Monthly Archives: March 2013

BEHOLD THE ONE CRUCIFIED FOR US

The events of Good Friday and Easter are the most critical events in universal history. Upon these actions of Christ our eternity rests. Without the cross and the resurrection all hopes would be false.

In our day, we tend not to ponder important issues. We easily obsess on things, but we do not meditate on God’s character and works. If there was ever a place to start meditating, it is on the cross and Christ’s sacrifice for us. 

Today I am sharing a blog post by my good friend Jared Mellinger, who is pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. As you read his article entitled “Man of Sorrows”. As you read this article, try to slowly consider the significance of Jesus sorrows on our behalf. Don’t you agree it would be worth asking God as you read to guide you into a deeper appreciation of the cross, so you can have a fuller response to the cross.

 

DUCK DYNASTY and THE GOSPEL

If you are thankful that the A&E hit show Duck Dynasty is a clean family television show, you can be even more thankful that the cast members have a clear testimony of faith in Christ.

Phil Robertson, who is the patriarch of this Duck Dynasty clan, shares his testimony in this video. It is simple, somewhat homespun and very clear.

As we prepare for Easter week you might consider sharing this video with someone you know who has not yet trusted in Christ. At the same time consider how you can share your simple. yet powerful story of how God delivered you from condemnation to life eternal.

APPLESAUCE AND YOUR CHILDREN

 

Debbie Huber, Guest Blogger

Some might say that I am a little obsessed with making homemade applesauce.

I grew up on an apple farm where my mother made and canned homemade applesauce so we could eat it year round.  I began to make it myself when my children were young.  I would pack it in their school lunches and be so excited that I would tell them, “Now remember honey, you may be the only child in school today with homemade applesauce!”  My fun obsession with the applesauce has evolved into a tongue-in-cheek family joke where I have declared that “homemade applesauce is the cure to obesity”.

While there is no scientific evidence to back up my claim (yet), research suggests that having meals together as a family does significantly lower the risk of childhood obesity.  Many families have a “food court mentality” when it comes to meals because we are too busy.   It is easier to let them eat what they want when they want to.   If you are taking the time to plan healthy meals (which could include applesauce!) for your family and make eating together a priority you are showing your family that in spite of the busyness of life your family is important.

There is a similar principle here when it comes to the things of God that is more serious.  We desire that our children come to know and love God but sometimes we take the “food court mentality” with training our children and teaching them about God.

Instead of being intentional in the biblical training of our children, it is easier to hope they get it in other ways, like through Sunday School teachers or youth leaders or we let them choose if they want to attend church or church activities or not.  Left to their own our children will most likely not choose the things of God.

As Christian parents, our ultimate goal is our children’s eternal destiny.   They are only children for a short time and we do not get second chances to start over and make them young again.  Be intentional about modeling, teaching, training, and guiding them through God’s word. Pray for them, pray with them, and let them know that there is nothing more important than a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

In the book, Gospel-Powered Parenting, the author William P. Farley writes, “In my experience, the most effective parents have a clear grasp of the cross and its implications for daily life.  (The implications) include the fear of God, a marriage that preaches the gospel to its children, deeply ingrained humility, gratitude, joy, firmness coupled with affection, and consistent teaching modeled by parents daily.”

Training up a child takes diligence and perseverance.   The gospel is the solution for inadequate parents.  It can seem that no matter how hard we try we sometimes fail miserably as parents.  But if we are gospel-centered parents, we will run to the cross every day for mercy, forgiveness, and hope, because it is the good news for those who know they are in trouble and need a rescuer.

THE FACE OF GOD

God’s presence is the most necessary and the most precious of all things. As God’s people we greatly desire it, yet spend little time thinking about it. This short video holds  helpful and encouraging thoughts about God’s presence and the confidence we can have that God’s face truly does look toward us!


