believe in Jesus
- Waiting is Not Easy! Will we Wait? - Ps. 27:14
- Will you walk close enough to God & ask God to have the wisdom to know how to wait patiently? - Is. 40:31; Is. 55:8-9; James 1:5; Gal. 4:4
II. Jesus is Resurrection & Life – We Need Not Lose Faith (v.23-27)
- Martha’s faith needed reassurance & to be strengthened!
- Martha showed a belief in the afterlife. Heb. 11:6
- The Lord Jesus identifies Himself as THE SOURCE of the Resurrection and of LIFE itself! John 11:25-26; John 1:1-4; Col. 1:15-17
- Pray and ask God for increased faith and strength. He will answer your prayer! - Luke 17:5; Ps. 119:28; Mark 9:24; Prov. 15:29
III. Jesus Is Moved By Our Difficulties – We Need Not Feel Alone (v.28-37)
- Jesus is not aloof, cold, uncaring, and unfeeling! John 11:35
- Jesus lived here and knows the difficulties of our human existence. – Heb. 4:15-16; Mark 3:5; John 13:21; Rom. 12:15
- We are never alone… never uncared for … never discarded … never abandoned! Deut. 31:6; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 2:14-18
IV. Jesus Is All Powerful Over Death – We Need Not Fear (v.38-44)
- We Need Not Be Afraid of Facing Passing Away. – Rev. 1:18; 7:17; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Cor. 5:1-7
- Death for the Christian means an eternity of joy in God’s presence.
- “Death may be the King of terrors... but Jesus is the King of kings!”
Will you learn from this account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead what God wants you to learn today?
The Lame Walk
Jesus Cares and Jesus Saves! This was a message needed in the first Century and one needed today. Jesus performed miracles demonstrating this message. Let’s learn some life lessons from Jesus’ healing of a lame man…
I. Jesus Cares for the Physically Sick John 5:1-7
- Matthew 9:12 – It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the
- Matthew 14:14 - He had compassion on them & healed their
- Matthew 9:35 – Jesus went through all the towns and villages…
healing every disease and sickness
II. Jesus Taught Through Miracles John 5:8-13
- Matthew 12:1-8; 11:20 - Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.
- Mark 16:20 – Confirmed His Word by the signs!
- John 2:23; 6:2 - Great Crowd followed Him because they saw signs… by healing the sick.
- Acts 2:22 – Accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs.
III. Jesus Came To Save the Lost John 5:14-15
- John 8:10-11 – Leave your life of Sin!
- Luke 15:7,10,23-24 - Lost Sheep, Coin, Son – Great Rejoicing when they are found!
- Matthew 26:28 – His blood was poured out for our forgiveness of sins!
Jesus brings salvation and healing – Do you believe? Will you trust Him with your life? What has He been teaching you? Are you listening?
The Water is Changed to Wine
Jesus was involved in everyday life while he walked this earth and He can be involved in our everyday life if we invite Him in. Are you calling on Him to help you with life’s problems – He is Able!
I. Jesus Can Be Invited Into Our Everyday Life!
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- Revelation 3:20
II. Jesus Is Interested In Helping With Our Everyday Life!
- Philippians 4:6-7
- 1 Peter 5:7
- Matthew 10:29-31
- Proverbs 23:20; 20:1
III. Jesus Can & Will Intervene In Our Everyday Life
- Matthew 7:7-8
- Jeremiah 33:3
- Acts 17:27-28
- Matthew 19:26
Jesus cares about the everyday events of your life. He is not just some remote supernatural being who is totally removed from our need. He cares about the smallest details of your life and waits for you to call Him into your times of need so that He can minister to you and change you or your circumstances. What is your need today?
The Good Shepherd Provides
David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). But everybody seems to want more today. (Luke 2:14; Phil. 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:8; Heb. 13:5). The earmark of the Christian should be contentment. Notice the benefits provided by the good shepherd in Psalm 23 that should enable us to say with David, “I shall not want.”
I. In Life, the Good Shepherd Provides Us With Every Need
A. He Provides F____ - Psalm 23:2 makes me lie down in green pastures. (Is. 53:6; Matt. 9:36). We have P________! Sometimes the Lord makes us lie dow and we’re forced to look up and see the Shepherd.
B. He Provides W____ - Psalm 23:2 He leads me beside the still waters. God knows are weaknesses & protects us from temptations we can’t handle. (1 Cor. 10: 13; Ps. 32:6, 7).
C. He Provides R______________ - Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul” Jesus went to the cross to restore our souls. 1 Peter 2:24, 25
D. He Provides D______________ - Psalm 23:3 “He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Jesus alone leads in paths of righteousness. John 14:6
II. In Death, the Good Shepherd Protects Us From Evil Attack
Heb. 2:15 The “F____ of D______” can really disturb our contentment, but even in the valley of death, we don’t have to fear – Why?
A. “You are with me” Psalm 23:4 – He M_______ us in the valley!
B. “The rod and staff” are there to C______ the attack of the evil one.
C. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” Psalm 23:5. As the devil is doing his worst to you in death, God is preparing a F________ for you to enjoy when you arrive in Heaven!
III. In Judgement, the Good Shepherd Promises Eternal Life
A. “You anoint my head with oil” (Psalm 23:5). When we become Christians, God seals us with His Holy Spirit- a D_________ guaranteeing our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:12)
B. “My cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5). Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, we should be O_____________ with God’s goodness.
C. We can have an assurance of eternal life because when we stand before God on Judgement Day, “M________” will be there. (Psalm 23:6)
D. In contentment – we are S_________ to “dwell in His Home forever!”
Since we have such a Shepherd: What more could we possibly want? Is the Good Shepherd truly “My” Shepherd to you?
Cowardice or Courageous?
What terrifies you? Most of us have real fears some that really disable us. If not conquered, our fears can hinder our relationships with God & others. Fear can control & enslave us. Let’s examine 1) Fear, 2) Someone who faced it, & 3) God’s Promises concerning it.
I. OUR FEARS E_______________
A. Paralyzing P______________
B. Fear of P_____________ D_____________
C. Fear of L_____________ C_____________
D. Fear of R_____________ who I R_____________ am
E. Fear of D_____________ People
F. Fear of being R_____________
“God Does Not Want You To Be Afraid”
John 14:27; Isaiah 43:1-3; Romans 8:15
II. JOSHUA’S FEARS E_______________
A. He was following a L______________
B. He had witnessed a previous F_____________
C. The enemy forces were I_____________
D. He had not performed M_____________
E. They had little B_____________ E_____________
III. GOD’S PROMISES E_______________
Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 41:10; Titus 1:2
A. Through the T______________ of O______________
Joshua 2:9-11; 1 John 4:4
B. Through the Support of G______________ L______________
Joshua 3:6; Phil. 1:12
C. Through U_____________ Circumstances
Josh. 3:15-16; 2 Tim. 1:7; Prov. 3: 25-26;
Ps. 23:4-5; 27:1; 1 John 4:18; Heb. 13:6
Do you constantly face a fear og aging, losing a loved one, or losing your job? Had God called you to do something that frightens you – break a sinful habit, confront a wayward friend, or heal a broken relationship? Remember God allows you to experience fear so that you might depend on Him. Conquer your fears with God’s help. He has promised to be with you always. Remember His reassuring words to you: “The Lord is my Helper!”
Guilty or Forgiven
We all know what it means to feel guilty. Our conscience is the part inside of us that makes us feel guilty at times. In a study about guilt, it’s important that we understand the biblical view of the conscience. It is also important to understand God’s answers and promises to us in times of guilt.
I. THE CONSCIENCE OF MAN
The Bible mentions four types of conscience.
A. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Corinthians 8:7
B. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Tim. 4:2; Psalm 119:11
- Three-cornered thing inside my heart that cuts
C. ___________ CONSCIENCE – Heb. 10:22; Rom. 3:10-12, 23
- There are times when we should feel guilty, because we are guilty.
D. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Peter 3:15, 16
- There are two ways to get a clear conscience: 1. We can be
w__________ sin. 2. We can be f__________ of our sin.
II. THE PROMISES OF GOD
- GOD PROMISES A S___________
2. Through the L_______ – Heb. 10:1-4
3. Through the Old Testament Prophets – Is. 53:4-6; Jer. 31:34
4. Jesus is the F_____________ of the Promise – John 1:29; Matt. 3:15
B. GOD PROMISES F___________ OF SINS
Rom. 3:23-25; Is. 53:6; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 1:9
1. God R_______ Our Sins as far as East from West! – Ps. 103:11-12
2. God Makes Our “Scarlet” Sins White as Snow! – Is. 1:18
3. God F________! – Is. 43:14, 25
4. Our Sins Disappear Like the M________ D______! – Is. 44:6, 22
5. God Buries Our Sins in the Depths of the Sea! – Micah 7:18-19
C. GOD PROMISES F___________ FROM THE LAW
Rom. 8:1-2; 6:14; Gal. 4:24-25
D. GOD PROMISES THE GIFT OF E___________ L________
John 3:16-18; 5:24; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 5:11-13
God Promises us freedom from sin if we will accept Christ’s death for us. What a great promise! Once we have trusted In Christ’s saving grace and have “put on” Christ, we don’t have to feel guilty, because we aren’t guilty anymore!
Casual or Committed?
2 Corinthians 11:16 - 33
"Casual" or "Committed" - which would best describe you? Do the people you associate with in the world know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul had characteristics that showed who he was in Christ, and we would do well to learn from him. They are:
I. I___________ in R_____________ with People (v.20-21)
- Eph. 4:25 "Put off Falsehood & speak T____________ to neighbors"
- I____________ : “D_____ what you said you would do" Matt 5:37
- We aren’t to be the E_________ to the Rule, but the E__________
- "Great occasions for serving God come S__________. Little ones
surround us D___________. Col. 3:17
ll. Painful S________________ (v.22-27)
- Paul didn't talk about S__________, he talked about S_________.
- There ought to be some reflected in C_________ & C___________!
- S___________ for Christ Leads to Joy, F___________, & Fellowship
- Mark 8:35; Luke 19:10; Rom. 12:1-2 – To give our ALL - this proves
we are G_________ B___________
lll. Concern for the C______________ (v.28-29)
- Paul loved them -1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 4:2; Col. 2:1; 2 Cor. 11:29
- Love in 3 Stages: 1) Romantic 2) Tolerance 3) M_____________
- 5 Practical ways to express our Love for the Church:
1) Attend Services R____________ Heb. 10:25
2) Minister to H__________ People Sympathetically 1 Cor. 12:26
3) Esteem Church L____________ Highly 1 Thess. 5:12-13
4) Live up to it's P______________ Consistently
5) Talk about it P_______________
IV. H____________ in Service (v.30-33)
- God uses us in our W___________ to demonstrate His P________
- H_________ means there is a C________ A__________ of the need
for God in our life. James 4:6 "God opposes the proud..."
- F________ & F________ will humble us. When we get too
P______ God will let us F______! 1 Cor. 10:12; Matt. 20:25-28
ls your faith obvious? Are you a Casual or a Committed Christian?
When Confrontation is Needed
2 Samuel 12:1-14
Sometimes Confrontation is needed and that’s a very sensitive assignment and we need to learn from Nathan’s approach. Or sometimes, like David, somebody might approach us and hold us accountable for a serious offense. And we can learn from David about how to react in that defining moment.
I. When We Confront… Nathan’s Confrontation
2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2; Titus 2:15; Prov. 28:23;
A. Make Sure We Are The Right Person To Go
Do we care about them? Do we have their best interest at heart?
Do we look forward to going - then we shouldn’t go.
B. Make Sure It Is A Major Issue.
Gal. 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are
spiritual should restore him gently.”
C. Make Sure To Go Alone. Matt. 18:15 “one on one”
D. Make Sure To Go In God’s Timing
David’s conscience had time to work. Pray, let emotions calm down.
E. Make Sure You Know The Facts Before You Go
Don’t go on “hear say” or rumor.
F. Make Sure Your Words Are Truthful, But Tactful
Prov. 25:11; 2 Sam. 12:5-9
II. When We Are Confronted… David’s Response
A. Be Approachable. We all need somebody close enough to us to
tell the truth & we need to listen. Prov. 27:17
B. Quickly Confess Sin. David immediately admitted his guilt.
2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 32:3-6
C. Truly Repent of Sin. Ps. 51:1-12; Micah 7:19; Heb. 8:12;
1 Cor. 13:5; Ps. 103:12 A Complete Disclosure of Everything!
D. Accept Consequences of Sin. (Without bitterness) 2 Sam. 12:13
E. Forgive Ourselves. 2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Chron. 3:5 If we’ve repented,
then accept God’s forgiveness and move on.
Has God sent someone or a message to confront you? Do you need to tenderly confront? Let’s follow the examples of David and Nathan!
When Opportunities Arise
2 Samuel 9:1-11, Gal. 6:10, Col. 4:5
Most of US don’t even think about the opportunities that present themselves ALL THE TIME to show compassion inside and outside the Church. But as Christians – we need to recognize that we have an opportunity to present a stark contrast to the world by just caring for one another—especially for people in need.
I. An Opportunity Opened Up For David
- We should keep our word even when it hurts – 2 Sam. 9:2-3;
- David doesn’t ask, “How severely is he disabled? How did it
happen? What does he look like?” He just asks, “Where is he?”
Why doesn’t he ask these questions? 2 Sam. 9:4 – Grace!
- Grace is giving something to someone who doesn’t earn it and can’t
- Sometimes we can give a lot to people and instead of them
continually being grateful, it’s, “What have you done for me lately?”
But… 1 John 4:20; Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12
- Mark Twain - “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can read.”
II. When Opportunities Open Up For Us
A. Seek Opportunities. 2 Peter 1:5-9
- Are we seeing needs where others don’t see them.
- Are we growing in our Christian walk or nearsighted and blind?
B. Seek Opportunities to Act. James 2:15
- It’s more than just words & more than just feelings
C. Seek Opportunities To Build Relationships. John 11:33-36
- Often Relationships are more needed than possessions.
“God has shown me that there are no unimportant people in His eyes.” - Pastor Hammond Are you seizing opportunities to show compassion and love. Have you received the grace and compassion shown on the cross?
2 Cor. 12:11-18
Scriptures emphasize that our thoughts are of great concern to God. He has the ability to read our minds & to discern our motives. But we cannot read other people’s minds nor know their motives.
I. Questioning Our Own Motivations Is Needed
Prov. 16:2; Jer. 17:9; Heb.4:12; Rom.8:8; 2 Cor. 9:7; James 4:3;
Matt.6:1-6,18; Prov. 4:23; Phil. 1:17; 1 Thess. 2:4; Ps. 139:2, 23-24
Questions To Evaluate Our Motivations
1. If no one ever knows what I am doing (giving, serving), would I still do it?
2. If there was no visible payoff for doing this, would I still do it?
3. Would I joyfully take a lesser position if God asked me to?
4. Am I doing this for the praise of others or how it makes me feel?
5. If I had to suffer for continuing what God has called me to do, would I continue?
6. If others misunderstand or criticize my actions, will I stop?
7. If those whom I am serving never show gratitude or repay me in any way, will I still do it?
8. Do I judge my success or failure based upon my faithfulness to what God has asked me to do, or how I compare with others?
II. Questioning Other’s Motivations Is Not Our Job
1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 4:4-5; Matthew 7:1-2; Acts 15:8; Psalm 44:21; Luke 16:14-15; Acts 5:1-4; Jeremiah 17:9-10
Questions To Evaluate Our Questioning of Others
1. Do we tend to question others reasons for doing things as a way to make ourselves appear better than them?
2. Do we question others motives as a sort of way to spread “gossip?”
3. Does our questioning of others motives reveal secret sin motivations in our own heart?
4. Do we usually do this questioning publicly with others – why?
5. Are our concerns about others motivations truly inspired by love for them or something else?
6. What good is derived by our questioning their motivations?
7. Is our questioning of others actually a ploy of Satan to distract us from our own deceptive motivations or sinful practices?
8. Do we really believe God is the only one who truly knows all hearts?
Let’s leave judging motivations up to God, & just look in the mirror.
2 Cor. 12:1-10
Tests can help us to grow in our spiritual walk with God. However, the sad truth is that many of us have allowed our tests and trials to break us, to make us bitter instead of better. Let’s learn today from the apostle Paul who serves as an example of how to handle tests in the right way…
I. Our Favor (v.1-6)
A. Paul had many blessings – Phil. 3:4-11
B. We have many blessings - Prov. 10:6; Eph. 1:3; Ps. 32:2; Mal. 3:10; Luke 11:28; Rev. 14:13
II. Our Father (v.7)
A. God permits trials to Humble us – 2 Cor. 12:7
B. God permits trials to Deepen us - Rom. 5:3-4; Job 42:5-6
C. God permits trials to Refine us - Zach 13:9; Ps. 66:10-12
D. God permits trials to Prove our Faith Genuine– 1 Pet 1:6-7; Luke 15:11-32
III. Our Furnaces (v.7)
A. Paul’s Thorns/Trials - 2 Cor. 11:21-31
B. Our Thorns/Trials -
IV. Our Focus (v.8-10)
A. Relief/Removal – We can Ask consistently for help & know God hears us. 1 John 5:14; Ps. 116:1-2; Ps. 18:6; James 1:5; Phil. 4:6-7
B. Recognize – We must listen for God’s Answer - James 1:19; 1 Sam. 3:10; Romans 10:17; Prov. 3:5-6
C. Rejoicing – We should Seek the Good –2 Cor. 12:10; James 1:2-4; Rom. 8:28
V. Our Faith – (v.8-10)
A. Made Stronger Through Christ – 2 Cor. 12:10; Phil 4:11-13;
B. Made Evident to Others– 2 Cor. 4:7-9; 2 Cor. 1:3-5
Remember as you go through trials that God often says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Tower of Babel
Series: God Said It – Believe It Genesis 11:1-9
Properly understanding the account of the events at the Tower of Babel will help us to relate so much better to people of other languages and other races. But more importantly, it helps us to better understand God and his purpose for our lives.
I. The Construction of the Tower of Babel
A. God Was Displeased Because They were Directly Disobeying His
Command to Disperse and Replenish the Earth. Gen. 9:1
B. God Was Displeased Because They were Totally Self-reliant
Rather than Relying on God. Gen. 11:4; 3:5
C. God Sees All We Do Whether We Realize it or Not. Heb. 4:13;
II. The Confusion of Languages at the Tower of Babel
A. God Intervened to Slow Down Man’s Regression into Sin.
B. Here is the Origin of the World’s Different Root Languages.
C. There’s Only One Race and That’s the Human Race. Acts 17:26
- Two factors that affected their skin color: 1) Genetics; 2) Climate
Gen. 9:26; Num. 12:1
D. World Government is Not God’s Will; World Evangelism Is.
Acts 17:26-27; John 15:5; Prov. 10:28; Jer. 29:11
III. The Conclusions We Need to Draw From the Tower of Babel. “Any Construction Without God is Futile.”
A. Education Without God is Futile.
B. Leisure Entertainment Without God is Futile
C. Church Without God is Futile
We must Build on Jesus Christ! “If I would be lifted up, I will draw
all men to me.” John 12:32; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:1-6
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Cor. 12:13 Jesus bridges the race barrier, sex barrier, & language barrier. That’s the only hope! In any language, His atoning death on the cross for our sins reads: “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!” Jn. 3:16; Gal. 2:20
The Fall of Man
Genesis 2 & 3
We often ask, “What is wrong with this world? Why is there so much evil in our world? How can this be?” The book of Genesis is so important because it tells us where we came from, what our purpose is, and what’s gone wrong with the world. Genesis tells us that human beings have revolted against God and against his created order and the entire creation has been thrown out of joint. It also hints as to our future restoration with God.
I. The Perfect Creation
A. Perfect in Completeness (Gen. 2:1-3),
B. Perfect in Purpose (Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:16)
C. Perfect in Morality (Gen. 3) “Good” used 7 times in Gen. 1
II. The Fallen Angel
A. His Origin: Heaven - Is. 14:12-15; Rev. 12:7-9; Eph. 6:12
B. His Form: Serpent - Gen. 3:1, 14
III. The Temptation, Sin, & Results
A. Satan Questions God’s Word (Gen. 3:1)
B. Satan Denies God’s Word (Gen. 3:4)
C. Satan Reverses God’s Word (Gen. 3:5)
D. Man Rejects God’s Word (Gen. 3:6)
E. Sin Brought Consequences: Guilt, Shame, Withdrawal From God, &
Blame Game (Gen. 3:7-8, 12-13)
IV. The Punishment of Mankind
A. Painful Childbirth (Gen. 3:16)
B. Cursed Environment (Gen. 3:17-19)
C. Physical Death (Gen. 3:19 & 22; 2:17; Rom. 5:12; 6:23;
1 Cor. 15:21–22)
V. The Future Redemption
A. Crushing of Satan (Gen. 3:15; 1 John 3:8)
B. New Clothing (Gen. 3:21; Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)
We cannot save ourselves. We cannot defeat the evils of the world on our own. Our only hope is for God to intervene. He has and He will - “For as in Adam all die even, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Cor. 15:22
Creation of Everything
Genesis 1:1-15, 24-31 “God Said It – Believe It” #1
The question of “origins” – “Evolution vs Creation” is crucial--- How we think about ourselves eventually comes out in how we behave. Are we just a mistake of nature? Or are we deliberately created in the image of God? Our morality, our purpose, our eternal destiny rests in the verdict.
I. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Contained In the Bible
- Some say the Bible is Old, but it is Reliable - Matt. 24:35
- The Bible is remarkable in its Scientific Accuracy - Is. 40:22; Job 26:7; Gen. 15:5; Psalm 8:8; Eccl. 1:6; Gen 1:1-31 - All things created by God & are good!
II. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Logical
- Reason Concludes It. It’s Just Common Sense: A Creation Calls for a Creator… A Design Demands a Designer.
- “…so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
… DNA - “For you created my inmost being...” Ps. 139:13
-“The fool says in his heart there is no God.” Ps. 53:1
III. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Unanswered By Evolutionist
1. Does the theory of evolution explain the origin of life? 2. Why are there respected scientists who believe in creation and don’t believe in evolution?
3. Why is there no fossil evidence of any transitional forms? 4. Why are there no living transitional forms? 5. Why aren’t breeders successful in crossing the boundaries between species? 6. Doesn’t the Big Bang Theory presuppose an original cause? 7. Would you explain the principle of irreducible complexity and how it relates to evolution?
IV. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Hated By the Opposition
- Creationist are Despised; Refusal to teach Creation in Schools
John 3:19-20 “Everyone who does evil hates the light” Romans 1:18 “Men suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
-“ What consistent Darwinism means: No life after death, no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning for life, no free will.” – Provine
V. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Taught By Jesus
1. He was there when it happened. John 1:2-3; 8:58; Matthew 19:4
2. He demonstrated superiority over the creation. Mark 4:39; Matt. 14:25; Matt. 14:18, 21; John 2:9, 4:46; Mark 9:31; Mark 13:19; Mark 8:38
We can trust what God said about Creation – Believe it! (Heb. 6:19; 2 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 5:13) We’re not here by natural selection; we’re here as a special, divine creation. In the end it’s not going to be the survival of the fittest at all; it’s going to be the survival of the faithful.
How Do I Gain Respect?
1 Samuel 2:12-29
In this nation, we live in an age of disrespect. Rebellion against any type of authority is commonplace. The home is where the basic foundation for learning respect takes place. “As the home goes, so goes the nation.” The Bible speaks clearly on respect & submission to authority: Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-14; Heb. 13:17; & Eph. 6:1-3. How do we gain respect again in our homes, schools, and nation? This is our focus today.
I. The C____________ of Disrespect
A. They did not respect G______ (v. 12)
B. They did not respect the H_________ of G____ (v. 15-17)
C. They did not respect O________ P_______ (v. 22)
D. They did not respect their F______________ (v. 25)
II. The C____________ of Disrespect
A. Sometimes dads believe their F_________ are more important, but
act as if their J________ are.
B. Though we Love our C__________, we must make sure that we
Honor G______ First. 1 Sam. 2:27-29
C. P___________ Behavior and Lack of D____________ from parents
toward children can end tragically. 1 Sam. 4:11, 18
III. The C___________ T__________ of Respect
A. It is E_________- Not Merely Demanded
“Actions speak louder than Words.” “He who truly knows has no occasion to shout.” 1 Cor. 11:1
B. It Involves C________ - When there is Disrespect
“If respect for authority is not taught in the home, it is rarely caught outside the home.” Prov. 29:15
2 Keys to Parental Discipline: 1) C___________ 2) C______________
C. It is a P_____________ - Not Gained Overnight Jn. 15:15
4 Building Block Periods: 1) D________: birth to five; 2) Training: 6 to
12; 3) C________: 13 to 19; 4) Friendship: adults
This Father’s Day could be the day you determine to be the Father, Mother, or Grandparent God has called you to be. Be one that teaches respect, and in turn has many blessed days with respectful offspring.
How Do I Bring Them In?
“Bring them in, bring them in, Bring the wandering ones to Jesus” – this is our mandate as Christians, but it is often something that we neglect. Today we look at how this was done in the New Testament as patterns for us…
I. Failure To Bring Them In
Reasons why we don’t…
II. Finding Your Style To Bring Them In
1. Direct Approach (Confrontational) Peter (Acts 2:14-41)
- Get right to the point, tell them about Christ, & seek a response. 2 Tim. 4:2
- Traits & Cautions: Bold & Strong Convictions; but seek the Spirit’s help to be sensitive & tactful (Eph. 4:15 “speak the truth in love.”)
2. Intellectual Approach – Paul (Acts 17:16-34)
- Analytical; Logical; Inquisitive; Likes to debate 2 Cor. 10:5
- Traits & Cautions: More concerned with what people think than what they feel so Avoid getting stuck on academic points, arguments, & evidence (1 Pet 3:15 have “gentleness & respect.”)
3. Testimonial Approach – Blind Man (John 9:1-41)
- Clear communicator, Good listener, Vulnerable about personal life 1 Jn 3
- Traits & Cautions: Tells powerful stories of Christ’s saving work in their lives, but Keep Christ and the Gospel message as the centerpiece
4. Interpersonal Approach (Friendship) – Matthew (Luke 5:27-29)
- Conversational, Sensitive, Friendship oriented – 1 Cor. 9:22
- Traits & Cautions: Focuses on people & their needs, but Beware of valuing friendship over Telling them they are sinners in need of a Savior; be patient
5. Invitational Approach – Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42)
- Enjoys meeting new people, hospitable, persuasive - Luke 14:23
- Traits & Cautions: Sees outreach events as opportunities; but do not get discouraged if people don’t come & be wise as to what to invite to
6. Service Approach – Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42)
- Others-centered; Sees needs and finds joy in meeting them; Shows love through action more than words – Rom. 10:14
- Traits & Cautions: Seeking God daily for opportunities to serve; Remember that “actions are not substitute for words.”
May the Holy Spirit energize and make you ready to share the good news with others in the unique way God has gifted you! What approach/approaches fit your personality?
Recipe for Continued Romance
1 Thess. 3:12; Rev. 2:4-5; Eph. 4:31-32; Luke 15:11-32
Many people have been married a long time, but they were NOT “happily married.” “May the Lord make your love increase & overflow for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thess. 3:12 The goal for our marriage we talk about today is deepening romance. The Recipe for Continued Romance:
- “Remember the height from which you have fallen!” Rev. 2:5
- Luke 15:17-18 Review of tender memories from the past
- Believe that with the Lord’s help you can be lifted back up, because the Bible says, “With God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26
- “Repent.” Rev. 2:5 - Remorsefully ask forgiveness for past offenses.
- “Father, I have sinned.’” Luke 15:18
- “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.” - Cliff B.
-Prov. 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel.” We all need Advice!
- Forgive – Eph. 4:31; 1 Cor. 13:5 “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
- Forgive: 1) Giving up -give up the right to retaliate. 2) Giving notice -reveal clearly what was done so as to heal. 3) Giving love when there is no reason to love & no guarantee that love will be returned.
“Do the things you did at first.” Rev. 2:5 Back to the Basics Luke 15:19
A. Return to the Basics of Spirituality.
- Instead of having God at the top of our priority triangle, some have career, material possessions, recreation/food , children - Matt. 6:33
B. Return to the Basics of Communication. Eph. 5:33
- Our schedules can get crazy -spend time together talking & listening
C. Return to the Basics of Romance.
- “familiarity can breed complacency” - Be creative
- Have a servant’s heart - put the other first - Phil 2:3-4
D. Return to the Basics of Character.
-2 Cor. 4:16-17 – We should mature to value inner beauty
Make it your goal to have a lasting Marriage! Make it your goal to hear from God, “Well done good & faithful servant…” Matt. 25:21
Elohim: The Lord Is Creator
“In the beginning God created,” those words form our basis for meaning and purpose in life. Yet, we live in modernistic society that denies our very beginning. Today we consider the implications of understanding the truth that God created us and revealed His purpose for doing so!
I. Creation: God Created It
- “God” Elohim – One Triune Creator revealing His power and supremacy through Creation – Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:1-3.
- God existed before Creation. He is an infinite being without beginning & without end – the Great “I AM” Rev. 21:6; 22:13; Ex. 3:14; Is. 43:10
- “Create” Ex Nihilo – God is the source of everything since He “created” everything out of NOTHING. He spoke “ALL” into existence! Everything was formed at God’s Command. – Gen. 1 & 2; Matt. 19:26; Luke 18:27
- Compelling Evidence that God is Creator – Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:18-20
- “By Faith” – Heb. 11:3. Which requires more faith – Creation or Evolution?
- Speculation OR Revelation – Which will it be for us? (Eph. 1:11)
II. Creation: God Ordered It
- God created a universe that is orderly – not chaotic. - Isa. 45:18
- God created a universe that is open – not closed. – Gen. 3:6
- God created man in His image – not animals. – Gen. 1:26-27
- God fulfills our ultimate longing and purpose – we were created by Him and for Him. (Col. 1:16) Pascal - “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.” Augustine - “Our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”
III. Creation: God Liked It
- “God saw all that He had made and it was very good.” Gen. 1:31
- Ps. 148:5-6; Is. 45:18; Ps. 104 – Praise is due to the Lord for His Marvelous Creation!
- Even after Consequences of the “Fall of Man” (Gen. 3:14-19; Rom. 3:23; 6:23) God had a plan! – 1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 8:20-21
The Design demands a Designer! The Creation demands a Creator! Will you worship Him as Creator and seek to find your purpose and direction from the ONE who designed you?
Abba/Pater: The Lord Is Father
In the Greek the word “Pater” and in the Hebrew the word “Abba” means “FATHER.” For most of history and in most cultures of the world, fathers have been the primary figure in families. God is identified in this way in His Word to help us understand something about our connection to Him as His Children. Today we explore 3 words that reflect that connection:
- Honor Is Due - Isaiah 9:6; Lev. 19:3 ; Ex. 20:12; 1 Sam. 2:12, 29,30
-Discipline Grows Out of Love.. Heb. 12:5-11
- “Discipline” and “Disciple” have the same root word.
