Gospel Centered Forgiveness

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Centerd Fogiveness

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

At the heart of the gospel, is that God offers us forgiveness of sins. That message is evident through the life and preaching of Jesus Christ and is evident in the early church. Paul reminds us not to forget the gospel.

  1. Paul reminds them of the centrality of the Gospel (v1-2).... Life gets messy sometimes, and it's important to remember that the Gospel is to be the center of our lives. The Gospel isn't something we just receive and are done with. It continues throughout our lives. When we receive it, we are saved, which is sometimes referred to as Justification. We stand within the Gospel which makes us better, known as sanctification. And we continue to be saved by it into the future where we will be with God in Heaven, known as Glorification. 

  2. Paul reminds them of the content of the Gospel (v3-4).... Paul explains the key components of the Gospel here, breaking it into three main parts. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was buried. And He rose from the dead….. We have all sinned and deserve death, meaning we all need forgiveness. Christ died in our place so that we would have a way to be saved and forgiven. We are called to repent and change our lives by following Jesus to receive His forgiveness. We don't have to be perfect to be forgiven. That would make it impossible. There is no way we can become perfect on this Earth, but with Christ we can grow towards perfection and reach it in Heaven. 

  3. Paul reminds them of the confirmation of the Gospel (V5-8).... Paul points out that many people saw Jesus after His resurrection. Why is this important? Because the resurrection is critical. So it's important to show that it really happened and the best way to do that is to point to all the people who saw Him afterwards. 

  4. Paul reminds them of the calling of the Gospel (V9-11).... Paul reminds the readers of his past, that he had persecuted believers before he was one, and yet he was called to salvation. The calling isn't just for salvation, but also to be an ambassador of Christ, to serve Christ. It's a call to a new life, a call to life in Christ. 

What the Lord’s Supper Demonstrates about our Fellowship

Sunday Sermon

1 Corinthians 10:16-22

Baptists usually call this event “The Lord’s Supper” (from 1 Corinthians 11:20). Another term for this event is “Communion” (from 1 Corinthians 10:16). The Greek word koinonia is often translated “fellowship” or “partnership.” In this passage it is translated “communion” (KJV), “participation” (NIV, ESV), or “sharing,” (CSB, NASB, NLT).

The Lord’s Supper expresses our fellowship with Christ (10:16).... It's a reminder that we have a communion with Jesus. This act doesn't create the communion or fellowship, but it helps us remember. 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 shows us that the fellowship is created by our repentance and faith. 

The Lord’s Supper expresses our fellowship with other Christians (10:17).... We all share in the body of Christ; we are all part of the body of Christ. We are meant to fellowship together, to do life together. Taking the Lord's Supper together is a reminder of that. Even though we may have differences and maybe even some grudges or disagreements, but we are still meant to fellowship together. 

The Lord’s Supper reminds us that we cannot share fellowship with idols or demons (10:18-22).... There were many idols and pagan temples in Corinth. Paul explains that idols are nothing, but there is evil behind them. He instructed readers to not eat or drink anything directly tied to the idols or sacrifices straight from the temples. Paul says food is food but that eating straight from the idol is participating in that sacrifice and worship, but that getting it elsewhere after the fact is fine. For us, Halloween is a similar thing. Bats are bats. Cats are cats. We can use Halloween to reach children and families with Christ centered fall festivals or trunk-or-treats, but we should avoid the darker aspects of the holiday that could lead some, even a tiny amount, to demon worship like those people back in Corinth eating from the idols.

God Holds My Future: Will I Trust Him?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 23-25

This is the last sermon in this series. We've seen Abraham and his family go through a lot of stuff and had many teachable moments. Here's a few more to finish off the series. 

The final three episodes in Abraham’s life relate to the future:

Abraham buried his wife Sarah (Genesis 23).... Sarah passed away and Abraham mourned her death. He wept for her. But he had no land to bury her in, so he bought a cave and used it as a burial tomb. He was living in the promised land, but had no land, and yet he still clung to the promise God had made to him. 

Abraham secured a wife for his son Isaac (Genesis 24)... Abraham wanted to make sure Isaac married one of his people, so he sent a servant back home find a woman. The servant went and found Rebecca, a distant cousin to Isaac. Rebecca returns with the servant and marries Rebecca…. Parents can't control their child's destiny, but they can help set up their child for success and provide them with a good foundation. For people looking for a spouse, this story shows that you should determine the type of person you want to merry, look in the right places for them, and be faithful to God in the search. 

