And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

As I like to do when possible, here are the rough draft notes for today's sermon.

James 1:21 Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

God’s word is a revelation of who He is.  It isn’t all about a list of to do’s it is about His character, revealed
by His will, His words, His actions.
God’s word does not change.
God’s word is inerrant.
The footnotes of your Bible are not the inspired word of God.
You are accountable to the Word of God, you will be judged accordingly.

Thus, God wants us to think about what He is saying in His word.  It is life to us, it is truth that sets us free, and it the standard by which we will be judged.

·         The Word of God is for correction, teaching, reproof,……
            All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2Ti 3:16-17)
Realize that God gave us His word that we would know Him and be given wisdom in living.

·         Expect to hear from God, expect to take away a benefit for the week ahead.  When we come to church, we should always, always expect a fresh word from God.  It is the preacher’s ultimate duty of the week.  Thus pray for your preacher.  Pray that his week is such that the word of God is alive in his heart and supersedes all worldly temptation of compromise, ease, and trendiness.  Often, the sermon is a direct result of your prayers for the pastor.

·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit.  Blatant participation in sin, division in the church, and all other forms of pride and arrogance will quench a move of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 51: 11, Ephesians 4:30,
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
(Rom 8:5-8)

·         Attitude- value the words of God above and beyond the preacher
Have an attitude of learning and participating in the life of the church.  The church is given and treasured by God for the growth of the saints, spiritually and numerically.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:11-16)

·         Be a Berean- compare what was said to other scriptures. (Acts 17:10-12)  Is it true?
Distinguish between a man’s opinion and what God has said.  Don’t fall for personalities (Apollos, Paul,. Peter…1 Corinthians 1:11-13)

·         Be wise, Proverbs 1, Psalm 1, James 1, Colossians 3:16
Col 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

·         Be wary there are false prophets.2 Peter 2:1, Mt 7:15, 24:11 &24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26
1Jn_4:1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I am quite ashamed at the way people flock after the newest book, teacher, film, or fad Christianity.  Just because it says "Christian," or is sold in the local Christian bookstore does not make it theologically sound.

The word of God is not subjective, you may disagree with God, but you will always be wrong.

Be willing to change your opinion on an issue

Find encouragement

Expect to be tested upon what you hear.
            Be doers of the Word.

Obey.  Simply put obey the Word of God.
            If you love me you will obey me.
By the way, knowing the will of God is easy, its is obedience that we often have trouble with. 

Prepare the night before
·         Have clothes ready
·         Find your keys
·         Find your Bible
·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit by indulging in what God says is offensive.
Have a morning devotional time to prepare your heart.
Attend Bible study hour or a small group during the week
Take notes
Talk about what you heard on the way home
Make immediate application-plan on being tested

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What is Sin Anyway? Sermon Notes

In keeping with an offer to help people on Monday review the Sunday sermon, the following notes are a rough draft format of what I will be working on for the message this week.  I have every intention of keeping track with these notes, but as too often happens, diversions, shiney things, and squirrels detract from my train of thought.  Therefore, the actual sermon preached and the notes prepared may differ.

What is Sin Anyway?

God never fathoms a relationship with a people aside from holiness.  “Relationship” is not a word used in the scriptures.  Relationship is a term man uses to grapple with trying to understand how a holy God could ever forgive sinners and make them His children.  What is in the scriptures is holiness, purity, and truth.  A holy God by nature seeks to sanctify those who will worship Him.

·         Genesis 3 (To be read to the congregation)
·         But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21-26)
·         For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:20-23)
·         Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Rom 5:2-10)
·         Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1Co 15:1-5)
·         Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:17-21)
·         This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1Jn 1:5-10)
·         Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1Pe 5:8-9)

Sin is any failure to conform to the law of God in act, attitude, or nature.
Obedience= Doing what you are told, when you are told to do it, with a right heart attitude.
Sin can be commission (thou shall not kill), omission (You shall love the Lord your God), or construct of the heart (thou shall not covet).
The keeping of the law is summed up this way, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Sin is Godlessness; a failure to render unto God to glory that is His due.
Thus, sin is a worship issue.
Who do you worship?

You see, sin is powerful.
·         Its wages is death
·         It offers freedom yet in reality brings forth bondage and enslavement.
·         It creates an animosity toward God

Sin distorts truth; such as Satan tempting Adam and Eve, and even Jesus.
Sin works by deception, it perverts truth by having semblance of glory, but it is actually candy coated evil.
·         Sin challenges the truth of God within our hearts.
·         Sin redefines moral standards (Right vs Wrong)
·         Sin seeks to remove a sinner from the grace of Almighty God and His authority.

Sin involves an identity question.  People seek to “Find Themselves.” Which is really a question of “What satisfies me?” A question of personal enthronement.
For the Christian our identity is in Jesus.