Burden Bearers

March 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Blog, Sermons on Discipleship

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Christians have burdens: from sins and weaknesses to the painful circumstances of life. In other words, Christians have burdens. To this end, one of the best aspects of Christianity, while living in this world, is that God has taught believers who have grown in Christ to become burden bearers.

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Our Secret Sins, by Mitch Davis (7/19/2015)

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Fellow Christian, we do not need look far to see secret sins…its right here in the Lord’s church…most likely in your local congregation.

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Until We Are Made Perfect, by Mitch Davis (12/29/2013)

December 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Sermons, Sermons on Discipleship

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Face it, not only are we not perfect before becoming a Christian, we’re not perfect even as we strive to be as one.Discouraged? You shouldn’t be. Find out why!

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The Subtleties of Satan, by Mitch Davis (06/16/2013)

June 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Sermons, Sermons on Satan & Sin

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While we need to take responsibilities for our own actions, make no mistake, the Bible clearly reveals Satan’s affairs against man… and he does it oh, so subtly.

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Jesus In Our Midst, by Mitch Davis (10/14/12)

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Sometimes we have problems or concerns with others, maybe even believe those problems to be in fact sinful. How do you handle these situations? What did Jesus teach? Jesus gives answers to these questions and just as importantly, His authority when you handle things His way.

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Why Are We Here?

Walk into a doctor’s office and look around. Why is everyone there? Because they’re sick and they need a physician to get better. Walk into a Toastmasters club and look around you. Why is everyone there? Because they want to get better at speaking in front of people and they need help. Walk into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and look around you? Why is everyone there? Because they are struggling with alcohol and they need help overcoming.

Here is what is interesting about the above organizations. No one tries to hide their sickness in a doctor’s office. No one tries to hide their fear of public speaking in Toastmasters. No one tries to hide their struggles in an A.A. meeting. Why? Because in these settings they all know everyone is there for the same reason and they are all too desperate for help to hide it.

Now, walk into a church’s assembly and look around you? Why is everyone there? The reality is everyone is there because they are all sinners and need a Savior (Romans 3:23-24). They are all there because they’ve learned without God they can’t make it and they need Him to help them win the victory over sin in their lives (Romans 7:14-25).

This is where we start having trouble. Even though that is where every single one of us is. When we come into a church’s assembly, we often perceive something different. Instead of seeing a group of people who are struggling with sin and have gathered to get some help, most of us see ourselves as struggling with sin but see everyone else as really good people who are just coming together because they are so spiritual. When we’re at a doctor’s office, we don’t care if everyone knows we’re sick, but when we’re “at church” we try to cover up any spiritual sickness we have going on. We don’t want others to see. We’re afraid they’ll look down on us.

Sadly, some Christians are like that. Some are like Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-50 who actually don’t realize how sick they are. If asked why they are there, they really might say, “Because I’m so spiritual,” while in their mind adding, “Too bad everyone is not as spiritual as I am.” Having met too many of these Christians, many of the rest of us put a lid on our real struggles and try to fight them alone until they become too big to hide. Sadly, in those situations some folks just give up the spiritual fight entirely.

In this situation, the ones who should really be ashamed are not the ones who have continued struggles. Rather, the ones who should be ashamed are the ones who think they’ve got their lives under control on their own and aren’t being honest about how sinful they really are, how much they need a Savior, and how humble they really ought to be as they’re dealing with people whose sins are different. Remember, in the parable of the prodigal son, it wasn’t the prodigal son who was the bad guy. It was the older brother who was too good to go in and celebrate with the returning prodigal and the father.

Please, take a good long look at yourself. Why are you here?

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Don’t Sin Against the Lord, Intercede for Others

When Samuel addressed Israel as Saul was being made king, he demonstrated that the reason the people asked for a king was sinful. God gave a sign by sending a thunderstorm during a time of year in which it never rained. The people cried out, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil to ask for ourselves a king” (I Samuel 12:19).

Samuel responded that even though they had done evil in the past, if they would follow the Lord from this point on, God would care for them and their new king. However, the statement that most catches my eye is I Samuel 12:23. “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you…”

He didn’t say, “Far be it from me that I should sin against you by ceasing to pray for you…” He said he would have been sinning against the Lord. Perhaps it would have been a sin for Samuel because of his special place as judge and priest. However, I just can’t help but think about what this statement says about us today. Even if it is about Samuel’s role as priest, I remember that we are priests of God according to I Peter 2:9.

If Samuel’s role as priest meant that he was to pray for the people, what about ours? If it was a sin against God for Samuel not to pray for his brethren, what about us? Before we spend time castigating others because they have done wrong, even in the Lord’s body. We need to spend time in serious prayer. We are sinning against God when we don’t.

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul asked that the Ephesians pray for him and his work. Are we praying for the workers in God’s kingdom that we know about? If not, we are sinning against the Lord.

I Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” God has asked us to pray for our brethren, but also to pray for all men. He has especially asked us to pray for those who are in government. Are we doing it? If not, we are sinning against the Lord.

We are to be a praying army for the Lord. We are to intercede for all who are around us. Do not sin against the Lord by not praying for others. Spend time on your knees today on behalf of your family, friends, brethren, co-workers, neighbors, government, and any others you can think of.

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God is Powerful Enough to Forgive Even You

I have heard many people say, “I could never make heaven my home because of the terrible life I have lived. I have done so many bad and sinful things in my life, God would never forgive me of my sins.” The individuals that make this claim have not studied God’s word enough. Some of the leading characters in the Bible engaged in some very sinful activites.

Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation and bless all the families of the earth in him. In Genesis 12:12-13 Abraham went down into Egypt. He was afraid Pharaoh would kill him to get his beautiful wife Sarah, so he said Sarah was his sister. He lied. We also see in Genesis 20:1-2 that Abraham went to Gerar where there was a king named Abimelech. Abraham again feared for his life and told King Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. He had a habit of not telling the truth.

Abraham and Sarah had a child in their old age, the child was named Isaac. Isaac also married a beautiful woman named Rebekah. In Genesis 26:6-7, Isaac, like his father, told the men in Gerar that Rebekah was his sister. He also was a liar.

Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons named Esau and Jacob. Esau was the oldest twin and therefore was supposed to receive the birthright and his father’s blessing. Jacob took advantage of Esau and was able to get Esau’s birthright for a bowl of pottage. Rebekah loved Jacob more that Esau. She overheard Isaac, her husband, telling Esau to go into the field and get some venison to make him a savory meat dish, and he would give him his blessing before he died. Rebekah devised a plan to deceive her aged husband who had lost most of his eye sight.  She had Jacob get a kid from the flock and kill it so she could make a savory meat dish. Because Esau was a hairy man, she took the animal’s skin and put it on Jacob’s arms so Isaac would think Jacob was Esau. When Jacob took the meat to Isaac, he asked are you Esau, and Jacob said yes he was and received his father blessing. This family continues to lie and deceive.

Another great Bible character was King David. In II Samuel 11 there is an account of David walking on the roof and saw a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, taking a bath. He lusted after her and sent one of his messengers to bring her to him. The Bible said he “lay with her” and the woman conceived and was with child. David tried to hide his sin by bringing her husband Uriah home from fighting the King’s battles. Uriah was a very loyal soldier and would not sleep with his wife because his fellow soldiers were sleeping in the fields. David then tried to get Uriah intoxicated thinking he would then go into his wife, this also failed. He sent Uriah back to the battle. David then sent word to Joab, his commander, to put Uriah on the front line and withdraw the troops. Joab followed David’s command resulting in Uriah’s death. David committed adultery and had a brave and loyal soldier murdered. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. Nathan did that and David, deeply grieved because of his sin, repented. In Psalm 32:5, David said,  “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sins.    In Acts 13:22, Stephen quoted the Lord saying “I have found David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart.”

The great apostle Paul said in I Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthily of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” In Romans 7:7-25, Paul was very frustrated and says over and over when he tried to do right he kept sinning and doing carnal things.

From these examples, it is quite apparent that many of the outstanding Bible characters did many sinful things, including lying, deceitful acts, adultery, and murder. When they repented God forgave and forgot their sins. If you think you have lived too sinful of a life for God to forgive you, realize you cannot limit the power of God to forgive. If God’s forgiveness was powerful enough to forgive these folks, it is powerful enough to forgive even you.

–Don Adair

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Don’t Brag About Your Past Sinfulness

Recently, someone introduced me to a video clip entitled “Four Yorkshiremen.” The video is of four apparently wealthy Englishmen reminiscing about the good ol’ days when they were poor. For a little over three minutes these men humorously one-up each other about how poor and miserable they were as children. They didn’t argue about who was wealthier. Rather, the point was seemingly that the one who had to overcome the most was really the best of the lot.

This video is played for laughs and it is very funny. However, it reminds me of a similar competition I’ve heard among Christians. We all know it would be bad to compete over who is the better Christian or who is spiritually the strongest. Instead, Christians sometimes get together and start talking about what they were like when they were sinners.

Don’t misunderstand me. I think it is great to lead with our weaknesses and be open and honest about where we’ve been and why we need a Savior in Jesus Christ. However, sometimes I’ve seen these conversations seemingly get off into a competition about who had to overcome the worst enslavement to sin. The problem is these penitent Christians almost sound proud of how sinful they had been. Have you ever heard folks get into that kind of conversation? Have you ever been involved in that kind of conversation? It is almost as if we have to prove to everybody that we were the worst and not in the humble way with which Paul claimed to be the chief of sinners (I Timothy 1:15). In that passage, Paul was actually giving glory to God about how much forgiveness God had. He was not bragging about how bad he had been and how much he had to overcome.

If you’ve never been in on this kind of conversation, you can ignore this article. However, if you have, allow me to offer you something to think about. When we are truly penitent of our sins, mourning for what we’ve done (II Corinthians 7:10), there will be no part of us that wants to brag or prove we were the greater sinner. The fact is, just like those four Yorkshiremen, all this does is give us some kind of backdoor pass to bragging about our spirituality. We aren’t bragging about how spiritual we are now, but we are bragging about how we had to overcome more and therefore are more spiritual.

 As we share the gospel with others, we may share the sins from which God set us free. As we strive to overcome sin, we will most certainly confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). As we glorify God, we may admit the sins over which we were powerless and from which God freed us. However, we’ll never have the desire to prove we are the best because we were the worst. We’ll never take pride in how awful we were. We’ll never purposefully try to one-up each other in our past sinfulness. We won’t feel the need to prove anything about our spirituality. We’ll simply be thankful God forgave us. Let’s keep it there.

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We Must Heed God’s Warnings About Sin

God has always exhibited His care for his children. One of the greatest ways to show His concern for us is to warn us of impending danger. He knows Satan and He knows us; He made us after all. Satan is the master liar and a great manipulator. We first become acquainted with him doing his best work in evil in Genesis 3. With his cunning, he was able to convince Eve that he was not evil or a liar, but God was. By this deception, sin entered the world, and Satan has not stopped his war against God and mankind since. But God, through His great love for His creation, has not ceased to warn us of the great evil Satan can do to us.

God warned His children through Isaiah in Isaiah 5:20 that there would be those who would be so diluted by Satan as to call evil, good and good, evil. Nothing has changed since the woe was pronounced on those who did this. We are bombarded through every conceivable method with this same message. Movies, mass media and even our lawmakers and judges preach the word of Satan; evil is good and good is evil. The most deceptive part of this is the fact that this perversion is taught us by the seemingly wise of this world.

These are warnings given by Paul in Romans 1. In verse 18, Paul warns us about those on whom God’s wrath would be revealed; those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Verse 22 says, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” How do we know who they are? Just as Isaiah had warned, they called evil, good and good, evil, and Paul said in Romans 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” How often have we been shown by men’s actions that greed is good or homosexuality is acceptable? The sad part of Paul’s warning was that those who practiced these things were ones who knew the “ordinance of God” according to verse 32. But, Paul also said in verses 19 and 20 that no one is without excuse because God has made Himself evident within them and through His creation.

Paul explained to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 what the practices of men would be like so he could recognize them. They would be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. He further told Timothy to avoid such men. Look at this list and see if you recognize people in the news, those in Hollywood, and maybe your neighbor. May we never find these characteristics in ourselves. We need to be like the man Paul described in Timothy; followers of Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions and sufferings. We must recognize and avoid the people Paul described in verses 2 through 7 and never forget the power of the Scriptures. Paul tells us in verses 16 and 17 that they are inspired of God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. As God’s children, we need to avoid the cunning of Satan and his servants and be transformed by the renewing of our minds as Romans 12:2 tells us. The power of renewing our minds and thus our lives lies in the work of God’s word in our lives as described in 2 Timothy 3:16,17. Live it, teach it to your children and to all who will listen. Do what Paul told us in Romans 12:9, “Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.”

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