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Dear Brothers an Sisters:

The Lord is STILL in Total Control.

 We have:

 THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

JESUS


 

  Allow yourself to some Quiet time.. "Family Time"... and Rest In The Arms of our Loving Father. 

Here you'll find Comfort and Peace, as we lay it all at the feet of our loving Lord.

 

Pastor Wanda Wohlin is providing Weekly Online Sermon's

 


Isaiah 41:10 New King James Version (NKJV)

 

 

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Photo provided by: C.Jay McCann

 



Photo Provided By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 





 

Sunday

November 27th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

LOOKING LIKE WINNERS
Hebrews 12:1-3



The book of Hebrews, written by the Apostle Paul is an amazing lesson in how Christ is not only the superior source for all our needs, He is also totally sufficient for all we need. Paul also shows us how faith is important in our lives. Chapters 10, 11, and 12 in Hebrews offer an in-depth look at faith by showing us in chapter 10 how we are saved by faith, providing many examples of faith in action by others in chapter 11, and in chapter 12, he shows us how to live a life of faith. This morning I’d like to share some things from this chapter that will help you do just that.


Our text is Hebrews 12:1-3 where Paul writes: “ (1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; (2) Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God. (3) For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.” Notice that Paul compares living a Godly life of faith to the competition of running a race. The truth is, it’s the most important race of our lives. So how can we be assured we will win this race?


We start by looking at all those who have gone before us. The great cloud of witnesses mentioned in verse 1 are the people he previously described in Chapter 11, all of whom looked forward to the coming promise of Jesus Christ and what He would do at the cross to redeem mankind. A few past examples include Noah. He was watched closely as he built the ark as commanded by God. There was Abraham who was watched when he left his life behind to go to Canaan as instructed by God. And there was Moses who was watched as he met with Pharaoh to convince him to release the Israelites from captivity in Egypt.


It’s a fact that all who chose a life of faith will be watched constantly and scrutinized on how they life their faith. As we study our Bible, we can be encouraged by those who have gone before us and have succeeded in living out their faith while knowing we are not alone. There are many who have run the race and won. And so can we. Those who have run before us are counting on us to run our race well. We never know who may choose to run the race themselves by watching us. And there will be those who will never join in. Nevertheless, we should encourage those who want to enter and pray for those who don’t. The important thing is that we look like winners in the eye of those who are watching us and evaluating how we live a Godly life.


Long distance runners work hard to build endurance and strength. On race day, their clothes are light weight, and their bodies are lean. In the ancient world, runners competed naked to ensure nothing would hold them back. To run the race that God has set before us, we must also strip off excess weight that slows us down. How do we do that? Well, we should choose friends who are also committed to the race. Nonbelieving friends will have values and want us to engage in activities that may deter us from the course. We can drop or curtail certain activities, such as continually checking messages, spending hours a day watching tv shows or playing video games, or shopping for nonessential items. These and many other things may be adding unnecessary weight to our race and hold us back from a complete and satisfying spiritual life. Try dropping them for a while; then check the results are in your life. We can also get help for addictions that disable us. If you have a secret weight, admit you need help and get it out of your life as soon as possible.


Verse 2 tell us the key in winning the race is to always look to Jesus. As the author and finisher of our faith, He shows us what to do and how to continue to the race to the end; providing we keep our eyes on Him and what He did at the Cross. Jesus is the source, while the Cross is the means. “Looking unto Jesus” are the three words that will not allow us to fail. Others may let us down, but Jesus never has and never will.


Verse 3 is a source of encouragement throughout our race. We see how Jesus was able to over come so many who were against Him. Others may let us down in this life, but Jesus never fails us. Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Human leaders have a lot to offer us, but we must always keep or eyes on Jesus who is our ultimate Leader. Unlike human leaders, He will never change. He has been and will be the same forever. In a changing world, we can trust our unchanging Lord to strengthen, encourage and guide us through the Holy Spirit in every step of our race. Why? Because as 1 Peter 2:21 tells us, He suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps. But don’t worry, it’s not likely we will have to be crucified for our faith. He is our example of how we should live our faith. So, you see, Jesus is the perfect coach. By following Him, not only do we begin well, we will also end up as winners.


The Christian life requires focus and training, it requires us to give up whatever will hinder or endanger our relationship with God so that we will be able to run our race with stamina and commitment through the power of the Holy Spirit. We will most certainly stumble if we look away from Jesus to worry about ourselves or look at the opposition, trials, or suffering that we will surely face. We are to be running solely for Christ, not our own glory or success, and we must always keep Him in sight. Yes, the race of faith will require a tremendous amount of endurance. But the joy that is waiting for all winners at the finish line is eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, never give up. Always look to Jesus for help and you will be rewarded at the end in ways that you cannot fully grasp with your finite human mind. But I can promise you that it will be well worth the hard work that you put into your journey.


May God bless you every step of your lives.


 

 

 





 

Sunday

November 20th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

THANKFUL FOR WHAT?


Before the week is out, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. But exactly what is it for which we should be thankful particularly when we look around about all the bad stuff going on in the world.


Our country’s history tells us of the pilgrims who arrived on the rocky coast of Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. They came to the new world to find a place to worship in freedom and suffered may hardships in their first winter including the death of half of those who originally arrived. Yet they made a point of establishing the first Thanksgiving in spite of their many problems.
David wrote a great song of Thanksgiving that we find in Psalm 103. In this psalm he focuses on all the good God was doing for him. It’s very easy to find reasons to complain about life, but David gives us plenty for which we can praise and thank God. He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desire, and give righteousness and justice. And we receive all of these things without deserving any of them! When you feel as though you have nothing for which to be thankful to God, I encourage you to read David’s list in this psalm.


I Timothy 6:8 says: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Do you have enough food on your table and clothes in your closet? Be thankful for that. The pilgrims were and they had mostly nothing. Millions of people go hungry which means those of us who have enough food should always be thankful. Winter finds many people cold because they don’t have proper clothes. Having adequate clothing makes us comfortable and protected. For this we are to be thankful and never take it for granted.


I Thessalonians 5:18 says In everything give thanks; for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” No matter what happens or how bad things may see to be, we are to never stop giving thanks, which is the will of God. Paul isn’t teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but rather in everything that happens to us. Evil never comes from God, so we should not thank Him for it. But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence in our lives and for the good that He will accomplish through the distress and trouble we endure in this life. Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Giving thanks in the trials we face goes against our natural inclinations. But when we make a conscious decision to always be thankful, we will see things with a new perspective, and we will come to see there is a lot for which we can be thankful.


Romans 8:28 tells us that “…all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Paul is telling us that God works everything – not just isolated instances – for our good. This doesn’t mean that all that happens to us will be pleasant, nor do we have to believe that pain we experience is good. Even though evil is all over our fallen world, God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-term benefit. It’s important to note that God doesn’t work only to make us happy, but to fulfill His purposes. But the promise of this verse can only be claimed by those who love God and are called by Him – that is, all who the Holy Spirit enabled to receive Christ. Only then can we have a new perspective and a new mind set because we can trust in God and find security in His priorities. When we reach this point, we see that God doesn’t waver in times of pain and persecution because we know that God is with us. Always remember that only God can turn a tragedy into a triumph!


Our loving Father has the whole world in His hands. That’s why we should be thankful to Him for whatever we may face. His promises help us weather all of life’s storms because we know the One who holds the future and can rest peacefully knowing that He loves us.
Romans 5:3 tells us we can “…glory in tribulation…knowing that tribulation works patience.” This means that for now we will experience difficulties that will help us grow. We can rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or we deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character and develop perseverance which, in turn, will strengthen and deepen our trust in God and give us greater confidence about the future. Some think this is cruel therefore God isn’t a God of love. But that is not the case at all. Parents you know that sometimes you have to step back and let your children learn some hard lessons while knowing that you could have stepped in to prevent whatever has happened. Why? Because they have to learn. Going through difficulties and making mistakes allows them to learn, grow and become stronger. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them or have their best interests at heart. As our loving spiritual parent and creator, God teaches us to be patient and trust Him. And weathering life’s difficulties makes us more like Jesus. We should also be thankful for the troubles that have not come our way. God spares us from many things of which we are completely unaware.


As Christians we have eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 9:15 tells us that we are to be thankful “…unto God for His unspeakable gift.” Without God’s plan and the willingness of Jesus to be part of it, we would all be damned to eternity in Hell. John 3:16 clearly show us that we who were without hope have been assured that we will never perish. All we need do is accept what Jesus has done on the cross and live our lives being thankful for all that has been done for us. I John 5:12 and 13 tell us that “ (12) He who has the Son has life; and he who has not the Son of God has not life. (13) These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” This sums pretty much up why we should be to God thankful each and every day.


If we go through our lives with a thankful heart, we will learn that life is much happier. Always be thankful for what you have, and you will soon see that you have all that you need. When you trust in God completely to take care of you, you find that problems will work themselves out and when trouble comes, you don’t have to worry because you are covered by the strength and love of God.
As you gather with those you care most about this holiday, remember to be thankful in all things because God never leaves you alone and will see you through the good times and well as the bad times.

May you have a happy Thanksgiving and may God continue to watch over you and bless you each and every day.
 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 13th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

PEACE WITH GOD
Romans 5:1-6

 


There’s no doubt as we look around, we see the world becoming increasingly chaotic. All the crazy ideas about gender, increases in lawlessness, and what was wrong is now right and what was right is now wrong. So, I thought it would be a good time to talk to you about peace with God. Our text is from Romans 5:1-6 where the apostle Paul wrote: “(1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; (2) by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; (4) and patience, experience; and experience, hope. (5) And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”


Being justified by faith means that all who have faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross are redeemed, meaning they are freed from the penalty of sin. Our faith also gives us direct access to God then guarantees us eternal life. In terms of peace with God, I want you to understand that being at peace with God is different from the feelings of calmness and tranquility. Having peace with God means that we have been reconciled – or restored – to God. No more hostility stands between Him and us, and sin no longer blocks our relationship with Him. Peace with God is possible only because Jesus paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross. Jesus redeemed or debt.
Even when we experience devastating tragedies, we can have God’s peace because of our confidence in His promises. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 13:13 that faith, hope, and love are at the heart of the Christian life. Our relationship with God begins with faith, which then helps us realize that we are delivered from our sinful past by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then our confidence grows as we learn all that God has in mind for us, thereby giving us the promise of the future with Him. God’s plan for our redemption is all because He never stopped loving us when sin came into the world in the garden of Eden. God’s love fills our lives and gives us the ability to reach out and love others.


We see in verse two of our text that as believers we now stand in a place of privilege because of the grace of God and not because of anything we did to earn that position. Faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross not only declares us ‘not guilty’ before God, it also brings us closer to Him as His children.


The first century Christians suffered for their faith. Many were killed and other ostracized. Throughout history and even today people all around the world are still experiencing the same kind of treatment. Even in our country Christians are often insulted and criticized for their faith. But even through all this, we must remain faithful. Paul is telling us that in the future we will become but until then we must overcome. Life in a world that is currently controlled by Satan means there will always be problems with which we must deal. But we must be patient and look to Jesus to help us through all of the heart wrenching things we must endure in this live. We must have patience and maintain a strong faith because in the end, it will be worth it and the memories of all the difficulties we have experienced with fade away.


It may sound patronizing when Paul says to rejoice in tribulation. But that isn’t the case. It doesn’t mean that God wants us to suffer or requires that we go through tragedy. We must stand firm in our faith and realize that God is using Satan’s attacks to build our character. The problems that we encounter will develop our perseverance, which, in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future He has promised to us as heirs to His kingdom. Our faith will be tested every single day in some way because Satan is actively working to pull us away from God. Our task is to trust God and thank Him for the opportunities to grow and gain experience to deal with them through the strength that only He can give us.


We can take heart that we are never alone in this life because all parts of the trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – are involved in our salvation and guiding us through each and every step of our lives. God the Father loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to bridge the gap created by Satan through sin. The Father and the Son sent us the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with love and to enable us to live by His power. When we take the time to reflect on all this love that is shown to us every moment of our lives, we are afforded the ability to live in a place of peace and serve the God who loves us. Because we were weak and unable to do anything on our own to save ourselves, someone had to come and rescue us. Jesus Christ came at exactly the right time in history, according to God’s own schedule. God controls all history, and He controlled the timing, methods, and events surrounding Jesus’ death.


So while it’s true, peace with God is not the same as continuous feelings of calm and tranquility, what I can tell you is that when you are at peace with God, you will find that as time passes and you experience the evidence of His work in your life, you will be able to experience the feelings of calm and tranquility because your confidence in God’s continued help and guidance will allow you to worry less when trials and tribulation find their way into your life. Trusting Him with all of life’s problems will allow you to experience how He can help you get through all of life’s uncertainty and difficulty. When you find yourself searching for an answer, turn it over to God and you will get the answer that is exactly right for you at exactly the right time.


Faith in Jesus and the saving work of the cross is the only path to peace with God who will then give us the calmness and tranquility to face the problems that life constantly throws at us.

 May God continue to watch over you and bless you richly every day.




 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 6th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

TIME FOR COMMUNION
I Corinthians 11:23-34


Today is the day that we hold our monthly communion service to remember the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. I felt it would be a good time to look into God’s word and learn more of just why we do this month after month and what our obligations are as Christians when we choose to participate. Our text comes from I Corinthians 11:23-34:(24) And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My Body, which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me’. (25) After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying: ‘This cup is the covenant in My Blood, this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’. (26) For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come. (27) Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. (28) For let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (29) For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (30) For this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (33) Wherefore my brethren, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another. (34) And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto condemnation.”


Even though Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, what he says applies to every Christian until the time when Jesus returns. Notice that there are no rules as to when this memorial will be held. Some churches do it monthly, others weekly, still others yearly. Some churches restrict participation to their members, whereas others invite all believers to partake. Some got to the altar, other are served in the pews. How ever it is carried out, it’s important to understand that participating in the communion memorial will not save any person. Only faith in Jesus Christ as the son of God and belief in what He did on the cross to save sinners will do that. The early church remembered that Jesus began this memorial on the night of the Passover meal with His disciples. Today we have a better understanding than they did that night. We know that the bread and the cup represent Jesus’ broken body and shed blood on the cross. What then is the purpose of Communion?


Verses 24 and 25 of our text tell us. We do this in remembrance of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. It tells us that the cross is very important to God and Jesus and therefore should be important to us. Participating in what is often referred to as the Lord’s Supper is an important element of our Christian faith because while in the presence of Christ as we take part in this memorial, we are strengthened spiritually.


What is the new covenant – or promise in verse 25? Prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, people could only approach God through the priests and sacrificial ritual of the killing of a lamb. Upon His death, all people can now personally approach God without an intermediary, confess their belief in Jesus as His Son, and ask forgiveness of their sins.


Why is it important that we remember Christ’s suffering? Because it reminds us of the seriousness of sin, it reminds us of God’s love and grace toward us, and it reminds us that we have been forgiven. This memorial also gives us hope. In verse 26 we are told that we are to continue this until He comes again. Jesus Himself gave us the promise of His return. This memorial looks back on His suffering but also ahead at His return. We are reminded of the pain He suffered but also of His glory that will be seen by the whole world when He returns. Each time we have this service, we are one step closer to His return.


There is also a warning in verses 27-29. By participating in the memorial, we are proclaiming that Christ died for our sins therefore, we should partake of it worthily, with due reverence and respect. We are to reflect on the meaning of each of the elements and what they represent as well as what was done for us on the cross. We must also examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitude and ask forgiveness so that we can be properly prepared based on our belief in Christ and His love for us and our love for Him. It’s dangerous to be cavalier about the communion service. We are to approach it with reverence and respect, recognizing the price that was paid for each one of us. To be disrespectful of it risks judgment from God. Self-examination and confession of our sins can prevent His judgment.
The truth is no one is worthy of participating in the Lord’s Supper. This is why we must prepare ourselves for communion through healthy introspection, confession of sin, and resolution of our differences with others. These actions will remove the barriers that affect our relationship with Jesus and other believers. Awareness of our sin should not keep you away from communion but instead, drive us to participate in it because it helps us to keep the meaning of the cross clear, our expectation of the promised return of Christ fresh, and our hearts sensitive to our personal sins. The communion service it is not just something we do each month because it’s nice to do. It has a vital place in our faith and our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior. For without His sacrifice on the cross, we would be lost for eternity.


 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 30th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

WHY THE LONG WAIT FOR CHRIST’S RETURN?
2 Peter 3:9

 


The last time we were together we talked about those who mock our faith. One of the reasons they throw at us is because it’s been 2,000 years and Jesus hasn’t returned, strengthening their belief that He is never coming back. They mock the prophecies of Jesus’ return and instead live their lives in a way that feels good for them. But don’t be fooled and don’t lose heart. Their unbelief will absolutely bring judgment that won’t end well for them.


This morning I talk about why so much time has passed, and why it seems to have taken so long for God to fulfill the promise He made about the return of Jesus. Let’s look at 2 Peter 3:9, which says: “The Lord is not slack concerning His Promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward [or toward us], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Peter begins by telling us the Lord is not slack in this promise; meaning He isn’t slow, He hasn’t forgotten, nor has He changed His mind. The truth is that our God is a longsuffering – or patient – God, and He wants more people to give up the sinful ways of Satan and come back to Him. Sure, it would be wonderful if He would take us all home to Him right now, but He wants us to be to also be patient and give Him time to work His plan to the fullest extent possible. Also, remember that God doesn’t exist in the same timeframe as we do here on earth. Peter tells us in verse 8 that to God, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. Time as we understand it with 24 hours to a day, 60 minutes to an hour, twelve months to a year, etc., means nothing to God. He operates on a plane that we simply can’t understand. So, it’s better that we just accept that He is far superior to us and trust there will come a point when we will have a full understanding about everything.


Speculating when Jesus will return is a waste of time. We can’t begin to know the mind of God so we shouldn’t be sitting around trying to figure out the day or time when He will send Jesus to get His Church, which will then begin the great tribulation. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the Angels of Heaven, but My Father only.” If anyone tries to tell you that he or she knows the date, don’t fall for it. Instead, look to your faith to guide you and tell you that while we may not know when Jesus will call us home, we are assured that He will do so at the exact right time according to God’s own timeline and no one else’s. I can tell you that every passing moment moves us closer to the fulfillment of His promise. Mockers can’t change it or take it away, and arrogant dates setters can’t arrange it. The time of Christ’s return has been compared to a roaring river flowing toward a waterfall. The river continues to flow and when it can’t move forward any longer, at the right time the water tumbles over the fall. It’s also been compared to a time bomb ticking off the seconds to detonation. God will reach the point where He will declare the time has come and the entire world will know it.
God has His own clock, and it isn’t like our clock. The fact that it’s been 2,000 years isn’t a sign that Jesus won’t return. Instead, have faith that His patience hasn’t yet been exhausted. Psalm 103:8 speaks of our Lord’s patience: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Despite of all our missteps, God is always patient, gracious, and slow to anger. All believers would be in deep trouble apart from the patience of God. He sees our lack of prayer time, our disregard for those who don’t share our belief, how we have more of an earthly mindedness than a heavenly mindedness, and our inconsistencies in living our faith. But He is quick to forgive and still gives us blessings every day of our lives. The truth is, He is exactly the same way with nonbelievers, always giving them the opportunity to change their ways and come back to Him. Remember, it’s incumbent on all of us to be concerned for the souls of unbelievers and never miss an opportunity to tell them how our lives have been changed by the love of Jesus through the cross.


We must not become impatient regarding the fulfillment of Jesus’ promised return. I John 2:28 tells us to “…abide in Him that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” Don’t give up on Him. He will return just as it has been promised to us. Keep your faith strong because it will happen one day. It’s God’s love for all people that will determine the day of the return of Jesus because as Peter tell us, God isn’t willing that any should perish. His promise is predicated on the saving of lost souls. We have a part in that. We have to share our faith with all those with whom we come in contact. We have to live it so others can see it in us.


Jesus will come when the last soul is won to complete the Bride of Christ which is the Church. Every day until the Rapture occurs is a call to repentance to all nonbelievers. While time remains, all nonbelievers have an opportunity to change their lives and come to Jesus for forgiveness. Non acceptance of Jesus is a death sentence. They can’t change their minds when they find themselves face to face with Jesus and say, ‘Oh, I guess all those crazy people were right.’


Every day that God waits to send Jesus for us is an opportunity for unbelievers to turn to God and ask for forgiveness of their sins and accept Jesus. II Corinthians 6:1-2 tell us: “(1) We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) For He said, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the Day of Salvation have I succored [meaning helped] you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the Day of Salvation.”


With all that we have come to know about God, Jesus, and their love for us, it’s hard to understand why so many people ignore God’s gift of salvation. It’s because they are so controlled by Satan that they don’t want to see another path is available. Their hearts are hardened against anything concerning God. Yet, God still offers salvation to all people. Many purposefully put off their decision to turn to God and think they can accept Jesus at a later time. That is extremely dangerous. None of us -- believers and unbelievers -- are promised tomorrow. As mentioned earlier, coming face to face with Jesus will not afford anyone the opportunity to change their mind. There is no better time than the present to receive God’s forgiveness and accept Jesus as your personal Savior. We need to show as many people as possible how their lives can change for the better by accepting Him now and not wait.


It’s obvious to all of us who study our Bible that the time is getting closer to when we will see the promise of God revealed. All of the prophecies have been fulfilled except for the Rapture and the Great Tribulation. For those to occur, the only thing that needs to happen is for God to tell Jesus to go get His children. Now more than ever we have to openly live our faith so nonbelievers can see that we are different. We need to make them curious to find out why we can be calm amid the chaos in which we live.


But most important, we have to trust God and be confident in His wisdom and patience. Never fall victim to the belief that because so much time has passed since Jesus walked this earth it means He isn’t going to come back. It simply is not the case. We may not have the patience equal to that of God, but we do have faith. When your impatience is rearing it head, look to our Lord to guide you. He is coming back just as He said, and it will be sooner than we all think. My prayer is that we will all be as ready as we possibly can be. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.


 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 23rd 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022

 

 

 


A TEXT FOR TOUGH TIMES
John 14:1-6


We all go through things we never thought we would have to experience. And there are things
we go through that we never in our wildest dreams thought we would get through, but we do.

There is a passage in the New Testament that many go to when trouble hits.
It’s found in John 14:1-6 and it says: “ (1) Let not our heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
(2) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
(3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am,
there you may be also. (4) And where I go you know, and the way you know. (5) Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can we know the way? (6) Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father,
but by Me.”

This text may be familiar to all of you. You may also know that it’s often used to help people get through difficult times.
You may have even used it yourself at the loss of a loved one or to reinforce your belief that they are now with Jesus. Or it may be used
to strengthen your faith when you have no idea which way to turn when trying to solve a problem or deal with a situation that seem completely out of your control.

After reading it, you may also wonder how does it relate to on going problems in this life when it only talks of believers going to heaven.
The answer is because while all believers are assured of a place with Jesus, we are also assured that we will have help for the time we remain in this life on earth. Jesus starts out by telling us that we shouldn’t let our hearts be troubled over anything.

Is This Easy to Do?
It should Be!!!!
Whenever the dark clouds start to gather, we should immediately turn to Jesus. Turn To Him for comfort and guidance. John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will have tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer because while things may look dark, we are assured everything is under the control of God.



We are to trust what Jesus said and believe Him. Because He has overcome the world through the cross, we can trust
that He will overcome our trials and tribulations here on earth. Despite the inevitable struggles we all will face, we are not alone.

Jesus doesn’t abandon us to deal with them alone. If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace
of Jesus in the most troubling of times. Yes, death and pain come to all of us in some form, but God is always there waiting to comfort His people as we are told in Isaiah 40:1. Jesus is there to pick us up and comfort us. And the trouble we experience is not a surprise to God.


He knows what has happened, is currently Happening, and what will happen in each of our lives.

Recall the story recorded in Mark 4:35-41 where the disciples experienced a storm while in a ship crossing from once side to the other.
Jesus was tired after preaching, so he went to sleep in the back. The storm came up and began to fill the ship with water and they were afraid. Amazed that Jesus could sleep through this, they woke Him up and accused Him of not caring about them. In response
Jesus simply said to the storm, “Peace, be still” and the storm immediately stopped.

If Jesus can stop the storm with three (3) simple words,


He can certainly relieve our trouble, pain, and sadness --
if we take it to Him

If we leave it with Him,

If we Trust Him.
The key to having this happen is FAITH.


Verse 1 is our call to faith. If we believe in God, we must also believe in Jesus. Believe in His Life -Changing Word.


To believe is to exercise faith. Acts 16:31 tells us we are to believe -in Jesus to be saved. Mark 9:23 tells us that we are to believe that our prayers will be answered. When we believe in Jesus, that means we believe that He loves us, that He came to redeem us at the cross,
and that we will be with Him in Heaven. In verse 3 we see the question that Thomas asked –

How can We know the way to the place Jesus is going?  Apparently, he liked what Jesus said, but he didn’t understand it. He wanted to go to Heaven, but he didn’t know how to get there. He wanted to know exactly how to find eternal life. There are so many people out there today who want that same answer. We have the answer straight from Jesus Himself in verse 6.  He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me. Jesus is not the one who shows the way.

He is The One who is the way. There is no other way.

Many will tell you to believe in Jesus isn’t necessary. All they need do is ( live a good life. ) Sadly, that statement unfortunately
has already condemned them to an eternity in Hell. Our salvation has been bought and paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross.

It is a gift that has been given to us ONLY by the grace of God.
We can’t earn it by good works or living a good life and we certainly didn’t do anything to deserve it.

The good news is that Jesus will come to each individual wherever they may be. Then it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that takes all who believe to where Jesus is. All that’s necessary is to believe that Jesus is who He says He is, then by faith, accept Him and what He has done for sinners on the cross. It is also important that all believers study the Word of God to fully understand His love for every person in this world and to learn of His plan.


Be disciples, share His message of salvation to the world to overcome our sin and the evil in this world. There is going to come a day when every individual will have to stand in judgement before Jesus. Those with a firm faith and belief will be welcomed by our Lord.
Those who refuse to accept Him will be lost for eternity. All of us know people who don’t share our beliefs. It is our job to share our faith
and at least attempt to show them the truth. Some will readily accept while others will stubbornly refuse. We can’t make others believe as we do.

But we'll never know when the seed we planted in their heart and mind may start to grow. We should never pass up an opportunity
to share our faith with those we meet along the way. Witnessing is difficult under the best of circumstances. But it gets easier each time you share the message of Jesus to someone. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do it and do it well. Ask for guidance and it will happen.


So, as you leave here today, remember to go through each day of your life giving all your troubles, concerns and cares to Jesus
I promise you will make it through whatever Satan may want to throw at you.

May God bless you richly today and every day


 





 

 

Sunday

October 16th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

THE MOCKERS OF THE LAST DAYS
II Peter 3:1-9


This morning we are going to take a look into II Peter. It’s important to note that each chapter of this book of prophetic in that it tells readers to prepare for the return of Christ. Our focus this morning will be in chapter 3 verses 1-9, which read: “ (1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; (2) that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the Holy Prophets, and of the commandment of us the Apostles of the Lord and Savior. (3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers [ or mockers], walking after their own lusts, (4) and saying, ‘Where is the Promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God, the Heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; (6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished; (7) but the Heavens and the Earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (8) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”


As Christians, we live for the promise of the return of Jesus. But by believing that it will happen, we will also face ridicule and mocking from unbelievers because they dismiss every aspect of our belief in His return and even His existence. So, what can we do to counteract their arguments?


First, we have to understand that the ‘last days’ as mentioned by Peter in Verse 3 of our text, encompasses the time from the ascension of Jesus back to Heaven, until the point of His return to establish His kingdom on earth. So like Peter, we too live in the last days and must do the work to which, in keeping with our faith, is to believe that He will return as He promised and to tell others of His saving grace through the cross.


In Verse 2 of our text, we see Peter reminding us of the words of the prophets. He’s telling us that as believers, we must know and understand the Old Testament along with the New Testament -- they cannot be separated. And we can’t fully understand the New Testament without first understanding the Old Testament.


If you go back to chapter in II Peter to 1:16 you will see Peter telling us that the prophesies of old aren’t fables. The early prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit; they didn’t make up stories. He goes on to say that he was a witness to the power and majesty of Jesus at the transfiguration where he heard the voice of God say, “this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”


There are many Old Testament references to the return of the Lord to rule the nations. David spoke of it in Psalm 2; Isaiah wrote of the time when Christ would set up His Kingdom; Zechariah wrote of a time when the world would see the wounded Christ. Yet despite evidence, there are mockers and will be, which by the way, is also a fulfillment of prophesy. Peter said that they would come so their words in the last days are an affirmation that Jesus is coming back! The mockers ‘walk after their own lusts’ because they believe that morality doesn’t matter. They don’t believe they will have to one day stand before our holy God and be judged for the life they lived because they think they can sin and win.


Our Bible shows us examples of mockers in the past who were wrong and paid serious consequences. During the time of Noah, as told in Genesis 6-7, they were lost in the flood. We learn in Genesis 19 that the mockers in Sodom and Gomorrah died in a fiery holocaust. And we recently learned in Daniel 5 how Belshazzar mocked the power of God and ended up losing his kingdom.
I John 3:3 shows us that everyone who believes in the promised return of Jesus must purify themselves, even as Jesus is pure. This means that as we await the Lord’s return, we are called to live a holy life using Jesus as our example. Will we always get it right? Of course not. But we must ask for forgiveness and do our best to live as Jesus lived while here on earth.


In Verse 4 of our text, we see the mocking of Jesus’ return as the unbelievers believe there can’t possibly be a promise of His coming because things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ This is how they justify their unholy behavior. If they were to take the time to read the Bible, they would learn of the many signs, promises, and warnings regarding Jesus’ return. There are the signs that Jesus spoke of in the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24. Jesus warns us in the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 that we must be prepared and watch because we don’t know the day or hour when He will return. In John 14:1-3 we see the promise Jesus made when he was with his disciples in the upper room that He was going to prepare a place for them – and for us too! Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 that Jesus will come back to take all believers with Him at the Rapture. Even though there have been over 2,000 years since this promise was made, we can’t lose faith. We must always remain faithful.


Peter tells us in Verse 7 of our text how in Noah’s day, the earth was cleansed by the waters of the flood. But at the Second Coming, it will be refined by Fire, Peter doesn’t say that everything will be burned into extinction, but he does say that at God’s command, all sinful people will be destroyed by his fiery judgment. As we continue to study Revelation, we will learn how John described this fire.
To faithful believer, it may seem that God moves slow -- in the past and even today as we face persecution for our faith. But God is not slow. Peter reminds us in Verse 8 that God works on His timetable, and it isn’t like ours. He specifically says that to God one day is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years is like a day. Do I understand this? No but it tells me that as God works, He always works through the past, present, and future. So, relying on our faith, we must accept that His time is not our time. Throughout the waiting we must also understand that God wants as many people to come to faith as is possible. This means we can just sit and wait for the return of Jesus. We are to be examples of Him and how He can change lives. We must witness to as many people as we can so they also can experience the love, joy, and peace of a personal relationship with Him.


Finally, we must be sure that we are personally ready to meet Jesus at any time – maybe before this day is over – but also plan our course of service as though He may not return for many years. Keep your faith strong and let people see Jesus through you. It’s not going to be easy, but it is so important that we share our faith despite being mocked for our beliefs.


May God continue to watch over you and bless you richly as you continue in service to Him.

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 9th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

BLESSINGS OR BLIGHT
Psalm 1


This morning I would like to share with you one of the most profound truths in the Bible -- which is the amazing joy and happiness that comes from living a godly life and refusing to listen to those who dismiss or ridicule him. Our text comes from Psalm 1 which reads: “(1) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of the sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does He meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. (4) The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. (5) Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. (6) For the Lord knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”


God doesn’t judge people on the basis of race, sex, or national origin. He judges everyone on the basis of their faith in Him and how they respond to His will as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Those who diligently try to obey God’s will are going to be blessed. They’re like healthy, fruit-bearing trees planted along a riverbank with strong roots, and God promises to watch over them and guide their lives. In contrast, those who don’t trust and obey God. will have meaningless lives that blow away like dust.


Only two paths lie before all of us: God’s way of obedience or the way of Satan’s rebellion and destruction. Those of us in this room know that choosing God’s path is the only way to find spiritual healing, daily guidance, a joyous relationship with Him, and eternal life.
Verses two and three provide remarkably simple wisdom: the more we delight in God’s presence, the more fruitful we will be. On the other hand, the more we allow those who ridicule God and our faith to affect our thoughts and attitudes, the more we will be cut off from our source of nourishment, joy, and peace. Yes, we must engage and welcome unbelievers if we are to witness to them; but we must not adopt their sinful behavior and insulting sarcasm. If you want a life of despair, be like the cynics and critics; if you want God’s joy and peace, spend time with those who love God, His Word, and His people.


We learn how to follow God by meditating on His Word; something that is exceedingly difficult in an age of sound bites and banner headlines. Meditating means spending time reading, thinking, marking, reviewing, and discussing with other believers, what we have read. It means asking how we must change and grow so we will live as God wants. Meditating on and understanding God’s Word are the first steps toward applying it to our everyday life. If we want to follow God more closely, it’s important that we take the time to learn and understand what He says.


The “law of the Lord” spoken of in verse 2 refers to the entirety of the Bible. In it, God reveals to everyone His will, His absolute truths, His divine nature, and best of all, His love for us. The more we know of the whole scope of God’s Word, the more resources we will have to guide us in our daily actions and decisions. The phase in verse 3 “whatever they do prospers” doesn’t mean that God’s people have immunity from failures or difficulties. Nor does it guarantee health, wealth, or constant happiness. What the Bible means by prosperity is this: When we live our lives using God’s wisdom as learned in the Bible, the results we get will be good for us. We will not only be able to weather every storm that comes into our lives, we will also have a peace that settles over us even in the darkest of times because we know that God is in control. And we will receive God’s approval. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears fruit, we are to soak up God’s Word and produce actions and attitudes that honor Him. To achieve anything worthwhile, requires that we have God’s Word in our hearts and our minds so it can then be transferred to our actions.


As you read and study the Bible you will often see references to “chaff.” We see it used symbolically in verse 4 of our text. Chaff is the outer shell - or husk - that must be removed to get to the valuable kernels of grain such as wheat. In ancient times, chaff was removed by a process called threshing and winnowing. After plants were cut, they were crushed by a threshing sledge, throwing the pieces of the husk into the air. Chaff is exceptionally light and would then be carried away by the slightest wind. The good grain is then left to be collected. Throughout the Bible chaff is a symbol of a faithless life that drifts along worthlessly and has no direction. The good grain is a symbol of a faithful life that God can use. Choose His direction, and your life will be fruitful in the eyes of God.


Those who do not choose God’s way will be doomed for eternity as we see in verses 5 and 6. The psalmist writes that sinners and saints will be separated, with blessings waiting for those who chose to put their faith and trust in God and believe that Jesus is our path to salvation. Jesus is our example of how to live a righteous life. Wise people turn to the Savior and by doing so, faith in Him removes any uncertainty about how to live their lives and teaches them what will happen when they choose God.


