Saturday, August 31, 2013

If God Loves Us Just As We Are

If God loves us just as we are,
then there is no reason for us 
to be born again.  We would
not need to be regenerated,
there would be no need to
be made new in Christ, 
if He loves us just as we are.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

If God Loves Us Just As We Are

If God loves us just as we are,
then there would have been no
need for Him to send His Son
to die for our sins.  In other words,
then Christ died needlessly if God
loves us just as we are.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

If God Loves Us Just As We Are

If God loves us just as we are,
then there would be no wrath 
to be saved from. We would not
be enemies of God and would have
no need of reconciliation,
 if God loves us just as we are.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preaching the Truth

Just a follow up muse concerning my post yesterday.
I wonder, here aloud, if the reason there are many
who do not preach the truth, is not so as to 
draw the crowd because they do not want
 to offend the crowd; but because they themselves
have an aversion to the truth, because it offends them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Will They Hear? A Reminder for God's Messengers

What will people hear when they come to your church?  What should people hear when they come to your church?  What do people need to hear when they come to church, any church?  The answer is simple, really, and it is....."The Truth."  What people should hear, and need to hear is "The Truth," yes, with a capital "T".

They don't need stories, they don't need therapy, they don't need moralism, they don't need movie clips or skits, they don't need placating, they don't need pandering, they don't need platitudes, they don't need entertainment, they don't need titillation, they don't need warm fuzzies, they don't need their self-esteem boosted or their ego stroked, they don't need to be manipulated, they don't need to be sold, they don't need vision, they don't need wit or comedy, they don't need a slickly produced event, they don't even need the pastor to be a great communicator.  Plain and simply they need the pastor to be a truth-teller; and they need the pastor to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help him God.

They need to hear the truth throughout the service, in the praying and the praising and the preaching. The entire service should carpet bomb them with the truth.  In our post-modern age, truth is the great need of the hour; but that is no different than it has ever been, as man has always had an aversion to the truth, which is why people will pile in heaps those who will tickle their ears with what they want to hear, and pile on those who don't.  But just because men and women are averse to the truth, doesn't mean they don't need the truth. In reality it is their very aversion to the truth that causes them to be in such great need of the truth.

Fortunately we have the great repository of the truth, the Bible, which is the very truth of God who cannot lie; and we have the Living Word, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who is truth incarnate and personified and the locus of the truth (Ephesian 4:21, John 14:6).  So if we are to give the people the truth, we should preach and teach the infallible word of God, and tell them of His Son who spoke truth and lived the truth (Ephesians 1:13a, John 8:40).

In Acts 20:26 Paul testifies that he is innocent of the blood of all men.  How could he make such a bold and powerful statement?  Because he knew that He preached the truth, he knew that he declared the whole counsel of God.  It wasn't platitudes that caused him to be stoned, but the truth.  It wasn't a therapeutic sermon that caused him to be beaten with a rod, but the truth.  It wasn't entertainment and titillation that caused him to be imprisoned, but the truth.  It wasn't self-esteem, make them feel good about themselves, tell them God loves them just like they are sermons that caused him to be run out of several towns, but the truth.

Man's great need is the thing he hates to hear the most, the truth.  If we are called to preach, then we are called to declare the truth.  Anything else, really anything less, is a betrayal of our calling.  Let's remember James 4:17, and don't give lip-service to preaching the truth; but preach the truth to the best of our God-given ability, asking Him for His grace and empowerment, trusting in His truth to do what only it can do and trusting in Him for the effects.  This is what makes us worthy watchmen (Ezekiel 33:1-9).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Preparing For Sunday and Your Sermon

In order to be prepared for Sunday 
and to be prepared to preach your sermon,
be mindful that whatever you preach to your
people, you must first preach it to yourself.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why We are Secure in Christ

We have been baptized into Christ Jesus, and united with Him in His death, and then certainly in His resurrection.  Romans 6:3-6

We have become partakers (koinonos--joint sharers, partners) of the divine nature.  II Peter 1:4

We have an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, and, which is reserved in heaven for us.  I Peter 1:4

We are protected by the power of God for a salvation which will be revealed (fully brought to light, fully manifested) when Christ returns.  I Peter 1:5

Because we are in Christ, there is no longer, forever, any condemnation on us.  Romans 8:1, Psalm 34:22

When we sin we have an Advocate who stands before the Father on our behalf, who always lives to make intercession for us and plead our cause before God against all of the cries of the accuser.  This Advocate was also the one who made propiation (satisfaction of the wrath and penalty) for our sins through His own death in our stead, and thus He saves forever those who come to Him in repentance and faith.  I John 2:1-2, Psalm 119:154, Hebrews 7:25, Romans 5:6-8, Romans 8:33-34, Revelation 12:10

It is Christ Himself who has laid hold of us for salvation, never to let us go.  Philippians 3:12, John 10:28-30

Nothing circumstance, no power, no angel, nothing yet to come, nor ruler can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

The Father would not dishonor the sacrifice of the Son by letting one for whom the Son paid the penalty of the Father's wrath, not make it into heaven and be raised up on the last day.  John 6:37-40

God has sealed our salvation by the Holy Spirit, who is also His pledge (down payment, escrow) of our inheritance which is reserved for us in heaven.  Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30, II Corinthians 1:21-22

What God has started, the work of His salvation in us, He will complete.  Philippians 1:6

All of the promises of our salvation are made sure and complete in Christ.  I Corinthians 1:20

So, my friends, rejoice in the security and therefore the surety of your salvation.  Let us offer up a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to our great God, and His great Son our Lord and Savior, for the greatness of this salvation, His making it available to us, His making its accomplishment in us fool-proof, and the confidence this gives us in our relationship with Him.  What a wonderful God! What a beautiful truth!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Worship and Reverence

Then Moses said to Aaron, " It is what the Lord
spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me
will be treated as holy, and before all the people
I will be honored."
Leviticus 10:3

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before
Him with joyful singing...Enter His gates
with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.
Psalm 100:1-2, 4
Italics mine

At the heart of worship and its accompanying praise is the the requirement of reverence.  In fact, reverence is the foundation of true worship; and as we see from the verse above, it is so because it is expected and required by the Lord Himself.  After all, He is the Lord of all creation and should be regarded as such, not in a shallow flippant way, but with the gravitas that He alone deserves. Reverence is the basis of what the Lord considers acceptable worship.

In light of this, how much of what is labeled as praise and worship actually is such?  How much of what is considered praise and worship is acceptable to the Lord?  If there is no accompanying reverence, and if its foundation is not reverence, is it truly praise, is it truly worship?  It is important that what we sing about the Lord and what we sing to the Lord is true, but is also important that it be done with a spirit of reverence, and done in such a way that He is honored as He should be. 

So before we worry about lights, and volume, and set design, and innovation, and creativity, and energy, and being appealing and pleasing to the audience; we should be sure, very sure that what we are doing is pointed at treating the Holy One as holy, and honoring Him in front of all the people, and that our goal is to please Him first and foremost.   If our goal is to please the audience, then is it not the audience that we worship?  

Just a little food for thought.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Working Out Our Salvation--Philippians 2:12

This is probably an odd thing to post, but these are some of my sermon notes from a message I preached a few weeks ago.  I am always interested in how other preachers arrange their notes and what they look like, so here is a snapshot of one of mine.

Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  These verses give us the two sides of sanctification…Man’s responsibility, and God’s provision… today we will focus on vs 12…man’s responsibility…our responsibility before God in the living of our Christian life….

What we are to do….How we are to do it…
This verse gives us the command then tells us how to carry it out….both in action and in attitude

Work out…literally means to work fully, to accomplish, to finish…it means to bring about, it means to fully carry out an assignment….to carry out a task until it is finished…
You stay at it until it is finished….rake all the leaves, wash all the dishes, cover the entire wall with paint….doing all that is required to finish the task while leaving nothing undone.

What are we to work out…..our salvation….ACTION
What is not said…work for your salvation, or work to be saved or get saved…what is implied in the syntax here is that the salvation has already begun, but not yet completed…
3 tenses of salvation…..See 2:13 and then 1:6
There are logical and consequential results of being saved…there is the continuum of salvation…and the culmination of salvation….we are in the continuum….
Colossians 1:5b-6 the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day your heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.

So in the continuum of salvation we have been a command, a responsibility that is ongoing, a command that we are to carry out, a responsibility to shoulder, as long as we have the breath of life in our bodies

So what does this working out of salvation look like…what pictures can we draw from the word of God…so we will know what this responsibility entails.

Get our mind right
Colossians 3:1-2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above…Set your mind on the things above and not on the things of the earth.
I Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
I John 2:15-17….
….We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ….

Put our shoulder to the plow
Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, if fit for the kingdom of God.
I Thessalonians 1:3 Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of God our Father.
I Corinthians 9:24-27
I Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called….
Philippians 3:12-14
Ephesians 6:10-14 Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might…stand firm against the schemes of the devil….resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore
I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing
I Timothy 6:18-19 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
II Peter 1:5-8
II Peter 1:11 For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil in not in vain in the Lord.

Finish what we start…what the word work out means….
Luke 8:15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Romans 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality…
II Thessalonians 1:4…perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure…
I Timothy 6;11…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness…
II Peter 1:6…perseverance…
Revelation 1:9…I John, your fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance in Jesus…
Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

If this was a paint by numbers painting, we would not have the painting completely covered, but we have the outline of the picture, and enough filled in to know what the picture looks like and what colors go where.

How we are to work it out
In Obedience…compound word…means to heed…to hear and to do…
Follow the same pattern of obedience…the same obedience as if he was there watching….

II 10:5…every thought captive to the obedience of Christ….
II Corinthians 9:13…they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ
Romans 2:8…II Thessalonians  do not obey the truth, do not obey the gospel…
Mark 1:15…Repent and believe the gospel…
I Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love for the brethren
Romans 6:16-17 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?  But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.
James…not just be hearers of the word…who delude themselves, but doers of the word.
Luke….why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do as I say.

With Fear and trembling…ATTITUDE…phrase used many times in the Scriptures…Mark of profound reverence, the utmost respect, the highest regard, and the greatest esteem….
fear and trembling present a picture for us of worship, reverence and homage
Psalm 2:11-12a Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Do homage to the Son
Out of this worship, reverence, and homage comes a profound desire to please
II Corinthians 5:9-11 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according what he has done, whether good or bad.  Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God…
Colossians 1:9-10…we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of Him, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

I Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more….

Monday, August 05, 2013

Trusting in the Word of God = Trusting in the God of the Word

For as the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return there without
watering the earth and making it bear and
sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower 
and bread to the eater; so will My word be 
which goes forth out of my mouth; it will
not return to me empty, without accomplishing
what I desire, and without succeeding in the 
matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 5:10-11

And why is this so?

Then the Lord said to me, "You have
seen well, for I am watching over My
word to perform it.
Jeremiah 1:12

I will bow down toward Your holy
temple and give thanks to Your name
for You have magnified Your word
according to all Your name.
Psalm 138:2

For us to not trust in the word of God,
is for us to not trust in God Himself.

And for preachers that is a fatal flaw.