Month: February 2016

The Infrastructure of our Salvation (2/21/16)

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Paul said that by the grace of God he was who he was. Salvation is all of God. He designed it, He worked out all of the necessary events, He sent His Son and more. Just as a city has infrastructure for its electricity to work, God has infrastructure for our salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:5-11

 

Who needs to be brought to Jesus?

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John 1

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Were Andrew’s actions normative of a new follower of Jesus Christ? Andrew, a fisherman, had become a follower of John the Baptist.  His heart resonated with the teachings of John and he identified with John’s anticipation of the Christ.  When John identified Jesus as the Christ of God Andrew left John and went to follow Jesus.  Jesus accepted Andrew who stayed the evening and the night with Jesus learning from Him as the Rabbi, the Teacher he was longing for.  Andrew’s heart must have thrilled to be with Jesus!  John had been talking about Jesus and now Andrew was with Him, seeing Him, hearing His voice, absorbing His teachings. How wonderful this was.

When Andrew left Jesus he went to his brother Simon.  He went to him with one purpose; he couldn’t wait to tell his brother about Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ of God.  We don’t know how Simon responded but we do know that he came back with Andrew. Andrew must have been convincing.  He must have been thrilled. He must have been determined to drag Simon back with him to meet Jesus.

What else could Andrew have done?  He had found the most important Person in all of history!  He had met Him, talked with Him, and stayed with Him.  Now, he had to tell one of the most important people in his life, his own brother.  When we understand who Jesus is and learn at His feet, we cannot help but talk about Him.  We want to bring others with us to Jesus.

Sunday night, March 6th, we have an opportunity to bring our friends to Jesus.  Pastor Greg Laurie is leading a massive outreach event from the AT&T stadium.  While he preaches Christ churches all over the country, including ours, are watching the simulcast.  The time is from 5:30-7:30 as there are four music groups performing before the message.  We have invitations at the church.  Pray with us and bring a friend to meet Jesus.

We missed the snow.  The snow missed us.  Most of you are very glad for that.  I kind of like the snow but am a bit of a rarity.  I think Spring is coming early this year.

Pray for one another.  A few people in church have asked for prayer for specific issues.  Do keep one another held up before the Lord.  Pray for a new place for Kim Lavryk.  She really needs to find a new place to live. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Has your sin been removed from God’s holy presence?

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John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

For thousands of years and millions of sacrifices no one ever thought of their lamb taking away their sin. The most they could hope for was an annual provision to cover their sins for another year. Imagine living in the reality that not one of your sins was ever removed but only atoned for. If God ever needed to reference a past sin He certainly could because there was not a chance of your sin ever being removed from His divine and perfect judgment. And yet, all you had was the command from the God to go to the Temple year after year with the best lamb you had as a sacrifice for yours and your family’s sins.

The Jewish audience that John was speaking to would have known exactly what John was saying and would have taken a new look at this man walking toward them. What special power did He possess? How was He going to take away the sin of the world, their sin? John called Him a lamb. What did that mean? A lamb was placed on an altar; what did this Man have to do with the altar?

Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, God sacrificed a lamb for the sin of Adam and Eve. Abel brought a lamb to the sacrifice and God received his offering. Noah took animals on the ark for the purpose of sacrificing to God when the Flood subsided. Abraham made sacrifices to God. The Passover was the ultimate picture of the blood of an animal providing atonement from the passing Death angel. Moses came down with very specific requirements of sacrifices for sin. How was this man going to do better than all of that? How was He going to take away the sin of the world?

We now know that Jesus did go to the altar of the Cross. We know that He did shed His own blood to take away our sin. We know that His death and resurrection were for our justification. We know that John was absolutely right in his wonderful prophetic statement. Hallelujah, what a Savior. Jesus came to take away the sin of the world, our sin, my sin, from the judgment bar of God. When I stand before God washed in the blood of the Lamb, cloaked with the righteousness of Christ, He will see me eternally cleansed, without sin, without need of condemnation, and welcome me by grace into His eternal holy kingdom. Yes, John, Jesus, the Lamb of God, has taken away my sin.

