Even if we have a mechanical definition of the word “holy” we often don’t have a clear understanding of the word, which is important to our knowledge of God and most importantly, our relationship to our God. (Note: this sermon will also segue into next week’s sermon: “Partakers of the Divine Nature”).
For a variety of reasons people come to question the “fairness” of God. So, is God Fair? If so, how?
God wants you and has done everything by way of His holy love for you to have an eternal life with Him. The question is, are you jealous for Him?
As Christians, we may not (yet) face life or death circumstances because of our faith but we definitely have moments that test whether or not we fully rely on God. What do you do in those situations?
July 1, 2012 by Mitch
Filed under Blog, Sermons, Sermons on Faith & Trust, Sermons on Glory & Honor, Sermons on Jesus, Sermons on Resurrection & Judgment, Sermons on Salvation (Being Saved), Sermons on Teachings of Jesus
How do you even begin to explain something that has no beginning? How do you tell someone what is “eternal life”? Jesus does and your response has eternal consequences!
In Numbers 13, Moses sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. It has been called the Promised Land because God promised the Israelites He would give it to them. They weren’t simply looking for a land and trying to decide which one they wanted or which one they could take. God was sending them to a land He had promised to give them. This was the same God who had delivered them from Egypt by a series of plagues and then by parting the Red Sea. Seems to me, if this God wanted to give them a land, He knew how to do it.
However, in Numbers 13:27-29, 10 of the spies reported that the land was indeed amazing. It was everything they had been promised. It was a land flowing with milk and honey. It was the land they really wanted. Only one problem. “We can’t do it,” reported the spies. “The people are too big, too strong, too powerful. We’ll never overcome. We should pack up and go home.”
In Numbers 14:7-9, Joshua and Caleb tried to change the minds of the people. “If the Lord wants to give us the land, He’ll do it. Trust in the Lord.” But the people wanted to stone them, appoint new leaders, and return to Egypt.
You know how the story turned out. God punished the Israelites. They wandered in the wilderness until that generation died—except Joshua and Caleb. God rewarded these two men in the Promised Land when He finally gave it to the next generation.
This story makes me think about our present day. The scripture has told us that the harvest is plentiful, but laborers are few (Matthew 9:37). The scripture has told us to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). We read the book of Acts and see the great success those early Christians had spreading the gospel.
However, I am tempted to look around today and start making excuses. Too few people care about spiritual things. Too many people are too worldly and liberal. Everyone is prejudiced against Christ’s church. Nobody wants to listen. People won’t like us. Nothing will work. On and on and on the list can go.
Is this kind of excuse-making anything more than, “Yes, the land is all God promised, however, it is filled with giants. We better just go back to our building and quit worrying about victory in the land”? It is just so easy to forget that we aren’t doing all this on our own. God is with us. God wants us to have victory in the land. Will everyone listen? Of course not. But God is with us. We will be victorious. We will have success. We will spread the gospel and God’s kingdom, if we trust in the Lord and simply do His will.
That means we just need to start doing something. Instead of waiting until we are sure we have come up with some fool-proof plan that everyone will listen to, let’s just start doing something. Invite people to the assemblies. Offer to pray for people. Have a study in your home. Ask if your co-worker would be interested in reading the Bible together. Do something. Not everyone will listen, but God is with us. And He is the one responsible for giving the increase (I Corinthians 3:5-7).
We will do it, not because of us, but because God is with us.
Last weekend, Franklin, Tennessee had over 15 inches of rain within 30 hours. In my 53 years, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed as much water in such a short period of time. There was flooding all over the Middle Tennessee area causing death and devastation affecting so many people. With it comes so much uncertainty about life on earth. Relatives and friends are sick and dying, people losing jobs, children and spouses abused, divorce all over the globe, and I could go on and on. You can get so easily discouraged if you let this world fill your thoughts with all the suffering and misery that goes with it.
One thing is for certain and for sure, God loves mankind and proved it by sending His one and only begotten Son to the cross.
Although people change over the years and relationships come and go with friends and family members , Jesus hasn’t and doesn’t change, and never will. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Is there anything more comforting than the thought of God never changing! Man has always been able to count on God for every situation in life. That is such a comforting thought in this day and time.
Even though we have been blessed in this country and have so much, life is a challenge and we are constantly facing the temptations of life. We have decisions to make every day, and God is the only one that we can count on daily, 100% of the time, to be there with us and for me as I trust in him and serve him. No matter what I encounter in this life, through today’s challenges and victories, and tomorrow’s losses, the Bible tells me there is a foundation and anchor in my soul whom I can count on. That person is Jesus Christ, who is with me, and getting me through every situation and temptation in life.
So, as the Hebrew writer encourages the Christian in chapter 13, and verse 6, by writing, “so that we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). I can’t state it any plainer than the Bible.
P.S. The house pictured above is David and Jennifer Barlar’s. They are members at Franklin. If you would like to help the Barlars, contact Ryan Thomley at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to the Facebook page he has set up to find out more info about how to help– A Flood of Love. (ELC)
I don’t know how many times a day, I catch myself chastising one of my kids by saying things like, “Tessa, you need to stop talking to your brothers like that. You are not the mom.” “Ethan, you are not Ryan’s dad; you don’t get to speak to him like that.” “Ryan, you are not Tessa’s dad. You don’t get to command her what to do.” Do you see the repeated refrain. My children have to learn, they aren’t the parents. They are the kids.
Romans 14:4 was brought to my attention recently: “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
I know there are times in which we need to make a judgment that someone is doing something wrong and should be disciplined by the congregation or marked as in error. However, I just can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve responded to my brethren about something and God is in heaven saying, “Edwin, you don’t get to speak like that. You are not their God.”
Let’s help each other remember this.
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. If you have ears to hear, listen up.
If you’ve stumbled across this page and you’re not a child of God, Satan’s plan for you today is to make you Stay Out!. He doesn’t want you reading what we have to say on this website. He doesn’t want you thinking about what the Bible says or means. He is trying to make sure your heart is like the hardened path beside the field that will not allow the seed to penetrate, but will keep it on the surface so the birds can eat the seed before the seed can do any good.
If you are on this page because you are already in Christ, Satan plans to make you Drop Out! He hopes he can make you angry at someone. He hopes he can throw some temptation in your path. He hopes he can get you walking in a different direction. He’ll do whatever he can to make you wither away and die spiritually. He put rocks in your heart so that if the seed of the word ever penetrated it, there would be no room for it to grow. He will do whatever he can to get you to keep from reading your Bible, praying, spending time with Christians. If he can keep that up, then over time, you’ll just drift away and drop out. He’s hoping today will be that day.
If you are on this page because you are already in Christ and you’ve determined not to leave, Satan plans to make you Fizzle Out! That is, he’ll let you keep meeting with the church. He’ll even let you keep reading your Bible and praying sometimes. But he’ll make sure your relationship with Jesus never gets below the surface. He’ll work to make sure it never really affects how you live. He’ll place job promotions before you. He’ll fill your time with superfluous things. He’ll send you chasing paychecks, nicer cars, bigger houses, better gadgets. He’ll fill your mind with justifications about how behaving this way just this once won’t matter, God will probably even understand. In the end, you’ll feel like your a good Christian because at least you didn’t drop out, but you won’t be producing any fruit.
Be wary. Satan has plans for you today. If he can get you to do any of the above things today, he’ll have won today’s battle. Don’t let him win. Rely on God today. Get in, Stay in, and Grow up. God will strengthen you to bear fruit today if you simply draw closer to Him. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Make today a rock removing, weed pulling, fruit bearing day. To God be the glory.
So I’ll be holdin’ my breath
Right up ‘til the end
Until that moment when
I find the one that I’ll spend forever with.
‘Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
‘Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands,
There’s gotta be somebody for me like that.
‘Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know their not alone.
There’s somebody else that feels the same somewhere,
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there.
I certainly don’t want to minimize the desire to be complete and have a partner who walks through life with you as a loving spouse. Clearly, the story of Adam and Eve and all the Bible says about marriage demonstrates that.
However, the problem is far too many of us are looking for that one person out there whose mere presence can provide happiness and contentment. We have the idea that if we just met the right guy or girl we could have satisfaction for life. This misunderstanding has caused most of the broken homes that exist today. Young men and women met and felt some kind of chemistry, thinking, “This is the one.” Then after they were married for a time, that chemistry vanished and they believed they were mistaken. So they abandoned their spouse to search for that one special person.
Again, I know finding a good spouse is very important. But if we are looking for that kind of contentment and fulfillment from another person, we are always going to come up short. There is only one who can provide that for us. That one is God.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “…be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (ESV). If we want true contentment, happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction, we have to find it in God. Just read the Psalms and note from where the happiness and contentment for those writers came. Their refuge was God. Their rock was God. Their comfort was God. Their security was God. Their sanctuary was God. Their self-esteem was God. Their salvation was God.
We have to quit looking for all these things from other people. They simply can’t provide it for us. They will always fail and we will always be left hanging. God, on the other hand, can and will provide if we will simply let Him be our refuge and our comfort through all that life throws at us.
Are you tired of being alone? All those things you’re trying to get from others, instead, try God.