- 4 Visual images of how parents discipline (Dave Stone):
- Matthew 25:21
- Protection - Ps. 5:11; 12:7; 20:1
- Support – Ps. 54:4; Eph. 3:20; Phil. 4:19
- Guidance – Ps. 37:23; Rom. 8:14; Prov. 3:5
- Power – 2 Chron. 16:9; Zechariah 4:6; Ps. 18:32, 37
- Amazing Grace – 1 Pet. 4:10; 2 Cor. 4:15; Eph. 1:5-7
- We SHOW grace because we RECIEVED grace.
- Unconditional Love – John 3:16; 14:15; Rom. 8:38-39; 1 John 3:16; 5:1; John 13:34,35
- Reclaim your birthright to know and enjoy and love Abba as your Father
Will your connection to “Our Heavenly Father” be what He designed it to be? Will you reflect that relationship to your family and in this world for others to see and learn and discover?
YAHWEH and Adonai: Lord
How well do you know God? I mean really know Him? The more deeply we explore our God, the more we are able to move beyond simply knowing about Him to truly knowing Him. Today we begin a study exploring the names of God to get to know Him better.
I. What God Desires
A. To Know Him by His Names
1). Any relationship begins by knowing someone’s name (Gen. 17:1; 28:10-
2). A relationship without a name inevitably means distance
B. For Us to Know Him Personally
1). Naming means vulnerability (Luke 1:30-33)
2). God is at our disposal (Heb. 13:5)
II. What We Need
A. To Understand His Name
1). God is eternal (John 8:58)
2). God is unchangeable (Exod. 3:14)
3). God is personal (Rom. 8:38-39)
B. To appreciate His Name
1). Who is MASTER/LORD of your life?
2). How could He better be LORD of your life?
3). What parts of your life do you need to make Him MASTER?
If Jesus is not Lord, what is it that is keeping you from making Him so? Why not change the relationship you have with the True Lord today?
Be Infectious2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Many believers make Christianity unattractive. They’re boring, joyless, hypocritical & negative. This should not be! Today we are going to look at Biblical characteristics that will help us make Christianity contagious & infectious in a world that desperately needs Christ.
I. Be Real (5:11-12)
- Reasons we are to persuade people to accept Christ: 1) Jesus Commands it (Matt. 28:19-20) 2) God designed us to Share good news (Acts 5:42) 3) If we believe the Bible – people are lost heading to Hell without Christ
- Acts 26:29 – Paul didn’t fake it nor disguise his motives
- Our Behavior is important - There’s something attractive &contagious about a person who is authentic
II. Be Passionate (5:13-15)
- Rev. 3:16; Rom. 12:11 – We should never lose our zeal!
- Acts 26:24-25 - Passion should come automatically if we really believe our message is true.
- Luke 19:41; Acts 20:31 – Have you wept over the lost?
III. Be Insightful. (5:16-17
- The world evaluates people by the externals. The World sees possessions; we should see potential.
- What did others see in… Simon Peter, Saul, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, & Zacchaeus?
- John 4:39 - Woman at the well - Others saw a degenerate woman; Jesus saw an effective evangelist.
- We are a new creation if we are in Christ Jesus!
IV. Be Reconcilers. (5:18-21)
- We are under a huge debt of sin – Is. 59:2; Rom. 6:23
- Jesus paid it for us! – 2 Cor. 2:21; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:13
- It’s our ministry to bring those who are at odds with God to peace and reconciliation with Him. What a great assignment!
- We are ambassadors – NOT Negotiators! We must share it accurately even if some may not receive it.
Will we be the infectious contagious body of Christ the world needs? Jesus is the world’s only hope - And He has entrusted to us the responsibility to share that message!
2 Corinthians 4:8-18
The people who really achieve anything in life stay with it longer. They don’t quit easily. They are not intimidated by obstacles. In fact they see them as opportunities. Today we discuss the importance of perseverance in the Christian life because we all get knocked down. Paul says, “Therefore we don’t lose heart.”
I. Get Back Up When We Get Knocked Down. (4:8-9)
- Examples of Perseverance….
- Prov. 24:16; Rom. 2:7; Heb. 12:1-3
II. Love the Lord More Than Life Itself. (4:10)
- Acts 19:30-31; Matt. 16:24-25; Luke 16:10
- Do you love Jesus More Than…..
- Annie Dillard – “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
III. Believe What We Say We Believe. (4:13-15)
- 2 Tim. 1:12; Job 13:15; Prov. 3:5-6
- That belief that Paul’s life was helping others motivated Paul to keep going.
- We need to be people who know what we believe and why.
IV. Keep Our Eyes On The Goal. (4:16-18)
- 2 Cor. 2:12; Phil. 3:12-14
- Our goal is to go to heaven when we die and take as many people as we can with us, but the adversary (Satan) will do everything possible to distract our attention.
We’re not promised that this life is going to turn out as we want. But this world is not our home. There won’t be an exemption from hurts here, but God promises “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” “Therefore, we don’t lose heart” & we get back up when we fall down.
2 Corinthians 4:1-7
Our nation is plunging deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness and uncertainty. Our spiritual foundations are being shaken to the core. Psalms 82:5 describes us. ”They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.” How can we confidently let the light of Christ shine through us in a world that is so spiritually dark and uncertain?
I. Be Positive in a World of Negativity (4:1)
- If Christians are converted, we shouldn’t be continually miserable and depressed. We ought to be joyful and optimistic even in the midst of negative circumstances.
- 1 John 4:4; Matt. 16:18; John 16:33; Rom. 5:20; Phil. 4:13 – God is greater -Christ Strengthens us
II. Be Truthful in a World of Deception (4:2)
- Satan is a crafty liar, deceiver, disguised as an angel of light – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So it shouldn’t surprise us that the world is full of his misleading ways.
- 1 Pet. 2:12; Phil. 2:14-16; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; John 3:19 – Show integrity, and shine the consistent light of the truth of the Gospel.
III. Be Selfless in a World of Selfishness (4:5)
- The world is accustomed to most looking out for Number 1. When we put the needs of others above ourselves, we’ll stand out!
- Matt. 5:16; Mark 10:43-45 – Jesus is our Ultimate example.
IV. Be Real in a World of Phoniness (4:7)
- Those in the world try to cover up, pretend, and wear masks and we as Christians can get caught up in this too! But there actually there are few things more compelling than someone who is authentic and humble enough to admit their weaknesses.
- 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 3:23; James 3:8 – Be Transparent, Confess your sins, Admit Weaknesses, Let Jesus Shine through you!
Will you be genuine for Christ? Will you step out of the darkness of this world and walk in the confidence of the light of Christ daily?
2 Cor. 3:1-18
We live in turbulent times. However, the Bible underscores the confidence that the Christian should have in the midst of uncertainty. This comes from being humble and trusting in God Himself, His instructions, and His provisions.
I. Trust C_________ – Not O_______________ (3:1-3)
- 2 Cor. 3:4-5 - Paul’s Confidence Was in God & What He Could do,
- Psalm 27:1-5; 2 Tim. 4:16-18 – We Can be Confident Because We
Trust in God’s S__________, Not Our Own. We Don’t Have to be
- To Trust in Christ, and Not Yourself, Takes H_____ Because you have
to Swallow your Pride & A_____ your own I__________. - Phil. 4:13
II. Trust G________ – Not Our W___________ (3:6)
- Heb. 2:15 – The Fear of D________ Holds Many in S__________
- 2 Cor. 3:7-11 – The Differences Between the Old & New Covenant…
- Eph. 2:8-9 – This takes Humility to Accept G_______ since we Don’t
D_________ it and We Haven’t E___________ it.
III. Trust C_________– Not Our A_____________ (3:13-18)
- 2 Peter 1:5-8 – Jesus C__________ Lives from W__________!
- 2 Cor. 4:16 - The Older You get in the Christian Life, the more
A___________ You Should Become on the I__________.
- Col. 3:12-13- Be Authentic and Real with Others, Showing Kindness,
Patience, and F________________ - This is What God V________!
John Ortberg wrote, “We’d like to be humble, but what if no one notices?” Only through Christ can we grow the fruit of humility. And the more we humble ourselves, the more confident we will become in what our mighty God can do in us, through us, and for us!
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
We live in a day where we don’t know what lies around the corner neither with Iraq, North Korea, China… nor with our own Countries future morally, economically, or politically. The more uncertain the present becomes, the more important that future assurance of a Heavenly Home is needed.
I. We Know (5:1)
- When this life is over there’s a better life waiting for us.
- This tent is so fragile; it can so quickly be destroyed!
- John 14:1-3 – Our hope isn’t on speculation but on the
demonstration of God
II. We Are Guaranteed (5:5)
- We have the Holy Spirit as a Deposit (engagement Ring)
- Rom. 8:11 – The Holy Spirit lives in us!
How do we know He is living in us? 3 Questions:
1) Have you put your trust in Christ and Obeyed Him? (Acts 2:38)
2) Have you observed spiritual fruit growing in you? (Matt. 7:16; Gal.
3) Have you Noticed Sensitivity to Spiritual Spurs? (1 Cor. 2:12, 14;
III. We Are Confident (5:6, 8)
To eliminate fear and instill confidence we are told about…
A. A gradual deterioration of the body. 2 Cor. 4:16 – It’s not Sad –
It’s a folding up of our tent, reminding us it’s almost time to move
into a new building from God.
B. A departure of the spirit. 2 Cor. 5:8
C. An immediate presence with God. 2 Cor. 5:8
D. A glorified, resurrected body 2 Cor. 5:3; John 5:28-29;
1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:14-18 No more Winter!
E. A judgment of our works. 2 Cor. 5:9-10; Matt. 16:27
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1) “Death… It is the most misunderstood part of life. It is not a great sleep but a great awakening. It is that moment when we awake, rub our eyes and see things at last the way God has seen them all along.”
The winter season can be the toughest to bear, yet it can be the sweetest. Let us see How God blesses even in the cold of winter!
I. The Wonder of Winter
A. It is a Time of Celebration, Blessing & Rest – Col. 4:6; 1 Pet. 3:9;
Phil 1:21-23; Heb. 6:7 Gen. 2:2-3 Ex. 16:29; 2 Tim. 4:6-8
B. It is a Time of Conveyance – 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 15:1-4; Deut. 4:9;
C. It is a Time of Caution
- Don’t Cling Too Long – 2 Kings 18:5,7; Is. 38:1-3; Is. 39
- Don’t Underestimate God – 2 Cor. 12:7-10; is. 46:4 ; Ps. 92:12-15
II. Seasonal Summaries
A. Remember That Seasons Begin & End - Psalm 30:5; Gen. 8:22;
B. Develop Seasonal Consistency – 2 Tim. 4:2; Prov. 20:4; 21:5;
C. Learn From Each Season – James 1:5; Gen. 50:20
D. Find Joy In Your Season - Phil. 4:4, 6-7, 11-13
E. Be Prepared for the Next Season – Eccl. 11:4; Luke 14:28;
F. Be Confident – God is at Work In Every Season – Ps. 1:1-3; Mal. 3:6;
James 1:17; 4:8
G. Thrive in Every Season - Psalm 16:11; John 15; Esther 4:14
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Eccl. 3:1,11
Life’s autumn seasons are generally when people make their greatest contributions. They gather the seeds they planted in spring and labored over during summer to produce a harvest in fall. Ecclesiastes 3:2 reminds us that there is “a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” How can we be prepared for the best Fall seasons in our lives? It begins by asking ourselves some questions and following Biblical examples…
I. What You Do - Deborah (Judges 4 & 5)
- Taking Responsibility, Mastering Skills, Investing in Others, Maximizing Impact, Being a Positive Difference Maker
- Finding Purpose and Making the Most of it
II. Who You Influence – Paul (Acts 14-15)
- Spouse, Children, Grandchildren, Co-workers, Friends, Fellow-Christians
- Through: Love, Communication, Forgiveness, Example, Boldness
III. Who You Are – John the Baptizer (Matthew 3)
- Still Growing, Reaping, Adjusting
- Reaping What You Have Sown
IV. Whose You Are – Elijah (1 Kings 18)
- Our view of God is Paramount
- Our Faith is in?
- Our Spiritual Development comes by practicing good habits for the long haul
- God uses Ordinary people to do extraordinary things!
What are you doing to prepare for Fall harvest? How will you allow God to use your life for Him? What habits do you need to change?
Eccl. 2:24; 3:3; 5:19; 9:10; Prov. 30:25; Neh. 2:18
Summer is far from the end, yet it’s no longer the beginning. We’ve moved from the excitement of the start-up to a new stage marked by labor and growth. Most worthwhile endeavors require hard work and encounter setbacks and difficulties. Living as a true Christ follower is no different. If we want a fruitful harvest the work of summer is a necessity!
I. Doing The Work of Summer
- The work is there to do, and we are designed to do it – Eccl. 3:3; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:12-13
- Enjoyment of our toil may not always come naturally to us, but it can be ours through God’s grace. Eccl. 2:24; 5:19; 9:10
- Summer Work means an opportunity to learn patient endurance, which is a priceless treasure – Rom. 5:3-4; 2 Thess. 3:6,11; Heb. 6:12
- When our summer labor follows God’s pattern- God gets the glory! – Neh. 2:12; 4:4-16
- We must watch for Summer Dangers – they are many!
II. Determining The Work of Summer
A. Our Identity – Spring is when we get our foot in the door; summer is what we do once we’re inside. Prov. 10:5; 6:6-8
B. Our Relationships
- Marriage - It takes hard Summer work to keep a marriage healthy and strong – it isn’t luck. Eph. 5:21-33
- Children – Raising children is not for the lazy! Each new stage in the lives of our children requires adjustment from parents. Eph. 6:4
- Friends - The quality of our relationships depends on how hard you work at them in the summer. Prov. 17:17; 18:24; Eccl. 4:9-12
C. Our Roles - Those that work hardest, smartest, and depend on Jesus the most in the summer --- are the most likely to enjoy a glorious harvest in autumn. Heb. 5:12; Eph. 4:16; 1 Pet. 2:2
D. Our Faith - While spring is when God invites us to enter into a deeper, more vibrant walk with Him, summer is when we put in the time it takes to get there. Matt. 13:3-9; 1 Kings 19:19-21; Luke 5:27-28; Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:5-8
Are you doing the work of summer so that the fruits of your labor may bring God glory? Are you determining how God can use the summers of your life to produce a harvest for Him?
Seasons Of Life - Spring
Not properly interpreting the Seasons of Life is an oversight that can fill our outlook on life with confusion, doubt, and stress. Ultimately, this huge misconception concerning our situations and seasons in life can lead to wasted months, lost years—even a squandered life.
I. Making Sense of the Seasons
A. Seasons - God’s Plan
-Gen. 1:14, 16 – God built change and variety into creation
-Eccl. 3:11 - Our ability to taste life’s experiences at their best is governed by
their seasonality. We can glimpse now the perspective we’ll gain in heaven.
B. Ten Laws of the Seasons of Life
1. Each of us experiences repeated cycles in life that are profoundly mirrored
in the seasons we see in nature.
2. These seasons are more than simply a metaphor for aging.
3. Each season is unique and adds important dimensions to life.
4. Our seasons follow a set order.
5. Our seasons vary in length & intensity—and in what they require from us.
6. The way we handle one season profoundly impacts how we experience the
seasons that follow.
7. We can, & often do, fail to recognize & understand our particular season.
8. Understanding our seasons of life requires a vital, open, trusting
relationship with God.
9. We experience different seasons in different aspects of our lives.
10. We are meant to thrive in every season. Richard Blackaby -Seasons of God
II. Understanding Your Spring-Time
A. Potential, Promise, & Possibilities
B. Precautions – Dangers in Every Season
- Season Rushers & Season Graspers
III. Applying Spring-Time Spiritual Concepts
A. Your Identity - Ps. 139:15-16; 2 Cor. 5:17
B. Your Roles – 1 Tim. 4:12; Col. 3:23; Rev. 2:10
C. Your Relationships – Prov. 13:20; 1 Cor. 15:33
D. Your Faith – Gen. 9:20; Ex. 3:10; Mark 1:16-20
Every aspect of our lives is governed by the ebb and flow of seasons. Because of Jesus - Death is not the final season. When Jesus comes again we each one will experience a wonderful, new, eternal springtime if we have answered His call.
Purpose & Preparation – Worship
William Hendricks wrote in his book, Exit Interviews: Revealing Stories of Why People are Leaving the Church, “That the most common complaint was: NOT that church services were not Interesting, but that they WERE NOT Worshipful… The most significant benefit of a church service is connecting with God… People come to church because they expect to find God there.”
I. What Is Worship?
- William T. - “Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.”
- 2 ingredients that are always present in genuine worship: Awe and
Joy Psalm 8:1, 3-4,9; Acts 2:46-47; Psalm 100; 46:10; 47:1
- Failure to understand these two aspects of worship causes a lot of
controversy and division in churches today.
II. What Is The Purpose Of Worship?
A. Worship Glorifies God - Psalm 29:2; 147:11
B. Worship Edifies Believers - Is. 43:21; Heb. 10:25
C. Worship Challenges Seekers - Acts 2:47; 16:30
- Sally Morgenthaler -“Worship is the most powerful tool we have for
satisfying the hunger of famished souls…”
III. How Can We Get Back To The Heart Of Worship?
A. Preparation Eccl. 5:1 – “Guard your steps when you to the house
of God…” Don’t Come Casually - Be Ready -
- Singing - Eph. 5:19; Psalm 33:1; Psalm 150 - God loves variety.
God loves newness – “New Song” repeated 9 times in Scripture.
- Communion – 1 Cor. 10:16
- Offering - 1 Chronicles 16:29
- Preaching – Heb. 4:7; 1 Cor. 1:21
- Living Obediently - Rom. 12:1; Matt. 15:8
- Praising God Daily - Ps. 71:8; 35:28
Gordon D. -"Most middle class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, & to play at their worship." Let it not be so!
Responsibility and Choices - Truth
We have become specialists at shirking our responsibility and blaming other people for our actions. The Bible tells us that we are responsible for our choices. There are 3 things I want us to learn today about Truth and our responsibility and accountability for abiding in the truth and remaining in Christ. (1 John 2:24, 27, 28)
I. Truth is Truth Regardless of Public Opinion
- 2 Cor. 10:12 – Who do we compare ourselves to?
- J. Vernon McGee - “Sometimes majority opinion just means you have a lot of fools in one place.”
- John 14:6; Matt. 7:13-14 - Jesus is the Only Truth & Many will not accept this truth
- Gen. 6:9 – Noah choose to live differently than the world
- Psalm 147:11 – God is delighted when we choose to walk with Him instead of the world
II. Truth is Truth Regardless of Personal Feelings
-2 Peter 2:5- Noah preached 120 years without a convert!
- Deut. 30:19 – “Choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
- You can make the right choice: Joseph & Moses did!
III. Truth Is Truth – Regardless of Preconceived Ideas
- Gen. 6:22; Heb. 11:7 - Noah was a man of Faith who obeyed God
- Francis Shafer - “Faith is standing against what is seen at the moment and being willing to be out on a limb in believing God.”
- “Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance.” – W. Clement Stone
- “Fake News” – In Christianity?
- “Illusion of truth” – when you hear certain information so many times, you believe it, regardless of its accuracy.
“Noah found favor (or he found grace) in God’s sight.” We are responsible for making right choices, but it is not our right choices that save us. It is the choice of Jesus Christ that died for us on the cross. We are saved by putting our faith in His righteous work. (1 Pet. 3:18, 20-21)
Love And Respect - Marriage
Satan is out to destroy families and marriages today! How do we make our marriages strong as God intends? “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
I. God’s Directives To Husbands
A. Expressively Love Her – Eph. 5:25; Rev. 21:9-10
1. Our Love Should Be Decisive - Hosea 1:2-3 ; 3:1
2. Our Love Should Be Sacrificial – Matt. 26:39
B. Eagerly Forgive Her – Eph. 5:26-27; Luke 6:37
C. Excitedly Cherish Her – Eph. 5:28-29
- A Woman’s Key Needs:
II. God’s Directives To Wives
A. Respect His Leadership – Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Pet. 3:3-6
B. Respond To His Needs – Eph. 5:22-24; Prov. 31:30;
1 Cor. 7:3-5
- A Man’s Key Needs:
C. Remain Faithful To Him – Eph. 5:31, 1 Cor. 7:10-11
Husbands - model Christ-like love for your wives. Wives - model respect for your husbands. In this way others may see the faithfulness and the love of Jesus Christ in us. This will protect and preserve our marriages and be a witness to a needy world.
