Feb 25, 2018
Has Jesus Secured Your Trust?
According to the Bible, God will forgive you and cleanse you of your sin if you turn from sin to God and trust in Jesus Christ alone as your personal Savior. Then, as Christians, we are called upon to follow Jesus wherever He leads us by the grace that He promised to provide. In both cases, this requires a fair amount of trust in Jesus that He is who He claims to be and that He is willing and able to do what He has promised to do. How can we be sure that we can trust Jesus like that?
 
In Luke 8:1-3, we find that Jesus secured the trust of several women through His gracious acts. After Jesus had graciously acted on their behalf by healing their diseases and giving them new life, these women responded with faithful obedience. 
 
This small little snapshot from Jesus' ministry is illustrative of a much larger pattern that we find in Scripture, namely, that God seeks to secure the trust of people through His gracious acts. For, God desires a people who will trust Him as their God. In order to secure their trust, He acts graciously on their behalf. In the OT, we saw God act in this way on behalf of Israel through the Exodus, conquest of the Promised Land, and later, restoration after the exile. In the NT, we see this through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus to pay the penalty for humanity's sin. 
 
So, has Jesus secured your trust? Consider what Jesus has done for you. Could He possibly have done any more?! Then, trust Him with your life. Trust Him as your Savior. Trust Him as you obediently follow Him. There really is no other way! 
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  • Feb 25, 2018Has Jesus Secured Your Trust?
    Feb 25, 2018
    Has Jesus Secured Your Trust?
    According to the Bible, God will forgive you and cleanse you of your sin if you turn from sin to God and trust in Jesus Christ alone as your personal Savior. Then, as Christians, we are called upon to follow Jesus wherever He leads us by the grace that He promised to provide. In both cases, this requires a fair amount of trust in Jesus that He is who He claims to be and that He is willing and able to do what He has promised to do. How can we be sure that we can trust Jesus like that?
     
    In Luke 8:1-3, we find that Jesus secured the trust of several women through His gracious acts. After Jesus had graciously acted on their behalf by healing their diseases and giving them new life, these women responded with faithful obedience. 
     
    This small little snapshot from Jesus' ministry is illustrative of a much larger pattern that we find in Scripture, namely, that God seeks to secure the trust of people through His gracious acts. For, God desires a people who will trust Him as their God. In order to secure their trust, He acts graciously on their behalf. In the OT, we saw God act in this way on behalf of Israel through the Exodus, conquest of the Promised Land, and later, restoration after the exile. In the NT, we see this through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus to pay the penalty for humanity's sin. 
     
    So, has Jesus secured your trust? Consider what Jesus has done for you. Could He possibly have done any more?! Then, trust Him with your life. Trust Him as your Savior. Trust Him as you obediently follow Him. There really is no other way! 
  • Feb 18, 2018After Being Saved By Grace, Are You On Your Own?
    Feb 18, 2018
    After Being Saved By Grace, Are You On Your Own?
    Series: Spirituality
    Most Christians would agree that people are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. However, after being saved by grace, are you on your own? In Galatians 3:1-3, Paul addresses this issue to Christians in the early church.
     
    As we seek to answer this question, it is helpful to consider first that the Bible presents three stages of salvation, each stage dealing with a different aspect of humanity’s common sin problem. First, justification is salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin. Second, sanctification is salvation from the reigning power of sin. Third, glorification is salvation from the presence of sin in both spirit and body.
     
    In Galatians 3:1-3, Paul rebukes his readers for failing to realize that the method of justification determines the method of sanctification. Thus, if a person is justified by grace through faith in Jesus, then that same person will be sanctified by grace through faith in Jesus. For, fallen humanity is helpless and powerless to do either by their own woefully insufficient resources. Therefore, we must depend upon the all-sufficient God in faith to do what only He can do, namely, justly and righteously grant us a new identity in Christ and empower us to live a new life in Christ.
     
    So, live the spiritual life by grace through faith in Jesus. Express your faith in the Lord as you avail yourself to His channels of grace, namely, prayer, Scripture, and the local church to which He has called you. Then, understand that the spiritual life is a process in which you are actively involved.
  • Feb 11, 2018Overcoming Opposition In The Spiritual Life
    Feb 11, 2018
    Overcoming Opposition In The Spiritual Life
    Series: Spirituality
    As followers of Jesus in a fallen world, we encounter forces from within and without that oppose our living of the Spirit-filled life for which Jesus saved us. The opposition we encounter is three-fold. The world opposes the things of God such that the life God has called us to live is counter-cultural. The devil opposes the things of God by subtly working against the gospel of grace. The flesh, our fallen nature, who we are apart from Christ, wages war against the Holy Spirit within us, compelling us to live contrary to God's will. This three-fold opposition to the spiritual life from without and within is great.
     