Trusting God and knowing that He is watching the paths we walk each day will give us joy, even when we may be facing trials. God doesn’t watch over us to criticize what we do wrong. In fact, He sees us with loving eyes, protecting, and caring for us, and keeping us from stumbling on our journey. If you take time each day to look for signs of His care for you, there is no doubt that you will see things that He did to get you through your day. Did you react fast enough to avoid a car accident? Were you able to pay a bill that caused you concern? Was there a problem between you and someone you care about but were able to solve it and go on to mend the relationship? My friends, that is God’s hand, through power of the Holy Spirit, working in your life. So, each one of us can find comfort in knowing that He is watching, guiding, and helping us on our daily journey.


As you study you Bible, you will be amazed as you come to see how God’s plans for us are revealed from Adam and Eve through to the second coming of Jesus. You will be able to see how He worked His plan for our salvation that allows us to be free from sin and live with Him for eternity. And we can live our life with joy and happiness, even amid tragedy and sadness, because we know that He cares for us and has planned for our future with Him. He will never force us to choose Him over the ways of this world. But He does show us the difference in the outcome of what choice we do make. Don’t be afraid to choose God and don’t be ashamed because you did. In the end, whatever criticism, or problems the world gives you because of your choice will fade and your reward will be rich.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 2nd 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION
John 3:1-21


As Christians, our primary task is to share the message of Jesus and tell others how they can receive salvation. Many of us are intimidated because we don’t think we have enough knowledge to explain how others can obtain salvation and forgiveness of sins. But the truth is, the message and the path to salvation is all that complicated. Our text this morning comes from John 3:1-21 which says: “(1)There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. (2)That same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that You do, except God be with Him. (3)Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (4)Nicodemus said unto Him, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (5)Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (6)That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. (7)Marvel not that I said unto you, you must be born again. (8)The wind blows where it listeth, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it comes, and whither it goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (9)Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, how can these things be? (10)Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a Master of Israel and knowest not these things? (11)Verily, verily, I say unto you, we speak that we do know and testify that we have seen; and you receive not our witness. (12)If I told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you Heavenly things? (13)And no man has ascended up to Heaven, but He who came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man which is in Heaven. (14)And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; (15)that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17)For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. (18)He who believes on Him is not condemned; but he who believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the names of the Only Begotten Son of God. (19)And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20)For everyone who does evil hates the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (21)But he who does truth comes to the Light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”


This is arguably the most familiar passage in the entire Bible and verse 16 was probably the very first verse most of us have memorized. We learn about a meeting between Jesus and a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a member of its high counsel, called the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were a Jewish sect known for their strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and their belief in an afterlife and the coming Messiah. The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee. Pharisees differed from the Sadducees who were the priests and aristocrats who rejected the oral laws and traditions, denied there was an afterlife, and didn’t believe in the coming Messiah. And they strongly opposed the Sadducees. The Pharisees were often consulted when it came to matters of Jewish law because of their practice and belief since the time of Moses. But most of them opposed Jesus and were intensely jealous of Him because He undermined their authority and often publicly challenged their views.


But Nicodemus was searching, and believed Jesus had some answers, so he arranged to meet Him secretly at night so the Sadducees wouldn’t notice. It was during this meeting Jesus explained beginning in verse 3 that in order to see the kingdom of God, one had to be born again. Nicodemus was confused as he didn’t understand how one could enter the womb to be born again. When Jesus spoke of being born of water and the Spirit in verse 5, He was saying that one is born of water – or the physical birth of the womb – then by the cleansing action of the Holy Spirit. Some will say that the water refers to baptism and is needed to be saved. It is a wonderful public expression of faith and commitment to Jesus, but it is not mandatory to get into Heaven. Jesus explained for Nicodemus -- and for us today -- the importance of a spiritual rebirth by saying people enter the kingdom not by living a better life, but by receiving a new life from God through the Holy Spirit.


In verse 8 we see how Jesus uses wind to explain that we can’t control the work of the Holy Spirit as He works in way we cannot predict or understand. Just as we didn’t control our own birth, we didn’t or can’t control our spiritual birth. It’s a gift from God through the Holy Spirit. We see in verse 9 that no one is beyond the touch of God’s Spirit. Have you ever chosen to not pray or talk to a person because they’re too closed off to respond to the gospel? Never assume that someone won’t respond because God, through the Holy Spirt, can reach anyone. So, we must pray diligently for whomever we witness to and always be an example to everyone with whom we are in contact. God may use us personally or take it on Himself to touch those we consider unreachable.


It is clear in verses 10-11 that while Nicodemus was a teacher and knew the Old Testament thoroughly, he didn’t understand what it said about the Messiah. Intellectual knowledge doesn’t guarantee true understanding or salvation. Yes, know your Bible, but even more important, you need a relationship with God so you can receive the salvation that He offers.


We see in verse 14-15 Jesus how reminds Nicodemus of the plague of snakes God sent to punish the Israelites’ rebellious attitudes while they wandered in the desert. By obeying God’s command to look up at the lifted bronze snake and believing God would heal them if they did, they would survive the deadly snake bite. Jesus is telling him – and us – how our salvation happens when we look up to Jesus and remember that he was lifted on the cross so that He could save us, and that belief in Him will save all sinners.


Verse 16 brings the entire Bible into focus. It tells us that God’s love isn’t static or self-centered, it reaches out and draws people in. We see God setting the pattern of true love, the basis of all love relationships. When you love someone dearly, you are willing to give to them freely, to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of His Son and Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, then offered us a new life bought by His sacrifice. When we share this message, like Jesus, we must be willing to give up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s live. To believe means to put our trust and confidence in Him that He alone can save us. It causes us to put Jesus in charge of our present plans and our eternal destiny. It is both trusting His words as reliable and relying on Him for the power to change.


Finally, we learn that people often try to protect themselves from their fears by putting their faith in what they do, or things they have. But good deeds, skill, intelligence, money, or possessions won’t save us. Only God can save us from eternal condemnation by acceptance of what Jesus did on the cross. Many don’t want their lives exposed to God’s light out of fear of what will be revealed, or they simply don’t want to change. Don’t be surprised when people are threatened by our desire to obey God and do what’s right, likely they’re afraid of what you might expose in them. In such cases we should keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to live in the light of Jesus than the darkness of sin.


The message of Jesus is simple. It is a gift from God, which we don’t deserve. By His grace, all we need do is accept what Jesus did on the cross, ask Him to come into our lives and change us, and make the effort to live as He did until the day He calls us home to Him.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

September 25th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

FROM CHEATING TO CHARITY
Luke 19:1-10


How many of us enjoy paying our taxes? Instead, we see taxes as a necessary evil. In the days of Jesus, tax collectors – or publicans as they were called then – were among the most hated of people. Interesting tidbit: Matthew was a tax collector before he became a disciple and eventually writing the Gospel. This morning I’d like to talk to you about a crooked tax collector named Zacchaeus who had the great fortune to meet Jesus, changing him forever. Our text this morning is found in Luke 19:1-10: “(1) And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (2) And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. (3) And he sought to see Jesus who He was and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. (4) And he ran before and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way. (5) And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at your house.’ (6) And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully. (7) And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, that He was gone to be guest with a man who is a sinner. (8) And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; ‘Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ (9) And Jesus said unto him, ‘This day is salvation come to this house, for so much as he also is a son of Abraham. (10) For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’.”


Each of the four gospel writers chose unique events or people to highlight the life of Jesus. Luke is the only one who tells us about Zacchaeus whom Jesus encountered on his final trip to Jerusalem. We learn a lot about Zacchaeus: he was a rich tax collector whose greed made him dishonest, he was curious about Jesus, he was short, and he was despised by the population. He showed up late to the parade which allowed the crowd to show their disdain for him by denying him access to the front row. So, we have a man that was hated by all he encountered because he was a crooked tax collector. In verse 3 and 4 we see that he had a curiosity about Jesus, and because he was short, he had to hurry and climb a tree in order to see the Lord before the parade passed him by.


The story of Zacchaeus reveals an interesting similarity between us and him. While imagining ourselves as a tax collector or a rich person in that day may be a stretch, we can at least identify with being curious about Jesus, being troubled by some personal limitation such as height, and being rejected by people. If we do this, we can then ask ourselves what lengths we would go to in order to meet Jesus. Zacchaeus’ passion for money apparently wasn’t as satisfying as he wanted it to be, so he sought out Jesus perhaps hoping that the Lord could set him free. And then in verse 5 we see that when Jesus saw him in the tree, He told him to hurry up and come down because He was going to be his houseguest. Imagine how you would react if you knew Jesus was coming to your house. Growing up my mother would tell me to clean my room so I wouldn’t be embarrassed were Jesus to come.


This encounter was clearly orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, who knew Zacchaeus had an unfulfilled need in his heart, then put in that tree at that time. We also see an example of the Kingship of Jesus when He invites Himself to be a houseguest. Only Kings of the day would do such a thing. In verse 6 we witness the conversion of Zacchaeus as he quickly came down from the tree and joyfully received Jesus. But in verse 7 we see that the people weren’t happy to see Jesus associating with this hated sinner. Typically, when we are told of murmuring in the Bible, it is referring to sin. So, the public was sinning by complaining about Jesus’ meeting with this sinner. But Jesus, then and now, never caters to the whim or opinions of the public. Verse 8 details the profound effect this meeting with Jesus had on Zacchaeus. He immediately volunteered to give half of all he to the poor and restoring by fourfold what he had falsely taken from people. Why four times the amount? Well, Roman law required a fourfold restitution, but Levitical Law only demanded one fifth to be restored. So, imposing the more sever measure on himself showed true repentance for what he had done.


In verses 9-10 we see Jesus’ response to the murmuring of the crowd. As a son of Abraham, Zacchaeus has as much of a right to salvation as any other person in Israel. As a tax collector, the religious leaders may have shut him out, but Jesus didn’t. This is a message to all of us who are willing to judge the sins of others. It’s not our job. That is reserved for Jesus as He clearly stated in verse 10. Jesus came to this world to seek and save that which was lost. He did that by way of the cross and it is available to all who choose to accept Him as Lord and Savior. And as Christians, we too should not judge but look to save by sharing the message of Jesus.


We don’t know the details of Jesus’ time with Zacchaeus, but our final view of the tax collector shows us a changed man. His generosity and restitution didn’t come from someone trying to gain standing; instead, it shows us someone who had been profoundly forgiven. We should all ask ourselves how our encounter with Jesus changed us and radically transformed our relationships. If we can’t answer that then we need examine our relationship with Him and ask if we have truly accepted Him as Lord of our life.


Even when all we want to do is see Jesus, encountering Him personally always comes as a surprise. Zacchaeus certainly didn’t expect that Jesus would stop the parade, address him by name, and invite Himself to his home. When we review our own encounters with Jesus, we may find that a small step of faith toward Him brings a penetrating and revealing response from Him. He meets our mild curiosity, fearful examination, or guilty confrontation with a shocking invitation to be known, accepted, and forgiven by Him.


Many people today believe that they don’t need Jesus to get to heaven. All they need do is believe in God and do good deeds. But this simply isn’t true. Romans 3:23 tell us that we all come short of the glory of God; and in John 14:6 Jesus said “…I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.” Only acknowledgement of Jesus as the Son of God and acceptance of forgiveness of sins because of what He did on the cross will bring us to God. We don’t deserve it; nor can we earn it. Salvation comes to us only by the grace of God as told in Ephesians 2:8-9: (8) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We aren’t to brag about our own abilities and strengths. We are to brag only about what was done for us by Jesus on the cross.


The gift of salvation is available to everyone regardless of their position in life or sins they have committed. But be careful. Being saved isn’t a license to continue to freely commit sins. Once saved, will we never sin again? Of course – we are not yet perfect. But when it happens, we are to ask for forgiveness and try to do better in the future.


If salvation came to Zacchaeus, it can come to anyone who chooses to accept Jesus. If you haven’t yet let Him into your heart and life, make that decision to do it today. Don’t waste any more time. There will soon come a point when it will be too late. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Let Jesus bring salvation to you now. By doing so, you will have peace and joy that you have never known.


May God bless you richly and keep you close to Him.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

September 18th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

THE BEST IS YET TO COME


I Peter 1:1-9; 5:8-11

No matter where we turn today, we can see hardship and people suffering. Each of us have experienced challenging times, and we have family and friends who have as well. As Christians, we were told by Jesus that the Christian path will not be easy. But we’re also promised that we will have help. The disciple Peter wrote two letters that we find in the New Testament. Our focus this morning will be on the first one because it gives us some good advice about overcoming the trials that we have to bear. Our text comes from I Peter 1:1-9 and 5:8-11:(1:1) Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia [he is referring to Christians who had settled throughout the Roman empire that he had not personally met] (2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit [meaning those who have been made holy and purified from sin through the Holy Spirit] unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; grace unto you, and peace be multiplied. (3) Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope [referring to our heritage as children of God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you, (5) who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [this is a reference to the time just before the Rapture] (6) Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations; (7) that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ [in other words, we will be rewarded for our trials when we see Jesus]. (8) Whom having not seen, you love [meaning we haven’t personally seen Jesus, yet we believe and love Him]; in Whom, though you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls [refers to the time when we will see Christ and receive our glorified bodies]. (5:8) Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour; (9) whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world (10) But the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (11) To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever Amen.”
Peter begins by telling all Christians of the promises of God and ends by telling us that while there will be trials, the ultimate victory belongs to us for overcoming whatever the world throws our way. He is telling us that there will be suffering in the Christian life we have chosen but we are to look beyond the suffering because the truth is, the best is yet to come.


There’s no denying that we will suffer because we are part of the fallen race that came to be due to the choice Adam made in the garden of Eden. When we think about what we have been promised when this life is over, we can only imagine what it must have been like to live in that garden. Like that time before the fall, we can look forward to no more sickness, no more sorrow, and no more death. All our needs will be supplied, and we will be with Jesus and all our loved ones who have gone before us.


Until the time when we die or are called by Jesus at the Rapture, we suffer because of the attacks by Satan (Satan is referenced in 5:8 as the adversary like a roaring lion). He is trying to pull us away from God as he did with Adam and Eve. And even though he knows that God will defeat him, his goal is to take as many people as possible down with him.


While we have been promised glory at the end of our time, we also have promises to help get us through this period of suffering. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 12:9 that Jesus said: ‘…My grace is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore, Paul would rather glory in his infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon him.’ We are assured that the grace of God will give us, through the Holy Spirit, the strength we need to overcome the trials and heartaches we must endure in this life because when we see Jesus, we will know that the suffering will have been worth it.


God’s Word gives us promises about what we have to look forward to. Peter tells us in 1:9 that our suffering has an expiration date which when we pass to heaven, or at the Rapture, when we will be called by Jesus and immediately transformed and taken to heaven to be with Him. We can trust Peter because remember that he was present at the time of the Transfiguration, which is recorded in Matthew 17, where he was given a glimpse of what it will be like when we are changed into our glorified bodies. Jesus tells us in John 14:1-3 that He is preparing a place for us. And Paul tells us in Philippians 1:23 that it is far better to be with Christ then to live in this world. Paul also tells us in II Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So you see, our future is as bright as the promises of God that we find in His Word.


Through our suffering, we are being prepared for our glorified life in eternity. 1 Peter 5:10 shows that our suffering is making us perfect, or mature in our faith, establishing and strengthening, or building our faith, and settling us, or putting us on a firm foundation that cannot be moved. We must also remember that because we are like Christ and heirs to all that He has as the Son of God, we must also suffer in this life as He did. Now will we have to suffer crucifixion? Highly unlikely. But our lives will have trials and heartaches. Romans 8:28-29 tells us that our suffering makes us like Jesus. Paul also tells us that as joint heirs, we may have “groaning,” or suffering now, but will have glory later. What makes it sometimes difficult to comprehend is that we have a clear understanding of the suffering we must endure; but the glory that we are promised is way beyond our human understanding. And that’s where our faith come into play.


We fail to understand that all earthly gain and glory is only temporary, and it will be replaced with the glory and dominion of Jesus Christ through God the Father, and it will last for all eternity. Yes, this life is hard and even close to unbearable sometimes. But we have so much to look forward to because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Without His sacrifice for our sin, we would be lost for eternity instead of spending eternity as children of God.


I can promise you that if you have yet to experience a hardship that causes you to question your faith, you surely will at some point before this life is over. I can also tell you that God understands why you might question Him. It’s all part of our maturing in faith and being prepared for Heaven. Will you get mad at God sometime? Yes. We all have points where we question our faith. But it’s at those times that we must lean on Him for guidance and strength.


I encourage you to keep your faith strong and always study your Bible to learn and know the promises that we have been given as Christians and followers of Jesus. It will be worth it all when we are taken to meet Jesus face-to-face and see that our faith will be made real right before our eyes.


May God bless you and keep you close to Him each and every day.







 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

September 11th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

THE DIFFERENCE
I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Today is the day that we all refer to as 9-11. It is one of those days that we will always remember with vivid memories of what we were doing and where we were when the events of that day occurred. Very few of those kinds of days, occur which is why they bring back such powerful memories. As in the past 20 years, today the names of those who died will again be read aloud so that they will always be remembered.


Death is the most difficult problem we face in life. It’s not a pleasant subject to think about, and wounds that happen when a loved one is taken are deep and take a long time to heal.


Our Bible offers us comfort for this most difficult of times. We find in in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 where Paul wrote: “ (13) But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep (which refers to Believers who have died), that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (referring to unbelievers). (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. (15) For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; (17) then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


Death forces us to face the reality of the suffering we must bear in this earthly live but at the same time, Paul shows how it allows us to look beyond life as we currently know it to what it will be like in Heaven. It also shows us in verse 13 that Believers have hope that unbelievers do not. And it confirms that Jesus will return again!


