PM

Sermons

PM

What’s the Occasion?

Four-year-old Asher’s gleeful face peeked out from beneath his favorite hooded sweatshirt. His alligator-head hooded sweatshirt, complete with plush jaws that seemed to swallow his head! His mom’s heart sank. She wanted the family to make a good impression as they visited a family they hadn’t seen in a long time.

“Oh, Hon,” she said, “that may not be appropriate for the occasion.”

The Lord who made you wants you to make Him the center of your life.
“Of course it is!” Asher protested brightly.

“Hmm, and what occasion might that be?” she asked. Asher replied, “You know. Life!” He got to wear the shirt.

That joyful boy already grasps the truth of Ecclesiastes 3:12—“There is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” Ecclesiastes can seem depressing and is often misunderstood because it’s written from a human perspective, not God’s. The writer, King Solomon, asked, “What do workers gain from their toil?” (v. 9). Yet throughout the book we catch glimpses of hope. Solomon also wrote: “That each of [us] may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all [our] toil—this is the gift of God” (v. 13).

We serve a God who gives us good things to enjoy. Everything He does “will endure forever” (v. 14). As we acknowledge Him and follow His loving commands, He infuses our lives with purpose, meaning, and joy.

Restore to us childlike joy that appreciates Your good gifts.

PM

Have I Truly Believed

“I gave my life to Christ and since then I’ve been trying not to stray from the narrow way. I go to church and I’m even involved in church ministry. BUT something has been bothering me…I’ve been asking myself and others this question ‘have I truly believed in Jesus Christ?’”- Tads

One of my best friends asked the question “how can one know that they have truly believed in Jesus Christ?” I feel that this question is a good question and it needs to be asked and answered more often. The question has the power to bring us to the core of the Christian faith. Sometimes, we overlook such questions because we are so busy going through the Christian-faith motions that we forget to check where we truly stand in Jesus. BUT I feel that the only way to answer this question is to go the Word of God. What does He say about those who have believed?

JUSTIFICATION

Our blessed assurance is that through God’s sovereign mercy and Divine love He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that those who turn to Him and believe may not face the second death. It is by faith that those who have believed are justified and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). (Can I get a hallelujah?) However, James furthers the argument of justification in James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Let’s understand that James is not discrediting justification by faith. He is confirming the notion of “outward” evidence when people claim to have believed. There must be actions to show for it. There must be fruit.

FRUIT

Grape fruit is evidence that the grape tree is a grape tree. Thus, the mere professing of belief in Jesus Christ is important but not sufficient. In the words of the Messiah “You shall recognize them by their fruits.”- Matthew 7:16 (Of course He was referring to false teachers but it also applies to the believers). In addition, Galatians says But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 1st John talks about the evidence of belief in Christ. The writer says “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”-1 John 3:14. The writer is basically saying that the evidence of those who abide in Christ…those who have believed is the fact that they love their brothers [fellow believers]. 1st John 4:12-21 is also a great passage to reflect on. In verse 13 the writer says By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.Then…he describes a bunch of things that you ought to read and in verse 20 and 21 the writer says”If anyone says, I love God,and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. Love is an evidence of one’s belief in Christ. Evidence of one’s belief is obedience to God’s word, kindness, self-control, purity in speech and many others. If one has truly believed in Jesus there is evidence of it as they live daily.

SANCTIFICATION

Since, we know that our blessed assurance is Christ’s sacrifice and God’s redemption through Him (as earlier discussed) and that those who have believed ought to bear fruit. Now, what if one is not bearing fruit as a believer, does this mean that they haven’t truly believed in Christ Jesus? Yes, it could mean that they have not repented and believed the gospel of Christ. At the same time, there are people who have truly believed and are not bearing fruit. Why is this?Some believers are under the illusion that the moment we are justified by God then our sin and our evil desires disappear and we live happily ever after. Well, I wish that were true but it’s NOT. Every day we wake up is a battle against our flesh, the world and the devil.

As, we are fighting the good fight and battling the flesh, world and the devil, our comfort is in the fact that He [God] who began a good work [the work of justification and sanctification] in you will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). However, we ought to work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God working within us(Philippians 2:12-13) and the Scriptures even extend to say put to death what is earthly in you, stuff like sexual immorality, lust and greed (Colossians 3:5). Thus, we see from the scriptures that we have a role to play in our sanctification, but we don’t do this alone. God will help us as He has said in His Word (praise GOD for this!).

Philippians 2:12-12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

PM

WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING

I used to be one of those people who would write down resolutions at the beginning of the year. I would write down the things I desired, and so badly wanted to happen. I would write them down then pray and hope that they’d come to pass, even if some of them were self-fishand self-centered. Ultimately, at that time I desired to be wiser than the “old me”…than the “last year me”. I desired to avoid the mistakes I had made the previous year. I desired to be better. The funny thing about self-betterment is that it doesn’t entirely work. It’s only when people desire God and His ways that they are able to live wisely and with understanding. This means that we are able to make the choices that will glorify God.

HOW CAN YOU BE WISER AND HAVE UNDERSTANDING?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One isunderstanding.”- Proverbs 9:10

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEAR THE LORD?

cartoon-confusion-question-mark-300x300

All over the Bible we read about the fear of the LORD. Some people immediately think of the Old Testament and God’s wrath against sin. Some think of His commands and the rewards for obedience and the curses for disobedience. And sometimes we hear people say “fear the LORD” and you go “amen, I will” but what does it really mean to fear God? What I’ve learned about the fear of God is that it is an issue of the heart. HOW SO? Commonly, we think of fear as an outward expression driven by adrenaline 1 involving flight or fight or both. Ordinarily, fear causes men to cower. For instance, being chased by two large German shepherds can be absolutely terrifying causing you to run, hide and run some more. However, the fear of the LORD should not be driven by the adrenaline 1 of the seasons of life and the urge to please people.  Nor should it be driven by cowardice. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” [NOTE: This applies to those who are abiding in God.]

 The fear of God is a fear that involves lowliness and humility. Lowliness is the knowledge of self-nothingness. James 4:14 “…What is your life? You are a mist (vapor) that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Whilst meekness is obedience to God’s will. Philippians 2:8 “…He [Jesus Christ] humbled himself by becoming obedient to death -even death on a cross!” The fear of the LORD [Yahweh] is done in the knowledge of His power, grace, holiness, justice, mercy, judgment, love, and all that HE is. For God cannot be approached without such a fear. The fear of God is living in light of the fact that HE IS EVERYTHING and I am NOTHING without GOD. Thus, in lowliness and meekness we ought to fear God knowing that His grace and mercy on that cross through Christ is what keeps His people from His wrath. The fear of the Lord acts as a preservative to those who have believed (Rom 11:18-21).  When we fear God we will obey His precepts and statutes thus attain wisdom.

WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING?

“…knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”- Proverbs 9:10

Job 28:28 Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”

 When we know God, His holiness, power, wrath, justice, mercy, love, and sovereignty and His attributes we will tremble and with a contrite heart turn away from evil. Joseph said inGenesis 39:9 “…how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”  With knowledge of the Holy One [God] we stand with Joseph and say “how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” because we know that God is righteous and holy, and He will punish all sin which is rebellion against Him. Thus, in lowliness and meekness one repents and believes the gospel. This is true biblical understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrenaline 1– A substance that is released in the body of a person who is feeling a strong emotion (such as excitement, anger, or fear) and the person experiences a faster heart beat and more energy.