AM Sermon: Living Better to Die Better Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 The process of dying can be more intimidating than the final event. How we live and how we prepare can make a lot of difference in how we experience that process. Getting old can bring burdens that Ecclesiastes calls “the evil days.” Loneliness as we die is one of the greatest fears, and is best addressed by taking good care of our relationships. Good living and good planning can give us precious opportunities to say a proper, “Good-bye.”
Scripture: John 20:24-29 Guest Speaker: Nathan Adams
Scripture: Psalm 23 Men who suffered greatly, such as David and Paul, give us the most positive view of life and death. Life is a gift from God to be used to his glory for as long as he chooses to prolong it. Like birth, death is an ominous transition into the great unknown that we can approach with confidence since Jesus has shown the way.
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1 Christians believe in heaven, that we are going to heaven, and that heaven will be a better place to live than earth. Yet, we hang on to life here as if there were no tomorrow. Our faith should be make a difference in how we approach death. We have options for health care, and even for dying, that previous generations didn’t have. We need to think on how our faith makes our responses to those options different from the responses of those who have no hope. Hebrews 9:27 2 Corinthians 4:8,10 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 2 Corinthians 5:4, 6-8
Scripture: Philippians 2:1-4 The Bible is our best guide to strong, happy marriages. Where the world sees biblical teachings as restrictions, Christians should see them as the path to success. However, biblical guidance for marriage is not limited to the precious few passages that address directly the subject of marriage. Wherever the Bible teaches us how to be strong, faithful Christians, we will find indispensable guidance for how to grow as godly wives & husbands.
What Does God Want from Me? Matthew 11:25-30 What does the word “yoke” make you think of? The yoke links two animals so they pull in the same direction; together, their work becomes easier. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus invites us to “take my yoke upon you.” How are we yoked to Jesus? We are linked to Jesus as we become disciples who learn and follow Him. He pulls with us as we learn His teaching and follow His example. Discipleship answers a most significant question of ‘What does God want from me?’ Jesus places demands upon us, but His way of discipleship is always lighter in the end.
Proverbs 3:5-8 We love mom (and dad) not only because they have high hopes for what we can do with our lives, but that they are most concerned with what we should do with the life we’ve been given. Just because we could do something doesn’t mean we should. In their best moments, parents teach us who we should be. The short story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9 hits on a similar theme. Having one language, God’s people could accomplish anything. Except they utterly fail to acknowledge God. It’s like forgetting mom’s contribution to your life. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Report on Heritage Christian College in Accra, Ghana, by Samuel Twumasi-Ankrah. To learn more, check our website under Missions (151cofc.com).
Jesus accepted association with all kinds of people, including “tax collectors and sinners.” People often use this example to argue that the church should accept everyone regardless of lifestyle without calling for any change or repentance. The whole story is that Jesus accepted contact with all, and called all to repent. Mark 2:13-17 Luke 5:27-32 John 8:1-11 Matthew 11:28 John 8:11 Matthew 9:13 Mark 1:15 Luke 14:26-27,33;13:3 Matthew 21:31 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Quite often we sin because we try to go with what “works.” We have desires, and satisfying those desires as soon as possible is an attraction that produces temptations. We see that other people seem to get what they want through sinful behavior. We don’t want to be a sinful person, but for a moment, we are tempted to do what “works.” Many Bible stories tell of people who sinned, and it seemed to work. Even Judas betrayed Jesus for money, and it worked. He got the money. It was a shortsighted approach, but sinning is usually shortsighted.
John 11:1-7 God moves in mysterious ways. His ways and his timetable often baffle us, especially when we think our problem is urgent and God takes his time. Lazarus, the friend of Jesus was ill, but he and his family waited almost an entire week for Jesus to respond to their 911 call. By then, Lazarus had been dead for four days. If Jesus was going to restore Lazarus to good health, why not act sooner?
“Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are,” says the Bible in Hebrews 4:15. Beginning in the wilderness, but throughout his ministry, Satan tried to lure Jesus away from trusting God’s power, presence and plan. He offered shortcuts to world fame. He played on doubt and on vanity. He used enemies and friends. Indeed, Jesus was tempted as we are. And just as with Jesus, every temptation is an opportunity either to do wrong or to do right.
Scripture: Isaiah 45:9-13 It is preposterous that clay would talk and critique the work of the potter. It is no less preposterous that mankind would critique the work of God, the Creator. God works constantly to teach us things we desperately need to know, but are slow to learn. He pokes and squeezes, shapes and reshapes, to make us the way we need to be. It’s not always pleasant, but when we trust the Potter, his way is always best.
Scripture: Judges 6:36-40 Learning God’s will for our lives is not a matter trying to guess what God might want, or of deciphering hidden clues about “open doors.” In the Bible, God tells us all we need to know to please him. Beyond that, he allows us to make choices according to our likes and preferences. When a decision is ours to make, we should not expect God to make it for us.
Evangelism’s Voices Romans 10:14-15 What do you think of when you think of evangelism? We might think of a powerful preacher; someone going door to door; or an overseas missionary. What about the person who took the time to walk with us through the process of learning the good news about God’s Son so we could become one of God’s people? They used their ability and voice to seized the moment! The result allowed God to work something beautiful in our hearts. They gave us the opportunity to know God better and be obedient to Him. This is what we will see Sunday night as we look in the book of Luke: disciples of all backgrounds and talents working together to seize the moment to help others learn and be obedient to the gospel.
God Remembered Noah Genesis 7:17-8:1 It’s hard to picture how bad things must have been in Genesis 6 when every intention of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually. Did God forget about His creation? Does it ever seem like God has forgotten His people today? At this awful peak in man’s history, God extends His grace. He remembers Noah. I imagine Noah was eager to escape such a violent time. But God also extends grace to the world by patiently waiting nearly a century before the flood comes. We remember that Noah stood out for his obedience to God, but also that he held out hope as a willing messenger on behalf of God’s goodness and patience.
Scripture: Romans 5:6-11 The crucifixion and resurrection are not isolated events, and they should not be remembered without remembering why they are important. Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin has been the number one problem of man, and the constant theme of the Bible. Sin is not a mistake with no major impact. Sin separates us from God, and only the sacrifice of God’s Son could overcome that prime problem. In remembrance of the cross, we must weigh the importance of the problem it solved.
1 Peter 3:18-22 – When we follow the context, we can often understand even the most difficult passages. Peter wrote to encourage suffering Christians for whom righteous living didn’t seem to be rewarded, and those who persecuted them seemed to thrive. Christians are encouraged by the example and actions of Christ. He suffered and died, but then triumphed over death. Those who accept the preaching of the gospel will share in his victory, and those who reject him will hear words of judgment.