Sermon, Sunday June 5, 2022 – Do Not Love the World.

Click on the Camera to View the full message video.

1 John 4 teaches that God is love, but the Bible also teaches that there are some things that God hates and so should we (See Psalm 5:5-6, Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 2:6).

As we see in John 2, God hates the love of the world. When we become Christians, we no longer view this world as our home. Rather, we are looking forward to an eternal home with the Lord. If we truly believe this, then why would we give our time, energy, finances, and passions to temporary things that directly oppose God.

As we surrender, God not only takes us into His kingdom, but He also brings us into His family. John uses three terms to identify the people he is writing to in verses 12-14: Children, Fathers and Young Men.

The term children refers to new believers, the fathers are the mature believers who have been following the Lord for many years, and the young men are the maturing believers who are pursuing God with passion and fervor.

In verse 12, John addresses those newer believers and encourages them with the good news of their forgiven sins. Isn’t it great to know that our sins are forgiven?

Next, John addresses the spiritual fathers and mothers who have been walking with the Lord for many years. When we become Christians, we begin a journey that leads to a growing relationship with God our Father. John repeats this in verse 14 to emphasize the importance of growing in our knowledge of our Heavenly Father. We grow in this knowledge and relationship through life experiences, challenges, and trials.

Then John addresses the people who are growing in their passion and zeal for the things of God. These people are young in the faith, maturing, and fighting hard in spiritual warfare. They are strong because the word of God abides in them.

It is important to remember that we don’t overcome the attacks of Satan by our own hard work or efforts, we rest on the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Satan loves to tempt us and hurl accusations at us regarding our past, but our debt has been paid, in Christ there is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1).

These young warriors are abiding in the word of God and as a result they are strong in the face of temptation and trials.  

Sadly, many Christians never grow up and remain as children because they do not have the discipline to read, meditate, and feed on the Word of God.

In the following three verses John warns his readers about the “World”. What he is referring to is a worldview and a way of life that is led by Satan and his demons. Following the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of possessions. This is a worldview that leaves God out of our thinking and decisions. Chasing after temporary things while ignoring eternal things.

These verses encourage us to reject anything that goes against God’s word and anything that we would value more than God. That would be an idol in our lives. Worldliness means living only to please our flesh and pursuing the desire of our eyes. This is a life pursuing temporal pleasure and will never satisfy.  

John highlights three things the world promises but cannot deliver:

1: The World Cannot Give You What You Need (1 John 2:15).

Everyone of us has a God given need to love and to be loved. But the object of our love needs to be in the right order for us to experience peace. If we choose to love the world, we are choosing to not love God and we will never be fulfilled.

2: The World Cannot Give You What It Promises (1 John 2:16).

This is one of the most important verses in the Bible. It identifies three weapons Satan uses to seduce men and women away from God. These same three weapons Satan used in the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:6 says, “Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh] and delightful to look at [lust of the eyes], and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom [the pride of life].”

The same three weapons were used by Satan when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4. And today Satan still uses the same three weapons against the followers of Jesus. They are effective, because we don’t recognize them and resist them by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

  • The desires (lust) of the flesh appeal to our appetites.

“Desires” means cravings, lust, or passion. The word desire is neutral, but the object of our desire is what determines whether such desires are good or bad. It is important to realize that we are not sinful because we sin. Instead, we sin because we are sinful.

  • The desire of the eyes appeals to our affections.

Our eyes, like our natural desire, are not evil (Proverbs 20:12), however, the eyes are windows to the soul by which sinful desires enter.  In 2 Samuel 11, David was led to adultery and murder because of what he allowed his eyes to see.

  • Pride in possessions appeals to our ambitions.

Pride is an unhealthy self-image, boasting and arrogance to impress others. The “Pride of possessions” or “pride of life” speaks of the person who glorifies himself rather than God.

If you think that you don’t fall into this category, just spend a few moments thinking about how much time and energy you spend trying to earn a few extra dollars or gain that next promotion or buy that nice car or phone. We are all prone to stumbling in this area as in the others because of our human nature.

But there is a better way to live, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” 1 Peter 5:6.  

3: The World Cannot Give You What Will Last (1 John 2:17).

We have two opposing worlds to give our lives to, why would we give our lives to something that is temporary and an illusion. Why would we give our lives to the temporary deception of Satan’s world that leads only to death? The only life that produces eternal fruit, is a life that is committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and living to do the will of God.

One of the saddest stories in the Bible concerns a man by the name of Demas. In Colossians 4, we read that he is faithfully serving alongside Luke for the Gospel ministry. However much later in 2 Timothy 4:10, the Apostle Paul writes these tragic words, “Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world.”

The history of Christianity is filled with people who have followed in the path of Demas. Don’t live for the temporal and lose out on the eternal.

What are you pursuing in life?

Sermon Sunday May 15, 2022 To Know and Obey Jesus.

Click on the Camera to view the full message video

Is it possible to know God and to live like the Devil? Is it possible to truly know God and have no life change?

Obedience follows relationship. If there is no obedience – is there relationship at all?

Adrian Rogers wrote, “Study the Bible to know about God. Obey the Bible to really know God.”

This is the theme of 1 John 2. John’s goal is for the reader to know God rightly and have assurance of salvation, which leads to a life of joy in Jesus. To know God is to love God and to love God is to obey God.

