Archives from November 2018

Pouring Out Water and Raising Up Stones

Sunday Sermon

Sometimes our pastor likes to change up how he teaches us. There’s always the auditory aspect, but sometimes he uses low-tech visual aids because they can help many people learn and there’s examples of prophets doing the same in the Bible. Singing worship songs and the Lord’s Supper are examples of interactive worship. In 1 Samuel 7, we see another example of interactive worship.

In 1 Samuel 4 the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. Then in chapter 5 we see that whichever city held the captured Ark faced devastation, so they returned in chapter 6.

Now we get to 1 Samuel 7 and learn the Ark was returned to Israel and stayed at Kiriath Jearim twenty years (1 Samuel 7:1-2a). During that time Samuel was raised up as a prophet.

The Israelites realized they were a mess and turned back to God. Samuel encouraged them to turn to God with all their heart and to rid themselves of the idols and false gods they worshipped, promising deliverance from the Philistines if they did. And so they did as Samuel encouraged (1 Samuel 7:2b-4).

Then Samuel gathered everyone together and led them in an interactive worship experience. They drew water and poured it out before God and fasted and confessed their sins. They poured out their hearts to God and made a break with the past--when you pour water on the ground, you don’t get it back (1 Samuel 7:5-6). .. Our pastor invited us to do this during the invitation. … Is there anything you need to confess to God, anything you need to cut ties with and leave in the past?

Sometimes when you get right with Lord, your worldly circumstances change for the worse. When they gathered together at Mizpah for that interactive worship, the Philistines took it as a sign of aggression and gathered their army together to go against Israel. The Israelites feared the Philistines because they’ve lost in battle to them a few times before this and now they are about to battle again. So they asked Samuel to keep crying out to God so that God might rescue them. So Samuel offered a sacrifice. As he offered the sacrifice, the Philistines drew close to attack, but God caused a great thunder that threw them into a panic and the they were defeated (1 Samuel 7:7-11).

Now we come to a second act of interactive worship. Samuel set up a stone to commemorate the event, to immortalize the Lord’s help (1 Samuel 7:12). Our memories aren’t always very good and sometimes we forget what God has done for us. Samuel didn’t want this to happen to the Israelites, so he raised up that stone as a way of offering Thanksgiving to God. … Our pastor invited us to go write something God has helped us with on a stone during the invitation. … Has God done anything in your life you need to remember forever? Has he answered a prayer, helped you beat cancer, helped you with anxiety or getting over a loss of a loved one? Make a monument somewhere you will see it and be reminded about God’s goodness everyday.

What Christians Believe About People: All People Have a Body and a Soul

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

3 John 1:2 is a greeting that wishes good health for body and soul and is a great summary verse for this sermon.

It is wrong to have too low a view of your body (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15, 19-20). … Having a low view for the body leads to us hurting our bodies and treating them with disrespect. Doing those things leads to sin such as sexual immorality. Paul tells us to have higher views and gives reasons why we should have a higher view of our bodies. One of these reasons is that our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit resides.

It is wrong to have too high a view of your body (1 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 16:26). … Going to the other extreme is dangerous too. We like to look good and often put in time to make sure we do. We are told that physical training has some importance but that “godliness is important in all things.” Working hard to be in great shape might lead to you being the next great athlete and making millions of dollars, but that value is nothing compared to the value of your soul. Don’t forfeit your soul just for material; gains.

Materialists believe the body is all there is, but Christians believe every person has a spirit or soul (Psalm 42:1; Matthew 10:28). The Bible uses these two words interchangeably. … The Bible is clear that we have a body and soul. Jesus warns us that we should fear the One who can destroy both instead of only our body.

When you die, your soul leaves your body (John 19:30). If you have believed in Jesus, your soul goes to Heaven (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8). … Jesus “gave up His spirit” when He died on the cross. His soul left His body. The criminal who believed in Jesus also had his soul go to Paradise when he died. This tells us that the soul leaves the body upon death and does not wait for the second coming.

God will save our bodies as well as our souls (Romans 8:23; Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21). … God will resurrect our bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed. These imperfect bodies that are prone to sickness, cancer, aging, injuries, and other troubles will be raised in a glorified form. This is what happened to Jesus and is what will happen to us upon His second coming. Jesus had a physical body; He had hands and feet and He ate and drank. One day He will return and our souls will return to our bodies, now in their glorified form.

Do you find yourself on either end of the spectrum? Do you neglect your body or treat it with disrespect? Or do you make it an idol and do everything you can to perfect it at the cost of your soul? Do you fear those who can only destroy your body or the One who can destroy both body and soul more? Do you know where you will go when you die?

What Christians Believe about People: All People Are Sinners

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

Do you think people are basically good or basically bad? There was a man and woman who quit their jobs to travel the world for a year in order to prove that evil is a make-believe concept and that people are basically good. Sadly, they were killed in Isis territory.

The concept of sin is disappearing in our society and not just in secular society, but also in the church. Joel Olsteen, the most watched pastor right now, admittedly never talks about sin. The term ‘sin’ appears nearly a thousand times in the Bible. It is obviously a big deal. It is not something to be taken lightly or forgotten.

In Genesis 2:16-17 God gave a commandment, and ultimately a choice, to Adam. Adam could choose to obey God or disobey God.

What is the origin of our sin problem? Genesis 3:1-19) … A talking serpent---the fallen angel Satan--tempted Eve by questioning what God said. The devil likes to make us question what God has told us with His commands and promises. Eve gave in and Adam didn’t stop her, but also ate of the fruit. As a result, sin entered the world and broke the world. With sin came pain and suffering. With sin came evil.

What is the extent of our sin problem? (Romans 3:10-12, 23) …. Paul doesn’t mince words here. He tells us sin is a universal problem. We’re all sinners. It’s a universal problem. If this were an old western, we’d all be wearing black hats. If we were all hackers, we’d all be wearing black hats. None of us would even own a white hat.

What is the magnitude of our sin problem? (Jeremiah 7:19) … We can’t fix it. The elected officials won’t be able to put an end to sin. (But you should still vote.) We can’t even fix our own sin.

  • Our sin is internal

  • Our sin is incurable

  • Our sin is irrational

What are the implications of our sin problem? 1 Corinthians 10:12) … A Biblical understanding of sin should lead to us putting up some boundaries in our lives. If we have appropriate boundaries set up and respect them even when we are at our best, it will be easier to avoid sin.

What is the solution to our sin problem? (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Acts 3:19; Ephesians 4:22-24) … The solution is a radical change. We must repent from our sins and look to God and align our desires with His. Once we do that, our old desires for sin are replaced by the desires that God has for us. … We are always going to struggle with sin, but as we grow as Christians, our old, sinful nature should continue to shrink as our new, righteous nature takes its place.

In Psalm 51 David acknowledges his sin before God and seeks mercy. He knows he was a sinner from birth just like the rest of us and needs God’s help to get out of sin.