 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 3.18.13

 “Live Life Sent” Part 2      

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld”  John 20:19-23

The world’s need is so vast; we are tempted to close our eyes until the images fade

But the need in people’s souls don’t go away, they press up against us

We live life sent – because God sent His Son to save us

Being sent is the main theme in Jesus post-resurrection appearances (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:46-49, Acts 1:8 & John 20)

Everyone Christ has saved, has also been sent

This means we see our role in the world as living for Christ and His gospel. Wherever we are, it is as one sent

We have been sent on a glorious path (v21)

Jesus frequently referred to himself as “being sent”

To Jesus, being sent by the Father, was part of his identity (John 5:30)

Jesus has not just sent us on a path, we are sent on his path

That should be all the motivation that those who love Christ ever need

Stop viewing being sent as an interruption, instead praise God for the opportunity

The “abundant life” is not God giving us stuff; it is Jesus saying ‘you’re with me’ 

Jesus, the Son of God has invited you to join what he is doing

How do we define our role in the places we go?

We are under God, if we are not living sent by God, who are we being sent by

We are constantly being encouraged to live by our agenda

How do we say we know God and still think that way?

How do we proclaim Jesus is Lord and still act that way?

We have been sent for a glorious purpose (v23)

Christ is saving the condemned and preparing for eternity with Him

We (obviously) are not given the power to forgive sin, but we are given the authority of the gospel

“We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

The authority of a nation is behind an ambassador’s message

God will stand behind His word, so put aside our thoughts and give people His word

Since the gospel will be true for all who believe – what reason do you have not to call out to Him right now?

Gospel is not just about eternity, it’s about life now.

Jesus began his ministry declaring:

“(The Father) has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” Luke 4:18

The oppressed, blind and captive are everywhere around us, where you shop, work and live

The world’s condition is worse than we see or think  

We say we are too busy, but who is supposed to make life work, ourselves or God?

We say we don’t know where to start, so fill your heart with love for God and that is what will come out to people  

Since we are sent, we know God does have people for us reach

He sends us to those already around us

And God has blessed us to reach some far away – because we can. Do we really think God has prospered us just for ourselves?! 

We have the antidote for the world’s burdens – the gospel of Jesus Christ

Do we fail to share this antidote with people around us?

Do we fail to use it on ourselves, by applying the truths of the gospel to life?

We have been sent with glorious company (v22)

Living life sent is not going places for Jesus; as much as it is going places with Jesus

The Holy Spirit, who carried out Christ’s gospel in you, will carry it through you

In each passage above where Jesus sent us, he mentioned the Holy Spirit

God is wise: He has no intention of sending you alone

God is good: He will never leave you on your own

The Spirit works according to his capacity not ours

  • After you leave a gospel conversation  
  • As people observe you
  • For burdens you didn’t know people had
  • In a measure you cannot see

Obey the Spirit’s voice in the little things you know He wants from you

This prepares you to be led in things you don’t understand

But what if you have failed God miserably?

We see Jesus answer to Peter who had denied even knowing him (John 21:15-19)

Jesus desire was to restore Peter (via repentance), and to use him

Everyone Christ has saved, he has also sent

Jesus said “I am sending you”, how have you answered?

DELUDED: DISTORTED PERCEPTIONS

We have been looking at Satan as the great “Deceiver” (Revelation 12:9). When we recognize that Satan’s primary weapon is deception, we will then recognize the importance of countering his attacks with truth – just as Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations with Scripture (see Matthew 4)

Satan tries to covers some sins with social acceptability

“This is such a little sin, it really doesn’t matter”

“If so many people do it, how wrong can it be, and how angry can God be?”

The Bible is clear; God has already condemned all sin and sinners

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18

This is why Christ is the only hope the world has been given, because only Christ has resolved our sin problem

Christ lived a perfect life

Christ took our sin upon himself

Christ paid in full the price the Father requires for our sin

Christ arose from the grave demonstrating that the debt of sin he carried had been paid in full

Christ now lives and loves to save whoever will call upon him

Satan sometimes portrays God as only love, instead of as perfectly loving.

Sadly, some prominent – but warped – voices within Christianity have jumped on that bandwagon

This emphasis is used to diminish the fear we should have of sin and the judgment that is coming against all who reject the truth of God!

The Bible portrays God as perfect in all attributes; which includes his justice and holiness.

