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. 

God Allows Trials in My Life: Will I Be Faithful?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 12:10-20

“Now there was a famine in the land” (Genesis 12:10). God allows trials in our lives to test and strengthen our faith (James 1:2-4).... You can be in the center of God's plan for your life and still have problems. Job's friends would have you believe otherwise, that problems only arise from sin, but we see in the lives of Job and Abraham that sometimes God allows us to experience troubles to test and grow our faith. 

“Abram went down to Egypt” (Genesis 12:10-13). We can respond to trials with compromise or with faith…. Abraham failed this test, putting his faith in his lies and in man instead of trusting God to take care of him and his family. They went to Egypt and Abraham presented Sarah as his sister instead of as his wife. She was so beautiful that he feared he would be killed so that someone else could take her as their wife. She caught the attention of Pharaoh and Abraham became wealthy because of the gifts. But disease fell upon Pharaoh and his family because of it. God protected Abraham even when Abraham messed up. 

“The LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife” (Genesis 12:17-20). God is faithful, even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:11-13).... Despite failing the test, Abraham came out of the test better off. God keeps His promises even when we screw up. 

“Abraham moved on from there . . . For a while he stayed in Gerar” (Genesis 20:1-14). God often repeats exams to see if we have grown…. About 20 years later and they are in a similar situation. Did Abraham learn from the first test? Nope. He messed up again, but God took care of him once again. We also see that this had become a pattern in Abraham's life. He had made a single decision early on that started this pattern and he never was able to break it. This is why it's best just to not make the decision that starts it. Even though Abraham messed up again and didn't deserve God's blessing, God still blessed him because God keeps His promises. 

God Calls: Will I Go?

Sunday Sermon Series God Acts: How Will I Respond?

Genesis 12:1-9

God called Abram to leave the city of Ur and go to a land he would show him (Genesis 12:1). When God calls you, go often comes before show (Hebrews 11:8).... God talks to people. Not always audibly, but He does talk to us and call us to go on missions. Abram was called to leave the city and be a tent dweller. God called him to travel to a place He would show Abram. We would often prefer to be shown where we are going first, but God expects us to obey unconditionally. 

God promised Abram (Genesis 12:2-3): 

  1. I will make you into a great nation… Abram's wife was sterile but God promised that his offspring would become a great nation. 

  2. I will make your name great… Men had tried to make great names for themselves such as when they tried to build the tower of babble, but they failed. God would promise and succeed in making Abram's name great. 

  3. I will bless those who bless you…. This can be seen throughout history. Nations that have supported Israel have been blessed and those who have done evil to Israel have suffered. 

  4. All peoples on earth will be saved through you. (Psalm 147:19-20; Matthew 1:1-2; Galatians 3:7-8).... Abram is one of the ancestors of Jesus. He is in the genealogy of Christ. 

Abram obeyed (Genesis 12:4-9).... God called and Abram obeyed. The first thing he did on each leg of his journey was to set up an alter and worship God. He left behind the false gods that were popular in the city and devoted himself to the LORD. 

Where might God be calling you to go?... First, you are called to leave the darkness and come into the light. Give your life to Christ and experience the salvation He offers to all of us. Second, He calls us to go on mission. Below are some great ways to do this. Look them up and pray about whether God is calling you to be part of any of them. Some are specific to our church or area, but your local church should also have great opportunities to serve locally. Sometimes God calls us to serve groups of people, but other times He tells us to go talk to an individual. When we hear that call or feel that tug, we should respond and obey. That may end up being a life changing moment in that person's life or in ours. 

  • NT365 (imb.net)

  • Go2Years.net

  • 2022 FBC mission trips to Guatemala or Denver

  • theJesustent.com

  • Oakley Ministry Center meals (Missions Wall)

How Can We Experience Revival? The Pattern of Revival under King Josiah

Sunday Sermon

2 Chronicles 34-35

Biblically and Historically, revival begins with God's people. Moral and spiritual renewal starts with God's people. There's not really an example of revival in the New Testament, because there was no need, but there's some in the Old Testament. Today we look at how young Josiah was used by God to bring about a great revival in Judah. Judah had gone through years of decline and Josiah's father was assassinated when Josiah was only 8 years old. 

Revival begins when we seek God (2 Chronicles 34:3a). Around the age of 16, Josiah began to seek God. Jeremiah 29:13 also reinforces this idea. Revival can only begin when God is our focus. 

Revival gains momentum when we purge our lives of idols (2 Chronicles 34:3b-7). Around the age of 20, Josiah tore down the idols his grandfather put up. He purged the land of idols. Our idols may not be asherah poles or golden figurines, but we have our own idols. An idol is anything that takes our focus from God. The pursuit of 

Revival takes root when we rediscover the Bible and begin to obey it (2 Chronicles 34:8-32). Around the age of 26 Josiah ordered the temple to be repaired. While cleaning the temple, they found a scroll called The Book of the Law, which we believe is Deuteronomy. He listened to the words from it and was convicted and repented. He also had it read in front of all the people. Today we are almost too familiar with the Bible and we don't give it the time or attention it deserves. When revival comes, there is a renewed interest in the Bible and a desire to obey it. 