Empowered & Renewed – Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit can empower us to follow God’s will, overcome temptation, pray effectively, witness boldly, understand Scripture, & cope with suffering. If we try to do those things on our own power we will find ourselves pretending, exhausted, and ineffective. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life & godliness…” We are…
I. Empowered To Serve Sensibly
- Acts 6:1-7 Stephen was - “full of the Spirit and wisdom”
- In our own power, we can’t do what God wants done.
- 2 Cor. 3:13; Acts 4:8,31 What can be done to recharge our spiritual battery?
- 1) Repent of Sins – 1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30; Ps. 51:11
- 2) Get Into the Word – 2 Pet. 1:21
- 3) Pray Daily– Luke 11:13
- 4) Encouragement from Christians – Eph. 5:18
- 5) Worship – Ps. 68:35
- 6) Use Your Spiritual Gifts – 2 Tim. 1:6-7
II. Empowered To Witness Wonderfully
- Acts 6:8-10 - “…they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.”
- The Spirit will energize us to speak boldly for Jesus – Acts 4:31
III. Empowered To Croak Confidently
Acts 6:11-15 -“they saw that his face was like the face of an angel”
- He was bold in the face of opposition – Acts 7:51
- Heb. 2:14-15 – we are free from slavery to fear of death
- Ps. 23:4; Rom. 8:11 - What God says: He will do!
- Col 3:2 – Let’s keep our minds on our Eternal home!
IV. Empowered To Forgive Freely
- Acts 7:60 - “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’”
- We can’t in our own strength forgive – through the power of the Spirit we can release the right to retaliate Eph. 4:30-32
We must turn our life over to Christ, making Him Lord of all – and The Holy Spirit will empower us. What are you called to do today through His Spirit?
The Ideal Church
What do you look for when you’re looking for the ideal church?
I. MARKERS OF WHAT WE OFTEN PERCIEVE TO BE THE IDEAL CHURCH
A. It Would Be Ideally Comfortable.
- What we think – Dress, Music, & Size like we like.
- “Many folks would define the perfect church as a place where
people are like them. “
- Acts 2:9-11 - As Different as they were: Their devotion to Christ was
stronger than their prejudices and their preferences.
B. It Would Be Ideally Accepting.
- What we think - always warm & friendly, no problems, no hang-ups
- Acts 9:26 Paul wasn’t accepted at first - Hang in There & Take Steps
C. It Would Be Ideally Peaceful.
- What we think: No fighting, vying for control, personality conflicts
- Acts 15:39 Team broke up: Paul went one way & Barnabas another
D. It Would Be Ideally Mature.
- What we think - perfect retention & participation, universal maturity
-The church is imperfect because it is made up of imperfect people
II. MARKERS OF THE REAL CHURCH
A. Christ is Foundational.
- Acts 2:38-47 Baptized in Christ, teaching is about Christ power of Christ,
motivated by love for Christ, worship Christ
- We’re not claiming to be perfect but we do claim to know and lovethe
One who was and his name is Jesus. And He is the basis of our unity.
B. Community is Intentional.
- Intense, intentional connectedness.
- Acts 2: 42-46 shared values, experienced things together, shared their
resources, worshiped together & spent time in each other’s homes
C. Service is Normal.
- Acts 2 42-46 They sold their goods in order to do good, shared their
homes, gave their time to their spiritual priorities.
Wouldn’t you like to be part of a REAL church like that? Well friends if you are a member here, you are! The more you learn God’s will for your life and His church and give yourself to that will, the stronger this church will be.
God’s Church was intended to be powerful! Would you describe the Church as “powerful” today? What do Samson and the Church have in common? Today we explore God’s powerful Church as He designed for it to be—learning from Samson.
I. Divinely Created -
A. Samson - Judges 13:2-3
B. Church - Joel 2:28; Acts 2:1-4, 41, 47
II. Divinely Dedicated
- Samson - Judges 13:5; 15:20;
- Church - Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 1:5; Heb. 5:12;
III. Divinely Empowered
- Samson & The Church – Great Power
- Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14-15; 16:3-4; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:3-5; 1 Thess. 1:4-5;
- Samson - Weakened but Restored
- Judges 16:28-30
- Church – Weakened but Restored?
- Joshua 7:12, 24-25; Matt. 5:13-16; Heb. 10:23-31; Matt. 6:33; John 14:23-24; 8:11; Luke 15:7
We are the Church! How will you represent Christ this week? Will others see a “powerful” Church through you? May your prayer be, “Let them see You (Jesus) in me!”
From its earliest days, the church has faced difficulty with quarrels & strife. Satan has sought to conquer the kingdom of Christ by one key tactic: divide & conquer. Jesus wants all His followers to get along so that our testimony would be believable. Jesus instructed: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall..” (Luke 11:17)
I. Importance of Unity
Prov. 6:19; 1 Cor. 1:10; Deut. 6:4; Acts 2:44, 46; Ps. 133:1
A. Unified In Nature – John 10:30; Phil. 2:6; Rom. 12:18
- Different but Equal – Gal. 3:26-29; 1 Cor. 12:21-27
B. Unified In Mind – John 11:42; Phil. 2:5-7
C. Unified In Will – Matt. 26:39; Eph. 4:2-5
D. Unified In Purpose
- To Win the Lost & Edify the Saved - Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:20-
21; Col. 1:28; 3:16
- Stand Firm Against Our Common Enemy – Phil. 1:27-28
II. Threats to Unity
A. False Teaching Acts 20:29-31; Acts 15; 2 Pet. 2:1-2
B. Legalism and Liberalism- Rom 14; 2 Tim. 2:14; “In opinions liberty”
C. Criticism - James 3:5-6
D. Uncontrolled Ego/Pride- Prov. 11:2; 16:18; 29:23 –
EGO “Edging God Out”
E. Selfishness and Favortism James 3:16; Phil 2:3-4
III. Keys to Keeping Unity
A. Respect Leadership - Hebrews 13:17
B. Avoid Controversy if Possible - Titus 3:9
C. Practice Servanthood - Luke 24:22-27; John 13:5
D. Be Quick to Forgive - Matt. 6:15; Luke 23:24; Col. 3:13
E. Stay Connected To Christ & the Word - Col. 2:19; 1 Pet. 2:2
A divisive, dogmatic spirit is not a mark of maturity, but of immaturity. “Peace” is a fruit of the Spirit! It grieves the Father when we fight & are divided. It brings joy to His heart when the Church is unified & harmonious.
Isaiah 58:1, 12
The Restoration Movement of which we are a part, determined to use the Bible as the plan-book or "blueprint" to "restore" the Church to its original doctrines, ordinances, and faith. Have we succeeded in totally restoring the New Testament Church? We need to work on restoring the Church because the walls are broken and in need repair in several areas:
I. Purity (Rom. 12:1-2) Have we neglected holiness & godliness? Have we become too much like the world around us? Are we rubbing off on the world or is the world rubbing of on us?
A. Presentation – Offer Our Bodies -Comletely to Christ
1 Cor. 6:18-20
B. Consecration – Don’t Conform -Start Acting Redeemed
1 Pet. 1:14-16
C. Transformation – Renew Our Mind - We are changed in the
way we think… so we “tell others” Rom. 8:5-6
II. Perfection (Matt. 5:48 ) Have we remained the same Spiritually? Are we moving forward in Christlikeness? Are we aiming for perfection or just content to let grace cover our mess? 2 Cor. 7:1; Luke 8:14
Loving - 2 Thess. 1:3; Matt. 24:12-13 Giving – 2 Cor. 8:7
Speaking –1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Tim. 4:12; James 3:9-10 Praying – 1
Thess. 5:16-18; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2 Persevering – James 1:2-5
Learning –1 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:10
III. Purpose (Matt. 28:19-20) Have we vered from God’s original design for the Church? Are we passionate about what we need to be passionate about? Do we need to recapture God’s design for His Church?
A. We Are A Body Not A Business - Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:12-14, 27 ;
1 Cor. 15:1-5; 1 Cor. 2:1-2
B. We Are To Evangelize or Fossilize! - Matt. 28:19-20 ; Luke 20:1;
C. We Are To Make Disciples Not Converts – Matt. 28:19-20;
Luke 14:26-27, 33
Let’s work to “Restore” the Church of the New Testament!
What Happens At Judgment?
Two of the Bible’s certainties: “It’s appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) That there will be a judgment day is one of the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. (Eccl. 12:14; Acts 17:31) But what exactly do we know about this day? Let’s discover today what God’s Word says about that day.
I. When Is Judgment Day?
A. We don’t know what day - Matt. 24:36
B. We do know the order of events – Matt. 25:46; 16:27; Rev. 11:18 –
Jesus return, raptures, judgment day, eternal states
II. Who Will Be The Judge & The Judged?
A. God is the Judge, not us. – Heb. 12:23; 2 Thess. 1:5; Rom. 14:10
B. Both Wicked and Righteous People Will Be Judged –
Rom. 3:6; 14:10-12; Matt. 25:32; 2 Cor. 5:10
III. What Will Be Judged?
A. Works Will Be Examined
1. All The Works of All People - Rom. 2:5-10; 14:12; Matt. 12:36-37
2. Justified by Faith, Yet Judged by Works? – Rev. 20:11-15;
2 Cor. 5:10
B. Motives Will Be Exposed – 1 Cor. 4:3-5
“Our observable actions will testify of our unseen attitudes.”
IV. What Is The Purpose of Judgment Day?
A. To Distribute Rewards and Punishments - Matt. 25:31-46;
1 Cor. 3:12-15; James 3:1; 2 Tim. 4:8
B. To Defend God’s Condemnation – Col. 3:25; Rom. 1:18-21;
C. To Deify God’s Mercy – Jude 20-25
V. Are You Ready For Judgment Day?
Matt. 24:44; Heb. 9:27-28
Are you ready to sing, “O the King is coming, The King is coming! I just heard the trumpets sounding, And now His face I see, O the King is coming, The King is coming! Praise God, He's coming for me!”
What Do We Know About Christ’s Second Coming
Paul said, “By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.” (1 Cor. 6:14) There is another Resurrection that I want to focus on today that is made possible by Christ’s Resurrection. It is our resurrection from the dead when Jesus returns the Second time.
I. The Certainty of His Coming
A. The Promise of Christ’s Return Is Very Clear. John 14:1-3; Rev. 22:7, 12
B. The Delay of Christ’s Return Is As Planned -2 Pet. 3:3-4, 8-10; Acts 3:19ff
II. The Manner of His Coming
A. Personal - Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16
B. Visible & Audible - 2 Thess. 1:7; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:16
C. Sudden - Matt. 24:27 ;1 Thess. 5:2; Matt. 24:36, 44
D. Triumphant - Matt. 24:30; 2 Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 6:15-17; 1 Pet. 4:13
III. The Time of His Coming
A. Description of the Last Days
1. A Time of great Falsehood- John 8:44; Rev. 20:8; Matt. 24:5, 24
2. A Time of great Wickedness- 2 Tim. 3:1-7
3. A Time of great Persecution - Rev. 16:14; Matt. 24:9; Rev. 17:6
B. Deliberate Ambiguity
IV. The Events Accompanying His Coming
A. Victory Over the Enemies of God – 2 Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 19:11-16; 6: 16-17
B. Resurrection of the Dead -1 Cor. 15:52-57; Rev. 21:4
C. Transformation of the Living- 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52
D. Raptures- 1 Thess. 4:17; Matt 13:24-43; Matt. 24: 40-41
V. The Message of His Coming
A. Eagerly Await Jesus Return. Phil. 3:20; 1 Cor. 1:7; Rom. 8:23
B. Live In Readiness For Jesus Return. Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:38-40
Jesus came the first time to save us from our sins through His sacrificial death on the cross. He rose again on the third day defeating death and assuring us that because of that we too would defeat death. He ascended and promised He was coming back to take us to Heaven. We need to be able to echo John’s words, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20
What Lies Ahead Between Death and Resurrection?
Paul said, “Regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer.” (1 Thess. 4:13, MSG) The question always “comes up,” doesn’t it? Paul did not dodge it and neither will we as we learn to….
I. Live With Heaven On Our Minds While Here On Earth
- We really need inspiration to “think” long-term and not be deceived by Satan’s traps & snares - James 1:15
- Behavior before death impacts our circumstances after death - Luke 16:19-31
- No Uhauls behind our hearse. We will not carry our position or our possessions into eternity.
- Phil 3:20 – We are citizens of heaven
- Col. 3:20 – We are to Set our minds on things above
- Mark 12:30 – We are to love God with all our “Mind”
- Rom. 8:5-6 - The mind set on the Spirit is life & peace
II. Live With Peace in Our Hearts Concerning Parting From This Earth
Jesus gives us peace, not fear - John 14:27-28
A. Our spirit will separate from our body.
- Death is the departure of the human spirit from the
- Luke 23:46 “Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my
spirit into your hands!”
-2 Cor. 5:1 – Our bodies are “tents”
- Eccl. 12:1-5 – Solomon’s description of Aging
-1 Tim. 4:8 - Soul care first... Body care second.
B. Those “In Christ” will be with Jesus.
- Described as: “home” with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8)
- Described as: “Abraham’s Bosom,” (Luke 16:22) &
“Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43)
- It will be a Conscious Fellowship with Jesus in His
Presence – Acts 7:59
- Not yet our Resurrection bodies – 1 Thess. 4:13-18
C. Those not “In Christ” will be in Torment.
- Described as: “Being in Torment” & “Agony in this
flame” Luke 16:23-24 -
- Described as: “in Prison” 1 Pet. 3:19
- A Foretaste to Hell – Not the final state of Hell after
Judgment – 2 Pet. 2:9 – “Sheol”, “The Pit” “Hades”
Scripture tells us we only die once. It should be our life long goal to be ready for this event. If we live with heaven on our mind and peace in our hearts we can face death fearlessly and faithfully with the help of His Word and His Spirit. (Heb. 9:27 2 Cor. 5:10)
How Should I Understand the Millennium?
The bottom line of the book of Revelation can be summed up in two words: “WE WIN!” Yet there are some things to be gained from a deeper understanding of “The End of Days” and what this time holds for us as Christians. Let’s discover today how the Millennium should be understood.
I. Keys To Prophetic Interpretation
A. The Old Testament was written for the sake of the New
Testament Church. Rom. 15:4
B. The New Testament often interprets the Old Testament for us.
Gen. 3:15/Rev. 12:9, 20:2
C. Prophetic language is often figurative. Hosea 12:10; Rev. 1:1
D. Prophecy is fulfilled on different levels of reality. Rom. 9:6
II. Interpreting The Structure of The Book of Revelation
A. Preterist View -
B. Historical View -
C. Futurist View -
D. Cyclical View -
III. Interpretations of the “Millennium”
Rev. 20:1-7; 2 Peter 3:8 “Millennium” = 1000 years
A. Postmillennialism -
B. Traditional Premillennialism -
C. Dispensational Premillennialism -
D. Amillennialism -
1. The Binding of Satan -
2. The First Resurrection -
3. Reigning with Christ -
There are millennial blessings right now for every Christian - begun by Christ when He came the first time. These could be true for everyone else, depending on how well you and I take the saving message of Jesus Christ into the entire world. (Acts 26:18) Let’s bring light into darkness until Jesus comes again!
Leaving Behind the Right Legacy
Understand that you will leave a legacy. Everyone will. The only question is whether or not it will be a positive or negative one. Let’s look at three ways we can assure that our legacy is a positive one.
I. Legacy of Love
- John 13:34-35 “Love one another” Are you passing down LOVE?
- Paul H. -“When it comes to our children, you spell love: T-I-M-E.”
-1 Cor. 13:7-8a “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – ALWAYS! – No exceptions
- 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply..”
- 1 Cor. 13:13 “..But the greatest of these is love.” - Love is Eternal!
II. A Legacy of Faith
- Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
-“Only one life will soon be past—only what’s done for Christ will last.”
-3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
- Andy Stanley “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God many not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
III. A Legacy of Biblical Parenting
- Deut. 6:6-9 “…you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands … Repeat them again & again to your children.” Ex. 20:6
1. Be the Example of the character traits you would like to Develop in your Children.
- “more is caught than taught” Phil. 3:17 - Your kids model will be you
2. Be Consistent with Rules , Discipline, and Consequences.
- Prov. 13:24; 23:13; 12:1 - We have to consistently discipline for disobedience and teach our children to respect authority.
- If you want your child to accept your values when they are older, it is essential that they see you as worthy of respect when they are young.
3. Be Intentional about your Own Choices to make sure they line up with God’s Word.
- Little choices add up to setting the tone for our values: Church attendance, priorities, TV, Music, who we hang with
4. Be in Prayer for your Family and Read the Bible Together.
- Let your kids see you pray and teach them to pray. Open the Word WITH them. Prov. 22:6; Deut. 9:6; 2 Tim 3:16-17
The length of your life is up to God; the legacy of your life is up to you. Live this life for Jesus & your legacy will last forever!!!
The Doubts and Disappointments of Life
Today we will deal with two reasons that tend to initially diminish our faith: doubt & discouragement. Some doubt God’s power & personal involvement in our lives. Others are discouraged over some circumstance they’ve experienced or maybe some tragedy that’s caused them to question their beliefs. In both cases, the result is that our faith is shaken. Let’s see how our faith can be strengthened & allow us to overcome these obstacles.
I. Overcoming Doubt
- Hebrews 11:1-3 the opposite of Faith is Unbelief – Not Doubt
- Stephen Brown - “If you’ve never had a question about your faith, you probably don’t have much faith.”
- A faith that has never been tested cannot be trusted
- Doubt should drive you to go on a spiritual search for truth. Luke 7:19, 28
- John 20:31 There is a difference between doubt and unbelief
- Oswald Chambers -“Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong, it may be a sign that he is thinking.”
- 2 types of doubters: dishonest doubters and honest doubters.
-“An atheist can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.” … Jer. 29:13 - many don’t want to find God because it means they will have to change their life.
- Jude 1:22 “Be merciful to those who doubt.”
- Those who doubt can’t just swim in that pool forever.
II. Overcoming Disappointment
- John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble.”
- Challenges, disappointments & suffering will either drive you to the Lord or from the Lord—that’s up to you.
- There is a greater good that comes out of disappointment.
- Romans 8:18 your temporary afflictions are no comparison to what God has in store for you.
- Romans 8:28 …suffering matures us and connects us to Jesus.
- Never place a period where God intended for there to be a comma.
- Max Lucado – “Don’t see your struggle as an interruption to life, but as preparation for life.”
- Adversity is often the best classroom for learning! What is painful today will produce character tomorrow.
Doubt and Disappointments can—in time—actually deepen and mature our faith and draw us closer to Christ if handled correctly. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
We spend a great deal of life trying to discover who we are and why we are here. Today we’re going to take a look at the two contrasting views when it comes to our identity and self-image. These two perspectives stand in diametric opposition to one another.
I. THE WORLD’S VIEW: Our Identity Is Found Through “WHAT” We Do.
- Galatians 1:6-9 - The Galatians had a “works” based Mentality
- Why does it seem the Bible is so harsh on the legalist?
- The Christian life is about Trusting - not Trying.
- “Works says DO, Grace says DONE.”
- 1 Tim. 1:14 "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly ...
- Earning our way produces: inadequacy and guilt.
- As children of our Heavenly Father we do good works out of devotion and not out of duty.
II. THE BIBLICAL VIEW: Our Identity Is Found In “WHO” We Are.
- Matthew 26:34-35; 69-74; Luke 22:61-62 - It’s in the valley that Satan loves to try to Steal our Identity.
- Acts 4:13 Peter moved from fear to faith - the Holy Spirit can do in our lives what we can’t, so transformation becomes possible.
- As a Christian, we belong to Christ, regardless of the sins in our past. They may be sins of self-righteousness or of rebellion, but regardless of our particular list, Christ offers a new identity. - Rom. 8:1
-1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “…that is what some of you were … But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Our identity can be found in Christ and not in our sinful self. God specializes in giving new identities. Paul said so: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Making a Difference
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and that there was no way to overcome the odds or that you didn’t stand a chance? Jesus said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) David, who faced a giant, believed three truths about God that gave him the courage and willingness to be used. These same truths can enable us to make a difference, as well.
I. There Is No Enemy Too Strong.
- 1 Samuel 17:4-7 – Goliath “looked” unbeatable
- Matt. 17:20-21 – faith small as a mustard seed can move mountains!
-What drove everyone else was fear. What consumed David was faith.