 “Consider the goodness and severity of God” Romans 11:22

God acts from His perfection, He is unaffected by human opinion and practice

Satan wants to change our perceptions about the size of God and man

He wants us to magnify man and minimize God; to make what men do important and what God does distant

The result

. . We fear people over God

. . We follow people over God

. . We listen to people over God

. . We appease people rather than God

What we desperately need is a clear view of mankind’s true nature and position  

“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:6-7)

We obviously need the same reality check concerning God  

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

When we see ourselves as worshippers and exalt God according to the glories describes in His word, our perspective remains clear, God remains (to us) glorious, and we realize everyone else (like us) is lacking!

 

DELUDED: BAIT and SWITCH

Satan presents the bait and hides the hook

He makes sin look inviting while hiding its poison and God’s judgment

But there is always a hook, and like Lucy with Charlie Brown, sin loves to plays us as a fool

We need to remind ourselves of the realities behind every sin

Satan’s real purpose is to separate us from God

Satan hates us    

Sin hates God     

Sin always suppresses the truth

Sin always pushes God aside

Sin always corrupts

Every sin will be regretted

Satan shows us only one side of people’s lives as they pursue sin

We see the success and pleasures of godless people, or we hear positive reactions to sinful behaviors

We cannot see the true condition of people’s inner life.

People without Christ cannot have peace with God or the peace of God

When we consider what lies ahead for unbelievers and sin, there is nothing to envy

We need to consider the results of life and obedience with the eyes of faith

“As for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:1-2

Whenever temptation comes, remind yourself that deceit, failure, pain and regret are in the heart of what is being offered to you

Instead of listening to sin, listen to God who calls us to draw near, that we might know Him and His glory – so that our life can be filled with His wise and good will

DELUDED: THE GREAT WEAPON

All sin involves deceit of some kind. This is Satan’s great weapon; he is the “father of lies” and “the Deceiver”

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

“The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” Revelation 12:9

“I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:3  

Satan cannot make us sin, but he works very hard to deceive us (with much cooperation from our fleshly nature)

He wants to delude us about sin and its fruit

He wants to delude us about what is important and wise for life

He wants to delude us about God and His absolute rule and His overwhelming faithfulness to us

How do we respond to deceit? We put our faith in the truth!

In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs us to protect ourselves from spiritual attack with the Word of God and our faith in it

 “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (vs16-17)

Biblical faith looking to the truth of God and acting upon it

Biblical faith is to live according to God’s perspective about Himself, the world, and ourselves

Biblical faith sees God as the main character is every situation

Biblical faith builds our life upon what God has said and done

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” 1 Timothy 6:12

To “fight the fight of faith” is to enter the battle of daily life, trusting God and obeying Him

God is most important – so I will worship Him, and turn my heart toward Him

God is the source of wisdom – so I live by on His word

Christ’s Kingdom is the only one that will last – so I serve His will

God is glorious and good – so I trust Him enough to give Him all of my life today

Keep preaching the gospel to yourself, and the lies of the enemy will sound shrill and look foolish

 

LIVE LIFE SENT

Our 2013 Mission Conference is in full gear this week with activities happening daily. We invite (and encourage) you to pick a couple events to attend beyond the Sunday services. Here are the remaining events for you:

Wednesday – our immensely popular International Meal, and an insightful program entitled “Perspectives on the World”

Thursday – you can start your day with our Prayer breakfast; and in the evening ladies can join our “Women’s night out”

Friday – we have a Missions dinner and a movie for Jr and Sr High teens

Saturday – here is a great opportunity to experience a Virtual Mission Trip

Sunday – our 8 day conference will wrap up with a service focused on our theme of Live Life Sent

HOLY SPIRIT FOLLOWUP

In recent weeks I presented sermons on the Presence of the Holy Spirit in us and our being Gifting by the Holy Spirit. I have often said that in my view the fact that we have God the Holy Spirit living in us, is the most under-appreciated aspect of our salvation.

There is much about this reality we should ponder. Even more importantly, we should have overwhelming motivation to act upon whatever will enable us to be “filled” with this person of the Holy Spirit who already lives in us.

Tim Kerr who is a great encourager in the area of prayer takes the opportunity to encourage us in being filled with the Spirit of God. You can read his thoughts in this article from the Sovereign Grace blog. It is an excellent continuation of our focus on the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives