Sermons from April 2018
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.