Abraham died and was buried by his sons (Genesis 25).... Abraham's spirit left him as he died surrounded by his people. His sons buried him with Sarah. Later, Isaac and Rebecca would also be buried there. Then Jacob and Leah. Finally, following the Exodus, Joseph's bones, which were 100s of years old, were buried in that cave too. We might not see everything fulfilled in our lives, but we can be confident that God will keep His promises in the future even if we don't see it. 

All these were still living by faith when they died (Hebrews 11:13-16).... There's more to come. We look forward to the future, where we know God's promises will be fulfilled. 

Abraham is still alive (Mark 12:26-27).... Jesus says that Abraham is still alive. God is the God of the living and when we pass away on Earth, we just go home to Heaven. 

If you believe in his offspring, Jesus, you can meet Abraham one day (Matthew 8:11).... There will be a reunion of God's people where we will get to meet everyone else who was saved by God's grace through faith. 

God Tests Me: Will I Be Obedient?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 22:1-19

Two kinds of tests: 

  1. God allows trouble or hardships (Deuteronimy 8:2) 

  2. God gives strange instructions (Exodus 16:4) 

The test Abraham faces is of the second type. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. This is the promised son, the son of Abraham and Sarah. God tells Abraham to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. (22:3)

Abraham obeyed. He also had faith that both, he and Isaac, would be returning alive. Hebrews 11:9 confirms that. So Abraham took Isaac and built an altar, and tied his son to it. But just before he could bring the knife down, an angel stopped him. A ram was provided. (22:3-14)

Abraham was blessed for his faithfulness and obedience. God reaffirmed the Covenant He had made with Abraham. Abraham and his offspring would be blessed. (22:15-19) 

Some people think this story never happened. They think that Abraham made it up. They think it's impossible that God would ask this of anybody. However, we shouldn't be rewriting the Bible. We submit to the Bible and what it says. God won't tell you to sacrifice your children or commit murder today. How do we know this? Since this event happened, God revealed the ten commandments among others. In those, He says not to kill. Later He even says that His people should not sacrifice children. He won't ask us to do something that goes against that. 

Saving faith always results in obedience. Paul says we're saved by faith. James says we're saved by works. Both refer to the story of Abraham. Do these views contradict each other? No. They are two perspectives of one truth. Saving faith produces acts of obedience. Paul emphasizes the cause. James emphasizes the result. Together, they reveal the truth. 

God will ask us to do unusual and difficult things. He even asked His Son to do something difficult. He asked Jesus to die on a cross for our redemption. Just like when He provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of Isaac, He provided Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. 

God Destroys: Will I Accept His Offer of Refuge?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 19:1-29

One reason our pastor likes to go through entire books or the full lives of Biblical characters is that we see both good and bad. We see God's grace and mercy, but we also see His wrath. Sometimes pastors get stuck in the trend of preaching about only the positive things or only doing hell and brimstone sermons. But going through a series like this tends to reveal both. Today we see some of God's wrath. 

God destroys: God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin (19:1-13, 23-29).... Lot had been living in Sodom for a while at this point and his own morals had taken a bit of a fall, as we see when he offers his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom in place of the angels that were visiting him. There are some trends in society that we can embrace, like fashion or haircuts, but our values should always remain grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Whenever we have a feeling or desire that runs counter to the Bible, such as unrighteous anger or, as in the case of Sodom, homosexuality, then one of two things will happen: 1) we submit our feelings to the Bible or 2) we submit the Bible to our feelings. If we choose option 1, we remain faithful to God, but option 2 puts our feelings above God, which is idolatry. 

God offers a place of refuge from his destruction: God rescued Lot and his family and provided them a place of safety (19:14-22).... God offered Lot a way to survive this judgment and Lot tried to get his sons-in-law to come with him and his family, but they laughed. Lot's wife went but then looked back and turned to salt. Lot and his daughters kept going and survived. 

Throughout the Bible, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is an example and a warning of God’s judgment:

  • Babylon (Isaiah 13:19), Moab (Zephaniah 2:9), and Israel (Isaiah 3:9) are warned of such destruction.

  • The destruction of Sodom is a preview of hell (Jude 1:7).

  • Jesus said Capernaum would face worse judgment than Sodom (Matthew 11:23-24).

  • The return of Jesus will be as unexpected and sudden as the destruction of Sodom (Luke 17:26-32).

This passage and these other verses show us that people respond to the offer of salvation in three ways. Some will never accept salvation, just laughing at the idea of it. Others will entertain the idea of it but ultimately won't persevere and will turn back (whether they were saved and lost that salvation or were never saved to begin with is another discussion). Only those who accept salvation and continue to obey God's commands will persevere. 

God Reveals His Plan to Me: Will I Pray?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 18:16-33

God revealed to Abraham his plan to destroy the city of Sodom (18:16-22). God opened the door for Abraham to intercede for the city. We can learn some lessons about intercessory prayer from the example of Abraham:

  1. Intercessory prayer is based on the knowledge that people are headed for destruction (18:23).... God revealed to Abraham that these people were about to be destroyed. We also know that the unsaved people are headed for destruction. We should be praying for them. 

  2. Intercessory prayer rises from a concern for other people (18:23).... Abraham wasn't going to be personally affected by this judgment, but he was concerned for Lot and others. 

  3. Intercessory prayer must align with the character of God (18:24-25).... Abraham appealed to the character of God in his request. 

  4. Intercessory prayer approaches God with boldness and humility (18:27-28).... There's boldness in Abraham's prayer, but also humility. He makes bold requests, but in a humble way. 

  5. Intercessory prayer is cloaked in mystery (18:29-33)... There's some stuff we have trouble explaining. God would have already known how many righteous people He would find and still let Abraham go through this. Why? God wants us to participate in His plan. He wants us to pray for others, for those who might not be praying for themselves. 

God has revealed his plans to us. Will you pray?

  1. Pray for groups of people to be spared from judgment…. Pray for America. This country is far from righteous and needs prayer. Our church has adopted an unreached people group to pray for, the Wolof people; pray for them and that Christianity will spread. 

  2. Pray for specific individuals to be spared from judgment…. Pray for your family and friends who aren't saved. Pray they will come to know Christ as Savior. Don't give up on that prayer, no matter how long it takes or how far the person strays. Continue praying for them. 

God Makes Promises to Me: Will I Laugh?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 17:1-18:15; 21:1-6

God appeared to Abram again when he was 99 years old. He repeated and sealed the covenant he had made with Abram. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham (17:1-5) and Sarai’s name to Sarah (17:15).... Abram means exalted father. Abraham means father of many nations. His only child right now is Ishmael, the son of Sarah's slave. Not much of a father of many nations. 

God said Sarah would give birth to a baby boy within a year. Abraham laughed (17:16-17). God said to name the boy Isaac, which means He laughed (17:19)... Sarah is 90, well past the age of childbearing. You can see how Abraham could find humor in this. But Abraham still obeyed God despite his doubts. That's part of what faith is. We might have our doubts, but we still must obey God. 

God later came to visit them and told Sarah the same promise (18:1-2, 10). Sarah laughed (18:11-15)... Sarah overhead angels telling Abraham 

It happened exactly as God had said (21:1-6).... God's promise was kept. 

God makes the laughable possible . He turns the laughter of doubt into the laughter of joy…. 42 generations later, another laughable promise of a birth happened. Mary was that she, a virgin, would have a son. That son was Jesus, the Savior of the world. Matthew 9 tells a story of when a crowd laughed at Jesus for saying that a girl was not dead, but asleep. He took her by the hand and she awakened. Even today we see laughable transformations as stout atheists have become devout Christians, even become preachers and outspoken activists against what they used to be an activist for, such as abortion. 

What are some promises God has made to us? Hebrews 13:5-6; Revelation 22:12… God will not forsake us. Jesus will return. These are just two promises we see in scripture that we know we can rely on. 

How will you respond to these promises?

God Sees Me and Hears Me: Why Am I Afraid?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 16:1-16; 21:8-21

Today’s story centers on Hagar, a young woman who is a slave of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

God had promised to Abram and Sarai that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars, but ten years have passed since then and now they are really getting up there in age. They begin to question God's promise and take things into their own hands. Sarai tells Abram to sleep with her slave, thinking that maybe that was what God meant in His promise. Hagar became pregnant and Sarai despised her for it. Abram allowed Sarai to do as she wanted to Hagar and she forced Hagar to run away. The angel of the LORD appears to her and speaks. Some scholars believe this isn't just any angel, but a manifestation of God Himself. He tells her the name of her son and that she should return to Abram and Sarai and that her son would also be a great nation. 