Revival achieves its goal when we return to right patterns of worship (2 Chronicles 35:1-18). Still around age 26, Josiah had sacrifices made in an attempt to make up for all the ones that were missed. The people hadn't observed the passover properly in a long time, but this time they did. It caused the people to seek to worship God. When we return to right patterns of worship, it makes people want to worship. 

Revive Us Again

Sunday Sermon

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6, NIV)

Every so often we all need a good revival in our Christian walk. Maybe the pandemic has made you need a revival. Or maybe something this summer has caused you to need a revival. 

Four examples of physical revival that illustrate our need for spiritual revival: 

Samson (Judges 15:18-20). When you have no strength, you need refreshment…. Samson was one of the judges for the Israelites, a leader of his people. One time he used the jawbone of a donkey to achieve a great victory. Afterwards, he was exhausted and called out to God. God provided a drink and that drink revived Samson. Sometimes we just need a refreshment to regain our vigor for the Lord. 

An Egyptian (1 Samuel 30:11-12). When you have no activity, you need nourishment…. David and his men came upon this man and they gave him food and drink. Afterwards, he was revived. Refreshment isn't always enough. Sometimes we need more comprehensive nourishment such as being involved in a connection group. Receiving that nourishment can bring back our desire to serve the Lord. 

A boy (1 Kings 17:17-23). When you have no breath, you need resuscitation…. Elijah stayed in the house of a widow and her son. While he was there, they never ran out of food despite the famine. Some time after that, the boy stopped breathing. Elijah returned and prayed for God to bring the boy's breath back. The boy was revived and lived. Sometimes our lives reach the point where they look no different than the rest of the world. There is no sign that we are different, that we are alive in Christ. When that happens we need CPR, we need resuscitation. 

A corpse (2 Kings 13:20-21). When you have no life, you need resurrection…. While burying a body, the people digging the grave saw bandits coming and just threw the body into the grave of Elisha. When the corpse touched Elisha's bones, the corpse was revived. Some have never received the life that Jesus offers. If that's you, you need to be resurrected. By accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, you can go from spiritually dead to spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:1-5). 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples? Do you need refreshment, nourishment, resuscitation, or resurrection? Call out to God. He will provide. 

The Day of Atonement and the Death of Jesus

Sunday Sermon

Leviticus 16

The Day of Atonement in the Old Covenant can help us understand what the death of Jesus means in the New Covenant.

“Atonement” comes from two English words (at + one) and means to be reconciled to God by covering sin. … How can we do this? God gave the Israelites instructions on how to be atoned. They were to build a tent where the priest would go to be near to God. It had a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place. 

The only person who could enter the Most Holy Place was the high priest, and he could enter only one day a year. He first sacrificed a bull for his own sins (Leviticus 16:1-2, 6, 12-14). Two goats were selected. The first goat was killed as a sacrifice for the people’s sins (Leviticus 16:7-8, 15). The second goat was called a scapegoat. It was sent away into the desert (Leviticus 16:20-22, 26-28). … God gave instructions for how to worship Him and expects them to be followed. When the high priest would go into the Most Holy Place, he had to follow a set of instructions to atone for his sins and the sins of his family. The punishment for sin is death. As sinners, we all deserve death, but God gave the Israelites a way to transfer that punishment to animals. This illustrates how serious sin is. It is no joking matter and not something to be proud of. 

Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Day of Atonement: Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 9:11). Jesus is our sacrifice (Hebrews 9:12-15) Jesus is our scapegoat. … We no longer need bulls or goats to take our punishment because Jesus has taken the punishment for us already. 

How should we respond? (Hebrews 10:19-27) … Draw near to God. Since Jesus was our perfect sacrifice, our sins have been atoned for and we are reconciled to God. We have the opportunity to draw close to God.

Called to be Different

Sunday Sermon

Philippians 3:20; 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. 

  1. Pursue Holiness (v13-16). … God is holy and we worship a holy God. He is separate from sin. The Greek word for "holy" is "Hágios." Hágios means: holy, set apart, different, pure. Peter tells us that being holy takes preparation and planning. It isn't something that just happens. A concerted effort needs to be made. Plan to pursue holiness by surrounding yourself with people who will help, by learning about God, by reading the Bible all on a regular plan. We aren't called to fit in with the world; we are called to be holy, to be different. It's easy to fall into the temptation to fit in, which is why a plan is needed to pursue holiness. Satan has a plan to keep us from pursuing holiness, but if we follow our own plan, we can avoid his temptations and pursue holiness. One of Satan's greatest lies is that the most important thing in life is to satisfy our own desires and pursue happiness or gratification at all costs. That's not God's will for us though. God doesn't exist to serve us. We exist to serve Him. 

  2. Live Fearfully (v17-21). … We should have a reverent fear, a deep respect and admiration, for who God is. This is a fear that, instead of paralyzing, pushes towards holiness. It keeps us from doing things that would displease God. This fear also pushes us towards salvation. It leads us to hope and faith in the holy God. This reverent fear makes us want to know Christ. And knowing Christ is how we become holy. It modifies our behavior from the inside out. For more on this reverent fear, see Proverbs 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Philippians 2:12.

  3. Love Deeply (v22-25). … God calls us to love one another deeply. We are called to love, encourage, forgive, support one another. John 13:34-35 is where Jesus Himself tells us to love another, that the world would know us because of that love for one another.