Archives from June 2019

Five Pictures of Heaven

Sunday Sermon

Revelation 21-22

CS Lewis said that “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” I've never been to Heaven. The preacher has never been to Heaven. There are books about people who claim to have gone to Heaven, but we are going to get our ideas of Heaven from the Bible. So let's look at five pictures of Heaven from Revelation 21-22. 

  1. Renewal (Revelation 21:1-2).... The new Heaven and Earth will have all the good from the current Heaven and Earth but without sin. There will be no curse. Think about how the Earth was before sin, before the curse. 

  2. Reunion (Revelation 21:3).... We will be with God and with our family of believers, including those who died before us.. We will be ecstatic to be reunited with loved ones, but the greatest reunion we will experience is the one with Jesus. 

  3. Release (Revelation 21:4).... There will be no more pain, depression, sickness, cancer, crime, or even tax forms. There will be no more sin and we will all have pure hearts…. Will we forget all the pain we suffered on Earth? In Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, upon realizing he and his friends were still alive, Samwise Gamgee asked “is everything sad going to come untrue?” That’s a great question that has apparently inspired several sermons (do a quick search and you’ll find some good ones). What does it mean for all sad things to come untrue? It doesn't mean that we forget them or that they cease to have existed, but that they become unimportant with an eternal perspective. After all, we will be with our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. 

  4. Reassignment (Revelation 22:3).... We will serve God. Work was part of the original plan in Eden, but it wasn't supposed to be difficult like it became after sin entered Earth. 

  5. Reign (Revelation 22:5).... We don't know who we will reign over, but we do know we are royalty, sons and daughters of the King. 

How do we apply these future realities to our present circumstances? 

  1. Put away your bucket list…. The new Heaven and Earth will have the best of everything from the old Earth and Heaven…… If you need a bucket list, there is one thing that we can do now that we can't do in Heaven: share the Gospel with the lost. 

  2. Stop being depressed about aging…. In the new Heaven and Earth, we will get a new, glorified body. 

  3. Let's teach our children these things…. The reality of Heaven should change how we parent and raise our kids. 

  4. Understand what you are longing for…. CS Lewis says that having a longing for something is a pretty good indication that it exists. We all long for something that this world can't provide and can only be fulfilled by God. 

How to Overcome Temptation

Sunday Sermon

Three promises about Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13):

  1. You are not the only one facing this temptation.... It's easy to feel like you are the only one going through whatever you are going through. Even Elijah felt this but God informed him there were many others who were with him.

  2. You will not be tempted beyond what you can bear…. Even with Job, God put limits on the temptations and suffering Satan could put him through

  3. You will always be provided a way out of your temptation.

Three strategies for overcoming temptation:

  1. Flee (1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22).... There are some places we don't need to go to. There are some websites that we don't need to visit. There are some people we don't need to associate with because they tempt us and especially with sins we are prone to committing. Set some boundaries in your life that keep temptations away. This isn't always possible, which leads to the second strategy.

  2. Fight (James 4:7).... We are told to submit to God and resist the Devil. Too often we get this backwards…. One thing this verse implies is that the Devil feeds on weak prey and doesn't like when we fight. And we have weapons and armor provided by God.
    Your weapons (Ephesians 6:11-18) :

    1. Salvation (1 John 4:4)... Claiming your salvation helps you remember who you are, a redeemed child of God. The Spirit is in you and He is greater than the Devil.

    2. The Bible (Matthew 4:1-11)... The Devil traffics in lies but cannot defeat the Truth. When Jesus was tempted, He quote scripture. Memorize scripture and say it when you are tempted. Don't fight with a butterknife when there is a sword available.

    3. Prayer (Matthew 6:13; 26:41)... Jesus tells us to pray for protection against temptation.

  3. Change (James 1:13-15; Galatians 5:19-25).... Some temptation you can flee from. Some you can fight. But the real root of our temptation problem lies within us. The only way to truly fix the problem is to change. To quote Pogo, "we have found the enemy, and it is      us." Some people say there is no way for a person to change, but we serve a God of miracles who has no limitations on what He can do. Our desires can change. We can crucify our old desires and pickup new ones.

A Challenge to Christian Men

Sunday Sermon

2 Timothy 1:1-18

Paul addresses Timothy as “my dear on.” Timothy did not have a Christian father. H had a mother and a grandmother who passed the faith onto him. Paul was a spiritual father to Timothy. Paul shared two challenges with Timothy that our pastor wants to share with men today. … Our best guess for some context of this letter is that Paul is in his sixties and Timothy is in his thirties. Paul is very much a father figure for Timothy and Timothy a son to Paul. … Fathers are important. There are several statistics that indicate just how impactful a father is in the family. But that doesn’t mean that children who grow up without a father have to be doomed. The church should be full of men who can be spiritual fathers to the fatherless.

  1. Be bold in following Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1-12). … From what we know, it seems that Timothy was a naturally timid and passive person. Men can sometimes be pretty passive as they see things happen. Paul encourages Timothy to fan the flame of our gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit. He tells Timothy to be bold and not ashamed of the Gospel or of Paul’s imprisonment, but rather toi join Paul in his suffering. Why should we join Paul in suffering by being bold in our faith? (side note: Being bold does mean being obnoxious or annoying. You won’t win many souls for God that way.
    Three reasons:

    1. We are saved (2 Timothy 1:9-10). … Jesus died on the cross to save us. When He died and rose from the grave, he defeated, obliterated, death.

    2. We are sent (2 Timothy 1:11). … Preacher or not, we are sent into the world to make disciples.

    3. We are sure (2 Timothy 1:12). … Even as he sat in prison for his beliefs, Paul was still sure of his salvation in Christ.

  2. Be faithful in following Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13-18). … There’s a beginning and a continuing to the Christian life. Some people begin the Christian life and then something happens and they quit. Paul gives examples of people who were not faithful in their walk and someone else who was faithful. It is important to only begin following Jesus, but to also continue following Jesus even when the journey grows difficult.

    1. Two negative examples (2 Timothy 1:15)

    2. A positive example (2 Timothy 1:16-18)

When Was God at His Best?

Sunday Sermon

The Bible

How can we answer the title question? When was Go at His best?

  1. God must have been at His best the creation of the Heavens and the Earth. … All of the parameters that had to be perfect for life to exist on Earth are just that, perfect. The Earth spins at the perfect rate, in an orbit around the sun in the Goldilocks zone. There are so many things that had to be perfect for life to exist that it’s absolutely amazing everything came together properly.

  2. God must have been at His best when He create man. … Man is unlike anything else on Earth and God put man in charge of the Earth. The intricacies of the human body are spectacular. Your small intestine is 23 feet long. A human sneeze can travel 100 mph. The eye is equivalent to a 576-megapixel camera. To put that in perspective, smartphone cameras tend to be around 12 megapixels and 4k resolution is only about 8.5 megapixels.

  3. God must have been at His best during the period of time when God’s children were winning battles. … There are quite a few battles in the Old Testament where the Israelites won a battle only because God intervened. Moses, Joshua, King Jehoshaphat, and more led the Israelites in battles they could not win without God’s help, and God was faithful to His people.

  4. God must have been at His best during the time of the prophets. … Elijah, apparently the only prophet of God left at his time, did great things, including having God burn up water soaked bulls to show that God is the only God, showing up the prophets of baal in the process. Other prophets also did great works in God’s name.

  5. God must have been at His best the birth of Christ. … Even the angels sang in joy of this event. The Magi came with gifts, fell on their faces, and worshipped Jesus.

  6. God must have been at His best during the life of Christ. … Jesus did many miracles. He turned water into wine. Healed a child from miles away by simply speaking, healed a man by just telling him to get up, fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, walked on water, calmed fears and storms, used mud to heal a blind man, rose Lazarus from the grave, and more.

  7. God must have been at His best during the death of Christ. … Jesus suffered unimaginable beatings and punishment and died on the cross. The Earth shook. The sky went dark. The veil tore. Because He died. The sacrifice of Christ was the final sacrifice to cover sin.

  8. God must have been at His best at the resurrection. … When those who loved Him were weeping and His enemies were rejoicing, He rose from the grave. The tomb was empty and He had risen. He had defeated death.

  9. God is at His best in salvation. … When He saved me, when He saved you, when He saved your friend, when He saved your enemy God was at His best,. God is at His best when people are saved. The whole Bible, from beginning to end, is about the salvation God offers and how it is available to everyone.

VBS Key Verse: The Purpose Statement of the Gospel of John

Sunday Sermon

John 20:30-31

Why did John write his gospel (story of Jesus)?

John wrote his gospel to help us believe in Jesus. … This is why it is often recommended as the first book of the Bible to read for those who have never read it before.

John calls the miracles of Jesus “signs”. … They are signs that point to who Jesus is.  

“Believe” is the key word in John. This word occurs 11 times in Matthew, 10 times in Mark, 9 times in Luke, and 98 times in John! … That’s quite a stark difference from the other gospels and shows a major emphasis.

What does John want us to believe about Jesus?

  1. Jesus is the Messiah (Christ). … Jesus is the One who was promised in the Old Testament prophecies.

  2. Jesus is God’s Son. … He is the Son of God, holy and eternal.

Why is it important to believe in Jesus?

When you believe in Jesus you receive life through Him.

  1. Jesus gives abundant/rich/satisfying/full/better life. … Jesus gives life better than we can dream of, better even than the life King Solomon had. Solomon had everything he wanted and came to the conclusion that it was all meaningless. To be more specific, that it was meaningless without God.

  2. Jesus gives eternal life. … We know that even after we physically die our spirit will live on in eternity because we believe in Jesus and have put our trust in Him.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas (called twin) struggled with believing Jesus had risen from the grave. He wasn’t with the other 10 (Judas Iscariot was dead) when Jesus first appeared to them and he doubted their reports. Jesus appeared to them again and showed Thomas His scars and Thomas believed. And because he believed, he will have eternal life. Then Jesus says that those who believe without seeing will be blessed. That’s us!