Month: November 2016

What the Church is and isn’t – 2 Corinthians 1:2

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In this message taken from 2 Corinthians 1:2, Pastor Steve looks at what a Christian church isn’t and what it is supposed to be. Follow us through the NT to see what God had in mind for what we call a church.

 

A people of Joy

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John 16

22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

 

Jesus was all about joy.  He wanted His disciples to know that when He left them they would have sorrow but that when He rose from the dead they would gain a joy that could never be taken away.  Later Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  Nehemiah wrote, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  God’s people are to be people of joy.

While listening to Christian radio yesterday I was reminded of the illustration of us as Christians being thermostats, not thermometers.  A thermometer reads the temperature in a room while a thermostat sets the temperature in a room.  When we as people of joy enter a room the level of gloom in the room should decrease and the level of joy should increase.

As Christians, we should be the most hopeful people regarding Tuesday’s election!  The unsaved are not praying for God’s will but we are.  When the ballots are cast and the next president is elected we should rejoice that God’s will has been accomplished and that He has established His authority in our country.  Romans 13 tells us clearly that there is no authority except the authority that is established by God.  When Paul wrote this Nero was the Cesar of Rome!

My dear friends take heart and rejoice in the knowledge that God is sovereign over all of the affairs of men.  Rejoice that as Jesus rose from the dead that one day we too will have resurrected bodies that will no longer be filled with the cares of this world.  Until then, let us say with Paul that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  What strength did Christ show?  He showed resurrection strength.  The power and joy of Christ is the joy that Jesus told His disciples they would know and with which they would be full.  Be a person of the joy of Christ.

Tomorrow morning is our men’s prayer breakfast at 7:30 at Denny’s. Join us for a time of Bible study, prayer, fellowship and food.

Sunday morning I will be bringing a message on the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of comfort.  The ministry of comfort is one that we are specifically called to but is the most difficult because the training for the ministry of comfort is trials and tribulations.  Read 2 Corinthians 1 in preparation for this message.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Jesus wants us to understand His teachings

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John 16

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

I don’t know about you, but when I read about the job of the Holy Spirit and know that He has accomplished this in my mind for a better and more clear understanding of the teachings of Christ, I get really excited! When I, possessed of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, read the teachings of Christ, His Holy Spirit turns the light on to my understanding. My friends, no other belief system in the world has a Holy Spirit helping them rightly discern the teachings of its founder. This is unique to Christianity and absolutely amazing!

 

I don’t read other religion’s sacred books. They don’t make sense to me. I may as well read a medical journal. For while there will be a few words of good ideas for life, those books cannot speak to me the way the Bible speaks to me. None, not one, zip, nada, none of those religious books has a Holy Spirit of God attached to them to make them clear. So when godless theologians read godless religious writings they can make those writing say whatever they want them to say. Thus you have moderate Muslims, radical Muslims, nominal Catholics, dedicated Catholics, nominal Buddhists, and more nominal Buddhists. Their books say whatever the reader wants them to say.

 

But our book, God’s holy Word, read by Holy Spirit endued people, tell us what God wants us to know and leads us into God’s unique and direct path for our lives. Exactly what Jesus predicted happened and has been continuing for nearly 2000 years. Every follower of Christ understands this and rejoices in it. What other religious leaders hope for but can never attain we have given to us by the direct act of God the moment we are saved and then led by His Holy Spirit we understand God’s words throughout our lives.

 

Finally, because of this wonderful gift enabling us to really ascertain what God wants, we are to live in concert with understood teachings of our Lord and Savior. There should not be nominal Christians and dedicated Christians for all who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit should be following the teachings that they are learning from God through His well-taught Word.

 

As many of you know, dad and I are White Sox fans. However, we have really enjoyed watching the Cubs play and win and come back from a deficit position into a great advancing position. For all of you die hard Cub fans: Congratulations! What a game last night! Tonight is it, Go Cubs.

 

We will have regular prayer and Bible study tonight. (I will be hurrying home to catch the second half.) So, yes, Kids4Truth and youth group will also be meeting at 7:00. See you here.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

We need to accept God’s plans at all times

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John 16

“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

Let’s put ourselves in the sandals of the eleven apostles for just a moment.  We have just spent the most amazing three and a half years with the most amazing Man who ever walked on the earth.  We have seen Him do thousands and thousands of miracles.  He has fed tens of thousands of people.  He has cast out demons, walked on water, calmed storms, rebuked the Pharisees and even raised the dead back to life!  We have plans to spend the rest of our lives with this Jesus of Galilee and have heavily invested of our time in being trained by Him to serve with Him.

But now He keeps talking about leaving us.  We don’t like this talk.  This was not in our plans even for a moment.  No, we want Jesus to stay and keep this amazing life going.

But now, put yourself in Jesus’ sandals for a moment.  Jesus knew that His life was an introduction of the plan of God into the universe.  He knew that His life was going to end on a cross as the Lamb making payment for our sin.  Jesus also knew that every follower of His throughout time could not enjoy His physical presence as the Apostles had; so Jesus had a better plan, which was to send His Holy Spirit into every follower of His to teach, to judge, to guide, and to fill.

Jesus, of course, had the better plan.  But humanly speaking that plan did not make sense at the moment.  From this side of the indwelling Holy Spirit at Pentecost, these teachings of Jesus make perfect sense.  What is Jesus teaching you that today is hard to understand?  Can you trust that His plan is good and that after a certain point it will make perfect sense to you?  At the cross, the Apostles went through a crisis of faith, but at the resurrection it all made sense. May our faith remain strong even when we cannot see what God is doing knowing that He has our best and His glory in mind.

Thanks to God for the ascension of Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit, the earnest of our inheritance.

We are rejoicing in all that God for us last week.  Our revival week was great time of teaching, preaching and fellowship.  All who committed to the week were richly blessed.  There were those who came and heard the gospel and we are praying for them to be saved.  Our Friday night at First Baptist in Big Rock was a blast!  We need to share services with them more often.  What a joy to share the Holy Spirit with another congregation of Christ followers. 

Our thanks to Brent and Becky for their dedication to the church of Jesus Christ.  Few people can live the way they do and maintain the schedule they maintain to travel from church to church and camp to camp to preach God’s word and to minister to God’s people.  Keep them in your prayers this week as they minister in northern Indiana. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS