Archive for the ‘ Church ’ Category

VerseD: Revelation 7:9

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands
Revelation 7:9, ESV

We share the gospel because God loves all people, and we cannot comprehend all the ways the various cultures and personalities will worship Jesus in complete unison.

Oh, what a worship service that will be!

Sermon: Signs You're a Christian – 1 John 3:10-24

I preached again! I liked it. Like, wept some, got goosebumps some, enjoyed preaching it … a lot.

Please enjoy listening (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.

Signs You’re a Christian (1 John 3:10-24)

Read 3:10-11

        1:1, 2:7: Nothing new, known from the beginning

Read 3:12

        Genesis 4:3-5: Why did Cain murder Abel? His sacrifice was not accepted.
Why?
2 theories: 1) He could have asked Abel for an animal sacrifice. Could have, yes, but …
          2) He offered “an offering of the fruit” versus Abel’s “firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” Abel offered the first and best, but Cain went for the bare minimum.
Genesis 4:6-7: Bare minimum can lead, at best, to complacency, and at worst to proof of not being saved.
Genesis 4:8-9: Our selfishness leads us to hatred, as John reminds us …

Read 3:13-15

        Testimony: Know I am saved, because I have loved the Church.
-Jim Harper – Pastor on the Titanic
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Pastor in Nazi Germany

Read 3:16-20

        Two things to remember:

  • Our sinful hearts:
    • Jeremiah 17:9-10
    • How righteous are we really?
      • Illustration with three volunteers (preferably one of the Paul’s, Jadon, and Scott as our prime example):
        • 1 at the left, representing Hitler and anti-christs
        • Student at the right, representing Christ
        • Scott (or someone) being moved for how much righteousness he has, starting out close to student, moving him until he is right next to “Hitler” to demonstrate how much better we are apart from Christ. Then, back over to hug “Christ” who has covered our sins with his own blood.
    • Romans 8:23 – awaiting the redemption of our bodies
  • Christ commanded that we help others, especially the Church (Galatians 6:10, John 13 especially v. 8)

Read 3:21-24

  1. If we believe, we are washed by Christ. Since we are washed by Christ, we should have clean consciences
    1. Sometimes, we struggle to let go of the past, making our consciences feel burdened …
    1. This is one reason Hebrews 10:19-25 (vv. 23-25) tells us to keep meeting together and encouraging each other, but also …
  2. Whatever we ask: See Ephesians 3:14-21 (v. 20)
    1. He meets all of our needs, knowing what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8, 7:7-11)

What does this all mean for us?

  1. First, realize we can do nothing good apart from God
    1. Romans 3 – None are good nor seek God, all have sinned
    1. Luke 18:18-19 – Only God is good
    1. Philippians 4:13 – Through Christ alone can we do good things
  2. Second, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2)
    1. Realize our full need for Christ, repent of sins, and believe in His atoning work on the cross.
    1. As Ephesians 2 continues and reminds us …
  3. Third, we are made one with Christ and each other through Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit.
    1. We love Christ and His Church.
      1. Read your Bible
      1. Pray
      1. Meet regularly with other Christians
        1. Not just go to church on Sundays!
      1. Live out love for God
        1. Do good works as a response to the great love God has given
        1. Especially toward our brothers and sisters in Christ
        1. These reveal the Spirit’s work in us, that we love Christ by obeying His commands (John 15:12-14), all to the glory of the Father (meaning people see our love and good works and come to believe the Gospel!)

So, then, what are the commands we are to obey?

  1. Love God with all that you are (Matthew 22:37-38)
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39-40)
  3. Love one another as Christ has loved us (Sacrificially and with a servant’s heart) (John 13:34)
  4. Go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20)

VerseD: 1 John 3:16

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 3:16, ESV

Our highest calling in life is to build the Church to the glory of God, and that can mean sacrificing everything for the Church.

VerseD: Matthew 12:18

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”
Matthew 12:18, ESV

Matthew quotes a prophecy about Jesus, fulfilled in His time. However, the Holy Spirit moves today through Hos Body, the Church, to reach the world for the Father’s glory.

VerseD: Romans 15:5

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus
Romans 15:5, ESV

We are to live in peace with those around us, especially our family in Christ.

Yes, it can be trying at times, but our Lord helps us by His Spirit.

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Essene and Heard


I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 7: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
    • Sadducees – The compromised
    • Essenes – The Preservation of Scripture
      • Mainly felt like they had to separate from corrupt society.
        • Essentially lived in communes (Yeah, kinda like hippies, but also very little like hippies.)
        • Not completely absent: Still had people living in town
          • Could help with supply runs, news of events, keep tabs on society.
        • Their main goal was the preservation of the Torah, other important writings, and godliness.
          • Think of Qumran, the place of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were those people!
      • Messiah – Oh, he was coming soon!
        • Probably understood better than most what the Messiah was going to be like, expecting more of a great religious leader.
          • Most closely associated with Pre-Millennialism today.
          • Most likely played a large role in creating copies of the gospels and letters of the New Testament.
          • Probably disappeared as a sect because most believed their Messiah had come and obeyed the Great Commission
      • See Mark 14:12-16: Was this man possibly an Essene disciple that Jesus planned with to avoid confrontation with the Pharisees and Sadducees? (Also, people living in Jerusalem were required to share space with pilgrims during the Passover, so it could just be some “random guy” and Jesus used foreknowledge to tell Peter and John what to look for.)
      • Modern comparisons:
        • Obviously Monks, much of the Catholic priesthood and nuns
        • Many evangelical churches/denominations obviously fit this description of being largely separated from though still amongst society.
        • Some mainline denominations match up, especially those that have split over compromises with society
          • i.e. Anglican Church North America splitting from the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada (the breaking straw being the ordination of practicing homosexuals and allowing for gay marriage)
        • Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches and the like
          • Obviously more extreme, being King James Only-ists: all other translations/versions are satanic and lead to corruption.
          • The most extreme examples of this would be Westboro Baptist Church (basically the Phelps family) and its spiritual successor Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ (pastored by Steven Anderson)
        • For a different extreme:
        • New Apostolic Reformation and other ultra-/super-charismatic churches and movements
          • Yes, they are under this list, too. Stay tuned for more!
          • They definitely separate themselves out as different.
            • The Seven Mountain Mandate demands they work toward “reclaiming” the seven major areas of society until the whole world is under Christ’s authority. So, separate but only in how they do things.
          • Also copy scripture, but typically by making drastic changes.
            • The most recent example is probably The Passion Translation. It is not really a translation, more of an untrustworthy paraphrase that makes some drastic changes. (Still in progress: only has the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and the New Testament.)
        • Most cults that separate and add to Scripture
          • These are the crazy people who obviously get brainwashed/do the brainwashing and often lead to dangerous and even deadly practices.



VerseD: Hebrews 10:35-36

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 10:35‭-‬36, ESV

Why do people think skipping, avoiding, or leaving church when life gets hard is helpful or preferable?

God uses the Church to strengthen, encourage, and help us when in need. Then we remain ready for our Lord’s return.