Scripture: Jude 1:3-23
“Hey Jude! – The Bible I Mean!”
This week Pastor Jim explores the book of Jude through expository preaching.
Scripture: Matthew 6:9-13
“How Shall I Pray?”
Six Simple Phrases About Prayer and Praying
- The Father’s Character (Matthew 6:9)
- The Father’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:10)
- The Father’s Provision (Matthew 6:11)
- The Father’s Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12)
- The Father’s Guidance (Matthew 6:13)
- The Father’s Protection (Matthew 6:13)
Are we missing God’s blessings and transformation because we really don’t know how to pray for what we really need? Do we pray for a right relationship with God? (Mark 11:24)
Is it possible to redesign our prayer life to encompass more than healing requests and prayers for the lost souls of friends and relations? Do we not need to return to the way Jesus prayed? The way he taught his disciples with complete trust in God’s direction and a true desire to be obedient to His Word, Will and Way.
Scripture: Titus 3:1-14
“Assured? Yes! Sanctified? Hope So!”
We are to grow in relationship with God; that process of growth, development, discipleship, alignment, bearing fruit and living a holiness lifestyle all comes under the process concept of sanctification.
- Obedience to authorities is required as is “true humanity” towards all people. (Titus 3:1-2)
- To realize that at one time we were foolish and enslaved by sin. We were disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of sin, passions and pleasures. (Titus 3:3)
- God, in kindness and love, saved us from ourselves and eternal punishment, not because we deserved it or by what we have done. Righteous deeds cannot save! (Titus 3:4-5)
- By rebirth, washing in the blood, renewing by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us through Christ. (Titus 3:5-6)
- Because of all this we are justified by grace. (Titus 3:7)
- Now in gratefulness, appreciation, assurance and acceptance we need to devote ourselves to doing good and living a “Holiness lifestyle”. Doing good is excellent and profitable to us all. (Titus 3:8)
- We are to avoid foolish conversations and arguments; to avoid hurting others. (Titus 3:9).
- Warn a devisive person twice, then have nothing to do with them. They are warped, sinful, deceiving and self-condemned. They condemn themselves by their actions. (Titus 3:10-11)
- Christians must learn to devote themselves to doing good. (Titus 3:14)
- In our “Holiness lifestyle” and “sanctified lives” by doing good, we are to provide the daily needs of the poor, lost, needy, sick and disenfranchised. We are not called to live shallow and unproductive lives but rather productive lives that mirror the images and teachings of Christ. (Titus 3:14)
Living a Sanctified life means living a “Holiness lifestyle”. We realize that it is not all about me! In our assurance of salvation comes a heart-felt appreciation for all that God and Christ have done for us and in our lives. In gratefulness, we desire to be more like Him and live “holiness lives” full of sanctifying grace for all we meet.
This whole process is called Sanctification and begs the question:
If you are assured of your salvation must we not also follow the path of sanctification and live as God calls us to live?
Scripture: Philippians 2:12-18
“Assurance: Are You Sure?”
The Bible tells us many will end up going to Hell. Matthew 7:21-23. Are you assured of your salvation?
- Obedience is fundamental to true assurance. (Philippians 2:12)
- We are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:13)
- God is at work within us with intention and good purpose / direction. (Philippians 2:13)
- We are to do everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14)
- We are to remain blameless and shine like a star for all to see. (Philippians 2:15)
- Hold out the “Good News” for all to see and hear. (Philippians 2:16)
- If called to sacrifice do it gladly in faith and with rejoicing. (Philippians 2:17-18)
Signs of Assurance
- Sin/humanness separates us from God. (Romans 3:23)
- The way back to God is Christ. (John 14:6)
- All forgiveness is contingent upon admitting doing wrong with a contrite heart.(Acts 20:21)
- Jesus’ death on the cross was the focal point of God’s salvation plan. (Romans 10:9)
- Salvation restores our relationship with God. (Romans 8:2)
- God has already done everything necessary to provide our salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Belief leads to assurance; non-belief and disobedience leads to doubt.
Common Assurance Questions
- How do I know for sure that God wants me to accept His gift of salvation? (Luke 15:3-7)
- Is salvation really a part of God’s plan for my life? (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
- How do I know God will forgive me? I’ve been very sinful. (1 John 1:9)
- What does God expect of me after I accept salvation? (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Don’t I need to straighten out my life before I can receive salvation? (Romans 5:8)
- New life in Christ; transformation. Transformation demands lifestyle changes.