I was reminded by this weeks Art of Marriage video that we have an enemy who seeks to destroy us. My wife is not my enemy. My neighbor is not my enemy. No, Satan and all of his hosts are my enemy. They truly seek to destroy me. When someone tells me they have prayed for me I am genuinely thankful. Take time to pray for one another. All of us are in a battle and are upheld by the prayers of those who think to pray for us.

Tonight, our prayer time begins around 7:00. Join us for this important time. The snow is going to be light in our area. I plan to be there. Don’t let it keep you away.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Is Jesus God?

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John 1

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Are you convinced that when you pray to Jesus that you are praying to God? Do you see Jesus as a Sunday school picture that you or your kids colored pictures of or do you see Him as God Almighty?

 

Give the testimony of John the Baptist some attention. First of all, John the Baptist (or the baptizer because he baptized those who repented from their sin) was the last Old Testament prophet. What was a prophet? Well, a prophet brought messages from God. God spoke directly to the prophets so when they spoke the people knew that they were bringing the very message from God. Jesus called John the greatest prophet born of women. The people recognized John as a prophet. So, the words that John spoke had God’s authority behind them.

 

God had told John that the One on whom the Holy Spirit would descend would be the Son of God, the incarnate God, the Messiah in the flesh. When John baptized Jesus the Holy Spirit descended and John knew that God had made it clear, Jesus was God in the flesh.

 

John did not seek to build his own following but sought to prepare people to follow Jesus. As we read here, John proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and two of his followers turned to follow Jesus instead. John was a way -maker, he made the way for people to follow Jesus.

 

Since the last OT prophet called Jesus God, then we have no doubt that He is. This is He who lives in us through His Holy Spirit. We have God living in us! Whatever is giving you trouble, God is in you. You have the power of God Almighty in you. Give your situation to Him to work out and watch Him work His work in and through your life. John made a proclamation. We know we have Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit of God, as our Savior, Lord, and indwelling God.

 

I spent Sunday night at Victory Homes. Do keep them all in your prayers. While the boys become compliant what is really desired is their salvation. Pray for the boys there to truly hear the call of God and to surrender their hearts and lives to Him.

 

Lynne’s mom went to be with the Lord on Sunday. There will be funeral in Florida for her mom this Saturday. Pray for the Massey family, Lynn’s dad and brother during this time.

 

Sunday was a great day for us at church. I am ever thankful for our church and for those of you who call it your church. We are seeing God’s word shape our lives into His image. Keep one another in your prayers.

 

Pray for a friend who is making a positive life change but is facing struggles from within and without as she makes this change.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Where did salvation start?

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John 1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

When we think about salvation we think of the day we trusted Christ and were saved from our sin. We think of the what Christ did and we sing and rejoice for the rest of our lives rejoicing over His love and His desire to save us.

Sunday morning I will be bringing a message on the infrastructure  of our salvation.  Looking at John 1 today we see just how far back God was at work to provide our salvation.  His work goes back to the beginning of Creation. God was at work.  God made all things by His Word, Jesus Christ is the Word. He brought life out of nothing and put light into darkness.  To this day, when the Word of God works in men’s hearts it effectively brings dead hearts to life as He shines the light of His truth in them.

Our salvation is much more than our confession of faith and commitment to follow Christ as Lord.  It is more than the removal of our sins.  For while it is all of that, our salvation goes back to the first offering offered for sins all the way to the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  Rejoice in the depth of your salvation today.  Rejoice in all that God did to make your salvation both available and just a prayer away.  Hallelujah! What a Savior.

I do hope to see you Sunday.  We will again be doing a sermon intro and then a break with a song before going back to the sermon.  If you are used to coming when the sermon starts you should come earlier.  This will be a powerful message on God’s plans for our salvation.  We will look at John 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:7-11 enjoying the purposeful plans of God’s grace which I am calling the Infrastructure of our Salvation.

Please keep RU in your prayers tonight.  God keeps bringing people out.  Even though it is only a few it is people who would not be walking with God today were it not for RU’s ministry in their lives.

Pastor Bill will be speaking at Sunrise north this afternoon.  Pray for those who come to that service to be encouraged by the Word given.

Pray for a friend named Mary whose mother. Lorraine, was admitted last night.  Lorraine is 90 and has never professed Christ as her Savior.  Pray for Mary and her husband as they seek to once again point Lorraine to Jesus.

Rob’s sister is also in the hospital and in need of our prayers.  Pray for her to hear and to receive the good news.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Mighty praise to God by All

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Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

2 Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;

Praise Him with the lute and harp!

4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;

Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;

Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

We are taught here to praise God, where to praise God, why to praise God, how to praise God and who should praise God.  We are to praise Him in His mighty firmament.  This tells us to praise God outside under His skies when they are beautiful and when they are acting mightily.  In the peace and in the storm we are to praise God outside.

We are to praise God for His mighty acts and according to His excellent greatness.  God has created every natural resource we have.  He has done all of His creation with excellence.  Watch nature videos and praise God.

Praise God with instruments.  Praise Him with trumpets, with stringed instruments, with noisy instruments and even with dance.  Jump up and down in praise of God.  Praise God with every instrument that you can imagine; use them all to praise God and to exalt His worthy name.

Everything with breath should be praising to God.  Everything.  You, your dog, your cat, your neighbors, every animal that breathes is to praise the Lord.  How often do we think of praising God with our pets?  He created them all and they all are subservient to Him. Lift up your voice and your body in praise to God. Hold nothing back.  Don’t worry about what someone else might think.  Praise the Lord!

What would church worship be like if we practiced this kind of praise?  It would be loud, it would be free, it would be wonderful!  Lift up all that you are and all that you have in praise to the Lord.  Praise the Lord.

I met a pastor for breakfast this morning and heard a hissing coming from my tire.  I had picked up a nail. Fortunately I was across the street from a tire shop and drove over before the pastor showed up, dropped off the car, and picked it up after.  All is better and I did not have to change a tire on the side of the road. Praise the Lord.

We had a great time of prayer and Bible study last night.  Our Kids4Truth was well attended and the kids were very attentive.  I thank God for this ministry of our church.  We do need some more workers.  If you could volunteer once a month it would be a great help.  See me if you can.

Our Art of Marriage class has begun well.  We had a good group Sunday morning and a few more on Monday night.  If you missed the first week jump in for week two.  Don’t get too far behind.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is worthy of all praise for all that He does

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Psalm 149

Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song,     his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;     let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing     and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people;     he crowns the humble with victory. Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor     and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God be in their mouths     and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations     and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters,     their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them—     this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the Lord.

I see four sections in this short Psalm

  1. Praise to God
  2. Pleasure from God
  3. Punishment toward those deserving of judgment
  4. More praise to God.

God is always worthy of all of our praise, our new song for Him is to be sung in the assembly.  We are to rejoice in our Maker and our King.  We are to praise Him with actions and great music.  Whatever we can do to exalt the name of the Lord, He is worthy of it.

When God takes pleasure in man He saves.  The action of God’s pleasure is salvation.  Here the pleasure and salvation of God are specifically directed toward the humble.  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  “Thank You, Oh Lord for your saving grace.  Help me and ever remind me of the need to walk humbly with my God.”

Praise of God and judgment of the wicked went hand in hand.  The action of praise was recognition of those who rejected and refused to praise.  Their rejection put them in a position of judgment.

Whatever God does is worthy of praise.  We often don’t give God the praise that belongs to Him.  Everything He does is good and righteous and has His eternal plan woven in it.  Therefore, He is always worthy of praise.  Praise the Lord!

Thanks to all who made mention of my birthday on Sunday.  Your love is evident and was enjoyed.  It was a great day mostly because we gathered in God’s house and enjoyed His word together.  The cake was good and the fellowship was wonderful.  Let’s repeat last Sunday next Sunday, except for the cake. 

In an effort to encourage those of you who might have a desire to edify others through writing, I want to give you an opportunity to develop that gift.  Here is the deal, you write a one page devotional and send it to me.  I may make some suggestions and send it back.  When we agree that you are communicating the passage correctly I will post your devotional on this page.  You then will enjoy the thrill of knowing that you edified someone else with a gift you desired to use. 

I hope to see you tonight.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS