Posts in the "Series" Category

Family Life: What Jesus Says about Children

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

Matthew 18:1-14

This passage begins with a couple of the disciples

  1. Learn from children how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:1-4).
    Children are dependent. Your independence will prevent you from entering Heaven. … We think we can do everything on our own and don’t need help from God, we don’t think we need to depend on God. Or even if we do think that, we often do not act like it.We’re wrong. We need God or we won’t enter Heaven. We can’t enter Heaven unless we depend on God.

  2. Whoever welcomes a child in the name of Jesus welcomes Jesus (Matthew 18:5). … What does it mean to welcome children? Here are some things it could mean.

    1. Welcome children into the world. Abortion is not welcoming children into the world.

    2. Special needs children are often not welcomed in the world or in the culture. Treating them with respect is a way to welcome children.

    3. Adoption and foster care are great ways to welcome children who really need it.

    4. Sponsoring a child who needs it welcomes that child

  3. Whoever causes a child to stumble brings trouble upon himself (Matthew 18:6-7). … Now Jesus is talking about actual children as well as anyone who becomes like a child and depends on Him. Everyone will face temptation and stumbling blocks, but you don’t need to be the person who creates that temptation or stumbling block for anyone.

  4. Do not look down on children (Matthew 18:10).
    Two reasons to value children:

    1. Because their angels have a direct audience with the Father in Heaven (Matthew 18:10). … We’re not really sure if this means every child and believer has their own “guardian angel” or if there are jsut angels asigned to certain groups of people.

    2. Because the Father cares for and actively seeks each individual child (Matthew 18:12-14). … Even if 99% of them are safe, Jesus still goes after the 1% to make sure He keeps 100%.

Here are a couple things to consider from this sermon:

  1. Do you look down on children? What can you do to show more respect to kids?

  2. Are you dependent on God? What are some areas in your life where you need to rely more on God?

Family Life: Relationships in Marriage

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


Media frequently portrays marriage in a negative light, as a prison to escape. There are shows that let us watch a man try to find his perfect match, or woman try to find hers. The Bachelor has 22 seasons right now. Only one couple produced by that show is still together. The model of love often presented by the media does not work. Perhaps we need to use a different model, maybe the Biblical model.

Ephesians 5:21-33

Spouses, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). … In this chapter, just before the passage we’re looking at today, Paul lists four indications that we are filled with the Holy Spirit:

  1. Speaking (Ephesians 5:19)

  2. Singing (Ephesians 5:19)

  3. Giving Thanks (Ephesians 5:20)

  4. Submitting (Ephesians 5:21)

Notice how the fourth is submitting. We are called to submit to Christ. Spouses should also submit to each other.

Wives, support your husbands and follow their leadership (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Husbands, love your wives:

Our culture defines love as a feeling, but the Bible defines love as an action.

  1. Love your wife as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25-27). … Christ gave Himself up for the Church (John 3:16). Love is shown by the way we act. … We are all imperfect and sometimes we may not feel like loving, but we are still called to love.

  2. Love your wife as your own body (Ephesians 5:28-31). … One feeds and cares for one’s body; likewise, one should feed and care for one’s wife. … When man and woman marry, they become one flesh, one body.

In 1972 the O’Jays released “Love Train”. Let’s look at a couple different configurations for a “love train,” one that the world tells us to use and one the Bible tells us ton use.

World:

  • Engine: Loving Feelings

  • Cabin car: Loving Actions

  • Caboose: Commitment

This love train configuration is powered by feelings and eventually leads to commitment. Too often those feelings fade and can’t pull the loving actions and commitment. In order to keep going, they decouple from the rest of the train, leaving loving actions and commitment behind.

Bible:

  • Engine: Commitment

  • Cabin car: Loving Actions

  • Caboose: Loving Feelings

This configuration is powered by commitment which pulls loving action and loving feelings behind. Even when feelings fade, commitment keeps pulling loving actions and even those loving feelings.

Family Life: Relationships of Husbands and Wives

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


1 Peter 3:1-7

Peter, the author of this letter, was a married man. We know this because he had a mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31) and because Paul implied it (1 Corinthians 9:5).

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6).

What this does not mean:

  • A wife should submit to abuse … Let’s make it clear that Christians believe wives should not submit to abuse.

    • 1-800-799-SAFE is the hotline to call if you suffer abuse

  • That the husband is superior … There is equality between husband and wife. How is their equality when there is submission? Let’s look at the Trinity. All three Persons are equal, but the Son submits (or defers) to the Father.They serve different roles.

  • A wife should always agree with her husband … The wife does not (and likely should not) always agree with her husband

What this does mean:

  • A wife should follow the husband’s lead. … The wife is to follow her husband as long as he is leading down the right path. Marriage is a bit of a team sport and the wife needs to be on the husband’s team. … If the husband is not a Christian, the wife is told to still follow their lead with the hope that her behavior and actions will win him over.