- The Bible. Read it daily.
- Prayer. Pray continuously.
- Fellowship. Do we have time for others? Do we care?
- Witnessing. Telling our salvation story.
- Service. Helping the lost, needy, sick, shut-ins and others in need or trouble.
Following these responses, actions and fruit will lead to total assurance of salvation.
Call to Assurance
No matter where you are, God loves you and wants you assured so you may receive His peace!
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:10-14
Rescue the lost at all levels of life and bring them home to the Lord. With love and accountability establish the desire to produce the fruit that true salvation and saving grace calls for. Mentor God’s people at all levels in their journey towards God and discipling them as they align their lives with the Lord and go forth and share the “Good News” of Jesus Christ in Christian love, grace and mercy within the community and throughout the world. We have come to serve!
Scripture: John 3:1-16
D.T.R. – Defining the Relationship – Part 1
- Nicodemus was a member of Sanhedrin. If he sided with Jesus he would lose everything (John 3:1).
- Nicodemus came at night, perhaps to keep everything a secret (John 3:2).
- Jesus calls us to know the difference between “fan” and “follower” relationships.
- Jesus was not interested in a “fan” relationship but rather a “follower” relationship.
- Following Jesus always costs us something in this life. Nicodemus would soon find out.
- What has following Jesus cost you, or are we still fans?
Question: Have you made a decision for Jesus or have you committed to Jesus?
- Many have decided to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him.
- The Gospel allows for no such distinction or decision.
- The Bridegroom wedding story and infidelity.
- He promises devotions and speaks the words.
- On their honeymoon he gets caught with another woman.
- His words now have little meaning.
- Believing and following are firmly connected. To truly believe is to follow.
Selling Jesus (Telling only the easy, comfortable things about a relationship with Jesus).
- Nicodemus, Moses, Noah and Daniel all risked losing everything. There is a cost in following Jesus.
- Late night infomercial: Do you want more money, security, to retire early and not even have to pay shipping?
Preacher: Do you want to live forever, go to Heaven (not Hell), be forgiven and start fresh? Would you like to live a prosperous life and claim God’s wealth for yourself all with no responsibility, accountability or changes needed?
- These people order a Gospel that costs them nothing and offers them everything (easy).
- There is no forgiveness without repentance; no salvation without surrender; no life without death; no believing without commitment, action and fruit (narrow gate).
- Pastor’s Sermon Story: “Guy quits church because he didn’t like my sermons!”
- I called him back to talk; he was very surprised!
- After stammering and stuttering he stated he felt my messages interfered with his life.
- I smiled and said, ‘Isn’t that part of my job description?” What he meant was he was willing to attend church, put a few bucks in the offering plate, pray before meals and even put a fish sign on his car bumper but he didn’t want Jesus to interfere with his life.
Where do we stand? Are we willing to let God and God’s Word define our relationship with Him or will we refuse to let God interfere with our lives?
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11-16
“From Sheep to Shepherds”
How foolish and defenseless will we choose to be? Will we follow the great Shepherd and His appointed shepherds in this life?Bible Study:
- All these teachings are God’s Word. (Ezekiel 34:11)
- I will search and look after my sheep. (Ezekiel 34:11)
- I will look after them as their shepherd. (Ezekiel 34:12)
- I will rescue them from the darkness. (Ezekiel 34:12)
- I will bring them out; bring them to. I will pasture them. I will tend them. (Ezekiel 34:13-14)
- They will lie down; they will feed. (Ezekiel 34:14)
- I, myself, God will tend my sheep. (Ezekiel 34:15)
- I will search for the lost, bring back strays, bind up injured and strengthen the weak. (Ezekiel 34:16)
- The sleek and strong I will destroy. (Ezekiel 34:16)
- Responsibility and accountability to lead by example as God’s shepherd.
- Misdirecting, misunderstanding and massaging God’s Word is disobedience with our choices.
- Taking stands not aligned with God’s word will lead others astray and glorifies only ourselves, not God.
- “I will shepherd them with justice”, not mercy and grace. (Ezekiel 34:16)
We are all called to be shepherds to lead God’s sheep through the “narrow gate”. (Luke 13:24-25)
God’s appointed shepherds lead the sheep through the narrow gates of life but will the sheep follow? We must put our individual likes, desires, beliefs, social indoctrinations and social teachings aside and realize that God’s plan for us is perfect, complete and total. There is nothing missing for us to fix. It is complete. For us to add to it changes God’s plan for us. To subtract from it changes his plan as well. We are called to the narrow gate but many refuse to follow because the wide gate is easier and more appealing. It is easier because it has been changed. It is the world’s plan, Satan’s plan, but NOT God’s plan!
Follow the wide gate and God will not know us. Follow the narrow gate and we will have a special place in God’s eternal kingdom. Which will we, as God’s sheep, choose?
Scripture: Genesis 12:1-4
- Abraham is a prime Biblical example of faith and trust.
- God tells Abraham to leave home and go to where God will guide him.
- Abraham goes. No questions asked. He trusted God and did what God called him to do.
- Then Abraham waited for God to act. Abraham wasn’t always good at waiting; are we?
God tells His true disciples to wait! He knows we may have doubts and fears but we are called to overcome by letting go in faith and trust in God.
- Let go of relationships that dishonor God.
- Let go of attachment to money and things of this world.
- Let go of power; we are all called to be servants.
- Let go of addictions; admit them and get help.
- Let go of grudges; we are called to forgive.
- Let go of entitlement attitudes.
- Let go of ego, pride, reputations and disobedience; we are called to be in alignment with God.
We are called to let go and wait for “the catcher”. It is His perfect timing that blesses us! God may have a better plan for us than we do. We must wait and trust (Hebrews 11:8-10)!
Timing is everything in a professional trapeze act. Trust in each parter is not only needed but required for safety and success! Can we say less about our relationship with God?
Scripture: Luke 18:9-14
“God is for You”
Question: If Jesus hung around with “those people”, what would happen if they came to our church? What message would they receive from us? God is for you? Get lost? Welcomeness or judgment? Rumors? Gossip? Christian love and understanding? Would they come to know our loving God is for them too?
- Jesus rebukes the Pharisee for no compassion/mercy and his prideful nature.
- The lowly, sinful tax collector went home justified. Why?
- He recognized what he was and called out for God’s mercy and grace.
- Have we repented lately? Called out for God’s mercy and grace? Are we still prideful?
If we claim to be a second chance church what might such a church look like?
- Recognizes the mess the world is in; no sugar coating the truth!
- Realizing we are all “co-workers”. (I Corinthians 3:6-9)
- Recognizing God’s true salvation plan. (Matthew 9:11-13)
- Realizing we are all part of God’s plan/body. (I Corinthians 12:27)
- We must lose the pretense. Don’t judge but rather teach, encourage, counsel, challenge, direct, send forth and disciple.
- It is not Us Vs. Them! We must hold each other accountable in Christian love!
- All people are part of God’s creation masterpiece.
a) Clean the cup inside and out.
b) Confess your sins to each other.
How are we doing as one of God’s masterpieces? Are we helping others to see that God is for them too? Or are we too busy in our own worlds, lives and lifestyles to make sure they know God’s love?
If you believe God’s word then you know nothing can stop us (Romans 8:31-33)!
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:5-10
“Strong or Weak”?
1. The strong shall be humbled.
- Paul believes that God has allowed those sufferings to be “a thorn in his side” so that Paul won’t be able to boast.
- Paul is saying that God allows his sufferings so that he won’t become arrogant and prideful. This is a way that God keeps him humbled.
- What does pride cause inside of us?
a) Jeremiah 49:16 says pride deceives the heart.
b) Daniel 5:20 says that pride hardens our heart.
- Then we have the consequences of our pride:
a) It brings opposition from the Lord.
b) It brings judgment. (Proverbs 16:5), (Proverbs 16:18).
- Paul is associating pride with those who think of themselves as being strong.
- God will absolutely humble those who are full of pride and arrogance. God will absolutely humble the strong; they will be brought down.
2. The weak shall be exalted.
- The opposite are those people who are weak. Those who are not boastful or prideful. Those who are not ego-driven.
- Paul says the only thing we ought to boast about is being weak.
- When that happens then we shall be exalted by God.
3. Our strength comes not from us but from the Lord.
- We are human. We are, by very nature, a frail, weak and sinful being. We are nothing without the Lord.
- We do not have it within ourselves to live this life in our own strength.
- The Lord said to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Philippians 4:13
Beloved children of God, let us follow in the steps of Jesus who was humble, and follow in Paul’s steps who delighted in being weak, so that God can make us strong in our faith through His own strength.