Archives from July 2019

Three Pictures of Hell

Sunday Sermon

Revelation 21-22
Last month our associate pastor preached about Heaven. There’s a second possible eternal destination that also needs to be discussed: Hell. We don’t like talking about Hell, but it is an important part of our beliefs and needs to be discussed.

“These are such weighty things, such that when I dwell upon them, I feel far more inclined to sit down and weep than to stand up and speak to you.” - Charles Spurgeon

Three things about Hell we learn from the last two chapters:

  1. Hell is a place of eternal torment. 

    1. People say, “is it really eternal?” … Unfortunately, yes.

    2. People say, “How is fair?” … Sin gains its wickedness by who it is against. When we sin against an eternal, omnipotent God, the punishment has to fit the sin. Consider the difference in punishment you would face for punching a random passerby versus punching the Queen of England. Is God not infinitely greater than even the Queen?

    3. People say, “Why not just forgive everyone’s sins?” … God is just and being just, He requires justice. Fortunately, He provided us with a way out: Jesus. Jesus was willing to take the punishment for all our sins Himself. 

    4. People say, “Why doesn’t God do something now instead of waiting for the end?”

  2. Hell is a door locked from the inside  … When a fire goes unchecked/uncontrolled, it grows and grows. Those who sin without seeking forgiveness by repentance will continue to sin. 

  3. Hell is our default destination … Most people tend to believe Heaven is the default destination, but the Bible tells us differently. The Bible says we were made for Heaven, but the fall, sin, changed our default destination to Hell. However, there is a way to change our destination to Heaven, and that is faith in Jesus, repenting of our sins. 

What do we need to do in light of this ETERNAL reality? Matthew 28:18-20

  1. Go - Be present with people … as you do life, spend time with people

  2. Make Disciples - Share the Gospel … Romans 10 asks some questions that are intended to prompt us to share the Gospel. They can’t hear the Gospel if we don’t speak it. 

  3. Baptize - Invite people to the family … don’t just invite people into our faith, but also into our community. Invite people to church, to your connection group or Sunday school class. 

  4. Teaching - To follow Jesus … by teaching people to follow Jesus we also teach them how to teach people to follow Jesus. 

Jesus has given us authority to share His message. 

Jesus is with us always. We don’t evangelize alone because Jesus is always with us. 

How Do You Respond to Trouble?

Sunday Sermon

In 2 Kings 3 is the story of two kings who get into trouble. King Joram (king of Israel) and King Jehosapht (king of Judah) respond very differently to the same situation:

The Moabites rebelled against Joram Joram decided to ask Jehoshaphat for assistance in taking on the Moabites. Joram wanted to go through Judah and attack Moab from the back. It was a good plan, but there was one issue. They ran out of water. Let’s see how each king responds. 

  • Joram responds with despair (2 Kings 3:10). … Joram panics and thinks there is no hope for them. He even blames God for his situation. 

  • Jehoshaphat seeks God (2 Kings 3:11). … Jehoshaphat asks for a man of God that they might ask what God is doing in this situation. 

Why do they respond differently? 

Their relationship with God is different:

  • Joram (2 Kings 3:1-3) … Joram was son of Ahab, who was one of the worst kings, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. 

  • Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:3-6) … Jehoshaphat had a relationship with God and had experience with trouble before. 

Jehoshaphat had been in trouble before: Sometimes a little trouble prepares us for bigger troubles … Even King David saw minor troubles that prepared him for future, giant troubles. 

The prequel to our story is in 1 Kings 22 … King Ahab wanted to go to war with Aram and wanted Jehoshaphat’s assistance. Jehoshaophat said to fris seek God’s counsel. Ahab asked the advice of 400 false prophets and they told him he would win the battle. The one true prophet he asked said he would die in battle. He was right. Ahabn was in disguise so he wouldn’t be a target, but a random arrow hit him. Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat was spared because the Aram soldiers were instructed to only attack Ahab. 

