What Would Jesus Say about the Recent Church Shootings?

Sunday Sermon

Luke 13:1-9


Last week a gunman entered a small church in Texas and killed 20 people and injured others. There have been other mass shootings this year too, in churches as well as at main stream events.


Pilate would sometimes send soldiers to break up protests and sometimes it got out of hand, ending death. We don’t know for sure that's what happened here, but it seems likely.


We do not have to speculate what Jesus would say. Luke tells us about a time when Jesus received a report that people had been killed in a place of worship. Jesus also mentioned a group of 18 people who had died in an accident or natural disaster. His response about both events was the same:


Unless you repent, you too will all perish. … Jesus refuses to make it all political. He simply uses it to call others to repentance. Jesus also implies that the deaths were not judgment from God. Jesus doesn’t let us assume that natural disasters or accidents or any death is part of God’s judgment. He lets us know that it could have been us.

  • The term “perish” here means both physical and spiritual death. These deaths were introduced when Adam and Eve first sinned. John 3:16; 10:28; 11:25 all tell us Jesus came to give us a chance at not perishing. Not perishing means we will still have a physical death, but we won’t suffer a spiritual death. Matthew 10:28 reiterates the idea of two deaths, the physical and the spiritual.

  • “Repent” means to turn from your sinful ways. In Luke 13:5 we see Jesus tell us that repentance is key to salvation. He has also said similar things of believing. The two concepts are just two sides of the same coin. Believing and repenting go hand in hand.


Then Jesus tells a parable about a fruitless fig tree. For three years it beared no fruit and was in danger of being cut down. The keeper begged the owner for one more year and was granted it as a last chance for the tree. God gives second chances, but eventually there is a last chance.

2 Peter 3:9 Tells us why Jesus waits to return. He’s giving us ample opportunity to repent and turn to him.

Different Values in an Unholy Culture

Sunday Sermon

1 Peter 1:13-25

Peter is writing to believers facing persecution under the Emperor Nero. They are called to live a different life in Christ while the Roman culture valued different ideals and philosophies. … Nero was one of the most feared and harshest rulers the world has seen. He killed some of his wives and his mother as well as many others in cruel ways. Under Nero, the persecution of Christians flourished.

  1. Seek Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-16).

    1. Prepare for action. … Preparing for action requires making a plan. We have plans for everything: TV, Internet, cell phones, etc. However, when it comes to our spiritual growth, we often lack a plan. With no plan, it is easier to backslide into sin. We have to plan to seek holiness and live righteous lives. … Our enemy, Satan, has a plan against us. We need one against him. Satan challenges the Truth of God’s Word and then we begin to question it as well. We need a plan to defend against that, and the strategy that helps the most there is knowing scripture and knowing what it means.

    2. Our highest calling is to be holy. … Satan wants us to think that our highest calling is to be happy, but the Bible is clear that we need to be Holy.

  2. Live Fearfully (1 Peter 1:17).

    1. Have a reverential fear of God. … We should fear God out of respect as He is our King. This is a respectful and loving fear, not a terrified fear.

    2. Knowing Christ is the path to living Holy (1 Peter 1:18-21). … Christ is the only reason we have a chance to live a holy life. Our Faith in Him is what can transform us into new creations.

  3. Love Deeply (1 Peter 1:22-25).

    1. Have sincere love. … Love purely and deeply. Have a love so sincere that you rejoice in helping each other.

    2. Love differently. … We are called to love each other sincerely, to the point where we are different from the rest of the world. Love even those who do not show love in return. Love people even when it doesn’t help you.

God Cares for You

Sunday Sermon

We live in a world that is increasingly becoming automated. This automation makes certain tasks easier, but it also keeps us from having as much personable interaction as we had in the past. This can sometimes make us wonder if anyone cares for us. We post on social media and wait for people to react to it. Our belief that anyone cares for us too often depends on people responding to our posts. Without those likes, some people feel no one cares for them. The Bible tells us differently. The Bible tells us God cares:


Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7

There will probably be times in your life when you question whether God really cares for you (Mark 4:35-38). Jesus calls you to exercise our faith when you come to situations you have never before encountered (Mark 4:39-40). … Sometimes we feel alone in the world. The universe is massive beyond measure and we are minuscule in comparison. That can lead to a feeling of loneliness and insignificance. The we ask: How could God care for someone so small? … The disciples asked Jesus if He cared for them. The answer is that our past experiences should tell us that He cares. We should be able to transfer our faith from past experiences to new experiences.