Let your beauty come from the character of your life. … It’s not wrong to wear jewelry or fine clothes or a fancy hairstyle, but those outward decorations should be secondary to your character.

Peter uses Abraham and Sarah as an example. These two were not a perfect couple by any means, but they do show a wife submissive to her husband.

Husbands, honor your wives (1 Peter 3:7).

Be considerate of your wife as physically weaker but spiritually equal. Failure to be considerate of your wife hinders your prayers. … The husband’s role is not to tell the wife to submit. The husband’s role is to respect her and be considerate of her. … Men and women are created differently. Generally, men are bigger and stronger than women. The husband should never touch the wife in anger. … Spiritually, men and women are equal. Just because the husband is meant to lead, that doesn’t mean he is superior in spirit. … The relationship with your wife affects your relationship with God. If a husband is abusive towards his wife either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then his relationship with God is hindered.

Family Life: Should I Stay in This Marriage?

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

1 Corinthians 7:1-6, 10-24

An interesting aspect of this passage is that Paul says the same thing to both the husband and wife. This would have been a revolutionary idea back then.

  1. One should deprive one’s marriage partner of sexual intimacy except by mutual consent. Distance or separation in a marriage relationship is dangerous (1 Corinthians 7:1-6). … Paul was talking about intimacy. A lack of intimacy likely indicates problems that put distance between husband and wife. That distance is something Satan can use to create even more issues.

  2. Two Christians should not divorce (1 Corinthians :10-11). Jesus said the only exception is adultery (Matthew 19:9). … Paul references what Jesus has said on this issue and tells Christians to work through their problems.

  3. A believer should _ to an unbeliever if the unbelieving spouse is willing to do so (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). The presence of one Christians in a family sanctifies the family. … This time Paul uses his own discernment and tells us that Christians should remain with their unbelieving spouse if their spouse is willing to remain married. He says that the Christian spouse can “sanctify” the family. That doesn’t mean a family is saved just because one of the parents is a Christian, but that the family may be blessed because of it.

  4. Be content regardless of your material situation (1 Corinthians 7:17-24). Serve God where you are until He moves you into different circumstances. You can be content where you are (Philippians 4:10-13). … We are told not to wish we were somewhere else or with someone else, but to be content. Our circumstances don’t determine our happiness or contentedness. We are defined by God, not our marital status.

Family Life: Should I Stay Single or Get Married?

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


The church of Corinth wrote to Paul and asked him some questions about how to live as a Christian. One of the topics was marriage. We don’t have the actual question that was asked, but chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians is Paul’s answer to the question.

Four Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Marry

  1. Am I able to lead a chaste as a single? (1 Corinthians 7:2, 7-9) … For a Christian there needs to be purity, so a single Christian should remain celibate. Paul says not everyone is able to remain chaste and that one reason to get married is so that we don’t burn with passion.

  2. Are the circumstances right at this time for me to marry? (1 Corinthians 7:25-28; 1 Timothy 5:14) … There are some situations in which getting married is not a wise thing to do. And there are other circumstances where marrying is wise.

  3. How will marriage or singleness affect my service to Christ? (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) … Serving Christ is the most thing we do. If being married makes your service to the Lord more effective, get married. If being single makes you more effective, remain single.

  4. Am I marrying a believer in Christ? (1 Corinthians 7:39-40) … Marriage is for a lifetime and it is important to be married to another believer, should you choose to marry.

Four Purposes of Marriage

  1. Partnership (Malachi 2:14; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) … Marriage is a partnership. Life easier with a partner.

  2. Procreation (Genesis 1:27-28) … Having children is another reason

  3. Pleasure (Song of Solomon 1:2) … God created marriage for pleasure. God gives good gifts.

  4. Purity (1 Corinthians 7:9) … It is better to marry than to burn with passion.

For singles, these purposes can fulfilled in other ways

  1. Partnership can come friends and the church

  2. Singles may not have biological children, but they can have spiritual children

  3. Pleasure can come from many different sources

  4. Purity comes from being chaste.

This Is a Day of Good News and We Are Keeping to Ourselves

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Our church theme for 2018 is Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. A story from 2 Kings 6-7 illustrates our rationale and motivation for this theme. … After Solomon dies, the nation was divided into a northern and southern kingdom. Enemies of Israel came and besieged the northern kingdom’s capital, Samaria. The situation becomes awful as the attackers just waited for them to starve. The king blames the prophet Elisha and sends someone to kill him. Elisha told the officials he was with that the finest flour would be sold at a cheap price the next day and one of them doubted him. Elisha told the doubter he would see it come true but not eat of the flour. … The lepers outside the city decide they are going to die anyways so they go to surrender to their attackers. They come to the camp and find it abandoned. God had made them hear hoofsteps, so many that they thought the Israelites had allied with Egypt and the Hittites to defeat them. So they dropped everything and ran off. The lepers find all this food and start eating everything until they realize they should tell the city. So they do and when the king’s scouts decide the camp is indeed empty, a stampede ensues and the official who doubted Elisha was trampled. He lived long enough to see the flour sold cheaply but never got to eat of it, just as Elisha had said.