Obedience to God reveals the genuineness of our faith. There is a huge difference between saying and doing. The true Gospel transforms us and leads to obedience. 1 John 2:3 reads, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments”.

The word “Keep”, means to guard, or protect like we would treat a precious treasure. And as we keep this treasure, our assurance in our salvation grows and we enjoy Jesus more. To obey His commands is never a burden, it is a blessing and a natural response to what He has done for me.

However we see in verse 4 that if we do not guard or keep the commands of the Lord, we are spiritual deceivers. We really don’t have a relationship with God.

Verse 5 gives is such a great promise, “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.”

Keeping the commands of God is not a condition of knowing God, but it is a clear sign and indication that we do know God.

The phrase, “the love of God”, refers to our love for God, and it is true that the more I know Him, the more I love Him, and the more I love Him, the more I know Him.

The same thing happens in a godly marriage. It should be that the more a husband and wife grow to know one another, the more they love one another. And the more love they share with each other, the more they will desire to know each other.

There is a tradition that on one occasion the apostle John, near the end of his life, was brought to the church on a pallet. All he said to the believing community was, “Love one another.” When he was asked why that was all he had to say, he responded, “Because it is enough.” (Matthew 22:37-40).

So how do we walk in the love of Christ? When we were saved it was so that we might be conformed in the image of His son (Romans 8:29). He saved us that we might “walk just as He walked.”

We have a moral obligation for our walk to match our talk. To truly abide in Christ means I will walk like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1, 1 Peter 2:21).

Like Father, like Son. Like Savior, like saint. Christ’s life becomes my life, my example, my goal, and my pattern. And we must note that it is abiding in Him that enables me to live like Him. I don’t do it in my strength. I do it in His!

Looking back to verse 3, how can we tell if we “know” him?

What then does it mean to “know” Jesus? The Greek word used here, “ginosko”, means basically “grasping the full reality and nature of an object under consideration.”

John was writing to people who knew about Jesus but didn’t really know him personally. Today there are millions of people who know about Jesus, but don’t know him as Lord of their lives.

Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me”. Those who belong to Jesus are responsive to His voice.

John does not suggest that relationship with God is established by obedience; rather, that relationship is demonstrated by obedience.

Sometimes people claim to know God but are unresponsive to His Word and His way of life. Such a person may possess accurate information about God and may be able to debate the finer points of theology. I have met people who have a deep grasp of the Bible and doctrine, but their lives do not match their words. Relationship is demonstrated by walking “as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

Jesus addressed this as he was speaking to the Jews, the scribes and the pharisees in John 8:44a, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

The religious leaders, knew about God, they knew the Torah, they knew a lot of theology, but they didn’t know God Himself or else they would have recognized His son, Jesus. They were worshipping the law of Moses, but they weren’t hearing the word of God. Jesus continued in verse 47, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

So, my question today is, who are you listening to?

I always get discouraged when I talk to people who have not been in church for a long time and they say, “well, I am not in church, but I listen to Charles Stanley (or their favorite radio or TV teacher) each Sunday morning.” What they fail to realize is that they are neglecting to gather with his body, disobeying the word of God that calls us to commit to a fellowship of believers to grow together in love and unity.

Listening to good teaching is excellent, but the question is, are you listening to the words of God? Why do we run after the words of the created being, when we can sit at the feet of the creator?

Many Christians wrestle with decisions and they often say the same thing. “I am not getting a clear word from God.” My friends, it’s not that God doesn’t speak clearly, it’s that we don’t listen. It’s time to turn off the TV, YouTube, the cell phone and all the other noise surrounding us and open the Word of God. Make time to listen to the God who created you with the ability to hear His voice.

Are you abiding in Him, keeping his commandments?

Do you know Jesus?

Sermon Sunday May 8, 2022 – Let God be True and Every Man a Liar

Click on the Camera to view the full message

The number one problem in the world today is that humanity has a sin problem, and it affects everyone. But not everyone agrees with this assertion.

Today, we don’t hear people call sin for what it is. Sin is labelled an error of judgment, a mistake, a bad decision, etc. In fact people go to great lengths to rationalize or hide their sin.

But we must understand this basic truth, to deny sin is to call God a liar and question His character. In this passage, John uses the word “sin” nine times, and two times he will use the word “darkness.” To think correctly about Jesus, we must think correctly about sin.

In verse 5 we are reminded that we have good news, and it is a message that the world needs. This message concerns Jesus Christ, “the Word of life”. When we meet Jesus as our savior, our assignment is to take this message to the whole world. According to the JoshuaProject.net there are 7,418 unreached people groups who are yet to hear the Gospel.

A key component of the Gospel message is to convey an understanding of the nature and character of God. This is a constant theme of John’s writing.For example, he teaches us that; God is light (1:5), God is love (4:8, 16), and God is true (5:20).

In 1 John the statement “God is light” means God has as His very nature and being the source of life. Martin Luther said, “There is no darkness in Him, not even the slightest”.

This is a message that we must passionately share with the world.

But our message must also include what God says about sin. The essence of sin is our attempting to take the place of God. We want to be in charge. And we want to provide our own definitions of what is right and wrong.

John is not interested in human opinions on the matter of sin. He uses three “if we say” statements to lead his readers to understand sin. He says we are prone to lie to others, lie to ourselves and ultimately call God a liar.

