Archive for the ‘ Church ’ Category

Sermon: What is Life? – 1 Peter 2:1-12

I preached again!

This was a tough one. I rewrote it several times, including overnight Saturday/Sunday.

I kept it light, naturally, only discussing the Gospel, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and the presidential election season.

Light.

(I was so exhausted afterward!)

Give it a listen (click here if it does not work just below), and see my rough notes for all scripture references and basic thoughts. I am reading from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.

What is life? (1 Peter 2:1-12)

Read 2:1-12

What is life?

Not so much “what makes a thing living,” but who is living? How do we live? What does it look like to have a life?

What life?

Earlier in my life, I discovered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  • Love them.
  • Working at the school, money tight, often had these for lunch. Still had days longing for a PB&J. And a glass of milk (or carton from the cafeteria!)
  • What does this have to do with life?

Read 2:2-3: Spiritual milk

Even having PB&J most days, I still craved it.

  • Do we do that with God’s Word?
  • Have you tasted that the Lord is good?

V. 1 gives a list of things this life offers (read/explain v. 1)

  • An earthly mind is focused on such.
  • What is life?
    • Focused on hate, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander?
    • Or on God’s love?

Vv. 4-8:

All of this poetic language from Isaiah and Psalm 118 spoke of Israel, but found it’s fulfillment in Christ.

Israel built the Temple in Jerusalem, but they rejected the first living stone. And what is Christ this first stone, the cornerstone, part of? The Church!

The Church is about community. God’s community. It is built on the love God showed through Jesus.

God created life: Genesis 1-2, especially 2:7: the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

Yet, Genesis 3, we took this life and decided to go our own way. And all of us – every single human since then, save Christ – has done our own thing: we have broken God’s Law of loving Him and other people. And though we mock and revile our Creator, He came down to us in the person of Jesus Christ to take the mocking, reviling, and violence in person. He took on human life to offer that life as a payment for our disobedience, our sin.

And three days later, He brought Himself back to life, and He lives forever, seated at the right hand of the Father.

This is the Cornerstone: the God-Man who gave up His life to give us a life of community, fellowship, with Him and each other for eternity. We make up the new Temple, not of stones that can wear down, but of our bodies which will one day be glorified.

And all we need to do is believe this truth of who He is.

But others reject Him still.

Listen to those who say Christianity is a fairytale.

Listen to those who say the Church has done nothing good for this world.

Listen to those who call Christianity the religion of white people.

Danger Warning: This is where things get tough, even confrontational.

Look at our world:

  • An election year. (If you disagree with my candidate, you’re stupid and wrong!)
  • A global pandemic, with anxiety and fear being peddled daily in our newsfeeds and on social media. (And we will find a cure, no god needed. ~NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo)
    • We can debate the threat, masks, and statistics later!
  • Racial tensions higher than they have been for decades. #BlackLivesMatter
    • We must realize the cry here:
      • The organized movement: Anti-Christian
        • Anti-nuclear family
        • Anti-marriage
        • Anti-biblical definition of gender/sexuality
        • Pro-choice (abortion)
        • Pro-socialism/communism
        • Pro-pluri-religiosity
      • The average person (yes, most protesting):
        • Sees systemic racism (yes, it is actually real)
        • Sees a society that seemingly doesn’t care
        • Sees a discrepancy in how people are treated

How then do we live? What is life?

Vv. 9-12

We all agree that “all lives matter.” (In this room, at least) We don’t want people to die needlessly.

  • If we are fixated on, even fearful of where this country is headed because of the next election, if we get offended (heated discussion/argument) over how certain elected officials are destroying our country, if we know “those people are idiots who only want to undermine our society” (and notice I never said “Republicans” or “Democrats”, but if you thought of one or the other …)

    … are you trusting and believing in our sovereign God who instituted our government? Are you building that community based on God’s love?
  • Does wearing a mask in certain places affect your salvation? Does it affect your eternal life?

    What about the life of someone outside of the Church?

    What if all they see is someone ranting about how they don’t need to wear a mask, because even if they die they know where they are going?

    What if they are afraid of dying, and someone basically waves off that fear “for personal freedom?

    Is that respectful and loving?
  • Do black lives matter?

    Are we hearing the cries of a lost world or pushing our own understanding of life on others?

What is life?

We know that we are all one race: descended from Adam. There is only one human race.

But we are only united in Christ.

There is enough malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander in the world.

We are [vv. 9-10]

We are kings and queens. We are priests, administering the sacraments of love, peace, hope, and faith to a lost and hurting world.

And how did our High Priest King do that?

Philippians 2:5-8

What is life?

For the rest of the world, we see it playing out every day.

For the Christian, [Philippians 2:12-16]

We follow in our Lord’s footsteps, humbly serving our fellow image-bearers out of the love given to us by God through His Holy Spirit. Not grumbling and complaining about how unfair, unjust, and unsavory our world is, but showing compassion, humility, and faithfulness to God’s Word.

Our life is not our own. It was bought with the most important life. Grumbling and complaining and pointing fingers tears apart, but we have been tasked to help build the living Temple of God, the Body of Christ, the Church.

We are His. We belong to Christ. And we draw closer to Him by reading His Word, abiding His Word, and living out His Word in our everyday lives.

Life is only truly found in Christ.

VerseD: Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4, ESV

God’s Temple today is the Church: the living, biological, spiritual Body of Christ.
Seek the beauty of God amongst His People, Christians, who point this world to Christ and the eternal life He offers.

Message Series: Malachi 4:1-6

It is about time . . . to finish a short message series.

For the past couple of months, I have uploaded short messages based on the book of Malachi. It has been basically based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 4:1-6

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Chapter 2 finishes with God rebuking not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to, and leads into chapter 3 in which God calls out those who call evil good and vice versa (which leads to His eventual judgment!)

Chapter 3 is largely about stealing from God, which was equated to not sharing the Gospel or giving the Church (and thus God) a bad name so that others want nothing to do with Jesus. It is like robbing God of souls. And this leads to God’s wrath on the ungodly while separating out the godly. Again, He defends those who listen to Him and obey His commands, and He defends His glory.

Now, on to discuss the Great Day of the Lord:

1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[b] that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

  • God’s Law is:
    • Love the Lord your God
    • Love your neighbor (others)
    • Love each other (the Church)
  • Elijah:
    • John the Baptist
    • Possibly one of the two witnesses in Revelation?
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
    • Those who refuse to turn to Christ will be burned by and in fire as eternal punishment for disbelieving and persecuting those who do believe.
    • Separation from God.
  • The Great and Awesome Day of the Lord:
    • 2 Peter 3:1-13
      • All of the heavens and the earth will be dissolved in fire
      • We must share the gospel
      • How close are we to the end?
        • Most deny a global flood
        • Most claim millions/billions of years
        • Most turn from God’s Law and do whatever they want
        • Anything is acceptable and should be celebrated
  • When Christ returns, He will obliterate all sinfulness from Creation and make a perfect Kingdom on a renewed Earth.

Message Series: Malachi 3:16-18

It is about time for a short message series.

For the past few weeks and over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 3:16-18

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Chapter 2 finishes with God rebuking not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to, and leads into chapter 3 in which God calls out those who call evil good and vice versa (which leads to His eventual judgment!)

Chapter 3 is largely about stealing from God, which was equated to not sharing the Gospel or giving the Church (and thus God) a bad name so that others want nothing to do with Jesus. It is like robbing God of souls.

Now, on to discuss the wrath of God:

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

  • God compares the godless with the godly.
    • Contrast v. 15 with vv. 16-18
  • The deeds of the righteous and unrighteous will be easily seen.
    • This was made after most COVID-19 restrictions were being lifted, but riots are erupting around the USA due to police brutality. Minneapolis (the epicenter, based on the death of George Floyd – a black man who did not deserve the treatment he received) has been literally burning.
    • Seeking revenge is not good, nor wishing/inflicting harm on others as retribution.
      • Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35
  • We need to remember we are not fighting people, but powers, principalities, and authorities: a spiritual war. (Ephesians 6:12)
    • It is proper to be angry, but we must not let our anger lead to sinful acts. (Ephesians 4:26)
    • And we need to remember that we are all sinners in need of grace. (Romans 3:23)
  • God’s got this and hears our prayers and laments:
    • Revelation 5:8; 8:1-5
  • God will avenge – not just us, but His reputation:
    • Revelation 20-21
      • 20:12, 15

Message Series: Malachi 3:5-15

It is about time for a short message series.

For the past few weeks and over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 3:5-15

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Chapter 2 finishes with God rebuking not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to, and leads into chapter 3 in which God calls out those who call evil good and vice versa (which leads to His eventual judgment!)

Now, on to discuss stealing from God:

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”

  • God does not change: He is Father, even if we push Him away.
  • The tithes and offerings of ancient Israel went to feeding the Levites and those who served the Temple.
    • To not give offerings and tithes was to say:
      • “God does not need my offering.”
      • “I want the priests to starve.”
      • Breaks both great commandments!
  • Saying “I’m not called to preach or share the gospel” is saying it is vain to serve God.
  • Saying “Everything is so horrible, how can there be a good God?” pushes people from God.
  • Whether atheist or a Christian who refuses to share the Gospel or lives just like the world is also stealing from God:
    • Leading people from God is in essence stealing souls from Him and pushing them to eternal torment.
    • Refusing to tell people the Gospel is stealing souls from Him, because you only seek the benefits of His grace but refuse to share that grace with others (pay for services provided, if you will, such as shopping or eating out but refusing to pay).

VerseD: Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16, ESV

How ready are you to teach the Bible, build up fellow believers, on a moment’s notice? Is the joy of God flowing through you? Are you thankful to God in every circumstance?

Message Series: Malachi 2:17-3:5

It is about time for a short message series.

For the past few weeks and over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Chapter 2 nearly finishes with God rebuking not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to

Now, to discuss the God of justice:

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.[a] Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Video Lesson: Simple, Not Easy: Part 2: How do we love each other?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12

Simple, Not Easy (Part 2)

Big picture: Love God, love people, share the Gospel.
But how do we love others . . . in the Church?

1 John 4:7-12

What does the Bible say?

  1. Love each other by (John 13:34-35):
    1. Loving like J                              
    2. Jesus loved by S                                   Himself, so ought we do the same (John 15:13).
  1. Love each other by NOT being:
    1. S , but rather h                                     (Philippians 2:3)
    1. H (Romans 12:9-13), but rather
      s                           (1 Peter 1:22-23)
  2. Love each other by:
    1. H each other (Colossians 6:10)
    1. T , r                                , r                                , e                             , and staying p                              (2 Timothy 4:2)

Let us show un-hypocritical love by helping each other through this life by pointing each other back to God’s Word and Christ’s example, being patient and kind with each other as we stumble along, remembering we need each other’s help!

VerseD: Proverbs 31:31

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:31, ESV

Women – made in the image of God – are to be praised and honored for their God-given gifts, especially as they honor God.
And the Church – the Bride of Christ and mother of the saints – deserves honor and respect.

Message Series: Malachi 2:10-16

It is about time for a short message series.

For the past few weeks and over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 2:10-16

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Now, God rebukes not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to:

10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”