We are like the lepers (Isaiah 64:6). … Spiritually, we are all outcasts. We are unfit to enter Heaven because we are unclean.

We have found great treasure (Ephesians 1:7-8, 18, 3:18). … As Christians we have stumbled upon great riches

We cannot keep it to ourselves (2 Kings 7:9). … We would be morally wrong to keep it to ourselves. We are obliged to tell others about these riches we have found.

Not everyone will believe the Good News immediately. We must be patient with them (2 Kings 7:12). … Some won’t believe right away and will need to send out scouts and examine evidence. The best thing we can do is to be patient with them.

Open Our Eyes: Our View of God Is too Small

Sunday Sermon Series Open Our Eyes

Exodus 3: 1-14

Big Idea: all of our spiritual problems come from a lack of spiritual vision.

Often our view of God is too small
If our view of God is too small, insecurity often emerges.
When our eyes are on ourselves, we come to the natural conclusion: “I can’t do this.”

Insecurity is that voice inside you that whispers: “I am not _ enough.” … What do you most often put in that blank? We all have something.

Exodus 3 opens up with Moses as an insecure man. … We all experience insecurity, even the heroes of the Bible. Moses was a shepherd living with his in-laws at around 60 years old. Then God calls Moses to lead His people. Moses believes he isn’t up to the task. Well, Moses isn’t, but he was missing the point. Moses asks “who am I?” and thus made it all about himself. God refocuses the conversation back onto Him, not Moses, but Moses keeps making it all about himself, indicating great insecurity about his own abilities.

God shows Moses: I don’t need you to e a VICTOR--I just need you to be a vessel. … Confidence comes when we put our faith in God and follow His will.

If the eternal I AM is on your side--you won’t need anything else. … God’s name isn’t so much a name as a descriptor. It tells us God is eternal. He had no beginning and has no end. He doesn’t fear anything and has no needs. … If we are on God’s side, we have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about.

In the New Testament, Jesus takes this “I AM” name to Himself and applies it to our greatest areas of need.

To those who hunger--”I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).

To those who thirst--”I am the living water” (John 7:38-39).

To those in darkness--”I am the light” (John 8:12).

To those who need a fresh start--”I am the door” (John 10:9).

To those feel abandoned--”I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11).

To those who feel lost--”I am the way” (John 14:6).

To those who are confused--”I am the truth” (John 14:6).

To those who are afraid of death--”I am the life” (John 14:6).

We all have insecurities that we cannot overcome on our own, but in Christ they disappear.

Fill in the blanks here:
I am not _ enough, yet in Christ I am _.

Examples:
I am not good enough, yet in Christ I am righteous.
I am not patient enough, yet in Christ I am persevering.

We tend to focus on ourselves, which leaves God out of focus in our lives, making Him seem smaller than He is. How do we put God in focus? One word: Surrender … Eventually Moses surrendered to God and God did amazing works through him.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 3

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah

Zechariah 9

First, let’s remember the theme for this year: Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. This is one of the easiest weeks to do so. Easter is one of the easiest time to talk to people about the Gospel.

Archeology has confirmed the accuracy of the Bible in many stories.  This is one reason we believe what the Bible says.

Other evidence is the number of fulfilled prophecies which is what this sermon series is about.

Zechariah 9 contains three prophecies, like three distant mountain ranges. … Mountain ranges can look close to each other. You may go hiking and see two ranges, one behind another and they look close, but when you reach the top of the first you see a large valley between the two.

  1. Tyre and the Philistine cities will be destroyed, but Jerusalem will be kept safe (Zechariah 9:33-6, 8).

    1. Fulfilment: Alexander the Great in 332 BC. … 188 years after the prophecy was made, Alexander was conquering all of the known world. Then he came to Jerusalem. The only account we have of this is from the Jewish historian, Josephus, who tells us about how Alexander left Jerusalem alone. Josephus tells us that the night before Alexander approached the city, the high priest had a vision. The high priest was to wear a special outfit and march out with other priests and citizens to meet Alexander. He did so. Apparently Alexander had also had a vision that he would see a man dressed like this. He was taken into the temple by the high priest and offered a sacrifice to God. Then he was shown the prophecy in Daniel about the fall of the Persian empire, at which point he believed that he was the one prophesied about who would conquer Persia. He then left, allowing the Jews to go on living as they had been.