The indisputable evidence that Jesus cares for you is that He died for you (John 10:11-15). … Jesus is our Shepherd. In this passage He links Himself to Psalm 23. The Shepherd protects the sheep from predators. The Shepherd cares for His sheep and is concerned for them. … Jesus stood between us and the wolf. He died so we wouldn’t have to. He knows us an an intimate level. He knows your name, your past, your feelings, thoughts, needs, and desires. How can He know all of that about you and not care about you? He does care and He died for you as evidence of His great love for you and for everyone. Cast your anxieties and burdens upon Him. Let Him help you carry them.

The New Word Keeper

News

Hi!

Welcome to the new Word Keeper! Word Keeper experienced some difficulties with our past host, so this is the new site!

It's going to take some time to get as many former posts as possible onto this new site, but we're going to try to put many of them on here This site also has a long ways to go before it's complete, so please be patient while I get it to where I want it. 

The Scope of our Salvation

Sunday Sermon

This is an overview of what the Bible says about Salvation. Salvation is not something that just happens in moment in your life; it is more of a process. We’re going to look at the parts of that process in this sermon.


6 steps:


Step 4: Saved (Acts 16:31): Born Again (John 3:3): Justified (Galatians 2:16). … This is where many of us start to learn about salvation. However it is not the first step of the process. … Some people will say they’ve always been a Christian, but that is not an accurate statement. There is a moment for all of us where we are “saved”. It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember that moment. What does matter is what you believe now.

The roots of salvation:


Step 3: Conviction (1 Thess 1:5): Draw (John 6:44): Call (1 Cor 1:9). … God might be calling or drawing you to Him right now.


Step 2: Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-20) … God knew we would need a savior and planned to send Jesus before He even created the universe.


Step 1: Predestination (Ephesians 1;5; Acts 13:48): Elect: Chose … This is a tricky topic. The Bible teaches predestination, but it also teaches the responsibility of individuals to accept the Salvation offered. 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us God wants everyone to come to knowledge of the truth. 1 Peter 1:2 seems to connect predestination with the foreknowledge that God would have.


Beyond conversion:


Step 5:Sanctified (2 Thess 2:13): Grow (1 Peter 2:2) … This is after the moment of Saving and continues throughout our life. We are to grow in our salvation. When we are justified, we are declared righteous and saved from the penalty of sin. When we are sanctified, we become righteous and are saved from being slaves to sin. This process takes time though.


Step 6: Glorified (Colossians 3:4) … This is where salvation is completed. Every bit of us will be saved: our souls and our bodies.


In Romans 8:28-34 Paul ties all of these together.


We looked at these steps or stages out of order first. Here they are in order.


Predestination, Elect, Chose … God’s foreknowledge of everything makes those who accept Salvation the “elect”


Jesus … Jesus came to Earth and died as the final sacrifice for our sins.


Conviction, Draw, Call … The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and we are drawn or called to salvation.


Saved, Born Again, Justified … We accept the forgiveness offered and are saved from the penalty of sin as new creations (born again) who are declared to be justified.


Sanctified, Grow … After accepting the salvation, the process of sanctification begins. This is where we grow in our faith and knowledge and work our way to becoming more righteous.


Glorified … Our souls and bodies become glorified and our salvation is complete.

Nehemiah: Be Faithful to the End

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 13


This is the last chapter of Nehemiah and the last sermon in this series. The purpose of the series was to answer this question: What does God want me to do with my life?


The first half of the book tells us God has work for us. We saw in those chapters that we will face obstacles when we do God’s work. We learned that prayer and preparation are important in doing God’s work.


In the second half of the book we saw that God wants us to assemble. God wants us to come together.


Nehemiah returned to his job in Persia. Later he came back to Jerusalem. He found that spiritual conditions had declined in his absence:

  • The temple was defiled (Nehemiah 13:7-9). … A man, a non-believer even, moved into the temple. He was living there. Nehemiah threw him out and put the temple back i order. The people did not keep their commitment from chapter 10.

  • Tithing was neglected (Nehemiah 13:10-13). … The temple was understaffed because the people were not tithing, which probably led to the man being able to live there. They neglected their commitments from earlier.

  • The Sabbath was not observed (Nehemiah 13 15-21). … The people did not honor the Sabbath again, just as their ancestors, and against their commitments.

  • Marriage was compromised (Nehemiah 13:23-26). … The people ignored God’s commands on marriage and their own commitments as they married foreigners, just as their ancestors.


What does this teach us about faithfulness in our lives?