- What are your Giants? - Addictions, marriage issues, depression, loneliness, lingering sickness, financial debt, disrespectful children
II. There Is No Weapon Too Weak.
- God specializes in taking weak instruments to carry out his will.
- 1 Samuel 17:26 - David couldn’t let this man make fun of his God
- David trusted in the power of the name of the Lord
- 1 Samuel 17:43-47 “…For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
-“It is written…” Matthew 4:4, 6, 10 There is power in God’s Word
-2 Thess. 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
- The God of heaven’s armies is both powerful and personal. His angels care for us- Ps. 91:11, Heb. 1:14
- God’s ways are not our ways – Is. 55:8
III. There Is No Battle Too Big.
- 1 Samuel 17:47 The Lord will use whoever’s willing and available to make a difference.
- Where might God be counting on you to make a difference?
-2 Cor. 12:9 “ … My power is made perfect in weakness ... ”
- David won the battle, but God received the glory.
- Eph. 1:19-20 great power is available to those who believe in Christ.
Remember that God can use anyone, anywhere, at any time to make a difference. Become a committed follower who trusts in a powerful God. He can use YOU to make a difference!
Counting the Cost of Following Christ
Often we tend to view the church as a place that provides something to us and Christianity as a product we obtain. There’s this tendency to dwell on the benefits and gloss over the responsibilities. We’re excited about salvation, but not as pumped up about sacrifice. But the Bible talks about sacrifice as a lifestyle more than an event. There are sacrifices associated with being a Christian. (Matt. 5:10-12; Rev. 2:10)
I. Sacrifice is a Partnership.
- Philippians 1:1-5 - We are partners in sharing the Gospel
- Spiritual Partners – Eph. 6:18; James 5:16
- Financial Partners – Prov. 3:9-10; Phil. 4:19, 12-13
- Wess Stafford, “The opposite of poverty is not ‘wealth;’ it’s ‘enough.’”
II. Sacrifice has a Cost.
- 2 Samuel 24:24 “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing… ”
- What does the Christian life cost you?
- Philippians 1:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:23-28 0 What did it cost Paul?
- Matthew 25:23 0 Big sacrifices are often the result of little sacrifices over a long period of time.
- Our journey of faith is filled with opportunities to stand for Jesus or fall for the world
- Matt. 10:37; 1 Cor. 15:33 – Are we willing to give up any relationship that stands in the way of our relationship with Jesus?
-“Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more.”
III. Sacrifice Comes from Love.
- 1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Thess. 1:3 - It isn’t manufactured, it isn’t manipulated, and it is not a miscellaneous add on.
- What would happen if you saw yourself as a channel, a vehicle, a conduit to be used by God to bless others … to advance the gospel?
- Philippians 1:18-20 - Paul was willing to Sacrifice his Life for the Love of his life – Jesus!
- Jack Graham - “Faith is risky, but unbelief is deadly.”
- Matt. 16:24-25 – Sacrifice: being willing to take up a cross for Jesus
- Gal. 2:20 Sacrifice - saying “No” to self and “Yes” to Jesus
I have no idea what it is that the Lord is laying on your heart or what he wants you to sacrifice. But I can tell you what he sacrificed for you—and why he did so. He gave his own life to make a way to heaven possible for you and me. What will you do with Jesus?
Building the Church by Tearing Down Walls
The church isn’t just a place: it is people who are united by their faith in Jesus Christ. We are the Church -“the called out ones.” We are a group of Christ followers striving to be a united representation of Christ. Here is how the Church is to be built…
I. The Church is Built on Unity (16:1-12)
-The church members were committed to the Church
-The Church is to be a melting pot of all cultures, ages, genders and socio-economic backgrounds. This was the norm, not the exception! Galatians 3:26-28
-We are the body of Christ, & each of us are a part of it. Rom 12:27
- There is a true service component woven throughout the fabric of the church in Rome and should be today as well.
II. The Church is Built by Relationships (16:13-16,20, 23)
- The Church was made up of people connected closely to one another.
- The Church cared for one another!
- 1 Cor. 12:25-26 When we are divided and hurtful to other Christians the damage we are doing, in essence, hurts both Jesus and ourselves.
- When the church is unified, God is glorified.
- Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
III. The Church is Built for a Purpose (16:25-26)
- The Purpose: To carry out the great commission of bringing the gospel message to ALL people of all the world. Matt. 28:19-20
-Rev. 7:9 – One day we will ALL worship side by side, why not now?
John 17:20-21 “…May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
A Mosaic is something beautiful created out of pieces of something broken and dirty. Individually, the pieces have no value, but they do when they are combined and placed in the hands of a creator. We are a colossal collection of Christ followers who are broken. Jesus is able to fix our brokenness and blend us into a beautiful mosaic!
The Hug Life
God’s grace is something that’s too good to be time.
Grace is God’s best idea. – Hebrews 12:15a
We need to embrace grace. We need to learn how to hug back.
God loves bad people and rejoices when they turn to Him.
The son wasted his money on extravagant unrestrained living. The father restored his son with extravagant unrestrained grace.
- Dear Dad – Luke 15:18-19
Our sonship is not based on our performance but on Jesus' finished performance. – Ephesians 2:8-9
- When Grace Runs – Luke 15:20a
Love for the son overcame the father so much that he lost all good sense and set aside his dignity.
Even in our darkest moments of sin and self-centeredness, God still loves us.
- Too Good to Be True – Luke 15:20
He didn’t do anything to deserve honor. It wasn’t about him. It was about the grace of the Father.
The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. Grace is too good to be true!
God’s Justice - Discipline
Hosea 2:19; 7:10; 10:10; Heb. 12:4-11
Why is there so little difference between the lifestyles of Christians & Non-Christians? Grace has become a license to sin for many Christians. We serve a God who is Just & will administer discipline and His children. Our God is Just & will ultimately see to it that Justice is done.
I. God Is Just A “Just” God
- Hosea 2:19 I will betroth you in righteousness and justice “ Deut. 32:4 “all his ways are just” Is 59:14-15 “The Lord looked & was displeased that there was no justice.” Ps. 33:5 “The Lord loves righteousness & justice“ Ps. 50:6 “He is a God of justice.” Prov 29:26 .. it is from the Lord that one gets justice” Rom. 3:25-26 “…the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
- Thomas Jefferson - “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
II. We Are “Wayward” Children
- Hosea 7:10 “he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him”
- Is. 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;”
- James 4:17; Prov 24:17; Ps. 137:7; Luke 6:31-35; Prov. 16:18
III. God “Disciplines” His Children
- Hosea 10:10 “When I please I will discipline them”
- Prov. 3:12 “because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
- Heb. 12:6 “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
- Heb. 12:10 “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
- God does the most loving thing He can do when He disciplines us!
- How will you accept God’s Discipline?
- God will one day make things right . There will be a judgement day when justice will be done! Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:4-6
- Rev. 20:12; Matt. 25:41
Sound doctrine is often a case of balance. The hope of heaven needs to be balanced with a warning about hell. Grace & Mercy cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of Justice and law and discipline. There are conditions to a loving relationship. And in order to have a relationship we must meet the conditions.
God’s Grace – Forgiveness
Hosea 2:5, 13; 3:1
Grace is talked about often, yet misunderstood by most. Perhaps it has become so familiar that it has ceased being grace at all. How are you applying God’s grace and what difference is it making in your life? Let’s ask some questions today that might help us rediscover grace and forgiveness:
I. Forgetting God?
- How is it possible to forget someone who loves you so deeply and passionately as God loves you?
- When we forget God it usually happens slowly, subtly, gradually over a period of time.
- Busyness, taking God for granted, limited communication with God, lack of Bible study & church attendance, & ongoing sin all can contribute to forgetfulness of God.
II. Cherishing Idols?
- The most dangerous Idols usually result from good things in our lives – Rom. 1:23-25
- Much of idolatry derives its roots from “Self-worship.”
- What do you substitute for the real thing?
- Emptiness is a consequence of Idolatry!
- What really matters on your deathbed?
III. Barriers to Grace?
- Are their Emotional Barriers of guilt, shame, fear, anger, and grief in your life that makes it difficult to receive God’s Love?
- Do you believe you can earn your way into God’s favor?
- Do you try to make a break from sin on your own not trusting in God’s power?
- Do you worry over “doing enough” to be saved?
IV. Rediscovering Grace?
- God’s Love is Patient
- God’s Love is Powerful
- God’s Love Rescues us from….
There is great joy on the other side of humbly seeking God’s grace and forgiveness! (James 4:7-10) God through Christ Jesus can remove shame and guilt and clothe you with a new identity – Christian! (Rom. 7:25)
God’s Passion - Relationship
Hosea’s love story is relevant to our love story with God. The time and place may have changed, but the human heart and God’s love remain the same. It reminds us that God pursues us with an intensity that can breathe life into our burdensome tired lives. By surveying the unfamiliar “Sin-derella” story of the prophet Hosea, and his wife, the prostitute Gomer, a portrait of God’s unyielding pursuit and obsessive love emerges that will shock & surprise you.
I. God Pursues Us Relentlessly
- God’s Love is Persistant and He Chases After Us - Ps. 139; Luke 15:4-5, 8-10, 20
- God is Passionate About Us – He does Whatever it takes to bring us back to Him - John 3:16; Eph. 2:4-5; Rom. 5:8; Rom 8:35-39
II. God Desires An Exclusive Relationship With Us
- Marriage symbolizes God’s Relationship with us – Eph. 5:25; Rev. 19:7; Is. 62:5
- Relationship vs. Religion - Much is revealed by our Attitude and Approach to God. It is not “Let’s make a Deal!” Relationship is God-centered whereas Religion is more Human-centered. Ex. 20:3-17; Matt. 22:37-40
- Often our Relationship with God is Complicated – 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:4
- God is a Jealous God – We must have an Exclusive Relationship or None at All. Ex. 20:5, 34:14; Josh. 24:19; Luke 19:41; Deut. 4:24
- God is Faithful and Expects the Same from Us – Ps. 146:6; Deut. 7:9; Rev. 2:10; 2 Tim. 4:7
- The Road to Relational Ruin – Romance, Reality, Routine, Rebellion, Roaming Eyes, Roaming Heart, Regretful Acts, Relational Ruin. There can be a Road to Restoration if there is Rekindling, Reconciling, Rebuilding, and Reconstruction.
How will you respond to a God who loves you enough to die for you? He desires a real relationship with you exclusively. Will you be His?