    However, the Holy Spirit within you is greater. He is greater than the world, the devil, and the flesh. 
     
    So, walk by means of the Spirit. This begins by recognizing that without Christ and His gracious ministry in our lives through the indwelling Spirit, we can do nothing. So, both as individuals and as a church, walk by means of the Spirit, crying out God, "I can't do this on my own. The opposition is too great. Help me!" God never intended us to live the spiritual life by our own resources. That's why He gave us the gift of Himself through the indwelling Spirit. The opposition we face is great. But, the Holy Spirit within you is greater. So, walk by means of the Spirit.
  • Jan 28, 2018Quench Not The Holy Spirit
    Jan 28, 2018
    Quench Not The Holy Spirit
    Series: Spirituality
    The Holy Spirit guides the followers of Jesus in accordance with God's will for our lives as we make important decisions. That being said, we still have a choice as to whether or not we choose to follow the Spirit's leading. When we say, "No," then we are quenching the Spirit's influence and activity in our lives. 
     
    In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Paul addresses this subject with a command to his readers: do not put out the Spirit's fire. Remember, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells each believer in Jesus Christ in order to conform them to the likeness of Jesus. He also works through Christians collectively to build up the church, the Body of Christ. Naturally, the right response for Christians would be to yield to the work of the Spirit. Instead, we too often put out the Spirit's fire.
     
    We put out the Spirit's fire when we suppress His activity and influence in our lives by elevating something else above God's will. We may do this out of ignorance, pride, or fear. Regardless of the reason, we say, "No," to God as we go on our way, quenching the Spirit to our own detriment.
     
    Praise the Lord that there is a better way! Follow Jesus wherever the Spirit leads. Look to Jesus as the ultimate example of one who was willing to go wherever God the Father wanted Him to go, be whoever the Father wanted Him to be, and do whatever the Father wanted Him to do. This may seem a little scary, but we must remember that the Lord is supremely worthy of our trust. So, trust the Lord with your whole life. 
     
    The resource referenced in the sermon is My Heart, Christ's Home by Robert Boyd Munger. It can be purchased at: https://www.ivpress.com/my-heart-christ-s-home-booklet.
     
    This message drew heavily upon content found in He That Is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer.
  • Jan 21, 2018Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit
    Jan 21, 2018
    Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit
    Series: Spirituality
    When we harbor unconfessed sin in our lives, we are spiritually shooting ourselves in the foot. In Ephesians 4:30, we find that sin grieves the Holy Spirit of God who indwells those who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. Thus, the Spirit’s gracious ministry through the Christian that conforms them to the likeness of Christ is largely set aside as the Spirit becomes focused on a pleading ministry to the Christian to deal with areas of unconfessed sin.
     
    The good news is that confession is God’s cure for the effect of the Christian’s sin. In 1 John 1:5-10, we discover how sin breaks fellowship with a holy God. Broken fellowship, if left unresolved, will lead to corrective discipline from God (cf. Hebrews 12). But, sincere confession restores fellowship.
     
    So, confess your sins. We can learn much about what this looks like from the parable of the Prodigal Son (cf. Luke 15). Like the young man in the parable, Engage in self-examination. Then, confess any known sins with a broken and sincere heart to God and others affected by your sin. Having done so, know that your Heavenly Father forgives your sin, no matter how big.
     
    [This sermon relies heavily on material found in He That Is Spiritual, by Lewis Sperry Chafer.]
  • Jan 7, 2018Are You Really Spiritual?
    Jan 7, 2018
    Are You Really Spiritual?
    Series: Spirituality
    Spirituality is a popular topic in our society today. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear people say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” However, in order to answer the question, “Are you really spiritual?”, it is helpful to look to the Bible to see what God has to say about it.
     
    According to 1 Corinthians 2:6–3:4, there are two kinds of knowledge, namely, natural knowledge that is accessible through the aid of our senses and reason, as well as spiritual knowledge that is only accessible through the aid of the indwelling Spirit of God.
     
    When it comes to spirituality, there are three kinds of people: the natural person, the fleshy Christian, and the spiritual Christian. Each category is defined by one’s access to and application of spiritual knowledge. The natural person has not trusted in Christ for salvation and so does not have the indwelling Spirit. Thus, spiritual knowledge is foolishness to them. The fleshy Christian has trusted in Christ for salvation and so has the indwelling Spirit, but they effectively ignore the Spirit and live their lives much like a natural person, that is, according to the desires and passions of their flesh. The spiritual Christian has trusted in Christ for salvation and so has the indwelling Spirit, but they receive spiritual knowledge and apply it to their lives through the gracious aid of the Spirit. Therefore, one’s spirituality is determined by how one relates to the Spirit of God.
     