  2. A gentle king will come to Jerusalem. He will ride into the city on a donkey. He will bring salvation and proclaim peace (Zechariah 9:9-10).

    1. Fulfillment: Jesus on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-9). About 550 years after the prophecy, Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of a young donkey.

  3. The Lord will appear over His people in battle. His arrow will flash like lightning. He will sound the trumpet and save His flock (Zechariah 9:14, 16).

    1. Fulfilment: The return of Jesus (Matthew 24:27-31). … Jesus tells His disciples about His second coming and it sounds a lot like what Zechariah predicted. One reason to believe Jesus is coming again is that the first two prophecies here were fulfilled. Why shouldn’t the third also come true?

These prophecies look like they should occur close to each other, but there are large gaps of time between their fulfilments. The first was fulfilled 188 years after being made. The second was around 550 years after the prophecy. And the third has not been fulfilled yet, but was spoken about by Jesus.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 2

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah


Zechariah 13

Last week we looked at how Jesus is the Good Shepherd that Zechariah predicted and that He was rejected and killed just as Zechariah said. This week we look at a couple more fulfilled prophecies from Zechariah.

Preaching in 520 BC, Zechariah predicted a great future for Jerusalem. He wrote: “The Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:17). He predicted a coming King who would be a Good Shepherd.

Prophecy: When the Shepherd is struck, the sheep will scatter (Zechariah 13:7).

Fulfillment: Jesus quoted this verse to His disciples and warned them they would fulfill it. They tried to avoid fulfilling it, but they did! (Matthew 26:26-35, 55-56, 69-75). … This is where Peter’s infamous three denials before the rooster crows experience comes in

Prophecy: On the day the Shepherd is pierced, a fountain of cleansing will be opened in Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1).

Fulfillment: When Jesus was pierced with a spear, there was a flow of blood and water (John 19:34). The fountain of cleansing is the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7; Revelation 7:13-14). … The idea of blood being a cleansing agent is a bit disgusting until the history behind it is understood. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told by God to sacrifice animals as a way of cleansing them of their sin. This is because, as Paul put it, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and that wage must be paid. In the Old Testament, it was paid for by the animal sacrifices. Now we have the perfect sacrifice of Jesus who died “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10) so that we don’t have to keep offering sacrifices. … Sin is like stains on clothes. Some are harder to get out than others. We tend to hold on to guilt for some things. This is a limitation we put on ourselves. The blood of Christ will clean even the most stubborn sin stains if we simply apply it. Part of that process is forgiving yourself and letting go of the sin. … Sometimes we hold on to stains that may have been caused by someone else’s sin. We keep bringing it up and holding it over them. Let the blood of Christ cleanse that stain too. Forgive the person and let it go. … Forgiving doesn’t mean you forget the sin. That’s a whole other sermon though.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 1

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah

It’s three weeks until Easter. In these three weeks we are going to look at the suffering of Jesus. To do this we’re going to look at prophecies of His suffering from the prophet Zechariah.

God had allowed the Babylonians to conquer Israel as punishment. After 70 years, they were released. Ezra brought some of the Israelites back to Jerusalem. Haggai and Zechariah came along as prophets who would help lead the rebuilding of the city. Haggai was a bit more practical and focused on the current times. Zechariah was looking to the future and had visions.

Zechariah preached during the time of Ezra in 520 BC, encouraging the people of Israel to rebuild the temple. Zechariah told them God has a great future in store for Jerusalem. His book is like Revelation, containing visions full of strange symbols. In the final chapters of his book, he predicts a coming Shepherd/King.

  1. God will send a Good Shepherd to lead His people. He will come from the tribe of Judah (Zechariah 10:3-4; John 10:14).

  2. The Good Shepherd will be rejected. The Shepherd will be paid 30 pieces of silver. This money will be thrown to the potter (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:3-4, 14-15; 27:3-7).

  3. The Good Shepherd will be killed. Those who kill Him will look on Him and mourn (Zechariah 12:10-11; John 19:31-37; Revelation 1:7). … This one has a two-part fulfilment. The first occurred at the crucifiction. The second will occur at His second coming. …

This is not just the story of those who were there. This is our story as well. We have pierced Him with our sin and rejected Him and killed Him. We have the choice of when and what to mourn though. We can wait and mourn His second coming with regret or we can mourn our sin now in repentance (Acts 2:22-24, 37).

David Brainerd was a missionary to Native Americans and kept a journal. On August 8, 1745 (page 11), he witnessed a revival among the Native Americans that saw them mourn and cry and just be broken over their own sins, no matter how big or small.

God doesn’t want us to be sad. He wants us to choose the path that leads to joy, but to do that we must mourn our sin and repent of it. May our hearts break for our sin so we don’t mourn with regret when Jesus comes again.