To talk about hope when we have lost a loved one sometimes leaves us feeling empty. But while it’s more than difficult to let them go, it is that hope that allows us to come to terms with the loss, knowing we will be together again. Some people mistakenly think that Christians don’t grieve and feel sorrow when loved ones die but we all know it is not true. Even Jesus cried at the grave of Lazarus. The difference is that while unbelievers grieve and see death as an end, Christians grieve knowing the promises of God will one day become known to us. While it certainly doesn’t negate the sorrow of the passing of those we hold dear, we know that better things will come. II Corinthian 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present wit the Lord.” Death for Believers means they are now present with Jesus. And for those Believers left to mourn the loss, we can take comfort that should we pass before Jesus returns, we too will be with Jesus and see our loved ones again! Unbelievers don’t have this to look forward to.


Verse 14 of our text explains for us why we have this hope. First, the very foundation of Christianity is the death and resurrection of Jesus because it is the proof of life after death in a glorified state for all believers that will never end. Then we see the reference to the Rapture of the Church, or the resurrection of all Believers. One would ask if II Cor 5:8 tells us that believers go to heaven when they die, why will those how have died have to rise at the Rapture? The answer is that at death, the soul and the spirit of Believers instantly go to be with Jesus while the physical body goes back to dust. At the Rapture, God will replace what was the physical body with a glorified body to be united with the soul and the spirit. The soul and the spirit will accompany the Lord Jesus down close to the earth to be united with a gloried body, which will then make the Believer whole again. Do I understand this completely? No. In fact, it’s heard to picture in my mind a soul, spirit, and glorified body let alone how these pieces will all be united. But I trust the Bible. I believe that it will happen as God has described, and one day I will understand it completely. I also think the word ‘hope’ isn’t strong enough to show how strong the word of God is for us. Perhaps trust, confidence, or reliance are better choices to underscore the truth of what we find in God’s word. Nonetheless, whether you want to focus on hope, trust, or confidence it doesn’t change what God tells us in His word. If the Bible tells us these things, we believe these things. It is a promise that we can fully rely upon to come true.


We see in verse 15 that those who have already passed will precede those who are alive at the time of the calling of Jesus – or the Rapture. Then we are given the details in verses 16 and 17 of how it will occur. There will be a shout, an archangel – maybe Michael or Gabriel – and a trumpet will sound. Then the dead in Christ, followed by the living believers will be caught up to meet Jesus, and all will receive new glorified bodies. I Corinthians 15:42-49 and 1 John 3:2 give us more details of what these new bodies are all about. The bottom line is that we will be like Jesus, and we will live forever.


Finally in verse 18, we are told to use what the Bible shows us to comfort those among us who are suffering the loss of loved ones. Yes, it’s hard to let them go and say goodbye, but God tells us that we will be together again. That is the difference between being a Believer in Christ and being an unbeliever. Our faith and believe is not a crutch to allow us to deal with the loss; it is a fact that God has shown us. Because Jesus, being sinless, died to give us salvation that we don’t deserve, we have eternal life with Him and all who have gone before us to look forward to. It will happen whether we pass on before His return, or if we will be caught up to meet Him at the Rapture, should His return happen before we are called Home.


Trust what you read in the Bible to be the truth of God. You may be mocked for your belief but so what. There will come a day when your faith will be rewarded. The sad fact is that there will come a point when all unbelievers will learn the truth that we already know. Unfortunately for them, it will be too late because they won’t be able to change their minds when they see Jesus face to face.
While we still walk this earth, we are to share this message with unbelievers so that they too have the opportunity to learn the truth. Many will not believe what we have to say. But we never know what can happen when we plant that seed in their heart and mind. By sharing the message of faith, there is always the possibility that the seed we gave them will take root and change the person into a Believer. We may never know until we get to heaven if that seed has taken root.


Trust the promises of God and use them to share His word with those that are searching.



 

 





 

 

Sunday

September 4th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

COPING IN THE LAST DAYS
Luke 21:25-33

As we look around us it’s easy to see that this world has gone crazy. The truth is, all that we see around us is happening exactly as God has planned, which is telling us that He is in control. It’s a fact that before Jesus calls us home, the condition of the world will get worse. So, in order to cope during these last days, let’s take look at what Jesus tells us in Luke 21:25-33. It reads: “(25) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the Earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (26) men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming in the earth; for the powers of Heaven shall be shaken. (27) And then, shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh. (29) And He spoke to them a Parable; ‘Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; (30) when they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. (31) So likewise, ye, when you see these things come to pass, know ye that the Kingdom of God is near at hand. (32) Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (33) Heaven and earth shall pass away; but My words shall not pass away.’ ”
As we look around at things that are unfolding, sometimes it’s exciting, confusing, and sometimes it’s downright scary. We can see that fear is reaching epidemic proportions. People are afraid for their safety, because what’s wrong is now right and what was right is now wrong. There’s also a serious decline in moral standards, and people are becoming more restless. But by studying our Bible, we can see that prophecies are being fulfilled, confirming our faith and our belief that Jesus is coming soon; and despite the decline of law and order and instances of religious persecution, we know that the return of Jesus is getting closer, and we can look forward to His reign of peace and justice.


So how are we to cope with all this? We start by trusting that God indeed is in control and studying our Bible to understand the signs of the times.
Jesus tells us that there will be signs in nature, which Luke recorded earlier in verse 11 of chapter 21. Some of these signs include earthquakes, famines, and pestilences, and fearful sights and great signs shall these be from Heaven. We’ve seen COVID, and now Monkeypox. And all this talk of climate change – it’s nothing more than a man-made argument for things that they refuse to understand. The climate has always been changing. Throughout my own life I recall times when we have major snow storms some years, with not even a flake of snow in others. As bad as it was for us, Super Storm Sandy was not the greatest storm to ever hit the east coast. There were comparable storms in the 1950s and if you do further research, you will most assuredly find others. If the oceans were rising and are going to put us all underwater in a matter of a few years, ask yourself why the rich and famous continue to build their mega mansions on the water. According to certain climate change enthusiasts, the world was to have been underwater by 2016 but we’re still here and we didn’t have to wade through water to get to church this morning did we. What’s even more ridiculous is that they think they can control it! Only God controls the climate and those that think they can do something about it are not believers in His power and sovereignty over this earth.
Verses 29 and 30 of our text tell us we will see signs in the nations. The trees that Jesus speaks of in His parable are nations. Israel is the fig tree, and all trees refer to all the nations. Recall from our study of Daniel that there are particular nations that will play prominent roles in the end times. As we look at world events, it does appear that God is lining them up for what is to happen. Other things we are seeing include the explosion in technological advances and an increased effort to become “one world.” This is all a precursor to the reign of the antichrist during the Great Tribulation. If we are paying attention, it does appear that the return of Christ is closer than it has ever been. But we can take heart and not be afraid.


We are told to ‘look up and lift up our heads for our redemption draws nigh’ in verse 28 of our text. Here Jesus is telling us that we can be encouraged by what is happening rather than be afraid and worried. He tells us in verse 31 that when we see these things come to pass, we will know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand. When He said, ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away’ He is telling us that the earth as we know it will change from a world ruled by the evil of Satan to one ruled by the love and justice of God through Jesus Christ. If we know Jesus as our personal Savior, we are secure in our position as children of God and have no need to worry. We can be encouraged because the time for His return is getting closer. Our job is to be ready and to share the message of Jesus to all who are searching.
By being diligent in our study of God’s word, not only in church but daily on our own, our faith and courage will be strengthened. When Jesus said in verse 33 that His words shall not pass away, He is confirming that the Word of God is more sure of fulfillment than even the stability of Heaven and earth. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from learning what is contained in the Word of God. And Psalm 119:9-11 shows us that the Word of God will cleanse our sin and keep us from further sin.


We must also be diligent inside and outside of church. Attending church allows us to worship with those who share our faith and get encouragement from one another as we pray and help one another. It then allows other people to see that we are different because of our faith, especially in these last days. The strength that we get from our faith will not only calm fears we may have during these uncertain times, but it will also serve to help others because they see that we are able to remain calm in the uncertainty. That can open a door that allows us to show how we can help them by telling them the way to peace that they can come to know through Jesus Christ.
Jesus provides us many ways of coping with the uncertainty and fear during the last days. It’s important for us to know these ways then share them with others who may not have faith or know Jesus in order that they too can learn who Jesus is and show them how He can do the same for them. Witnessing is sometimes difficult but if just one person is changed because of what we can show them, it’s worth the effort. Those of us who have been blessed because of having Jesus Christ as our personal Savior have a duty to share His message of salvation and hope with others who are searching. Each time we share His message with someone, our own lives are enriched.
Continue to study your Bible with an open heart and mind and you will always learn something new. No matter how many times you read a passage, there is always more to see. It is nothing short of a miracle how God’s word has withstood the test of time and can be proven true time and time again. It is the foundation that we all stand on knowing that what is written is directly from God and will never change no matter how people and the world around us change. Each time you open the book and read it; you will always receive a blessing from Him.


So, keep looking up because Jesus is coming for you and for me. Exactly when, I can’t say. But I do know that because He told us He will return, we can trust His word. We must each live our lives so that when He does call us, we will be ready and not be ashamed.


May God bless you and give you the strength and courage to live a Christ-like life until He returns for His own.


 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

August 28th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

A LITTLE WHILE
Hebrews 10:32-37

Over the past several weeks, we have spent time talking about the second coming. With the difficulties we face in life, it’s sometimes easy lose faith as we await the return of Jesus. This morning I would like to share some things that will help to strengthen your faith as you wait and help you to truly believe that Jesus really is coming again.


Our text comes from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 10:32-37 where he wrote: “(32) But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions; (33) partly, while you were made a gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them who were so used. (34) For you had compassion for me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in Heaven a better and an enduring substance. (35) Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. (36) For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the Promise. (37) For yet a little while, and He who shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
Paul wrote this letter to people who were suffering for their faith. They had been persecuted, ridiculed, and lost their possessions all because of their Christian faith. What Paul wrote almost 2,000 years ago, applies to Christians today as all over the world they are still being ridiculed for their faith. Many have even been killed. While we are afforded religious freedom in our Constitution, more and more Christians are ridiculed for our beliefs and at times stopped from the free exercise of our faith. I don’t doubt that our Founders are turning over in their graves to see how this country has devolved. Paul was thrown in prison for teaching the Gospel of Jesus and he was grateful that these Hebrews offered their compassion to him even though it caused them financial loss after having accepted Christ.


So, He was writing to assure them – and more importantly to us today – that while it may be tempting to give up on our faith, we can take heart that there will come a day that we will be rewarded for whatever persecution we must endure. We need to have patience, because by continuing to do the will of God, we will be rewarded with the promise that Jesus is indeed coming again.


We see in verse 37 that it will be “a little while” and Jesus will return. This is a reference to the Rapture when believers will be taken to Heaven before the start of the great tribulation. And we can take heart that if the Holy Spirit compelled Paul to write these words almost 2,000 years ago that today the return Jesus is much closer than we think!


Jesus is going to come again. He died and was resurrected so we could be freed from the sin that would prevent us from eternal life. This same Jesus is well aware what it is to be persecuted and afflicted because of our trust in God. He lived what we have to live experiencing joy, sadness, loss, and pain; so, we can trust Him to always watch over us and help us through the most difficult of times.


Our Bible is packed full of passages showing us the importance of the promised return of Jesus. One out of 30 Bible verses teaches it. His return is mentioned eight times more than is His birth. In 216 chapters, there are 318 references about His return. And there are entire chapters that are devoted to it. Jesus Himself, as well as angels and apostles tell us of His return. So as Bible-believing Christians, we can trust that Jesus is coming back. But we all want to know when.


It’s human nature to want to know when it will happen. Yet nowhere in the Bible do we find a date. God knows us better than we know ourselves, so it is incumbent on us to trust that He has good reasons for not telling us a specific date. When we hear “in a little while,” of course it’s natural to think with our finite human intellect that it’s just a short time. But we can’t forget that there is our time, there is God’s time, and they are not the same. Our Bible tells us that a thousand years to us is but a moment in God’s time. Do I understand that completely? No, I don’t and that’s ok. But what I do know is that our God sees the past, present, and future and because of that I trust Him, and His infinite wisdom do to what it best for me. We all must trust Him the same way. And that means we can all trust that Jesus will come when He comes. It’s true that this unknown date does cause lot of people to doubt and others to flat out disbelieve that His return will happen. II Peter 3:3 tells us “…that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…” Nonbelievers will live faithless lives because they don’t believe that there is a God much less that He is coming back to reclaim this world. We must not be like them. Instead, we must trust that our Lord is true to His word even as those who don’t share our beliefs mock us.
There are reasons in the Bible telling us why Christ has not yet returned. Matthew 24:36 tell us that God’s appointed hour has not yet arrived. Acts 15:14-16 tell us He will return when the Church has been completed, and II Peter 3:8-11 show us that Jesus will return when God’s longsuffering has been exhausted.


Until God makes His decision, we are to trust that Jesus will return in God’s “little while” and not lose hope or patience. Matthew 24:36 tells us that only God knows the time. When you hear of people setting a date for Christ’s return, rest assured they will be proven wrong. False prophets will be shown to be frauds as well. But of this we can be sure: Jesus will come at the right time and that time will be sooner than you think. We must work to keep ourselves ready at all times for when that moment occurs.


A. B. Simpson, who lived from 1843-1914, was a Canadian preacher, theologian, author, and founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He once wrote that there are two ways of looking at the Lord’s coming: looking for it and looking at it. He said it’s possible to look at it with a keen intellect and profound interest, yet have it mean nothing to us personally. It is also possible to know very little of the theology of the subject, and yet have a deep and holy longing for our Lord to appear. My prayer is that our Lord’s return not only be our study for this morning but also our personal hope that it will most certainly happen; for “unto them that look for Him shall He appear a second time without sin and unto salvation.”


As time progresses before the Jesus comes to take us to Heaven, there is no doubt that it will get harder and harder to live our faith in this world. But we must be committed to Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross. The rewards will far outweigh whatever mocking and persecution we may endure. Trust that God’s plan for each one of us personally and for this world as a whole will benefit those who have a strong faith and enduring trust in Him. Jesus is coming “in a little while.”


May God bless you richly and give you the strength and courage to live a Christ-like life until He returns for His own.

 

 

 

 

 





 

Sunday

August 21st 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

THE PURIFYING HOPE
I John 2:28 – 3:3

Other than the book of Revelation, John wrote four other New Testament books. Today I would like us to look into his writing in I John about the Purifying Hope given to all who believe in Jesus Christ. I John is a letter written to all who believe in the name of the Son of God to let them know they have eternal life. He also wanted to reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teaching. John writes in chapter 2 verse 6: “He who says he abides in Him [Jesus] ought himself also so walk, even as He walked.” In other words, when we accept Christ, we are called to live a Christ-like life and be mindful of our behavior so that we will be seen as different. It’s true that we can’t copy Christ’s life because much of what Jesus did had to do with His divine identity as God’s Son, the fulfilment of His special role in dying for sin, and the cultural context of the first century Roman world. To walk today as Christ did, we must obey His teachings and follow His example of complete obedience to God and His loving service to people. We will do this as we serve others by bringing them truth, healing, and peace.


Our text this morning comes from 1 John 2:28 to 3:3 in which John wrote: “(28) And now little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Coming. (29) If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who does righteousness is born of Him. (1) Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore, the world knows not, because it knew Him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. (3) And every man who has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”


John is sharing three incentives for a Christ-like life: abide in Him, be unashamed when Jesus returns for us, and become like Jesus when He returns for us. This is John’s purifying hope for all Christians then, now, and up to the time of the Rapture. Central to this hope is the return of Jesus. John previously recorded the promised return in John 14:1-3 where he recorded how Jesus reassured His disciples that if they believe in God, they can also believe in Him and then told them He was going to prepare a place for them and would return to bring them to that place. Because of these promises, John decided to allow Jesus to live in him and to live his life unashamed and as purely, or Christ-like, as possible so that he would be ready for the return of his beloved Savior.


John believed and taught that there is nothing more certain than the return of Jesus. Not only did he record the promise of Jesus in his Gospel; he was a witness to the angel of the Lord telling the disciples in Acts 1:11: “…You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? The same Jesus…shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven.” The apostle Paul also wrote in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 how the dead in Christ will rise and then those who are alive will also be caught up to meet Him in the air.
Paul also tells us in I Corinthians 15:51 that the return of Christ will occur in a moment and that some are going to be ashamed because they will be caught in the act of sin, and their minds will be filled with evil. This is not how we would want Jesus to see us. So like John, we must work to live clean lives so as not to be ashamed when God tells Jesus to go get His children.


We then see in chapter 3:1 of our text that our self-worth comes from the fact that the Most High God loves us and calls us His children. We are His children now, not just sometime in the distant future. It’s this knowledge should encourage us to live as Jesus did. John had an unfathomable appreciation for being a child of God. Remember he was a fisherman when Jesus called him to join His ministry. He went on to see untold number of miracles performed, the heart wrenching crucifixion only to see his Lord resurrected from the dead, and then taken up into Heaven. And now to be called a child of God made him so incredibly grateful that he wanted to live worthy of the position afforded to him and let the world see that he was indeed a child of the King.


But we also see in chapter 3:1 that John knew the world would reject what he was teaching because the world doesn’t recognize nor acknowledge Believers as children of God, just as they didn’t recognize nor acknowledge Jesus to be the Son of God. He was also aware of the profound love that God has for us as expressed in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is that love that made being like Jesus John’s main desire for the rest of his life.


He tells in I John 3:2-3 that we are just as much children of God now as we will be after Rapture and that we will become like the glorified Jesus and be able to see Him as He really is. John longed to see his Savior again and he is telling us that we too can see the Savior if we work to keep our lives pure and Christ-like. It is this purified hope that sets us apart from the unbelievers in this world.
We must all look within ourselves to see if the hope of Christ’s return has changed us and that we are ready today and each day forward for His return. Believing in Jesus begins the process of becoming more and more like him. Are there going to be missteps along the way? Of course. But we can be forgiven these missteps. Our Christian growth is a process that will continue until the moment we see Jesus face-to-face. We don’t know exactly how we’ll be changed to be like Jesus, but we do know that we will have eternal, resurrected bodies, free from sin and pain, and we will have a greater understanding of all things than we do now on earth.


Knowing our ultimate destiny is a powerful motivator for us to keep morally pure and free from the corruption of sin. It also gives us hope as we struggle with sin because we know that one day, we will be totally sinless just like Jesus. God purifies us, but we must also take steps to remain pure. Each and every time we resist a temptation or turn from sin, we become more like Jesus.


This is going to be a lifelong struggle and it won’t be easy. We will be looked at as foolish, weak, and perhaps even crazy. When that happens, you will know you are on the right path. But the truth is, the ridicule is nothing compared to what Jesus endured for us on the cross. So, I encourage each one of you to work hard to live your life with Jesus at the center and remember that in the end, it will be worth all the ridicule and struggles you will have to go through. Never forget that Jesus is coming back for us -- and it could be before this day is over!


May God bless you richly and give you the strength and courage to live a Christ-like life.
 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

August 14th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

PRAY EARNESTLY
Luke 18:1-8

This morning I would like to share some thoughts with you about prayer, especially during the end times. Our text comes from Luke 18:1-8 which says: “(1)And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray; (2) saying, there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: (3) and there was also a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, ‘Avenge me of my adversary [do me justice].’ (4) And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘though I fear not God, nor regard man; (5) yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (6) And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says. (7) And shall not God Avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? (8) I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?”
Something to note before we get into the meat of the parable: First, the parable just before this one and the one we look at today both end with a verse about the second coming of Jesus. We see Jesus preparing His disciples and us today for what is going to happen in the end times while also assuring them and us that He will be returning.


What is the lesson that our Savior is giving us today? He begins in v. 1 by showing us that without a proper prayer life, faith cannot be truly exercised, irrespective of how much we claim to be faithful. He also tells us that we should always pray and not faint, or don’t lose heart, while waiting for answers. We are to believe that God hears our prayers and keep praying.
In vv. 2-5 we see His story about a persistent widow that was repeatedly ignored in her quest for justice. Her persistence paid off as she was able to wear down the judge to force him to take care of her complaint. The judge finally addressed her issue but not because of the merits of her request, he did it because he wanted her go away and stop bothering her. He took care of her grievance to get her off her back.


In v. 6 our Lord tells His disciples that if such a judge will eventually listen to the petition of someone whom he cares nothing about, surely God will listen to the repeated prayers of someone whom He loves with a deep, enduring love. We must never give up praying about things are important to us. When it appears that God isn’t listening, remain faithful because, as Jesus assures us, He does listen. When it feels as though answers are delayed, it could be that God is waiting for other things in our lives to fall into place; or perhaps He is preparing another course of action that will be more beneficial to us; or perhaps there is another lesson that He will teach us before the answer arrives, or His answer may be delayed for an untold number of reasons that only He knows. Our job is to remain faithful, pray continuously and believe with all our hearts that God not only hears us but will answer us in the way that is most beneficial to us. Remember that our God is a just God, unlike the judge that addressed the widow’s complaint. Like the widow, we must keep praying.
In v. 7 see Jesus telling us that God at times delays answers for an all-wise purpose depending on what it is we are asking, or It could also be that our faith isn’t actually strong and deep down we believe that He won’t answer us. We must examine our prayer life to ensure that we actually believe that God will answer us. Trust me, He can tell if we don’t.


We must pray with strong faith and not give up when we don’t get answers immediately. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us to “Call unto Me and I will answer you, and show you great and might things, which you know not.” This is a promise that applies to all believers, from the time it was written up until the time when Jesus returns. Paul tells us in Hebrews 4:16 that because of what Jesus did on the cross for us, we have an advocate before God that completely understands our strengths and weaknesses and all of our emotions. This allows us to come boldly unto the Throne of God in order that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. And how do we do that? With prayer and a firm faith that our prayers will be answered. John tells us in 1 John 5:13-16 that all who believe in Jesus must have faith that if we ask anything of God in the name of Jesus that is in accordance with the will of God, that our prayers will be heard and will be answered. How do we know if our prayers are of the will of God? By studying our Bible, we learn what the will of God is. That we live a Christian life, be an example of Jesus as we live, and we tell others what Jesus has done for us and can do for them.


There will be times when we feel that all our strength is gone, and we become tired of the struggle. God understands that. But that’s when we need to continue to pray more and exercise our faith until we hear our answers. When your knees are about to give way, Pray!
The widow had a corrupt judge but we most certainly do not. But there are time when we act as if He were because our faith becomes weak with the struggle. This is when we need to turn to Jesus to help us get through. We are living in the end times which means that our faith is going to be tested more and more as the days go by.


Widows in the Bible represent all those who are weak and needy. God will intervene for widows just as He does for all who feel weak and need His help. God will answer our prayers just as the corrupt judge answered the widow’s request. She never gave up and had a strong faith that she would get justice as evidenced by the fact that she kept coming back even when she received no answer. We too must be persistent, just as she was, and always approach God with a strong faith that He will not only hear us but act on our requests in a way that is most advantageous to us.


Finally, in v. 8 we see Jesus telling His disciples He will return one day but asks if He will find any people of faith still in earth. Notice He doesn’t give an answer to this question. As we look around us today, it is quite evident that there is a lack of faith among people today. If you consider that the Church will have been taken out of the world at the Rapture, it’s likely that there won’t be very much faith in the world at the Second Coming. But be assured that the Second Coming will happen when God says it’s time. Nothing is going to stop our Lord from redeeming this earth and removing the evil that Satan worked so hard to spread. In the end, God wins!
The times we are currently living in require that we pray persistently and believe that our prayers will be answered. That happens through our faith. We must never give up and never doubt that God is watching over us and working in our lives to do what is best for us. He has the big picture of our lives – past, present, and future – so we must put our lives completely in His hands and trust that He will take care of us and be victorious over the evil that we see growing around us.


Keep your prayer life consistent and strong in faith. Believe with all your heart that God will answer you in accordance with His will for your life and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 May God keep you and bless you richly

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

August 7th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

THE RAPTURE -- PART 4
 

Excerpted from the Discovery Series publication entitled: “What Can We Know About the Second Coming?” written by Herb VanderLugt and Dave Branon.

Today we will cover the last of what I want to show you about the Rapture. So far, we have seen when you study what was written in the Bible, there’s a lot of support showing the Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation and the arguments against this position are very weak. Let’s continue to look at the weakness of a Post-Tribulation view. To reject the Pre-Tribulation Rapture would require that we also reject Martin Luther’s teachings on justification, which is the act of God freeing us from the guilt and penalty of sin; John Calvin’s insights into God’s sovereignty wherein He is the supreme authority over all things; and John Wesley’s contributions toward an understanding of sanctification, which means we are made holy and sec apart as sacred because we are purified and free from sin.
Another objection to the doctrine of an any-moment return comes from what Jesus told Peter, as recorded in John 21. Jesus said, “When you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish” (v. 18). The Post-Tribulationists will say the return of Christ couldn’t be at any time because Jesus would have had to wait at least until Peter had passed from the scene at an old age. Then one must ask if Peter would have to be 75 before Jesus’ words would be fulfilled. In the New Testament era, lifespans were much shorter than they are now. Paul, for example, was likely in his fifties when called himself “aged” when he wrote to Philemon. As Peter was already in his mid-thirties when Jesus spoke the words recorded by John, it would not be very many years until Peter would consider himself old. Yes, there would have been a few years in the first century during which those who knew of this prediction would have known that Jesus’ coming was not imminent, but that time was brief. Besides, Peter was already “old” by the time Paul wrote his epistles.


Make no mistake, there will come a time when the Savior reaches out His arms to take millions of people – both living and dead – away from the earth. Paul writes in I Cor 15:51-52: “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” And then in I Thes 4:16-17 he wrote: “The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.” These two passages show several things about the Rapture.


First, we see who will be raptured. In both passages, Paul is addressing fellow believers in Jesus Christ. Also, in Thessalonians, he mentioned that the “dead in Christ” would rise first telling us all people who trusted in Jesus from the Day of Pentecost (which was the first time people were “in Christ”) until the moment of Rapture – both the living and the dead – will be caught up in the Rapture. We also learn this event only for Christians. And we also learn that Jesus doesn’t touch foot on the earth. We will meet Him in the air.
Next, we see if this will this be a secret event. Some Bible scholars refer to this “catching up” of the church as a secret Rapture because only Christians will hear the shouts and trumpet blasts. If this is true, the event will hardly be secret. When whole congregations disappear, employees vanish suddenly, and vital public services are disrupted, people will notice. No matter how blinded the unbelieving world may be to the events in the sky, they will soon know that something extraordinary has occurred.
Then what happens to believers? A quick trip to Heaven is just the beginning of the indescribable things that will happen at the Rapture. The moment living believers are ushered into Christ’s presence, they will receive their new bodies. Paul wrote, “We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet….For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:51-53)


And finally, we can see where believers will go. Post-Tribulationists teach that when Jesus appears in the sky, Christians will rise to meet Him, make a U-turn, and descend to earth. Then Jesus will set up His earthly kingdom. Besides the obvious strangeness and awkwardness of this up-and-down scenario, this theory seems to contradict John 14. After Jesus made the Upper Room announcement that He was departing, reassuring His Disciples He would be preparing an eternal dwelling place for them. He also told them He would be coming back to take them to that place. If Jesus doesn’t take believers to be with Him at the Rapture, then what happens to His promise of a place in His Father’s house?


The Rapture will change everything as we know it today. It will create a new society of people with glorified bodies far removed from the limits of earth. Earth and heaven will each be composed of opposite groups of people as different as any two societies have ever been. So, let’s talk about what will be going on in these two divergent worlds in the years that separate the two stages of Jesus’ return.
In Heaven, Christians will stand before Christ and be judged. They will be rewarded with crowns for the good things they have done for God or will “suffer loss” for their failure or neglect. To understand what it means to “suffer loss,” think of Olympic athletes who fail to medal in their sport. They’re still members of their Olympic teams, but they have suffered loss by not winning a medal. What will be God’s means of judging what is worthy of honor and what isn’t? I Cor 3:13-15 speaks of a trial by fire, meaning any works that were done with a selfish motivation will perish in the fire just as weed, hay, and stubble are consumed. But those things that were done on earth for God’s glory will live on. The key elements in testing these works will be their quality and the motivation behind them.


At least five distinct crowns are mentioned in Scripture which Christians can work toward: (1) an incorruptible crown for overcoming the old nature (I Cor 9:25-27); (2) a crown of rejoicing for being a soulwinner (I Thes 2:18-20); (3) a crown for life for enduring persecution and trials (James 1:12 and Rev 2:20); (4) a crown of righteousness for eagerly looking forward to Christ’s return (II Tim 4:8); and (5) a crown of glory for shepherding the flock of God (I Pet 5:4).
These rewards aren’t earned for personal gain. We’re told in Rev 4:10 when Christians receive their crowns at the judgment seat of Christ, they will give honor to Jesus by casting them at His feet. Imagine the scene as millions of glorified believers offer their heavenly rewards to God for His glory!


All these best-of times heavenly happenings will be contrasted with the worst of times on earth. Things may seem to be tolerable at first, but the situation will deteriorate quickly. Two events will spell trouble, terror, and tragedy for those left behind. The first, the revealing of the Antichrist will bring on the second: the Great Tribulation which we will learn more about in our study of Revelation.
Now, what to do while we wait for the Rapture. We must live our lives always expecting Jesus to return at any moment in order that we will not be ashamed when He returns. In other words, be in a continual state of readiness and expectancy. We must keep our lives clean and in line with what God expects from us. We must also have a sense of urgency toward those who don’t know Jesus. Too often we live as if we have all the time in the world to convey the message of salvation, when in reality we don’t know if we will have the rest of today share His Word. The prospect of lost opportunities to share the Gospel should propel us into a deeper concern for the lost. The fact that we don’t know the day and time of Jesus’ return must not stop us from doing this.


There’s another, even more important consideration. Everyone who knows that Jesus Christ could come back at any moment must make sure that he or she knows Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. This is the single most important commitment that any person can ever make.


After Jesus returns for His own, those who have never personally accepted Him will be left behind to face a time of trouble this world has never seen. God’s wrath will be poured out over the entire earth making the plagues in Egypt before the Exodus look like a day in the park. Death, destruction, deceit, and danger will reign. This alone should cause every thinking person to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ.


In closing, a quick summary of the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. The Rapture is when Christ comes back and resurrects all those who have died and takes them along with every living Christian to Heaven with Him. We see Paul speak of this in I Thes 4:16—17. The Rapture is God’s protection of His saints from the Tribulation – the seven years of judgment that will then be poured out on earth. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1: ‘…there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus;’ indicating that the Church will not experience the judgment that God has planned for that time. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period Jesus comes back which is His Second Coming. He will return not as a humble child but as the powerful and glorious King of the universe surrounded by all of His saints. He will be victorious at Armageddon and establish His kingdom on earth. At the Rapture, Jesus won’t set foot on the earth. At the second coming, His walk the Mount of Olives and He will reign on earth. The Rapture can be at any moment, and the Second Coming will be seven years later.


Yes, Jesus is coming back. Perhaps He will come today. Are you ready? If not, you can be. Without another second’s delay, you need only pray something like this: “Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner. I believe the Bible and that You are the Son of God. Realizing that You gave Your life for me, that You died for my sins and rose from the dead, I will trust You and You alone for my salvation.” After that prayer, go out and live your life to prove you mean it!


This is the first and most crucial step in getting ready for His return. A return that may be today. I pray we all will be ready.

 

 





Sunday

July 24th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

THE RAPTURE PART 2
 

Excerpted from the Discovery Series publication entitled: “What Can We Know About the Second Coming?” written by Herb VanderLugt and Dave Branon.

Last week we started to look at the Rapture and how it is portrayed in the Bible. Today I want to continue by calling your attention to the disagreements expressed by some scholars about when it will actually happen. I hope that by looking at the disagreements and what is told in the Scripture, you will come to believe that the Rapture is real, and it will happen “in the twinkling of an eye.”
Picture this notice in the newspaper: “MILLIONS REPORTED MISSING. News reports arriving from cities around the globe tell of a mysterious disappearance of thousands and thousands of people. In some instances, entire families have vanished without a trace.”
Could this headline appear in the news tomorrow? Is it possible that Christ could return today and suddenly remove His children from this earth, leaving an unbelieving world to wonder where all the Christians have gone?


This is an important issue because if Christ were to return today, we must be ready so we cannot afford to take the future for granted. Christians who live expecting that Jesus could return at any moment have good reason to live a different and better life. It also gives us an urgency to introduce others to Christ before it’s too late. Having said that, Christians don’t all agree about the Rapture. While all true Christians believe in the return of Christ, many disagree about the details of when it will occur.


Some think that He will come back at the end of the age just prior to destroying and recreating the heavens and earth. This belief is called Amillennialism because it doesn’t recognize a literal millennium, which is 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth that we will learn more about with our study of Revelation. Others believe that Jesus will return only after a predicted period of unparalleled trouble that we know to be the Great Tribulation. This belief is called Post-Tribulationalism because it sees Him coming for His people after the Tribulation. Still others believe that our Lord will return in two phases – once for the salvation of His Church and once for the rescue of the nation of Israel. This view includes those who hold to either a Pre-Tribulational or a Mid-Tribulational approach to the Lord’s return. So, let’s try to clear up some of the confusion.


We know that everyone who awaits Christ’s return has reason to live the kind of life that will please the Lord at His coming. The apostle John recognized this when he wrote in I John 3:2-3: “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The doctrine of our Church takes the position of a two-part return of Christ, where first phase of which could occur at any moment – maybe even today.


We take that position because there is scriptural evidence for it. The main evidence revolves around God’s distinct plans for Israel and the Church; as well as prophecies that describe the time of Christ’s return as being both knowable and unknowable. This reasoning might seem to be confusing at times, but the thing to remember is Scripture teaches us to be always ready for our Lord’s return.
Why two two returns? Well, the first is for the rescue and removal of the Church which can be found in I Cor 15:51-53; I Thes 4:13-18 and 5:9. The second return is God’s plan for Israel which can be found in Ezek 35:16-38; Jer 23:5-6, and Rev 19:11-21. Both of these events have different places in God’s prophetic program and His world plan. Israel is a nation with whom God has made a specific promise (Isa 2:1-6, Eze chpts 36-37). The Church, on the other hand, is a multinational organism made up of all true believers in Christ – Jew and Gentile. The Church is at the center of God’s program until according to Romans 11:25 “the fullness of the Gentiles” is completed and has been given a hope that is to be realized more in heaven than on earth as told in I Thes 4:13-18. The distinction between Israel and the Church is basic to understanding the prophecy which many scholars say is the key to unlocking what the Bible says about the future.