So, how did our two kings fare? They found Elisha, a prophet, who told them what God was doing. Elisha tells them that God will flood the valley. Well, that water appeared as blood the Moabites and they thought the kings and their armies had slaughtered each other, granted themselves victory. So they went to plunder the fallen armies, but ended up getting slaughtered. 

Jehoshaphat will be in trouble again: Again, he would seek God. 

The sequel to our story is in 2 Chronicles 20 … The Moabites tried the same tactic against Judah, coming up from behind. They reached the city and Jehoshaphat saw how outnumbered they were. Jehoshaphat sought God again. He then sent out the praise team to the front line, and as they sang, God somehow sent ambushes onto the Moabites. 

Jehoshaphat provides us with a great example of how to respond to trouble. Seek God’s counsel.

What Happens When a Christian Sins?

Sunday Sermon

When we are saved, our past sins are wiped away, but what happens when we sin after receiving salvation? There are two popular answers: 

  1. We lose our salvation if we willingly sin. 

  2. It doesn’t matter because we’re already forgiven. 

Are these right? Let’s see what the Bible says. 

  1. When we Christians sin, our standing with God is unchanged (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:8-9). … Those who are true believers are sealed and salvation is secure. We aren’t saved by works and we don’t lose it through works. 

  2. When we Christians sin, our fellowship with God is disrupted (Ephesians 4:30). … Even though Christians are guaranteed salvation, that doesn’t mean sin has no effect on us or God. Our sin affects our ability to worship and spend time with God.

    1. Our prayers are hindered (Psalm 66:18; 1 Peter 3:7). … We are told that cherishing sin (including disrespecting your spouse) hinders our prayer life. 

    2. We experience God’s discipline (Revelation 3:19). … Jesus tells us He rebukes and disciplines those He loves. 

Look back at the two popular answers. Is either right? No, they are both on the extreme ends of the spectrum. The first is legalistic and the second treats God’s grace as a simple get out of Hell free card. 

What do we do as Christians who have sinned? We follow the advice of Revelation 3:19: we earnestly repent. 

We also have a tradition that helps us remember this: The Lord’s Supper or Communion. It forces us to consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and that should repentance. 

1 John 1:5-10 is a great message about how to live as believers. It calls for us to live in the light of our Savior and to be honest and confess our sins.

God Is Calling You

Sunday Sermon

What method does God use to call us? 

  1. God can speak audibly (1 Samuel 3:4-5).... God called to Samuel apparently in an audible verse since Samuel thought Eli had called out to him. 

  2. God often speaks inaudibly (Acts 8:29).... This can be a simple thought that pops in your head or a tug on your heart to do something. 

  3. The Bible is God's authoritative communication (1 Corinthians 14:36-37).... When you think God has spoken to you either audibly or inaudibly, always check that message against what the Bible says. If it goes against what the Bible says, it wasn't from God. 

  4. God prefers to use human messengers to call us (Acts 9:10-11; Romans 10:14).... He does this a lot in the Bible. In the Old Testament he spoke prophets, judges, kings, and others when getting a message out to His people. In the New Testament He speaks through the Disciples and Paul and Peter and others. The ultimate messenger from God is Jesus who came from Heaven to take human form and deliver His message. Even today He speaks through pastors as well as other people, 

What is the content of God's call to us? 

  1. God calls to salvation (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Peter 2:9; John 5:24).... We all have a sin problem but Jesus has bridged the gap caused by our sin and we are called to cross that bridge to salvation. We are called out of darkness and into light. We are called from death to life. 

  2. God calls to ministry(Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2).... When we are called to salvation, we are also called to ministry in a sense. We are all supposed to spread the Gospel. However there is also a special calling for people to be more specialized in the ministry, to be pastors, missionaries, public speakers. 

  3. God calls to specific assignments (Acts 13:1-3; 16:9-10).... Sometimes God calls on people to take certain tasks. Maybe you are called to do missions in a specific part of the world or to be the pastor of a specific church or to lead a certain Sunday school class. Maybe you're even called to help lead worship or operate sound and lights and slides.