    So, assess your spirituality by asking yourself two questions. First, do you have the Spirit? If you have trusted in Christ for salvation, then you do. If you have not, then what are you waiting for? Second, how are you relating to the Spirit? Are you submitting to His work in your life or ignoring Him. We’ll go into more detail on what this looks like in the coming weeks.
  • Dec 31, 2017Giving Thanks
    Dec 31, 2017
    Giving Thanks
    Series: Other
    Are you experiencing a letdown now that Christmas is over? As you look forward to the New Year, it's a good idea to look back to Thanksgiving. For, in God's eyes, giving thanks means a lot more than just being polite. Giving thanks is critical to our spiritual health.
     
    In Luke 17:11-19, we find a Samaritan leper who was exemplary in giving thanks. While ten lepers received a life-transforming gift from Jesus, only one returned to give credit where credit was due. In doing so, this Samaritan leper, on the basis of his faith, received an even greater mercy.
     
    The Samaritan leper's action and Jesus' reaction exhibit how thanksgiving is a big deal! Elsewhere in Scripture, we find how giving thanks acknowledges God as Creator and the source of all blessings, requires us to live by faith, gives evidence of the Spirit's control over our lives, and serves as an antidote for worry and many sins. 
     
    So, has God been good to you? Then it's time to be thankful! Stop and think of how God has been good. Remember God's grace in light of what you deserve. Then, give thanks to the Lord!
  • Dec 24, 2017Come To Jesus
    Dec 24, 2017
    Come To Jesus
    Series: Advent 2017
    What is Christmas ... and life ... all about?
     
    Of course, the answer to the question, "What is life all about?" will have enormous implications for the directions of our lives, our dreams, and our relationships. That being said, the answer to the question, "What is Christmas all about?" actually has significant bearing on the meaning of life. 
     
    So, where do we look for the answers to these questions? Most people look to the world around them. However, when we look to this world, true meaning is lost. For, we live in a very materialistic world, concerning which Jesus said in Luke 12:13-21, "One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." However, especially at Christmas time, we see a much different message being communicated from the media we consume. So, not only with respect to Christmas, but life in general, we quickly become cynical when we start peeling back the layers of this present world as we look for meaning. Then, we easily fall into despair, concluding that maybe this world, or we ourselves, are hopeless.
     
    In contrast, the message of Christmas gives us insight into the meaning of Christmas, and by extension, the meaning of life. For, the meaning of Christmas ... and life ... is found in Jesus
     
    So, come to Jesus. In Jesus you will find grace that triumphs over despair, hope that triumphs over cynicism, and true meaning that is anchored outside of this world. For, with Jesus, the meaning of Christmas ... and life ... gets much clearer!
  • Dec 17, 2017Grace Draws Near
    Dec 17, 2017
    Grace Draws Near
    Series: Advent 2017
    Because Santa Claus knows you, you must live in fear. For, he knows everything about you, and every December 25th, he's coming to town to hold you to account. If you're good, you get presents. If you're not good enough, you get a lump of coal.
     
    Many people live as if God is the same way. That is, many live as if God is a far off deity who is condemning us for our sin. He is some kind of a distant, unsympathetic judge. He meets are sin with punishment. He meets our sinfulness with disqualification. So, we live our lives under this burden of guilt and shame that God could never forgive, let alone work through, someone like us.
     
    However, Christmas paints a much different picture about God. For, at Christmas, Jesus shows us what God is really like.
     
    At Christmas, Jesus draws near to overcome our sin with His grace. He reveals a God who is with us. He meets our sin with a Savior. He meets our sinfulness with transformation. So, draw near to the God who draws near to you, trusting in Him for salvation, pouring out your heart to Him in prayer, receiving His forgiveness, and submitting to His transforming work in your life.
     
    Because Jesus knows you, you can live secure in His grace. 
     
    The video referenced in this message can be found at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmS_s23TL1k
  • Dec 10, 2017Light In The Darkness
    Dec 10, 2017
    Light In The Darkness
    Series: Advent 2017
    We live in a dark world. Physical, emotional, and spiritual darkness invade our lives and leave us feeling overcome.
     
    However, the good news is that no matter how dark the darkness gets, it can never overcome the light. That is the message of the first Christmas, a theological truth concerning Jesus, the light of the world, found in John 1:1-5. That being said, the funny thing about light is that in order to benefit from the light you must have the light and use the light. The same is true with respect to Jesus.You must receive Jesus into your life by grace through faith in Him for salvation. Then, you must continually look to Him for the grace and light that He provides to live in a dark world.
     
    For, God overcomes our spiritual, emotional, and physical darkness with light. So, look to the "Light of the World" in faith ... in humility ... and in hope. For, the day is coming when Christ returns that the world would be dark anymore!
     
    The video referenced in this recording, "Christmas In Dark Places," can be found at:  http://fourkindsofchristmas.com/videos/