  1. Your spiritual life will tend to decline without continual attention. … The second law of thermodynamics is true materially and spiritually. Without maintenance, it will fall apart.

  2. It is more difficult to restart your spiritual life than to continue it. … You can restart, but it’s hard. The law of inertia applies to our spiritual lives too, making it easier to keep momentum than to start or stop or restart.

  3. Leaders can set the tone for your spiritual life in a group. … In this book we see that while Nehemiah is there, everything goes well. When he leaves though, it all falls apart until he returns.

  4. We need the Gospel to enable us to be faithful (Romans 8:3-4). … Nehemiah 13 might be the last book, chronologically, in the Old Testament. The book of Malachi probably comes before Nehemiah’s first return to Jerusalem or just before his second return. Then, 400 years later, we get the New Testament, the Gospel. Nehemiah shows us our inability to keep the law on our own. We can’t keep the law good enough to earn our own way to Heaven. That’s where the Gospel comes in (Romans 8:1-4).

Like Nehemiah, Jesus has gone away, and He is coming back. He wants to find us faithful (Matthew 24:12-13, 45-46).

Nehemiah: Ordinary

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 11-12


Let’s review a little: Nehemiah used to be a cupbearer to the king of Persia. Persia was the controlling empire at the time and the capital was lavish. Nehemiah probably had it pretty nice. Then God calls him to help rebuild Jerusalem, a broken down city that requires months of work to rebuild just the walls. Nehemiah may have been tempted to return to the lavish life in Persia, but he found something special in Jerusalem. He found God’s presence and God’s work.


Big Idea: God is building churches made of of seemingly insignificant people who live ordinary lives, but change the world.


Point One: God uses ordinary people who surrender their control (Nehemiah 11:1-2). … At this point, Jerusalem is not safe. The rebuilt walls make it a fresh target. The people who live in the city don’t have as much as land in an agricultural society. Jerusalem offered very little to its inhabitants, but the people who volunteered to live there wanted to be part of what the city meant. This was the Holy City. This was where God’s presence was supposed to live on Earth. They made a sacrifice to live in the city. They sacrificed their control; the control of land and of safety.


Point Two: God uses ordinary people who surrender their eternity (Nehemiah 11:3-24). … The men who were to live in the city were men of courage and of valor and of faithfulness. They were men capable of protecting their family. They were men willing to make sacrifices for God. … We were made for joy. We get joy from worshipping and serving God, as these men did. … There are two lists of names for our final eternal destination. Do you know which list you are on? Are you going to have eternal joy in Heaven or eternal suffering in Hell? Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ to save you from your sin? … Have you been saved?

  2. Are you a member of a local church? … Being involved with a local church may not be a requirement for salvation, but it is important for our growth as Christians.


Point Three: God uses ordinary people who surrender their resources (Nehemiah 12:44-47). … The people saw the importance of worship and were willing to invest in it. They gave of their farms and of their income so that the people could worship.

Nehemiah: Renew Your Commitments to God

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 9:38; 10:29-39


Lots of people are indecisive. They struggle to make decisions about life, and sometimes it’s just time to fish or cut bait. Decisions must be made. That’s where the Israelites are now in our study of Nehemiah. They have to decide  who they are. They chose to renew their covenant with God. … Today we take the Lord’s Supper as a renewal of our covenant as well.


Nehemiah 9:38; 10:27-28 … The Israelites did this publicly and unashamedly. They signed a binding agreement. This is not something to take lightly.


Basic Commitments (Nehemiah 10:29) … Their basic commitment was to follow the Word of the Lord. Here are basic commitments you can make today:

  • I want to become a follower of Jesus and be baptized.

  • I want to join First Baptist Church (or whichever church you attend).

  • I renew my commitment to Jesus as Lord of my Life.


Separation/Holiness (Nehemiah 10:30) … The Israelites decided to separate themselves from the outside world in ways God commanded them long ago. Here are ways we can separate ourselves from our world today:

  • If I marry, I will choose a person who shares my faith.

  • I will not view anything that pleases God.


Rhythms of Worship (Nehemiah 10:31) … The Israelites decided to follow the patterns God specified in the Old Testament. Here are some patterns we can follow so we honor God consistently:

  • I will gather with my church family for worship each week unless providentially hindered.

  • I will join and attend a Connection Group (Sunday School class).

  • I will participate in the Christian Development Program on Wednesday nights.

  • I will seek to pray and read my Bible daily. I will do this with my fam`ily.


Stewardship (Nehemiah 10:32-39) … The Israelites once again decide to follow God’s law, even with their time and hard earned resources. Here are ways we can do this too:

  • I will give a tenth of my income to God through the church.

  • I will give to special offerings:

    • Missions

    • Finish the Race

    • Other:

  • I will give my time as a volunteer in a ministry in my church.

Maybe there is some other commitment you need to make. Whatever commitments you need to make, put it in writing and sign it. Make a binding agreement with God like the Israelites did.

Nehemiah: Confess Your Sins to God

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 9


The Israelites gathered together, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and putting dust on their heads. They spent about three hours confessing their sins to God (Nehemiah 9:1-3). … The first gathering (on the 1st day of the month) was full of joy. Now they meet again on the 24th day of the month and mourn as they confess their sins.


Nehemiah 9:5-37 is a prayer of confession for their sins and the sins of their ancestors. … This is also a great review of the Old Testament. It is a confession of sin as they review their history. They praise God for what He has done even as they and their ancestors sinned.


Confession of sin involves these actions:

  1. Evaluate your life … Look back on your life

  2. Acknowledge your sin … It is important that admit you have sinned

  3. Grieve … Be sorry for your sin

  4. Ask for forgiveness … Ask God to cleanse your sins

  5. Turn from sin … Repent, turn away from your old ways


Why do we believers need to confess our sins? If we are saved, aren’t we already forgiven? (John 13:8-10; 1 John 1:6, 9; 3:6). … Even though we have had our bath or shower to make us clean, we still have dirty feet, dirty hands. Your sin as a believer does not end your relationship with God, but it does hurt your fellowship with Him.


Are there sins you need to confess?


10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:4-21)

  • Have you made anything more important than God?

  • Have you made anything into an idol?

  • Does anything coming from your mouth dishonor God?

  • Are you forgetting to take a day off work to honor God?

  • Are you disrespectful towards parents?

  • Have you taken a life? an unborn life? Do you harbor hate towards anyone?

  • Have you stayed faithful to your spouse? Have you lusted after another?

  • Are you robbing your employer, the government, or God?

  • Do you lie to your parents, your spouse, or your anyone else?

  • Do you covet after things other people have?


Thoughts (Colossians 3:5-11)

  • How is your thought life? Is there malice, lewdness, or envy? Does it cause slander to come from your mouth?

  • Are you prideful or self-righteous?


Spiritual Clothing (Colossians 3:12-17)

  • Have you forgotten to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience?

  • Is there anyone you haven’t forgiven?

  • Have you put on love? Do you show love to those around you?

Nehemiah: God Wants Us to Build Our Lives upon His Word

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 8


We have reached a turning point in the book of Nehemiah. The wall has been built and we are only halfway through the book. Let’s look at how the halves of this book fit together.

Nehemiah chapters 1-6

Nehemiah chapters 7-13

Nehemiah rebuilds the wall

Nehemiah rebuilds the community

“What God had put in my heart” (Nehemiah 2:12)

“My God put it in my heart to assemble” (Nehemiah 7:5)

Key word: work

Key word: assemble/gather

God wants me to invest my life in his work.

God wants me to center my life in a community that worships him.


These next three chapters have the building blocks of how we experience spiritual renewal. It’s important to come together and worship. There are different opportunities to do this at most churches. Our church has Sunday morning service/worship as well as Connection Groups (Sunday School) and Wednesday night discipleship classes.


Now let’s look at the first key to revival: The Word of God. Here are three correct responses to the Word of God.

  1. Hear the Word of God eagerly (Nehemiah 8:1-6). … The people listened attentively from daybreak to noon. They were standing there, listening, for hours. … Ezra and other priests read from the scrolls for about 50,000 people for hours. The people stood in reverence for the Word of God for hours. They were eager to hear God’s Word.  

  2. Receive the Word of God joyfully (Nehemiah 8:7-12; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:3-6). … The Levites were out among the crowd instructing the people about what they were hearing. The people realized their sins and started weeping. It is indeed sad when we realize our sins, but ultimately, we should take joy in the Word of God. Joy in our Lord is a strength for us. We need to know the Word and rejoice in it. … If you can internalize and take joy in the Word, in who you are in Christ, a son or daughter of the King, it can protect you from discouragement and depression.

  3. Obey the Word of God promptly (Nehemiah 8:13-18; Deuteronomy 31:10-12). … The day after the public reading, the heads of families came together and seeked to follow God’s Word and laws. They discovered that during this feast, they were to live in temporary housing. So the word was spread and the people built their tabernacles/tents and obeyed the Word of God.