Hagar gave a new name to the LORD who spoke to her: He is El Roi, the God who sees me (16:13).... Here's a slave who had gotten pregnant and ran away, but God still saw her and cared for her. God spoke to this outcast woman 

Another name for God is implied in Genesis 21: God is El Ishmai, the God who hears me. The name Ishmael means God hears (21:17)..... It's a few years later and Abraham and Sarah have Isaac, a son of their own who has just been weaned. More turmoil arises and Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. They are refugees now. As they cry while anticipating death, God hears the boy cry and saved them from death in the wilderness. Ishmael would go on to father twelve sons and today's Muslims trace their heritage back to him. 

God sees us. God hears us. Knowing that God both sees and hears us, why should we fear anything?

God Makes a Covenant with Me: Will I Believe?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 15

God promised Abram that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (15:1-5)... Abram and his wife were both getting old and had no children. He questioned how God would keep His promise to make Abram into a great nation. God reassured him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. 

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (15:6).... This verse is among the most important. It shows us that despite always falling short of perfection, we can have righteousness credited to us because of our faith. Romans 3:21-24 explains this. Then Romans 4 expands on it. 

Abraham illustrates that no one is saved by works (Romans 4:1-3).... Paul uses Abraham as an example to show that people aren't saved by works, but by faith. 

Abraham illustrates that no one is saved by ritual (Romans 4:10).... Again, Paul uses Abraham to show that faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation. No ritual can save you. Even with baptism, if there is no faith, there is no salvation. 

God will credit righteousness to the account of anyone who believes in Jesus (Romans 4:23-24)... Faith in Jesus is the only way to obtain righteousness and salvation. 

God promised Abram the land of Canaan. Abram asked for assurance, so God made a covenant with Abram (15:8-18).... God knows the future and God has a plan. He tells Abraham what's going to happen in 400 years and that his descendants will face trials and suffering, but that God will rescue them. God planned to give specific land to Abraham and his descendants, but first He wanted to give the existing inhabitants a chance to repent of their sin, 400 years to turn from their ways. It shows that God has great patience in waiting for us to repent. 

God is a covenant maker (Jeremiah 31:31, 33; Luke 22:20). Will you accept his covenant and believe?... God created a covenant with Noah and the sign for it was the rainbow. When God made a covenant with Abram, the sign was circumcision. With the covenant in the New Testament, the sign is the blood of Christ.

God Gives to Me: Will I Give Back to Him?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 13-14

Abram and his nephew Lot split up. Lot chooses to leave the land of Canaan to live near the city of Sodom. War breaks out there, and Lot and his family are taken hostage. Abram rescues him and retrieves all the possessions taken in the war…. This is the first war we see in the Bible. Some Christians are pacifists and won't engage in any kind of violence, but most would agree that war is always terrible, but sometimes necessary. Abraham considered going to battle to save Lot to be necessary. 

What is the activity of God in this story?

God sends Melchizedek to explain his activity. Melchizedek is a king and a priest.

He said God Most High (El Elyon) gave Abram the victory. Every good outcome in your life is a gift of God…. God is the creator of everything and the owner of everything. Every good thing we have is a gift from God. 

How does Abram respond to God’s activity? He gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything (14:20). Are you giving back to God?... This is the first instance of tithing in the Bible. It predates the Old Testament law and is an act of worship. It's an important part of worshiping God. It reminds us that we aren't here just to consume, but also to give back. It is a way of showing that we know everything belongs to God and we are just stewards of what He allows us to have. 

Melchizedek is a symbol of the greatest gift God has given us. Jesus is a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110: 1-4; Hebrews 6:20; 7:1-7)... Melchizedek is pretty unknown; we know that he was a king and a priest, but not much else. We don't even know his genealogy. Jesus, the Son of God, is also king and priest. Jesus, miraculously conceived, in essence has no genealogy. Even with those similarities, Melchizedek was just a man that we know little about, but Jesus is the Savior of the World.