Note: I proclaimed this sermon forty four years ago when I was thirty nine years old. And today I affirm these bedrock truths as strongly as then! Wake up America before it is too late!
In view of the transformation of the American culture, it is proper to ask, “Will God continue to bless America?” Whatever has made America great in the past and the present will make America great in the future. We love to sing the prayer song, “God Bless America.” Truly that song expresses our fondest hopes and desires that God will continue to bless America in the future like he has in the past. I am quick to tell you that I am proud to be an American. I am grateful to God that I was born in this country and that I have citizenship in this great nation. I don’t think that it is contradictory to be proud to be an American and to be a Christian at the same time. I wouldn’t equate Christianity with Americanism. I believe that a person can be a Christian and live in another country and not be an American. But on the other hand, I don’t think it is wrong to be proud to be an American and also to be a Christian. I believe that you can be both. Continue reading “GOD BLESS AMERICA”→
A man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17)? Contrary to what we hear today from the popular religious teachers, there is something that man must do to have eternal life. If that question is asked today, most preachers would say, “You do not need to do anything but accept Jesus as your personal Savior.” Therefore, a subjective faith—a mental assent that Jesus is the Christ, is the only condition of salvation. But even a subjective faith is something that man does mentally. And Christ said that belief in Christ is “the work of God.” His words are explicit:
“What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).
The word disciple derives from the word discipline. A true disciple is a disciplined disciple. Just wearing the name disciple does not really make us a disciple. Jesus made many disciples, but according to the book of John, later in his ministry “many of his disciples left and followed him no more.”
It takes self-discipline or self-control to accomplish anything that is worthwhile. A young person learns self-control when learning to drive an automobile and receive a driver’s license.
In like manner throughout life we all must learn to have self-control or self-discipline in order to be successful in our endeavors. The Wisdom of Solomon is useful at this point:
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32 ESV)
Philippians 4:10-13 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me—NKJV 1982.
We can all tell that we are very happy to be back together again, to worship God and have fellowship one with another. It has been very difficult to stay in our homes, and sometimes not even able to visit with our children and grandchildren. This virus has created conditions throughout the world and throughout our country that none of us have ever experienced in our lifetime. It has been a great time of adjusting. And I am wondering how most of us have dealt with it. Have we learned to be content with the situation? Or have we become very discontented and unhappy with ourselves and everybody around us?
*Benjamin Franklin said, “Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.”
The critics of Jesus and his disciples watched him like a hawk to find something to condemn him. It did not take them long before they found the disciples eating their food without going through the ceremonial washing required by “the traditions of the elders” (Mark 7:1-5). They demanded an explanation why they would have the audacity to violate the “traditions of men.”
Jesus defended the actions of the disciples by referring them to the word of God. He had previously rebuked them for adding their man-made traditions to the Sabbath day and thereby making the law of God of no effect (Mark 2:23-3:6). Now on this occasion, He replied,
“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:6-8).
In making application of Isaiah’s teaching, Jesus explained that they held on to their traditions while letting go of the commands of God. The word of God taught them to honor and take care of their parents in their old age (Exodus 20:12). But by their “traditional trick,” they released themselves from this obligation—thus violating the word of God. This was just one example, because Jesus said, “And you do many things like that” (Mark 7:13).
The divine revelation of the gospel handed down to us by Christ and the apostles is also referred to by the term tradition: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The traditions and commandments of men are not to be blindly followed, but the biblical traditions are to be faithfully followed (2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2).
Good morning, we are glad that we can all be together and worship God from our own homes. The New Testament church had to worship from their homes because of persecution. And we are worshiping from our home because we are being persecuted by a virus. We will all survive this and we thank God that he has protected us.
Today I am speaking to you because of a picture I recently noticed of a little girl. On this picture the little girl said, “Give it to God and have faith.” Sometimes little children handle difficult things a lot better than the adults do. They have great faith in their parents and they have great faith in God. It is like one of my little great granddaughters said, “Covid 19, Covid 19, we are all in this together.” Therefore we must trust God that he will bring all of us through this safe and sound. Continue reading “HAVE FAITH IN GOD”→
The Bible teaches that there is just one God or Godhead, but this one Godhead involves three distinct persons. In a discussion with a Jewish scribe, Jesus referred to the Old Testament Scriptures which taught that God is one Lord. The scribe had asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Mark 12:29). Jesus here referred to the statement of Moses as found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
The Jews worshiped just one God in contrast to the polytheism of the pagan nations surrounding them. We are to worship and serve one God, and yet, God is not one person. The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, which simply means that he possesses all the powers and attributes of the deity. Paul said, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
When Jesus Christ assumed bodily form, and lived upon the earth, he exhibited all the marks of the divine nature. Philip once asked the Lord to show him the Father, whereupon Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (John 14:9)?
On another occasion the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus replied, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (John 8:19). This is what Paul meant when he said that all the fullness of the Godhead dwelled bodily in Christ Jesus.
There are churches that teach that Jesus Christ is all three persons mentioned in the Godhead. They affirm that there is just one person in the divine Godhead. They deny that there is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They say, “Where does the Bible use such expressions as those which you have just mentioned?”
Good morning. We hope you are adjusting to your stay at home because of Covid-19. I heard one member would go sit in a chair and ask himself a question. And then he would move to another chair and answer his question. In other words he was talking to himself. That reminds me of a story that my mom told about when she was growing up. There was a man that was always talking to himself! They would kid him about it. One day they asked him why he was talking to himself so much. His answer was classic. “I like to talk to a smart man and I like to hear a smart man talk!”
Today is Easter Sunday and we have a lot of good memories of hunting Easter eggs and family get-together on this holiday. We will have the opportunity to share the joy with little children again. Later in our service today we will remember the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord when we take communion as we do so each Sunday.
I am speaking to you about Family Ties. Do you miss being with your family? I miss being with my family. I miss having a cup of coffee with my son and his wife and visiting with our daughters in Florida and their families. We also miss being with our grandchildren and great grandchildren. With patience we will also be back meeting as a congregation in one place before too long. Continue reading “FAMILY TIES”→
We thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ:
“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5: 4-5 NIV). The terms “victory” and “overcomes” in this text translate from the Greek work “nike.” Nike means to be victorious, prevail, conqueror, overcome and win. God wants us to be victorious, not a victim. How do we win?
Victory through the New Birth
We have the victory through the new birth into God’s family: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well” (1 John 5:1). Jesus said we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-5).
Victory through Love
Through our love for God and God’s children we have the victory (1 John 5:1). Jesus declared that all men will know that we are his disciples when we love as he has loved us: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV).
Victory through Obedience
Genuine love is always joined with obedience, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:2 ESV). Obedience to God’s word is not a burden when we love God. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).Human traditions and man-made rules are heavy loads to carry, but the yoke of Christ is light (Matthew 23:4; 11:30).
Victory over the World
We have the ultimate victory over death and the world through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5)? Nike—We WIN! “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Revelation 21:7).
The Christian system is a system of faith based upon the word of God. We are taught to believe, trust and obey. But, we are also taught to not believe everything we hear. John declares that we are to have a healthy skepticism of those who claim to speak God’s word. We are to test the spirits to see if what they are teaching is from God: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).
The reason we must be somewhat skeptical is that Jesus and the apostles warned us, “Because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). These false teachers are deceived themselves and deceive those who are gullible. The classic examples in our day are Jim Jones and David Karesh who led their naive followers to an untimely death. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15).Paul advises us that even Satan masquerades as an angel of light and that we should not be surprised that his agents do the same (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
All teachers must be tested by Christ and his inspired apostles. Any teaching that denies the Biblical teaching about Christ and his church must be rejected. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God (1 John 4:2).
Therefore, the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error can be distinguished by whether the teachers listen to the apostle’s doctrine. (1 John 4:6; Acts 2:42).