God’s Transforming Word…The Notes

transformingwordYesterday I preached a ‘between series” standalone sermon emphasizing one of our 5 values, transformational teaching. For us, transformational teaching is demonstrated by Spirit-empowered Bible teaching that transforms people into followers of Jesus. I preached from Psalm 119:17-24. You can listen to the sermon here. The notes are below…

1. Living life and loving God’s Word go hand in hand (vs. 17).

2. As we read God’s Word we call out for God’s help (vs. 18).

3. Living according to God’s Word makes us out of step with our culture (vs. 19, 22-23).

4. Reading God’s Word should be a delight and not just a duty (vs. 20).

5. God’s Word exposes the sinfulness of our hearts (vs. 21).

6. God’s Word teaches us God’s ways for how to live in God’s world (vs. 24).

Rick Warren’s SPACEPETS is a really great application tool…

S Is there a SIN to confess?

P Is there a PROMISE to claim?

A Is there an ATTITUDE to change?

C Is there a COMMAND to obey?

E Is there an EXAMPLE to follow?

P Is there a PRAYER to pray?

E Is there an ERROR to avoid?

T Is there a TRUTH to believe?

S Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God?

God’s Transforming Word

transformingwordThis Memorial Day Sunday I’m in between sermon series. Lord willing, next week we’ll start a new series called One Hit Wonders where we’ll look at the one chapter books of the Bible (Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, Jude).

Today I’m focusing on the first of our 5 values: Transformational Teaching. God’s Word is meant to transform us by the power of the Holy Spirit into people who love and are more like our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m preaching from Psalm 119:17-24…

Psalm 119:17-24 (HCSB)
17  Deal generously with Your servant so that I might live; then I will keep Your word.
18  Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from Your instruction.
19  I am a stranger on earth; do not hide Your commands from me.
20  I am continually overcome with longing for Your judgments.
21  You rebuke the proud, the ones under a curse, who wander from Your commands.
22  Take insult and contempt away from me, for I have kept Your decrees.
23  Though princes sit together speaking against me, Your servant will think about Your statutes;
24  Your decrees are my delight and my counselors.

6-String Salvo, May 27, 2016

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. David Murray helps us see that the Old Testament has a message for our current culture.

2. Happiness in Christ is one of our most powerful evangelistic tools says Randy Alcorn.

3. The United Methodist Church in its General Conference voted to reverse its support for abortion rights.

4. My friend and fellow comic book movie/TV lover, Aaron Earls, writes about the real battle between vengeance and justice in Captain America: Civil War.

5. Ken Braddy reminds us that there are 2 teachers in a Sunday School class, the teacher and the Holy Spirit.

6. As Christ left heaven to win us to Himself, so He calls us to leave for His glory and for the spread of the gospel. Andrew Knight gives us four reasons why we leave.

And here’s Only the Good Die Young from Billy Joel…

We Need Help

pureheartIn His sermon on the mount, Jesus says, “The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 HCSB).”

The problem is who are the pure in heart? The Bible teaches in multiple places that our hearts are wicked. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is more deceitful than anything else and that it’s incurable. Jesus says that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles it but what comes out of the mouth because what comes out of the mouth comes from a wicked heart where evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, and blasphemies are (Matthew 15:18-19 HCSB).

While not expressly mentioning our hearts, Paul says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God in Romans 3:23.

So if there is no one who is pure in heart, how will we ever see God?

We need help.

And this is the good news of the gospel. There’s a great exchange that occurs through the finished work of Jesus. Paul says ii clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB): He (the Father) made the One (Jesus) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God (the Father) in Him (Jesus).

We have no righteousness of our own, no pure hearts. But Jesus does. He is perfect in His righteousness. And God the Father graciously credits us with Jesus’s righteousness so that we are counted pure in heart. When we die and stand before the Father, we will stand in the righteousness of Jesus. Even when we receive resurrections bodies, they will be raised in incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:42 HCSB) because they will bear the image of the heavenly man, our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49).

And what does all this mean? It means we will see the face of God because of Jesus. This is what Revelation 22:4 promises, that we will see His face. But seeing His face will be to the glory of Christ because only Jesus makes this possible. Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers and sisters who bear His image of righteous perfection. He purchased us with His blood, justified us with His righteousness, and sealed us with His Spirit until the day of redemption.

The grace of Jesus is poured out on sinners so that we are credited with His pure heart. And because of this marvelous grace, we will see the face of God. He is our Helper, indeed. Our call is to repentance (turning from our sin) and faith (trusting in the finished work of Jesus). Those who do will receive His help for He welcomes repentant sinners and promises them eternal life.

We’ve Forgotten Our Place

yourplaceFriendliness with the world system that is in opposition to the things of God is a sin which we are warned about throughout the Bible. In 1 John 2:15 the apostle warns us, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.”

But it’s pretty clear in so many ways that believers have fallen in love with the world and the things it promotes. We’ve forgotten that we are in this world but not of it. We’ve forgotten that we are supposed to be salt and light as people see our good deeds and give glory to God for those things. We’ve forgotten that we’re strangers and temporary residents of this world (1 Peter 2:11).

In a sense, we’ve forgotten our place and are living for this world instead of the world to come. We’re living for the applause of men instead of the approval of heaven. We’re laying up for ourselves treasure here instead of in heaven. We go with the flow of the worldly culture instead of proclaiming the glory of God’s ways.

And through it all we wonder why people aren’t flocking to the churches like they did 50, 40, and 30 years ago.

If there’s no passion for Christ that causes us to live in a way that looks strangely different to those we encounter in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces, there certainly won’t be a passion for our neighbors to come and see at the church. If we aren’t living for Christ, how can we invite people to come to Christ?

So, remember your place. Remember Whose you are. Remember that following Christ isn’t a Sunday experience but a daily walk. Remember that we alone point people to Jesus who is the way, the truth, the life, the only way to the Father. Remember that living this way for the Lord will cause us to ridiculed and rejected, but it will also cause some to be curious about the hope that is within us. Remember the privilege you have to be an ambassador of reconciliation between God and man.

Remember your place.

Greater Than Birds & Grass

birdsgrassOn Sunday I concluded my sermon series What Does Jesus Say About…? with a sermon dealing with global warming and the environment.

In the passage from Luke 12:22-34, Jesus gives His listener’s the cure for anxiety/worry: the Father cares for them and knows their needs. What could be of greater comfort than to know the Creator of all things is intimately involved in our lives?

Still, some may ask, “How do we know the Father cares for us?” Jesus, then, uses an argument from the lesser to the greater. In Luke 12:24 He asks the people to consider the ravens. They don’t produce their own food nor have barns to store food for lean times, but the Father takes care of their needs. Then Jesus says that we are worth much more to the Father so we can trust in His love for us.

Jesus then tells the people to consider the beauty of the wildflowers. They don’t make their beauty. The Father makes them beautiful. And in that beauty, they are more so than Solomon’s skilled seamstresses could ever hope to make for him. But flowers fade, die, and are burned up. So if the Father cares for the wildflowers, how much more will He care for the needs of His children?

While creations sings out to the glory of God, it does not bear His image…we do. And while creation beautifully testifies to the Creator’s creativity and power, we have the privilege of testifying to the love God has for us, especially shown in the life, death, resurrection, and soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ for us.

Our worth is greater than birds and grass. This truth doesn’t make us prideful. This truth humbles us as we realize the Father’s love for us. He cares for us.