1: Do Not Lie to Others (1 John 1:6–7)

John writes in 1 John 1:6, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth”.

If we say we have fellowship with God, but are walking in spiritual darkness, we are lying. We say to others, “I know God,” but our beliefs and behavior contradict our words. We lie to others about who we are.

In contrast, verse 7 says that if we live our lives in the realm of light, as God is in the light, our fellowship with one another is authentic and the blood of Jesus, His Son, keeps on cleansing us from all sin.

2: Do Not Lie to Yourself (1 John 1:8–9)

 Verse 8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Those who live in death and darkness do not just lie to others, and eventually they lie to themselves. They lose their moral compass, and their conscience is seared (1 Timothy 4:2).  

If we claim to be sinless, a declaration that we are free from the guilt and penalty of sin, we are deceived, and the truth is not in us.  The truth is a person, if we say we have no sin, we really have no relationship with Jesus.

John then follows up with one of the greatest verses in the Bible, verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.

John writes that there are two kinds of people

  • There are some who cover and conceal their sin. They are liars.
  • There are also confessors who acknowledge and admit their sin. They are forgiven.

John is not saying that we need to be perfectly sinless as that is impossible. We need an advocate who can forgive us.

3: Do Not Lie about God (1 John 1:10)

John makes the case that we can lie to others about our sin, we will then lie to ourselves and ultimately, we will actually call God a liar. Verse 10, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Moving on to 1 John 2 verses 1 and 2, the world must know what God says about Jesus.

Jesus Is Our Advocate (1 John 2:1)

John has made it clear that in this life we cannot be sinless. However, he does believe we can sin less because we are now in intimate fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

We all still sin, but we have the amazing promise of 1 John 1:9. In verse 1, John tells his readers to run to our savior, our advocate to the Father. This advocate is sinless, undefiled, and spotless in his nature and in all his actions. There is no one else like him.

The word “advocate” means helper, who comes alongside in a time of need. This helper is the cleanser of sin (1:7), the forgiver of sin (1:9), and the helper when we do sin.

We have this misconception that when we sin, Jesus turns away from us and leaves us because we have disappointed him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is drawn to us when we sin, he cares for us and knows that our sin leads to pain. He comes near to prevent us hurting ourselves further.

Jesus Is Our Atonement(1 John 2:2)

Jesus can be our advocate, because he has made propitiation, an atonement for our sins.

The word “propitiation” is a very important word that carries the idea of satisfaction. Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice on the cross, satisfied God’s holiness and turned away His righteous wrath from sinners.

The work of atonement accomplished by Christ on the cross is where God’s holiness and God’s love meet. (See Isaiah 53:10 and Philippians 2:9).

How do you stand before God today? Are you lying to those around you? Are you lying to yourself? Are you calling God a liar?

Jesus offers right standing before God, his forgiveness is instant and paid for.

Sunday May 1, 2022 Volunteering in the Church

Click on the camera to view the full message

Today we recognized volunteers, the people that make everything run smoothly. As we called each volunteer forward, we asked them to put a crayon in a vase. Each one of the crayons represents a task that needs to be done in the church. It was evident that it took a lot of people to do all that needs to be done in the church.  

But let’s think about the church, why do we come to church?

I think one of the failures of the church in the past fifty years is the advent of the mega church and the multiple campus church models. One of the primary motivators of the seeker friendly church is to make the church as welcoming and inviting as possible in order to get people through the doors.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we absolutely need to be welcoming and inviting. And there is nothing wrong with large numbers. But what has happened is that the church has gone from being a sending agent and become a Christian entertainment venue.

Feeding peoples wants and desires by programs, features, and entertainment. Instead of people coming to church to be equipped for the work of the ministry, people are coming to church to be entertained, and they are dictating to the leadership what they want in order to stay.

If we are honest, who has become the object of attention? It is the attendees, and if we are focusing on the attendees, who are we worshipping?

The church is not a professional organization, it is a body. We are all members of the body and as such we all serve alongside one another, for one purpose – for the glory of God.

We are saved for more than simply getting a ticket to heaven – there is so much more for us.

God delivered us so that we would have a relationship with him, through which He calls us to be a part of His mission to bring the Gospel message to the lost. What a privilege. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:8-10.

We are saved in order to do good works. Now, the church is not the only place where we can do these works, but it is an essential part of serving the Lord. Every volunteer that we recognized this morning has a motivation to serve.

As I was thinking about it, there are many different reasons why people serve as a volunteer, but only one right reason.

Some people serve for recognition, others for the applause of man or to earn favor with God, and some serve out of guilt. But the true motivation to serve the Lord comes from a genuine experience of joy. When you genuinely serve the Lord out of love for the Lord and understanding the call of God on your life, you experience joy, deep seated contentment, and it is not a burden or hardship at all.

One of the keys to contentment is serving in the place of obscurity. Doing things that no one sees other than the Lord. Genuine contentment and joy is knowing that the only person who really notices is the only one who really matters.

The truth is that the church would not exist without volunteers, so how do we get people to volunteer? The normal way is to make a good promo video and beg people to sign up to serve. Failing that we could offer them free donuts and coffee!

But I propose that there is a purer motivation that comes from a move of God. We don’t need more manipulation; we need more of the power of God. As God begins to move on peoples’ hearts, they are compelled by a sense of calling and purpose. Doing what God has called them to do. In Psalm 110:3 we read, “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.”

This Psalm is speaking about Jesus coming in glory and his followers offering themselves to serve him. What we need in the church is not more calls for volunteers or pleading videos, what we need is revival. Throughout the history of revivals, there has never been a shortage of workers who give themselves to the work of the Lord.

Henry Blackaby wrote, “Only the power of God can free us from our natural self-centeredness and reorient us toward the mission of God”

And finally, we have the privilege to serve the Lord because we gain an eternal reward. Revelation 19:7-8 reads, “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

At the marriage feast, the church, the Bride of Christ, will be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure, but the linen is made up of the righteous deeds that we do. Now we know that we are not made righteous by what we do. Rather, we work from a position of righteousness because of the blood of Jesus.

The good works that we do, are righteous deeds that have an eternal value. Christ will reward us for our faithfulness. And the rewards we receive will make up the wedding gown.

Dr. Lehman Strauss writes, “Has it ever occurred to you … that at the marriage of the Bride to the Lamb, each of us will be wearing the wedding garment of our own making?”

That is a tremendous paradigm shift; we don’t serve out of duty, we serve as an act of worship.

How is your heart? What is the response of your heart today? Is your heart so filled with gratitude and worship that you are waiting for the opportunity to say like Isaiah, “here I am, send me.”

Sermon, Sunday April 10 2022 – Jesus is the True Vine

Click on the camera to view the full message

Have you ever formed a relationship with someone or with an organization that you regretted? We have all had relationships with people or organizations that have not been good for us. Unhealthy connections lead to unhealthy fruit in our lives.

But healthy connections are good for us. Healthy families, healthy institutions of learning, healthy churches, healthy relationships and more. However, no matter how good these connections are for us, people will let us down, organizations will change, and time will change us and our needs.

However, Jesus offers us a relationship that has the power to give us everything we need or ever will need, and a relationship that will never change. Sadly, so few people fully understand the total dependency that we have in our relationship with Jesus.

In John 15 verse 1, Jesus said, “I am the true vine…” Jesus uses the metaphor of a vine and branches, but it wasn’t a new picture for the Children of Israel (see Psalm 80:8-9). The vine metaphor was understood by Jews in the First Century as referring to Israel. Jesus takes the metaphor and applies it to himself, referring to himself as the “true” vine, and not just any vine.  

Jesus uses the Greek word for “abide” or “remain” ten times in these few verses. The Greek word means to stay and commit to a specific relationship or location. In this context, it means to remain in fellowship with Christ, so that his life can work in and through us to produce fruit (See John 15:4). Jesus said, “abide in me…” commit to remaining in my presence.

But then Jesus makes a commitment to abide in us. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you…” What a wonderful promise. As we commit to remain in Jesus, making him lord of our lives, he commits to remaining with us. A promise that he will never break.

In Genesis 3, there was a separation caused by the first sin that removed mankind from abiding with God. Jesus repairs the separation, but more than that, he promises to give us his Spirit. The fellowship and intimacy we are offered is closer than we could ever imagine.

The apostle Paul frequently used the words, “In Christ” in his letters. What does that mean, and how do we experience the fullness of being in Christ?

The most crucial part of understanding this is knowing where we are. As followers of Jesus, we need to know where we are positionally. Paul makes this clear in Romans 6 where he writes about the reality and the necessity of being dead to sin, and alive in Christ. (See Romans 6:1-5).

Being in Christ, is positional. We are, as followers of Jesus, positioned in Christ by his righteousness. So that when God the Father looks at us, he sees us covered by the righteousness of Christ.

So how do we live from that position? How do we abide in Christ?

John 15 gives us two critical ways of abiding in Christ.

The first way is found in John 15 verse 3 and 7, in verse 7 Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Here we have an instruction and a promise. The instruction is to abide in the word (See Psalm 119:11). His words are to remain in us. We are to keep them in our lives, to build our lives upon them, to be obedient to them. When we take time to meditate on God’s word, to listen to God, to reflect on it and allow it to instruct us, we strengthen our ‘abiding’ with Jesus. As we do this, we become more aware of our position, who we really are as children of God.

As we meditate and feed on the the written word of God, the Holy Spirit in us, takes the word and makes it come alive and active, making it the Rhema word of God to us. As Hebrews 4:12 says, “… discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”

Secondly, we abide by obeying His Commands (John 15:10).

Jesus says in these verses that through obedience we remain in his love. This is not obedience out of duty or law, rather as we grow in our love and knowledge of Jesus, we desire to do what he wants us to do, and we naturally find Joy in obedience. Jesus wants us to experience the fullness of his joy in this life, and an essential part of this is found in keeping his commandments.

So how can we know that we are abiding in Christ? What is the fruit that Jesus talks about in John 15:5?

There are several different kinds of spiritual fruit named in the Bible.

We bear fruit when we win others to Christ. As we grow in holiness and obedience, we bear fruit of the evidence of the presence of God. We have the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22–23). The kind of Christian character that glorifies God and makes Christ real to others.

Along with producing healthy fruit there is the pruning (See John 15:1-2).

Jesus is the true vine, and the Father is the Vinedresser. The Vinedresser must prune the branches to keep the vineyard healthy. We don’t like that, and when we are pruned, we sometimes get angry at God. He may remove things from our lives that we like, things that we think are essential, but God knows they are holding us back from producing more fruit. Any sin (dead branches) in our lives will be dealt with by God because of His love for us.

Sometimes God removes seemingly good things in our lives for us to become more fruitful.

What is God pruning in your life today?

What is the fruit that Jesus is producing in your life as you are abiding in him?

Sermon Sunday August 15, 2021 – The Fellowship of the Church part 1

Click on the Camera to view the full message video

Why do you go to church?

There are various reasons why people attend a worship service; tradition, routine, to meet friends or because they are hungry for the truth. There is tremendous richness in the fellowship we enjoy as we worship with other followers of Jesus.

In the Apostle John’s first letter he begins with the foundation of the church. In chapter 1, there are three keys to a healthy church community.

John begins with, “That which was from the beginning,” (1 John 1:1a). He began his Gospel in a similar way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).  Both echoing Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

John begins his letter with the declaration of our foundation in the risen Lord Jesus. John was a living witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He begins by saying that Jesus was more than a mere man, but that he was in fact the son of God and that at the beginning of creation, Jesus was there. John confirms that he heard Jesus speak, he saw him with his own eyes, and he touched him with his own hands. And in verse 2 and 3 he writes that this Jesus is the eternal son of God who became flesh.

John was declaring the Gospel message. The son of God who was born of a virgin and lived a perfect sinless life in order to become the spotless lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This Gospel message is the foundational truth on which the church stands.

Sadly, it is possible to know this truth, without this truth transforming your life. It is possible to profess faith in Jesus, without expressing faith by living a consistent life of following Jesus, dying to our own sinful flesh. Believing the truth of the Gospel brings us into fellowship with God and his son Jesus, John ties this to the church in verse 7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Fellowship with one another in the church begins with the foundation of individual fellowship with God through Jesus. We cannot be in true fellowship as the church if we are not followers of Jesus.  

In verse 5, John writes, one of the greatest theological statements in the whole Bible is, “God is light”. He is the source of light and truth (John 8:12).

God began creation by stating, “let there be light” genesis 1:3. Light is the source of life and the beginning point of creation. Light is a symbol of God’s presence in the Bible and a picture of His perfect holiness and righteousness. Light reveals reality.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We believe that the sun has risen, not because we see it, but because by it we see everything else”.

Verses 6 to 10 are a repetitive back and forth of walking in the light and walking in darkness.

Each of the verses begin with the word “if”, and John seems to play one against the other for 5 verses. Verses 6, 8 and 10 all depict the danger and the damage caused by walking and living in sin.

Notice that each of these verses begin with the statement, “if we say…”. This is pride, the essence of sin, where I try to convince myself and those around me that I am walking in truth and light, whereas I know in my heart that I am walking in sin and darkness. That there is a separation in my relationship with God and others in the body of Christ.

When we give in to temptation and sin, we are uncomfortable in the light and the natural reaction is to separate from the body of Christ. Slowly we begin to attend church less frequently, we slowly start pulling back and pretty soon we are not in fellowship anymore.

If sin pulls us away from fellowship, what do we need to do? This is where the wonderful promises of 1 John 1:7 and 9 are so incredibly encouraging.

As the light of God reveals our sin, and we are prompted by the Holy Spirit, we repent of our sins, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God promises to forgive your sin, because of what Jesus has done on the cross.

When we sin, we damage our relationship with God. We struggle to pray and read His word. We experience to loss of Joy and peace as we are outside of the will of God. As a result of this, we also experience a loss of fellowship with each other.

But the wonderful promise is that repentance restores fellowship. I love to pray the prayer of David in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The cleansing of our sin is a creative miracle of God, and it is something that we need to do daily.

As we daily repent of our sins, we walk in the light, enjoying fellowship with God and we walk in fellowship with other believers.

One aspect of the church has become so clear in the last eighteen months, we need to walk in fellowship with each other. Hebrews 10:23-25 has taken on a renewed meaning to us all.  

When we are separated from the body of Christ, it is easy to be overwhelmed by fear as we see the world around us. It is a world controlled by fear.

Fear comes when we misplace our trust.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the nation of Judah when they were in a downward spiral of sin and idolatry. They were blindly heading towards judgment, much the same as our nation today (See Jeremiah 17:5-8). Jeremiah said that trusting in man results in a curse!

How many of us are trusting in man before we trust in God?

God calls us to be a part of the fellowship of believers so that we can encourage one another to keep trusting in the Lord our God.

Keeping the foundation of the Word of God and the Gospel as our starting point.

Sermon, Sunday August 1, 2021, The Holiness of God

Click on the Camera to view the full message video

Have you discovered the purpose for your existence?

That’s a deep question, but the answer is very simple and yet infinitely complex.

I am reminded of a frequently used phrase, “God loves you and has a plan for your life”.

While that sounds good and it is true, it is not the overarching truth. If we really think about it, the subject of the sentence is, “you” and ultimately that comes from our humanistic focus on self.

God is about God. It really is all about His glory being displayed in all the universe. That sounds harsh to our western ears, because we are so consumed with our own glory and achievements. But the reality is that God is the only uncreated One, from whom all other beings owe their existence, and He is infinitely holy.

Instead of, “God loves you and has a plan for your life”, I propose that, “God’s plan for your life is the display of His glory.”

I want to try to answer two questions:

  1. What is the glory of God?
  2. How do we display the glory of God?

In Romans 11 we see a chapter that some scholars say sums up the entire narrative of the Bible. It is all about God’s plan and purpose for the people of Israel. As Paul writes verses 33 to 36 of chapter 11, it is as if he is reaching the crescendo of a symphony and flows into praise of God.

Verse 36 is the cymbal crash of the chapter, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen”.

God is the source, the means, and the goal of all things. That is so contrary to what we see portrayed in the world around us and sadly in many churches, where we ultimately see that the god that many people worship is created in their own image.   

  1. But what is the glory of God?

John Piper said, “The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going-public of his holiness.”

The word Holy means to be separate, a distinctly different being, in a class all by Himself. The holiness of God is the foundational quality of His character.

In Isaiah 6:3, the prophet has a vision of heaven where he sees the Seraphim calling to one another above the throne of God, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The heavenly creatures, declare the holiness of God and then say that His glory is over the whole earth, not His holiness. The Glory of God is the public display of His holiness (see Psalm 19:1 and Psalm 8:1).

2. So how do we display the glory of God?

Verse 36 tells us that every believer has their source in God. So, as we live on this earth in this church age, we are part of the glory of God being displayed. We get to reflect His glory. We are designed to make the glory of God shine, making it visible to others (see Matthew 5:16 and 2 Corinthians 4:6-7). People seeing your life on display, should declare, “God is glorious!”.

Once again, we run into the idol of self and our culture of humanism. We must realize that God does not need us, but He chose to create us in His image for His glory (see Isaiah 43:7).

The Westminster Catechism begins with the question, “What is the chief end of man?”. To which they answered, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” If we really grasped this, we would realize that we have been created for so much more than we can ever imagine.

But our flesh rises up and says, “hey, what’s in it for me?” If we are honest, we might believe that God is not concerned about us, He is using us for His glory. However, when we live as God intends us to live, we are most satisfied. The answer to the first question of the Westminster Catechism is two-fold, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

As we glorify God, we experience joy, the joy of living out our original design (see Psalm 73:25-26)

So, the question is, am I satisfied in God? Is He enough? Do I have full satisfaction in God, or do I chase after the things of this world? We chase after good things; friends, health, careers, family and also not good things; wealth, sex, fame, to name a few.

We chase after things, because we don’t find full satisfaction in God.

John Piper writes, “He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

We struggle to grasp this, because we are so easily satisfied with the things of this world.

C.S. Lewis described it perfectly, “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

  • We display the Glory of God, when we serve gladly and give sacrificially of our time and our resources.
  • We display the glory of God, when we put our agenda on hold to help someone or stop to pray for them.
  • We display the glory of God when we share the Gospel with someone.
  • We display the glory of God when we care for the widows and the orphans and stand up for the unborn.
  • We display the glory of God when we boldly take a stand against the immoral mainstream of our culture.

These are just some of the many examples of what it means to be living for the glory of God.

What if we woke up every morning with the prayer, “Lord display Your glory through my life today?”

Sermon Sunday July 11, 2021 – Activation

Click on the Camera to view the full message video

Have you ever been a part of a miracle?

What if we were to have the expectation of God working through us for the benefit of others? We can be used as a conduit of the grace of God for others.

Our mission team to Montana leaves this week, and we go with the expectation that God is going to use us to bless people, as we meet felt needs and share the Gospel. But this expectation should not be reserved for mission teams, this can and should be the way that we live on a daily basis.

How would you like to be used by God in a supernatural way during your everyday routine?

In Acts 3, we read about a miraculous encounter that Peter and John had with a crippled man. The early church was just getting going and they were learning to live as followers of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit. They were living activated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

We can learn Four Keys from this passage to living an activated lifestyle.

The early church was vibrant as people were meeting daily for prayer and fellowship (Acts 2:46-47). But they were still attached to the traditions and disciplines of the temple as they adhered to the times of daily prayer and teaching. Peter, John, and the other disciples were people of discipline. And I believe the first key to activation is the key of discipline.

Key #1 – Discipline

How we despise the word discipline, but nothing of value is ever achieved without it.  

In a few weeks the Olympics will be starting in Tokyo, the athletes are people who have achieved the top of their sport because of their discipline. It is the same with the Christian walk. To be used by God, we need to be disciplined in prayer, Bible reading, evangelism, giving, worship, and fellowship. Discipline is key to activation.

In Acts 3 we read that Peter and John were walking towards the temple and passed a crippled man begging for alms.  They probably would have walked right by him, but he called out to them asking for help. In verse 4, we find the second key to activation, “And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” (Acts 3:4). Some translations say, “Peter Fixed his gaze on him.”

There were probably many other people begging at that gate, but Peter saw this man and looked intently at him. We have a pandemic in the world right now, and it’s not COVID. There is a pandemic of people who just want to be seen. Not for fame or fortune, but just to be noticed and valued. I believe that the second key to activation is to really see people.

Key #2 – Seeing People

Seeing people through the lens of the Holy Spirit. Seeing people as human beings that Jesus died and shed his blood for. One of the most dangerous prayers you can pray, is to ask God to give you His heart for people. If He really did that, you would be overwhelmed with love mixed with grief for the pain in peoples lives. Let’s start seeing people.

Peter saw past the lame man’s plea for alms and saw his primary need. His primary need, and the primary need of every human being on the planet is to be reconciled to God.

In verse 6, Peter boldly acts, and God performs a miracle in the power of the name of Jesus. Through the power of the name of Jesus, the beggar was completely healed. Peter did not have the power to heal the man, the power was in the name of Jesus, Peter was the conduit. I believe this is the 3rd key to activation, believing in the power of the name of Jesus.

Key #3 – Believing in the Power of the Name of Jesus.

We cannot perform miracles or repair the brokenness in people, only Jesus can do that. Just like Peter, we need courage to boldly step in, as the Holy Spirit leads us, to be the conduit for a miracle in someone’s life. Bold prayers come from believing who Jesus is and what he has done for us.

Bold prayers come from abiding in Jesus (John 15:7). If you are walking in the will of God, being led by the Holy Spirit, you will be praying the will of God. Peter knew it was the will of God to heal that man, and he boldly called on the power of the name of Jesus.

Prayer is not an escape from responsibility; it is our response to God’s ability.” Warren Wiersbe

The fourth key to activation is very practical, it is simply whatever God has placed in your hand.

Key #4 – Whatever is in Your Hand

Peter said to the lame man in verse 6, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you…”

For many of us, God has put “silver and gold” in our hands. We have material possessions or skills that can be used by God to be someone’s miracle.

When you give your life to the Lordship of Jesus, he controls all your skills, your energy and your possessions. Being activated by God, means that whatever he has blessed you with can be used for His glory to help someone else.

So, what are the results of being activated?

In Acts 3, we read that a large crowd gathered around Peter and John and the formerly lame man. Peter jumped on the opportunity to preach to the crowd and many people began to accept Jesus as Lord and give glory to God.

However, before the day was over, Peter and John found themselves in jail. For Peter and John, being activated didn’t seem to work out that well. And often when we follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t always work out as we visualize it. Sometimes it gets messy, sometimes we wonder what on earth we are doing.

But in Acts 4:4 we see that the church grew rapidly to well over five thousand. We don’t always see the fruit of what God is doing. We see the mess around us, but God is transforming lives and people are being saved.

It is all about the glory of God. When we are activated for the kingdom of God, He gets the glory.

Sermon Sunday June 13, 2021 – The Value of Prayer

click on the camera to view the full message

Luke 22:39-46 

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot make time.

But you can invest time. What if I said that you could invest your time in something that is infinitely valuable and has eternal rewards?

I am talking about prayer.

This week we come to Luke 22 and the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.

This is a pivotal moment in human history. Jesus has just celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples, and he was on his way to be arrested and crucified. Jesus knew the battle that lay ahead of him, and he needed to be alone with the Father.

In Luke 22:39, we read that Jesus had a custom of going to this mountain to pray. Jesus was a man of discipline. When it comes to prayer, people often say, “well I am not that disciplined”. The truth is that every person has the capacity to be disciplined; we just are not motivated.

Motivation comes from what we value. What we value we elevate in importance, which becomes the thing that we worship. Ultimately, we are motivated by what we worship, what we give value to. When people say they cannot discipline themselves to pray and to feed on God’s Word, it is simply evident that they do not place a value on prayer and the Word.

In verse 41, we see that Jesus separated himself from his disciples and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

Jesus prayed fervently that God would remove this trial from him. Jesus knew that he was about to take on the sins of the world and the Father would have to turn His back on him. I am so grateful that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. Jesus had a yes in his heart, he knew that this was the moment he had come to the earth for.

When we approach the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are right to focus on the cross where the price was paid for our salvation. But we must not overlook the Garden, this is where Jesus was tempted by Satan to turn away from the cross. This is where Satan threw everything at Jesus to persuade him not to go through with the crucifixion. I believe that this was the last attempt by Satan. Satan knew that if Jesus was going to submit to the will of the Father, he was defeated.

It was fitting that the battle for our salvation took place in a garden. In the beginning the first Adam rebelled against God in the garden of Eden and ushered sin and death to the world. The second Adam came to fight in the garden on the mount of Olives for you and me, to defeat the power of sin and death.

Jesus knew the plan; he knew that he would be raised from the dead, but his soul experienced agony as he faced what lay ahead of him and was tempted to turn back. This was not a normal quiet time of prayer; Jesus was in agony (Luke 22:43). But the victory was won. The victory for our salvation was won by Jesus on his knees in prayer. Let us always remember that prayer is the most powerful use of our time.

As we compare Luke’s account with the other Gospels, we see that Jesus prayed three times for the cup to be removed and three times he came back to his disciples and found them sleeping. The disciples had no idea of the pain and the trial that would lie ahead of them. Isn’t it incredibly comforting to know that this same Jesus, who was so disciplined in his prayers on earth is now praying for us (see Hebrews 7:25)?

In verse 46, and verse 40, Jesus said “pray that you may not enter into temptation”. As Jesus was being led to the cross, all his disciples eventually fled or disowned him. Notice this, don’t miss this. The only person who remained strong during this terrible day was the one who had stayed awake and prayed. The disciples who didn’t pray, fled, and abandoned Jesus.

Looking at the phrase “that you may not enter into temptation”. This is the same phrase the Jesus used in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

We know from James 1:13-14 that God does not tempt us. But the Greek word used in Luke and Matthew’s Gospel account is πειρασμός (pronounced – peirasmos), which is a word used throughout the New Testament and can mean to be tested, or to undertake an examination, or to be tempted to sin. This is the same word that we find in Matthew 4:1, right after the baptism of Jesus, as he was led to be tempted in the wilderness.

God the Father allows trials and testing in our lives. These are the works of Satan, but God allows it for our growth, faith, maturing and for our sanctification (see James 1:2-4).

The Bible teaches that testing is good for us, but we are also encouraged to pray to avoid testing if it is the Father’s will. We have an example in Luke 22:31-32a as Jesus is speaking to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”

Satan the accuser (Revelation 12:10), accuses the saint’s day and night before God. Satan demanded to test Peter, but Jesus, our great High priest, stepped in and prayed for him. Jesus knows the power of prayer before the throne of God!

We know from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will not test us beyond our ability in Christ to bear it and will always provide a way out. If the wording of the Lord’s prayer refers to trials, then the meaning of Matthew 6:13 is, “do not test us, do not afflict us”. King David understood this (see Psalm 141:4).

How is your prayer life?

Sermon, Sunday March 7, 2021 – Chosen!

click on the camera to watch the full sermon

In 2014 there was an article in the news about a boy by the name of Davion in Florida, who at the age of 15 had been in the foster care system all his life. Davion desperately wanted to be adopted into a loving family and he knew that because of his age, this was highly unlikely.

He decided to be proactive and he worked hard to improve his physical appearance and his grades at school. On his own initiative, Davion boldly stood before the congregation of his local church and asked if anyone would choose him to be their son.

Davion was crying out to be chosen, to be a part of a family. Can you imagine your children having to market themselves and be on their best behavior and get all “A’s” in school to be accepted and loved?

The point is that we all have a deep desire to belong, to be chosen and to be a part of a family. This is the invitation that Jesus introduced when he walked the earth, and the same invitation stands today. We get invited into the family of God, where we are accepted just as we are, and our Father will never give up on us. It’s a family that wants the best for you. It’s a family that offers real hope for today and for your future.

In Mark 3:13 to 6:29, we catch a glimpse of the life and ministry of Jesus as he is at his most popular. Everywhere he goes crowds follow him in hopes of seeing a miracle or being healed themselves.

In Chapter 3 from verse 13, Jesus chooses the disciples to be in his family. Jesus didn’t pick the best theological minds and esteemed leaders, rather he chose ordinary fishermen, tradesmen, a politician, and a tax collector to be part of his family. Jesus chose them and used them to start a global movement that changed the world.

At the same time, Jesus was rejected by his own family (Mark 3:20-21). When his family heard about his ministry they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Jesus knew what it was like to be rejected, abandoned, and betrayed by your own family.

Jesus identifies with the many people whose family abandon and disown them when they place their faith in him as Lord.

Jesus identifies with Davion’s pain. Jesus identifies with your pain and Jesus chooses you to be in his family. Just a few minutes later Jesus said regarding his family, “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35). Whoever is willing, has faith and believes becomes a member of this new family.

Faith Comes by Hearing is an organization committed to producing the audio Bible for every language in the world. One of the recordings is for a tribal group of Indians in Bolivia called Quechua. When the Quechuas first heard the Bible in their heart language, the response was amazing. Whole villages came to faith in Christ, families were healed, and churches were planted throughout the region. As the FCBH leadership began asking questions of the Quechua people, they found out that the most impactful Bible story was the healing of the women with the issue of blood found in Mark 5:21-34.

The woman had a chronic bleeding issue that had gone on for twelve years, and like many people with chronic illnesses, she emptied her bank account paying her medical bills. In addition, this medical problem made her ceremonially unclean in the community as per the law of Moses, which meant she was shunned, alone and broken. Out of a place of desperation she takes a huge risk and works her way through the crowd on her hands and knees to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. As she reaches out and touches the edge of Jesus’ cloak, she is immediately healed.

The reason why this particular story impacted the Quechua people was because they could identify with being rejected and shunned by society. It wasn’t until as recently as 1965 that there was a government ruling to declare that the Quechuan’s had a soul. Up until that time, they were regarded as nothing more than primitive animals.

When the Quechua’s hear the story in Mark chapter 5, they identify with the women considered unclean. They join with that woman and when she touched Jesus, they reached out and touched Jesus. Something happened in their souls and their spirits at that moment.

They were set free from their pain when they grasped what Jesus said in Mark 5:34, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

The Quechua at that moment would begin to sob and break down. Their heart hurt because Jesus saw this woman as a human being, he healed her and invited her into his family. He freed her from her suffering. Their hearts hurt because Jesus, who now speaks their language, turns to them, and offers them that same invitation.

Jesus is now turning to you and offering you the same invitation.

After Davion spoke in the church, his story went viral and today he has a forever family.

Someone chose to adopt him into their family.

Imagine yourself standing in front of a church and pleading for someone to welcome you into their family, and even before you finish your speech, Jesus stands up and shouts out, “I chose you!”.  This is what Jesus does every-day, he says, “I love you and choose you just as you are (see Hebrews 2:11).

Jesus is the only one who has the power to set us free from our shame and to present us as righteous before God the Father. Those who believe in Jesus and receive him are the ones who are made holy.

Have you made the decision to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life?