When the two are kept distinct, the prophetic details fall into place and we can see that some predictions refer to the Lord’s return for the Church, while others refer to His return as the King and Deliverer of Israel. We will see this explained more when we study Revelation and find the Church is not specifically referred to in most of the book. Revelation 6-18 describes the Great Tribulation, to which Jesus alluded in Matthew 24:15-28, but never mentions the Church. The lack of mention gives weight to the idea that Christ will have already returned to remove the Church prior to the start of the Tribulation and the events related to the restoration and salvation of the nation of Israel, which Jeremiah calls in chapter 30:7, the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”. The Church will already be with her Lord and will come with Him when He returns to save Israel and set up His promised earthly kingdom.


This brings us to a second important reason for being ready for a two-part return of Christ. Bible teaching include both prophecies of dramatic events that will occur just prior to the Lord’s second coming to earth, as well as predictions of another coming at a time that is not expected. So, it’s reasonable to resolve this apparent contradiction by seeing them as describing two different phases of the Lord’s return.


When seen properly, the return of Christ provides more hope and more accountability. Nothing puts the pains and pleasures of life in better perspective than our Lord’s return. If He were to return today, all of our worst problems and deepest pleasures would suddenly look entirely different.


Matthew 24 provides a beautiful discussion between Jesus and his Disciples; and it gives us an excellent look into what will happen at the return of Jesus. This passage, referred to as the Olivet Discourse, happened shortly before the crucifixion. We see Jesus answering their questions after He had predicted the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The questions they asked Him in verse 3 include: “Tells us, when will these things be? What will be the sign of Your coming? What are the signs of the end of the age?
Jesus began His answer in vv. 3-14 with the signs of His coming; then the signs of the end of the age as related to Israel in vv. 15-35; and finally, the end of the age in vv. 36-51; which are related to His unannounced coming for the Church.


Jesus described seven events that would occur before His return: false christs (v. 5), wars and rumors of wars (v. 6), famines, pestilences, and earthquakes (v. 7), persecution (v. 9), defections from the faith (vv. 10-13), and worldwide preaching of the gospel (v. 14). History shows us that these events took place to some degree during the first century. Like most prophecies, the near-at-hand and far-off elements were blended together into one picture. So, Jesus’ statements have different applications to different generations. To believers who lived and died under terrible persecution, “the end” in v. 13 speaks of the end of life. But to those who will live during the coming Tribulation, it will be the end of the age. Similarly, the world-wide preaching of the gospel during the first century was to the Roman world as we can see in Col 1:5-6; while for us today it is to the entire globe. These events portrayed by our Lord served as signs to first century believers and future generations that He is coming again.


At v. 15, we find a very specific prediction about “an abomination of desolation,” followed by a detailed description of a brief, terrible time of trouble that will end when the Lord returns. Gentiles might be puzzled by the statement about the abomination in the holy place; but the Jewish people to whom Jesus spoke understood it. We recently learned in Daniel 9:24-27 of a hostile Gentle ruler would someday desecrate their temple and initiate horrendous persecution. Also, Luke 21:20-24 contains some elements that were partially fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.


But Matthew 24:15-31 focuses on the end time where there will be enough fear to drive the Jews to the hills (vv. 16-18); unparalleled trouble and woe (vv. 19-20); a time of Great Tribulation that will threaten all life if the days are not shortened (vv. 21-22); false christs and prophets (vv. 23-26); startling celestial signs and the visible descent of the Son of Man “with power and great glory.” (vv. 29-31). These signs will show the end “is near, at the very doors” (v. 33). In fact, the generation that sees the beginning of these signs which will be the desecration of the Jewish temple (v. 15) will not pass from the scene before the Lord has returned (v. 34). It’s clear that the end times are going to be quite involved and not a good time to be living.


Next week we will continue with the answer Jesus gave the Disciples as to when the Rapture will occur. Meanwhile, read Matthew 24 and you will be fascinated! And keep looking up because Jesus is going to come for true believers soon.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

July 17th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

THE RAPTURE MYSTERY
I Corinthians 15:51-58

There are some things which all the Biblical writers spoke clearly about, and scholars easily agree on. These include sin, God’s holiness, the need of salvation, the crucified Savior, and salvation by faith in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. There are also some things written about that are referred to as mysteries. So, continuing with the prophecy series, today I would like to show you what the Bible says about the mystery of the Rapture. Biblical mysteries include the parables of Jesus, the mystery of God’s will as stated in Ephesians 1:9 where Paul wrote: “Having made known unto us the mystery of His Will [which refers to the secret purposes and counsels God intends to carry into effect in His Kingdom], according to His good pleasure [that is extended to believers], which He has purposed in Himself [meaning it originated in His own mind].” God was not intentionally keeping a secret. The fact is that His plan for the world could not be fully understood until Christ rose from the dead. His secret purpose for sending Christ was to unite Jews and Gentiles in one body with Christ as the Head. Many people still do not understand God’s plan, but when the time is right, He will gather us to be with Him forever and then everyone will understand. On that day, all people will bow to Jesus as Lord either because they love him or because they fear his power.


The apostle Paul revealed the mystery of the Lord’s return which is found in this morning’s text in I Corinthians 15:51-58 which says: “(51) Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality. (54) So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ (55) O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is our victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law. (57) But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”


Paul is speaking of the close of the Church Age. At that time, all believers in Christ will be given Glorified bodies and will go from being sinners (corrupt) to being sinless (incorruptible). He was not the first to make this pronouncement, he was actually quoting verse 53 from Isaiah 25:8. Because sin was forever atoned at the cross, the sting of death was taken away and the grave is no more – all because of the Cross. Because of that, our job is to tell others what Jesus has done. Paul is clearly telling us in verse fifty-one that not all Christians will die. Sleep in this passage refers to death. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the Judgment.
The truth is mankind is constantly battling death. Look at the millions of dollars spent in research toward advances in modern medicine so we can live longer. Yet, scientists estimate the death rate in 2099 to be 121.7 million to 125.26 million births, which is relatively even. And the average lifespan still hovers between 70 to 80 years which is actually found in Psalm 90:10 showing us that God controls the human life cycle. But there will come a point in time when living believers will not die. Paul states in I Thessalonians 4:17 that those “…which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so, shall we ever be with the Lord.” This event is what we refer to as the Rapture. Those believers who are alive on earth at this time will see Jesus without experiencing physical death. Now if we are honest, our minds cannot grasp the full effect of what that will be like. This event was portrayed in the movie, “Left Behind” and it caused all sorts of problems. Suddenly people all around the world just disappeared leaving behind only the clothes they were wearing. It caused so much confusion and problems such as air traffic controllers disappearing from towers, drivers gone from their cars, hospital and emergency workers gone. Utter chaos abounded. It is truly a scenario that you can imagine will happen at that time. The Rapture will no longer be a secret to the world. When whole congregations of people disappear, when employees suddenly vanish, when vital public services are disrupted by mass absenteeism, people will notice.


Verse 51 of our text tells us everyone – both living and dead -- will be changed at that moment for this amazing trip to Heaven. Because of the power of the resurrection, each and every believer will be changed to be like Jesus, and we will see Him as He is in all His glory, which John tells us in I John 3:2. And as we read earlier, there will be no more corruption caused by sin, no more mortality as we will become immortal, and it will all happen in an instant – a twinkling of an eye.


No one knows when God will put this plan into action. Until that happens, the charge to Christian believers is to be diligent. It could be an hour from now or it could be a thousand years from now. But whenever that moment will be, believing Christians do not want to be caught short and lose out on this miracle.


This change is all possible because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. Through Him we have received the victory over death and mortality. Believers will be afforded the blessing of being caught up to meet Him and be changed to be like Jesus.


Because we do not know the ‘when,’ we have to be steadfast and unmovable in our faith, and constantly doing the work of the Lord. Each and everyone of us must ask ourselves if we are ready for the return of Jesus. We must be ever mindful that it could be at any moment. We certainly do not want to be found doing something that we should not be doing when God gives the call. And we should be working to tell as many people as possible what Jesus has done for us and will do for them if they chose to accept and believe in Him.
There are those who discount the Rapture. While it is true that while we profess to be believers who ‘go by the Book,’ if you will, we have to be careful that we never support an argument by adding to the Bible something that is not there. One of those “somethings” that isn’t found in God’s Word is the word “rapture.” When we use this word to designate the time of Jesus’ return in the air to take His followers to Heaven, though, we are not violating Scripture nor are we adding something that is not there. For example, the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, but very few will deny its truth. If they do, then their faith must be questioned. The trinity is the expression of the triune (meaning 3) godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All connected but each distinct in their own right. So where, then, does the term rapture come from? In I Thessalonians 4:17, Paul said that living believers will be “caught up” with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord in the air. The Greek word Paul used here is harpazo, which means “to snatch away.” When the Bible was translated into Latin, the scholars translated harpazo as rapturo. It is a short step then from rapturo to the English word rapture. Therefore, although it is true that the word itself does not appear in our English translation of Scripture, the sense of the word is surely there.

 Christians will be snatched away when the Lord descends with the sound of the trumpet and a shout.
You should know that there are some other questions about the validity of the rapture that we will continue to cover next week. But for today, our charge is to remain diligent in the work of the Lord and be a representative of Jesus and all He did for us on the cross. He willingly gave up His life for each one of us so we could be with Him forever.

Make sure your heart is right with Him. Sharing His message is the least we can do to repay Him for the pain and agony He endured for the forgiveness of our sins and to thank God for allowing us to overcome our sin to live as He intended when He created this world.

May God bless you and keep you in His loving care.
 

 





 

 

Sunday

July 10th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

WHAT TIME IS IT?
Acts 1:4-14
 


We have been studying the book of Daniel and all of the prophesies it contains regarding the future. And we will continue with the greatest prophecy – the book of Revelation. But, beginning today and over the next several weeks, I would like us to take a look at how God’s prophetic plan is portrayed throughout the Bible. Everybody wants to know what’s going to happen in the future. When you really dig in and study scripture with and open mind and heart, it is all there to show us what to expect. A good place to start today is with the

Disciples and their final conversation with Jesus just prior to His ascension into Heaven.
Our text comes from Acts 1:4-14: “(4) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father [Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit], which, said He, you have heard of Me. (5) For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. (6) When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel? (7) And He said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His Own power. (8) But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (9) And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (10) And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel (11) which also said, You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven. (12) Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath Day’s journey [about a mile]. (13) And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas [aka Thaddaeus] the brother of James [the remaining eleven disciples]. (14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, [perhaps Mary Magdalene, sisters Mary and Martha; the point being, it was not only the disciples] and Mary the mother of Jesus and his Brethren [Jesus’ brothers have now become true believers after having been convinced of His true identity following the resurrection].”


God’s prophetic plan is always interesting. The Old Testament prophets clearly viewed the future within great interest. The Disciples asked Jesus about signs of His return in Matthew 24. Read it and you will see how much has already happened, is beginning to happen, and has yet to happen. Today, many speculate about the Antichrist, the meaning of 666, Armageddon, the Tribulation, and the Rapture. So, with the passage of time, it is clear that mankind is still interested in God’s prophecies but sadly, not many truly understand what will happen. Even the Disciples, as seen in verse six, with all that had happened with the crucifixion and resurrection still thought that Jesus was there at that time to restore the kingdom of Israel. But Jesus instead revealed the time, and verse seven where He told them the restoration would come in the Father’s time when he said: “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His Own power.” This could not have been easy for them for them to understand at this point. And in fact, it is not easy for us today to wait on the Lord. So many Christians are quick to run away from God when problems come instead of praying and waiting for God’s plan to be revealed to us.


Jesus told them to return to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father – which was the coming of the Holy Spirit that would give them the power to do what God had planned for them.


In verse seven when He tells them they are to wait for the promise of the Father; He is telling you and I the same thing today. For the Disciples it was the coming of the Holy Spirit which gave them the wisdom, power, and courage to carry out God’s plan to spread the gospel to the world. For us, we must accept the Holy Spirit and witness to those around us in order to continue the spread of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. We humans are so impatient – then and now. We want to know everything about the future now. We want prayers answered as soon as the words leave our tongues, we want God’s promises to be fulfilled yesterday. But we must adhere to God’s time because He alone sees the big picture – past, present, and future. I do not doubt that He is waiting until more people come to Him through Jesus. And never forget, a minute of our time can be like a thousand years to God. His time is not our time.


All throughout the Bible are examples of the blessings that we can get by waiting on the Lord. Psalm 27:14 says: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage [meaning be encouraged], and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Waiting gives us encouragement that God was, is, and will be faithful for us and to us. Psalm 37:7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” While we wait patiently, we will be protected from Satan and his efforts to draw us away from the Lord. Isaiah tells us we will have renewed strength in chapter 40:31, which says: “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” When we wait on the Lord, we will be constantly seeking His face and focused on carrying out His will.


The Disciples were told to wait for God’s plan to be made known to them. And once it was, look what they accomplished. They became witnesses for the entire world for generations to come on what God’s plan is for a world infected by the evil of Satan. Our charge today is not much different from theirs. The coming of the Holy Spirt to the Disciples empowered them to begin their witnessing. Their direction was to wait then witness. As born-again Christians who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, our direction is to work and witness.
Finally verse fourteen of our text tells us that they all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. No one – the Disciples of old nor Christians today – can be successful without prayer. We will all have our differences, but we are not to let those differences dissuade us from the task of spreading the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Think back to how Peter denied Jesus and even Thomas had his doubts about the resurrection. And all of them were demoralized at the crucifixion. But all that was put aside to carry out the mission that was given to them. Today, times are too serious, and the hour is approaching for God to put His plan in motion. We all have to set aside petty differences and be especially kind and loving to one another, particularly when someone expresses doubts and confusion. We must keep our hearts open at all times and help settle doubts and clear up confusion in order that we can focus on spreading the message of the risen Savior and eternal salvation. The Disciples experience with the risen Christ was fresh and gave them the enthusiasm, urgency, and credibility needed to spread God’s message.


So just as the disciples put away their differences and rose to the challenge placed in front of them, every Christian today must do the same. We have all the tools we need: our Bibles, our personal experiences with the saving grace of Jesus, and the power of prayer. Every person in this room can speak of how the power of prayer has affected their lives. The question we must ask ourselves is are we willing to rise to the challenge placed in front of us? God’s plan is fully laid out throughout the scripture. We must study it constantly. Doing so will increase our confidence in what He said, what He does, and will build our courage to share His message.


All we need do is look around and see how this world is in such need of God and the saving power of Jesus. When you look back at the recent past to a time when prayer was taken out of schools and even the mention of God is prohibited, you can see the decline in the morals of our once faith-based nation. We can help turn that around and give people what they so desperately need. It’s clear that we need not be concerned with dates. All we need to know is that the plan will unfold in God’s time. Trust His word and have faith that it will all unfold in His perfect timeline for each and every one of us.


My prayer is that each and every one of us will take the challenge offered through God’s plan and tell others what Jesus has done for you so that more people will find the peace that only He can offer.


Jesus is going to come again. Let us all make it a point to be ready when that day comes.

May God continue to bless you richly each and every day and keep you close to Him.

 

 





 


 

Sunday

July 3rd, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

SATAN; HIS PERSONALITY, PERVERSIONS,
AND HIS PURPOSE


Ezekiel 28:12-15; Isaiah 14:12-15
6-26-2022

The last time we were together I shared some insights about Hell. This morning, I would like to talk to you about Satan, his personality, perversions, and his purpose.

The world sees Satan as a character with horns and a tail, wearing a red suit. He is often depicted in cartoons shoveling coal in Hell. Today we will learn that these are false impressions meant to play directly into his evil hands. Let’s look into our Bible to remove the mask of Satan.


Our text is in two parts, the first of which comes from Ezekiel 28:12-15: “(12) Son of Man, take up a lamentation (expression of grief) upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, thus saith the Lord God; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (13) You have been in Eden the Garden of God, every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets (small drum) and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. (14) You are the anointed Cherub who covers; and I have set to you so: you were upon the Holy Mountain of God; you have walked up and down the midst of the stones of fire. (15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”


While Ezekiel was surely grieving (lamentation) for King Tyrus, his description goes far beyond the king. Bible scholars believe this to be an accepted portrayal of Satan. We are told he is full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. While these surprising qualities in one who is now pure evil, it shows us the destructive nature of sin.


Satan’s abilities prove him to be a person. We saw in Genesis 3 that he is able to speak, the story of Job tells us that he is able to appear before God, and in Matthew chapter 4 we are told that he is able to quote Scripture. Since the fall of Adam, Satan now uses his abilities to destroy. Jesus confirm this for us in John 10:10, where Jesus states, “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (which speaks of Satan and his emissaries who peddle a false way of Salvation): I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Satan’s goal is to steal people from God and in doing so, destroy them.


Another of Satan’s goals is to make a mockery out of everything in this life that is good. We see in verses 13-15 how he perverted what was good in the Garden of Eden. He convinced Eve that he knew more than God in that eating forbidden fruit would make her wise and God did not want that. The fruit would open her eyes and make her and Adam like gods. Romans 1:22 tells us that people who are deceived by Satan in this way ‘profess themselves to be wise, when in fact they are only fools. But Satan does not stop with perverting knowledge. He also perverts music as seen in verse 13. Satan uses music to glorify sin, evil, and himself. All you have to do is listen the words of today’s most popular music. So much of it is filthy and disgusting. I remember when this kind of music would not be allowed to be broadcast over the airwaves, but Satan’s power is clearly growing in the hearts and minds of people today. When you see the decline in morality and the increase in crime, you can see how Satan has gained a foothold.


The second part of our text is Isaiah 14:12-15 which says: “(12) How are you fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit.” Lucifer is Satan’s name who is an angel created by God, who served Him righteously for a period of time. Eventually he fell because he led a revolution against God with about one third of the angels joining him. All the pain, suffering, misery, heartache, death, and deception which have ruled this world from the fall of Adam and Eve are because of this revolution led by Satan. Verses 13 and 14 show us that Lucifer was given dominion over the earth before Adam. After his fall he worked deceitfully to get other angels to follow in a war against God. Satan’s ultimate purpose is to take God’s place and after he failed in Eden, he has not stopped. As we can see John 8:44 and Revelation 20:10, Satan continues to lie and deceive, tempt, and spread his evil into as many hearts, minds, and lives as he can before the return of Jesus to establish His kingdom on earth. He will lose this battle but until then he wants to take as many of God’s most important creation with him as is possible. Our charge is to resist him and all that he may try to do in our lives and to not let ourselves be deceived by what he may offer to us.


We can see who has the higher purpose. Lean on what Jesus said in John 10:10: The thief He is speaking of is Satan whose only goal is to destroy. Jesus is the giver of life and eternal salvation. All of us must make a choice about the one whom we will serve. That choice must be all in. Halfhearted choices will not bring salvation. We cannot pick and choose which of God’s ways we will uphold. It is an all or nothing choice. But I can absolutely promise you this: choosing Jesus Christ is the choice that will reward you with unspeakable joy. Do not be like the rich man in the parable who could only observe the gifts offered by God from his place in Hell. God’s retirement plan is far greater than what Satan is offering.


May God bless you and protect you from the lies and deceit of Satan.
 

 

 

 





Sunday

June 26th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: C.Jay McCann

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

Drawing Closer to the Father’s Heart
by Fia Curley
Christian Living


Sometimes it’s so obvious.

The eyes. The hair color. The dimple on the left cheek.

They come in smaller packages,
but some children look just like their fathers.
It’s right there for everyone to see.


From the ambling way of walking, to drawn out vowels when they talk—
it’s even in the facial expressions and the little nondescript attributes that make a person so unique.

Many times a father’s DNA is extremely evident in their child.
But it’s more than just genetics. The actual process of raising a child gives the young mind
a front row seat to absorb a father’s character,
behavior, and subtle mannerisms.

Jesus was no exception.

Of all who have ever walked the earth,
Jesus knew the Father.
He was intimately acquainted with the Lord God
gracious and communed with Him regularly,
even seeking time away from His disciples and ministry
in order to spend time with the God He knew so well.

More than just the God of Israel—
as many in Israel thought of Him—Jesus’ relationship with His Father
brought a radically new dimension of understanding to the Israelites.
Like a tint on a painting or a filter on a photo,
Jesus highlighted a different aspect of God’s nature—
one that is crucial to our relationship with Him
and His plan for redemption.
Jesus knew God as a Father.

While many during Jesus’ time
” Jesus desired to show the true nature of His Father,
the God who has never been ashamed
about making known His heart
for His creation.

When Jesus taught parables about a woman rejoicing over a lost coin and the prodigal son, He revealed a kind father who joyfully reclaims His most precious possessions and forgives the harshest of insults. More than just a story, Jesus was teaching about His Father, the Ancient of Days, who loves to lavish His goodness on His creation.


Many today still don’t know the Father. Often He is seen through rules and regulations, a list of dos and don’ts, or even misunderstandings of other’s experiences or the perspective of the sin-ridden world.

But this is the same view many had in Jesus’ day, causing Him to unashamedly declare to His disciples, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”

We see the kindness of the Father in Jesus.
We see the patience of the Father in Jesus.
We see the forgiveness of the Father in Jesus.

As our slain lamb,
good teacher,
and gracious friend,
Jesus readily displayed the true nature of the Father.

He also displayed the fruit of His relationship with His Father.

Perfectly secure and strong,
vulnerable, and yet trusting,
Jesus displayed the outworking of the His healthy relationship with His Father
in times of prayer
and through His submission
to the plan of the cross,
freely able to say
“not My will, but Yours be done.”

His confidence remained unshakeable, settled,
in the Father of lights.

Despite the physical discomfort that led to sweat drops of blood,
the lack of emotional support from friends,
and the looming reality of humiliation and execution,
the only begotten Son of the Father said yes.
He agreed to a punishment He did not deserve
in order to enact the greatest rescue plan of all time with the highest price of all time
—His life.

In this relationship,
we see freedom, love, trust,
and the power of agreement
that has yielded fruit that remains.

For whom He foreknew,
He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

“Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
that You should be My salvation
to the ends of the earth.’” (Isaiah 49:6)

Through Jesus we see and receive what is possible in our relationship with God, the Father.

As children we will always be in the place to hear the Lord whisper those soothing words to our souls, “Come closer.”

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Through Jesus we see the heart and desire of God for us
to be with Him,
and we’re free to experience that desire daily,
to know there’s more, and enter into the more He has always desired us to experience.
But Jesus has also opened the way for every believer
to reveal His nature to those He’s placed around us,
to allow His love to not just penetrate our hearts, but to flow through us.

As we encounter His heart,
we remain free to share what He’s given us from a place of wholeness, strength,
and vulnerability.
It’s in this place that the broken, the hurting, and the overlooked souls can come and receive a greater understanding of God’s true nature—not rumors, myths, or misunderstandings. It’s in this place, as we pour out our lives as living epistles, that others will see the small glints of light of the Father’s nature and goodness as they glimpse the changes He’s made within us.

The moments in which we choose to walk out the Sermon on the Mount we can be certain that our family heritage is evident. When we choose to love, forgive and bless, or when we hold our hands open in surrender, silencing the rising accusations from the costly reality of being in God’s family, we too are able to say, not my will, but Father, Yours be done and know He is being glorified.

It’s in these often inconvenient moments, both harrowing and grating, scary and thrilling that something amazing happens—that family resemblance becomes even more obvious and others in this generation look and they too see the Father.

The Father is raising up a people who know Him
and walk in His love.
 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

Sunday

June 19th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: C.Jay McCann

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022

Title: When Faith Is Alive

 “What does it profit, my brethren,
if a man says he has faith but has not works?
Can his faith save him? . . .
Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:14, 17 RSV).

Scripture Reading: James 2:14–26
Someone has said that faith is like calories:
you can’t see them, but you can see their results.
Today we study a section of James’s letter that is probably the most misunderstood passage in the entire letter.
Some see this passage as a contradiction of Paul’s teaching concerning the way of salvation.
But when the teachings of both Paul and James are understood properly,
there is no conflict.
Three things must be kept in mind as we study these verses.

The situations presented by James were entirely different from those presented by Paul.
 Paul had in mind those who denied the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith and insisted on ceremonial works,
whereas
James was saying that true faith expresses itself in deeds.
Paul was talking about the way of salvation,
and James was talking about the life of a person after he or she has been saved.

While Paul and James used many of the same words,
they put different meanings into them.
By “works” Paul meant works of the Jewish law—ceremonies and rituals.
For James, “works” were works of love, proof that faith was alive and real.

James takes up the topic of work in detail in the second part of chapter 2.
When discussing work, he invariably uses the plural “works” (Greek erga) rather than the singular “work” (Greek ergon).
This leads some to suppose that James
uses “works” to mean something different from “work.”
However, erga and ergon are simply plural and singular forms of the same word.[1]
James is describing any kind of work, from works of kindness, such as giving food to someone who is hungry, to on-the-job work, such as increasing the sustainable yield of rice paddies. His use of the plural shows that he expects Christians’ work to be continual.


James’s intention was not to contrast two opposing methods of salvation.
His intention was to show two kinds of faith—
one genuine and the other false,
one alive and the other dead.

James said that true faith produces (2:14–17).


14 What doth it profit, my brethren,
though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them,
Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body;
what doth it profit?


He tried to show that things such as mental agreement,
or saying we accept Christ, do not mean much unless
they are proved by the fruits of faith at work.
Almost with an air of disgust,
James said, in essence, “What good is faith without works?
Does it help anyone?”
Note that James did not write, “If a man has faith,”
but
“If a man says he has faith.”
Repeat:
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?

 John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, had a character named Talkative,
and of that character he said, “Religion has no place in his heart, or house or conduct;
all he has lies in his tongue,
and his religion is just something to make a noise with.”
(point up gesturing)
This is the kind of person James was describing.

Note the statement, “Can faith save him?” (v. 14).
An ad-jective is implied that does not appear in the wording here.
It is better read, “Can that faith save him?”
 The reference is to that false,
fruitless faith.. James had just described.

James’s theme is that true faith is alive (2:18–20).
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith,
and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?

This is another difficult area of the epistle.
 James seems to have been dramatizing here, as he often did in this epistle.
He felt so certain of what he was saying about faith and works
that he saw an imaginary man rising in support
of what he had been saying.
This man turned to the one in the assembly.. who made a profession of faith.. but did not prove it by works.
 This may well have been the man James described in the preceding illustration, who had said to the cold and hungry, “Be ye warmed and filled” (2:16).
With righteous indignation, the first man burst out,
“You hypocrite! Of what use are your long prayers,
of what use is your profession of faith,
since you just had the opportunity to practice it and failed to do so?”
(QUESTION)
What is the principle here?
 Faith is something that dwells in the deepest recesses of the heart, and only God can see it.
Others can only see the outward appearance.
But if there is faith deep in the heart,.. it cannot but manifest itself in outward expression.
Ralph Erskine, a great Scottish preacher of the seventeenth century, used to say,
“Faith and works are the two feet with which a man walks in Christ.”
One without the other produces a spiritual cripple.

James showed a bit of “sanctified wit” (v. 19).
In spite of the fact that demons are afraid of God, they do not obey him.
Fear can never inspire obedience that pleases God.
Much so-called religion today is prompted by a slavish fear.
 If we try to obey and serve God out of this kind of fear, ...our obedience and service will never be accepted.

James said that true faith produces obedience (2:21–26).
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works,
when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou ..how faith wrought with his works,
and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,
Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works- a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works,
when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


James was not teaching that Abraham’s justification or “acquittal” before God - depended on his works to the exclusion of faith.
He was not even saying that - his justification depended on works in addition to faith.
He was saying that one’s -justification before God- is simply by faith, but it is the kind of faith - that moves the heart and regulates the life; it is a faith that does not lie dormant - but manifests itself in active obedience.

For his second illustration,
James chose Rahab, who was as far removed from Abraham as night is from day.
James insisted that her experience with God teaches the same lesson as that taught by Abraham’s experience.
James 2:26
Just as the body without the life-giving spirit is dead,
so faith, which is a mere shell of profession - if it is void of fruit,
is dead also (v. 26).

This kind of fruitless faith brings no glory to God
and yields no benefit to the person who has it.
 What James was saying -
is that the union between faith and works -
is as close as the union between body and soul.

James gives us instruction to act with mercy.
 So whatever you do and whatever you say, let it be done with love and mercy.

 

 

 

 

 





 

Sunday

June 12th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

HELL: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT
Matthew 11:20-24; 25:41

This morning, I would like to talk about Hell. There are a lot of people who genuinely believe that because God is a loving God, He will not allow people to go to Hell and in the end, sinners will be excused for their behavior. But Jesus warned the Pharisees and Sadducees about the wrath that was to come when He said in Matthew 3:7, “But when He saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to His baptism, He said unto them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Let’s look further into the reality of Hell. Our text is from Matthew 11:20-24 that says: “(20) Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not. (21) Woe unto you, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes! (22) But I say unto you, I shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, then for you (These cities are ancient cities in what today is Lebanon). (23) And you, Capernaum, which are exalted unto Heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which had been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for you.” And then over to Matthew 25:41: “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” People ask if Hell is real, if a loving God allow sinners to go to Hell, and can Hell last forever?


First, in verses 20 and 21 of Matthew 11, Jesus confirms that there is going to be judgement and there will be people that will go to Hell. While He was speaking mostly to the religious leaders, He was also condemning all of Israel. He said, “Woe unto thee.” Just who will experience these woes and be destined to Hell? All those who do not repent of their sins, those who rejected Christ and His words, and those on whom much light had been given. In other words, those who had experienced Jesus while He walked on earth, those who received many blessings in this life, and all those who continue reject Him.


The truth is, we are all sinners who are deserving of Hell. Isaiah tells us in verse 6 of chapter 64 that “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” That is until we accept and receive into our lives, that Jesus is the son of God and sacrificed Himself on the cross to save us from our sins. Romans 5:8-9 say: “(8) God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” And ten in Romans 10:9 we are told: “If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” This is pretty clear that without Jesus, there is no escaping Hell.


Rejecting Jesus brings the wrath of God as we are told in John 3:36: “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he who believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” That does not sound like a God who will dismiss sin even though He may love the sinner.


Jesus described Hell quite extensively in Luke 16:19-31 when He told the parable of the Rich man and the beggar named Lazarus. In that parable both die and while the angels took the beggar into the bosom of Abraham in Paradise (where all Believers went before the Cross). We see the rich man in Hell being tormented while at the same time he is able to see Lazarus with Abraham “afar off.” There are no unbelievers in Hell. The rich man repented, but it was too late. Salvation must come before death. It is upon death that all will be judged and dealt with accordingly.


Something else our Bible reveals to us is that there are degrees of punishment in Hell. Verses 21-24 of our text speak of Tyre and Sidon having received mighty works from God but did not share what they had received. Had they done that, others could have repented. Those in Capernaum were very prosperous but rejected Christ and most of its inhabitants went to Hell. Had they shared the mighty works done in their land, Sodom may have remained until today. But instead, it became a corrupt land that was eventually destroyed by God. This tells us that the Christ rejector is morally lower than the idolators of Tyre and Sidon, or the citizens of Sodom and all will be punished accordingly. Clearly there will be degrees of punishment in judgment and therefore in Hell.


The degrees of punishment are based on one’s opportunity. Chorazin and Bethsaida received many blessings but did nothing with them. Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were given less light but were still punished. And we learn through the words of Jesus that there is eternal life for those who accept Jesus and there is also eternal life for those who reject Him. This is confirmed in Matthew 25:41 which states: “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” There is an everlasting fire for the devil and his angels. There might be a difference in degree, but not in duration.
Later, when we study Revelation, we will learn more about Hell and the future of the satanic trinity – consisting of the devil, the beast, and the false prophet – each of whom will be judged and thrown into the lake of fire forever. And those who are not in the Book of Life will join them.


Everyone has a choice. God will not force anyone to come to Jesus, but every decision has consequences. If you want to avoid Hell, you must come to Jesus with your sins. Receive Him by faith, as your Lord and Savior. Make that decision to spend eternity with the One who died to save you from Hell.


God doesn’t send people to Hell, people send themselves there based on the choices they make in life. Our God went to great lengths to prepare a way to allow sinners to come to Him.

Don’t make the mistake of rejecting what He has done for you through His Son, Jesus.

 





 

 

Sunday

June 5th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYBODY?
Genesis 1:26-27; 3

Throughout the ages, many people have asked the question: What is Man (meaning of course the human race not just the male portion)? How did we get here? Some answer that man is the product of millions of years of evolution; while others say man is a special creation of God.


Another question that has been asked throughout the ages (and even more so today) is What is Wrong with Everybody? Philosophers have asked this question throughout history, psychologists ask the question in countless therapy sessions, and criminologists ask this question every time there is an increase in crime. And all of us are asking the question each and every time we turn on the news, read the paper, or scan through social media. What is Wrong with Everybody? The answer to both of these important questions is found in the Bible. Genesis 1:26-27 tell us: “(26) Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth; (27) So God created man in His Own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” We see in Genesis 2:7 that man was created from the dust of the earth. We also learn that man’s creation was the crowning achievement of God’s creation because it says in Genesis 1:26 that man will have dominion over the earth.


What is meant by the “image of God?” Well, like God, Adam and Eve had intellect, emotion, and will. Each one of these characteristics -- including gender as male or female -- are the requirements of personhood. And at this point, both Adam and Eve were without sin. God placed them in the perfect environment – the Garden of Eden.


But we learn in Genesis 3:1-6 that they came under the influence of the fallen angel, Satan, causing them to fall into sin and destroying their perfect image. Genesis 3:6 says: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (introduced the lust of the eyes), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (introduced the lust of the flesh) and a tree to be desired to make one wise (introduced the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat (which caused the fall); and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” We learn that Adam was there observing the interaction between Satan and Eve. Some will say she offered the fruit to him out of love, but it is important to note that no one ever sins out of love; Eve submitted to the temptation out of deception, but Adam was not deceived; he simply did not believe what God had said about the fruit.


God was very gracious giving Adam and Eve access to all the Garden had to offer with one exception. The tree of the forbidden Fruit. It is often referred to as an apple, but we have no idea what that fruit is. Yet they chose to disobey their Lord and as a result, the entire human race fell into sin.


Romans 3:10-23 tell us what is wrong with everybody. None of us are righteous, none of us actively seek after God; all of us have gone out of the way of God and are unprofitable. We lie, curse, commit crimes, and are unworthy to be in the sight of a just and righteous God. We have all sinned. Don’t believe me? Look around you. Crime is the highest it has ever been. There are no consequences for any wrongdoing. Those charged with prosecuting criminals and thus allow the crime to continue are no better than those committing the crime. Human remedies to fix the problems fail. Education and legislation, prosecution and punishment fail to take away the sins of man.
There is only one way to fix the sinfulness of man and that is through the grace of God and the sacrifice of the so call second Adam – Jesus Christ. Romans 5:12 shows us that because of Adam, all man became condemned sinners.


But there is hope. Romans 5:18-19 tell us that because of the obedience of Jesus Christ to God at the cross, all of mankind can receive the free gift of salvation and be free from their sin. This can happen simply by believing in Christ and what He did at the cross and asking Him to come into your life and change you in ways that will make you stand out in this world. That is how we are restored to the ‘image of God.’ His death redeems us. His resurrection guarantees that He lives to keep us. His Spirit dwells within us to enable us to live righteously.


What is wrong with everybody? They have lost their appetite for God and Jesus.
God’s purpose for man in creation is now realized because of the death of Jesus. Man can once again have fellowship with God through faith in Christ. The lives of all who choose this path will be enriched beyond belief. It is not that they will not have problems, it is that they will have help through the trials and tribulations that will come in this life in a sinful world. And more importantly, there is the promise of eternal life that is indescribable by human capabilities.


The answer to what is wrong with everybody is Jesus Christ. No one can encounter Jesus and remain unchanged.
We all need to be aware that there are evil forces at work in the world today whose goal is to take as many people as possible into the bowels of Hell. All this talk of social justice and using Jesus as the catalyst to sell it are engaging in gaslighting. Unpunished crime is not and never will be a good thing. There has to be justice in a civilized society for without it all we have chaos and fear. The nuclear family is being demeaned and destroyed. Those selling the idea that gender dysphoria is a real thing are being misled by Satan and by pushing this concept on little children and encouraging it to be hidden from parents make them Satan’s henchmen.


The division in this country is real and the only way to fix it is to look to God and take solace in Jesus Christ. II Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The only thing that will turn this country around is fervent prayer. Without it, there is no hope of turning around. We are in the last days and our only hope it to make sure our hearts are right with God and that Jesus is guiding our steps each and every day.

Trust what the Bible tells us.

 May God Bless you richly and may you remain close to Jesus.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 29th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

JESUS at a GRAVE
 John 11:38-45

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. While many have turned it into a celebration of the beginning of summer, it actually is the day the country has officially set aside to remember those who have died in battle while serving this nation to protecting our freedoms. It reminds us that freedom is never free and there is a high price to pay if we are to keep those freedoms. All too often we take lightly the blessings bought with the blood of those who serve. We remember those who have died by attending ceremonies to commemorate their sacrifice and also by decorating their graves.


And we also remember those who have last loves ones while they were serving. Losing a loved one is not easy. It leaves a void that will not be filled in this life. And while the shock and grief fades with time, life is never the same for those who mourn the loss. But there is good news: we do not mourn alone.
I would like to show you what Jesus did at a grave because it will show us that we are not alone, and it will give us insight into who Jesus really is. Our text is John 11:38-45.(38) Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself comes to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. (39) Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said unto Him,” Lord, by this time he stinks: for he has been dead four days.” (40) Jesus said unto her, “Said I not unto you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?” (41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. (42) And I knew that You hear Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me.” (43) And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth. (44) And he who was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said unto them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (45) Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.”


If we look back earlier in the story, we can see Jesus meeting with the sisters of Lazarus which clearly shows that He understood their grief. He himself wept and groaned inside as we are told in verse 38. Even though Jesus had come to resurrect Lazarus, He still cried with those who were grieving their loss. He understood Mary’s broken heart and Martha’s tears. He understands the same grief within us when we are separated from those we love by death – and He cries with us!


This is the same Jesus that brings us the promises of everlasting life, heaven, and resurrection. Yet even though we know this, it is normal to grieve when loved ones die. Tears are God’s safety valve for our emotional health. Jesus understands this because He also groaned and cried.


There are a lot of people out there who may understand the pain of grief but do nothing to help others when they are grieving. Our Savoir fully understands, and He enters into our pain so that He may help us through the grieving process. He enters into our pain so He can minister to us. Remember, Jesus saw the pain of a blind man and gave him sight; He saw the pain of a lame man and made him walk; He saw the pain of ten lepers and restored their health. And He is here today entering into our grief and pain.


How do I know this? Because I have experienced His comfort when I lost those I loved and because when I look at the cross, I see how it proves His love all of us. He died a horrible death to pay for our sins. He assured the dying thief that he would go to paradise. He rose from the dead to defeat the finality that death would otherwise have meant for us. When we bring our pain and sorrow to the One who cares, we will find a peace through our suffering that only Jesus can give us. Jesus offers hope to all those who are hurting. We have a tender Savior that is always triumphant as evidenced by those He has helped while here on earth and by His resurrection after having died on the cross.


Even though the cross had not yet happened when He was with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, He nonetheless was up to the task before Him. We see in verse 39 of our text He asks for the stone to be taken away and the in verse 43 Jesus calls for Lazarus to come out of the tomb – and he does!


Jesus gives hope on the darkest of days. He does it for all who honestly believe in Him and accept what He has done on the cross. Only Jesus makes a way through the darkest days of our life. All we need do is bring our broken heart to Him and let Him work within us to bring the peace and comfort we desperately need.


If you have memories of lost loved ones that bring you down, allow Jesus to minister to you in your grief. If you have experienced hurt and disappointment, take it to Jesus. Trust Him because He genuinely cares for you.


As the nation mourns the senseless killing of the children and teachers in the school in Texas, please keep their loved ones in your prayers. Ask our Savior to give them the peace, comfort, and courage they need to get through the days ahead.


There is evil in this world and this nation is seeing it spread as a result of the consequences of removing God from our schools and public square. The rise in mental illness and the breakdown of the family and Christian values is what causes individuals to act this way because it allows Satan to prey on the weak and vulnerable among us.


The government – at all levels -- does not help when it refuses to prosecute crimes instead of enforcing laws and giving consequences to those who commit crimes. Our Bible teaches us that sin has consequences. It must be no different in the society in which we live. One day all will have to answer for their actions. Those who commit crimes and those who look the other way will all be held accountable before our just and righteous Lord.


We must all pray for this nation. Pray that there will be an awaking to the need to turn back to God. Otherwise, this nation is doomed and those who will be remembered this Memorial Day will have died in vain. That is the only hope we have. But most important, make sure your own heart is right with Jesus and that your salvation is secure, no matter what happens in the days and weeks ahead.
May God bless you richly and keep you close to Him. Remember, always look to Jesus as your comforter, friend, teacher, and most important, your Savior.
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 22nd, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

MARY, MARTHA, AND THE MASTER
 Luke 10:38-42

After service last Sunday, I was at my piano reviewing the songs that we sang and for some reason I zeroed in on “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus.” That song has spoken to me ever since I first heard it performed by the Gaither Vocal Band many years ago. That prompted me to look a little further into sitting at the feet of Jesus and I thought about Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. There are important things we can learn from these ladies this morning. Our text is Luke 10:38-42:(38) Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word. (40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. (41) And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things. (42) But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”


The travels of the Lord often took Him to Bethany, and He often visited his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It is clear this was a place He felt at home and these three people were very dear to Him. One question should come to our minds and that is: If Jesus were to visit, would He feel at home in my home? Think about that.


The experience described in the text pertains to all of us. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and Martha is working and complaining. I am confident something like this happens in all of our homes as well.


To be able to sit at the feet of Jesus is a blessing that words cannot describe. In verse 39 we see Mary at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him teach. Luke 8:41 tells us about Jairus, a ruler of the Synagogue who fell down at Jesus’ feet and wanted Him to come into his house to heal his daughter. This shows us that the feet of Jesus is a place of submission. John 12:3 shows us that it is also a place of devotion when John wrote how this same Mary at a later visit took a pound of ointment of spikenard, which was quite expensive – it would cost over $10,000 in today currency -- and anointed the feet of Jesus, then wiped His feet with her hair. And then in Luke 8:35 we learn the feet of Jesus is a place of peace as Luke describes the man sitting peacefully in his right mind because Jesus has removed the demons that had ravaged his mind.


Mary is an example of Christian learning, worshiping, and devotion. We all must develop the habit of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him and learning from Him so that He may teach us how to live a Christian life. If we do not do this, we cannot grow, we open ourselves up to be overcome by temptation, we miss out on the peace that only He can bring, and we will be nothing more than humans ruled by the knowledge of the world instead of the spirit of God.


Martha was overloaded with the work of the home that she kept. We see in verse 40 the woman was not happy. She even tried to get Jesus to have Mary help her. Martha felt she was not able to worship Jesus like Mary did which caused her to be upset, made her talk instead of listen, become critical of her sister, and doubt the love of Christ. She became discouraged.


But we should not be harsh with Martha. It is true there was work to be done. Jesus and the disciples had to be fed. No doubt there were other household responsibilities weighing on her as well. But the lesson we can take away from this is to beware of the barrenness of busyness. In other words, do not let busyness overtake our worship and devotion to our Lord and Savior. We must find a way to make the time to study our Bible and to learn from the life of Jesus so we can be more like Him.


Verses 41 and 42 show us a beautiful example of the love of Jesus. When He addressed her, He said “Martha, Martha.” This is the same way He addressed Simon Peter when Satan attacked him shown to us in Luke 22:31 where Jesus said, “Simon, Simon.” And then in Acts 9:4, Jesus said “Saul, Saul” who had fallen down on the road to Damascus. All three times Jesus was displaying the tenderness He has for those He loves.


Jesus told Martha she was careful and troubled about many things. While those things were important, they were not the most important thing she should have been concerned about.


Martha’s important omission was neglecting the need for worship. All too often we too leave out this most important thing. Work and life’s responsibilities are better balanced by listening to Jesus. You see, only Jesus has the ability to look within each of us and see the troubles that pull us away from Him. He knows all about our cares. I Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our care on Him.
Finally in verse 42of our text Jesus shows us that Mary chose the good part. By listening to Jesus, Mary – and all of us – are put into the mind of God and He tells us where our victory lies. Just like Mary, we also have this choice available to us. When we chose Jesus, we are blessed beyond measure. And the salvation He freely gave us can never be taken away.


The words of song are:
Sitting at the Feet of Jesus, wondrous words I hear Him say! Happy place! So near, so precious! May it find me there each day. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, I reflect upon the past. For His love has been so gracious, it has won my heart at last.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, is there anywhere more blest?
 

Sitting at the feet of Jesus, there I worship, and I pray. While I from His fullness gather Grace and comfort for today.
Bless me, O my Father, bless me, all my inner life renew.
Now look down in love upon me, let me catch a glimpse of You.


Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus, Make me holy through His Word. May I prove I’ve been with Jesus, been with Him my risen Lord.


 

When you take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus, I promise you will find that you still have the time and ability to manage all of your other responsibilities.

My prayer is that each of you spend may hours sitting at the feet of Jesus. Learn from Him and each time come away feeling His love and the peace that only He can provide.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 15th. 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


MARKS OF MATURE CHRISTIANS (Growth #3)


 Ephesians 4:7-16

Last week we talked about Guides for Growth in our Christian life. This week I would like share some of the marks of a Mature Christian. Our text comes from Ephesians 4:7-16 which says: “(7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Wherefore He said, when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He Who descended is the same also Who ascended up far above all Heavens, that He might fill all things.). (11) He gave some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers; (12) for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ:(13) till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:(14) that we hence forth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) but speaking the Truth in Love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: (16) from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”


What is it about Christianity that makes us different? Well, our Christian life begins with spiritual birth, which takes place when we receive Christ as our Savior. It is God’s plan for Christians that our walk begins with spiritual birth then we grow and mature. As “infant” Christians we are more concerned with self than service to others, with argument rather than action, and with looking to people rather than to God for guidance and help. But as we mature in our faith, we learn to leave these characteristics behind. How can we recognize the maturing of our faith? Verses 11 and 12 of our text gives us some insights.
A mature Christian is a believer with a mission. Perfecting means maturity. The grace shown to us on the cross by Jesus is the His gift to the Church that brings us to maturity.


Because of that, we are to learn as much as we can about the love shown on at the cross, use it in our own lives, and bring it to others. The apostles and prophets did this through their writings. Evangelists use their special ministry.
Pastors and teachers have the primary responsibility in bringing about Christian growth. But all too often a mistake is made in understanding the pastor’s role. First and foremost, the pastor is not the head of the church. That title belongs only to Jesus. And all who accept and believe in Him become part of the body of Christ, which means part of the church. In recent times, the pastor alone has become the one who does the work of the ministry instead of spending time “maturing” others to join in. And today, instead of being participants in the church body, too many Christians have become spectators. Pastors perform and the people go home to talk about it. Too many believers feel their responsibilities end with just supporting pastors and missionaries. When in reality, mature Christians, regardless of their title, have a responsibility to build up other believers to edify (which means to build up or help along) the body of Christ.


What can mature Christians do to build up the body of Christ? Prayer is at the top of the list. Pray for all the parts of the church body. Every single person brings something special and unique to the church and thus has a role to play. It is up to each of us to determine what that is and then through prayer, let the Holy Spirit show us how put our abilities into service for Jesus. We should always pray for those who are lost, sick and the hurting. James 1:27 tells us to visit the fatherless and widows. We can care for the physical needs of the church body by helping those in need whatever we can. Today, too many Christians have put aside the servant part of their faith and instead have allowed social service agencies to take over. While what they do is important, too often there is not enough time, money, or resources to help everyone. And allowing the agencies to take over leaves too many Christians out of the process.


We can help care for the spiritual needs of the church body, living and teaching the scriptures, and being peacemakers when the situation presents itself. The success of our work will be seen as we watch others become stronger in Christ because of our participation in their lives. And that makes the Body of Christ – the church – more unified.


Verse 14 shows us that mature Christians must have a Bible basis for every one of their beliefs. This is the real evidence of their growth and maturity. The stronger our belief and understanding of the Bible is, will ensure we will no longer be “tossed to and fro” and be attracted to cult like teachings because we have a solid doctrine on which stand. It is critical that we know why we believe what we believe and that comes directly from God’s Word. Maturity in the Word of God brings maturity not only in our faith, but also in our life.
It is so very important that we examine our lives and look for the marks of a mature Christian. We should look to see what areas are in most need for continued growth in our faith. There is no shame in asking help from others on our road to Christian maturity. We are all in this together. And will we all have ups and downs that can stall our growth. It is at these times that a kind word, a helping hand, or some extra time taken to explain something can do so much to help someone that we may not have realized was feeling lost or confused. That is part of have having a servant’s heart – the heart of Jesus. He is our prime example of what our goal is in becoming a mature Christian.
As we allow our Christian faith to mature, we will find that our lives will become more meaningful and more peaceful. Yes peaceful. It doesn’t mean we will not have problems, It means that when those problem come, we can look back on how we were helped before and move forward knowing that Jesus is watching over us and He will give us the help we need to overcome whatever Satan is putting in our path in an attempt to derail our spiritual growth and maturity.


So, pray, study, and reach out to help others in any way that you can. That is what becoming a mature Christian is all about.


May God bless you and keep you as you grow in grace and maturity.


 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 8th. 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

 

 

GUIDES FOR GROWTH (Growth #2)


Text: I Peter 2:1, 2, 21
 

 

 


Last week CJay introduced a series about spiritual growth through the grace of God. As we continue with the subject of growth, I would like to offer some ideas on how we can grow as Christians. Our Text comes from I Peter 2, verses 1, 2 and 21: “(1) Wherefore laying aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, (2) as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. (21) For even hereunto were you called: Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.”


We are all familiar with what physical growth is all about. The way an infant grows easily tells the story as the infant becomes a toddler, goes to school, turns into a teenager, and ultimately becomes a mature adult. But we must acknowledge that it’s always a tragedy whenever a child doesn’t make it to adulthood. It brings pain and suffering to all who loved that child, and we grieve for all the potential of what might have been but is now lost. There is no doubt that Jesus grieves for all people who reject Him and instead choose to follow Satan and the world he commands.


Growth in the Christian life has stages as well. There is the new birth, then growing in faith and ultimately becoming a mature Christian. Very often we see Christian growth in the words of the hymns we sing: “To Jesus every day I find my heart is closer drawn,” “Everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before,” and “Into the love of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go.” Just to name a few.


It’s a fact that to become a Christian requires us to relinquish many things from our former lives. As children, we all had – and may still have in our possession -- cherished relics such as a favorite doll, blanket, or special toy. I remember my blanket vividly. There is even a photograph somewhere of me holding it while it was drying on the clothesline. For years, my Mom kept the little piece that was left of it in her hope chest. The point is, it’s natural to let those cherished items go when we become adults.


But what must we give up if we are to become mature Christians? Paul wrote in I Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And that’s what we must do as we grow as Christians. We give up the things of our past life that we naturally outgrow.


In verse one of our text Peter speaks of guile (which is deception, duplicity, and cunning), hypocrisies and envy, and all evil speaking. What exactly does that mean? When we become Christians we must let go of malice, bitterness, ill feelings toward others, envy of others for what we might not have but want, and we shouldn’t speak ill of others. This doesn’t happen all at once. It is actually a continuing struggle. But our goal as we grow is to leave that all behind and instead, extend grace and understanding to those who cause us strife. Like Paul instructed the Corinthian Church, we are to put away all of this kind of behavior because it destroys our relationships with others but more importantly, our destroys our relationship with Jesus Christ.


So, after putting away the behaviors of our previous life, what should we focus on to become a mature Christian? Verse 2 of our text points us in the direction we need to go: we are to focus our desire on the sincere milk of the Word of God in order to grow in our Christian walk.


Just as babies need proper nourishment to grow healthy and strong, Christians also require the proper food to grow in their relationship with Jesus. We should always examine our lives to see what we are feeding our minds, our hearts, and our souls. Then ask if there is anything we are doing that is holding back our spiritual growth. Because we live in a fallen world ruled by Satan, there is a lot around us that can be detrimental to spiritual growth. These things include our choices in reading material, television programs and movies we watch, social media sights we follow, and even people we interact with socially. There is so much profanity, sex, unhealthy relationships, drinking and drug use around us, and it could be holding us back from a growing relationship with our Lord.


Another important part of spiritual growth is to be aware of who we look to as heroes. As kids, heroes are a part of our childhood; but as we mature, they fall short of our expectations or needs so naturally we lose interest.


A young Christian may idolize the person who led them to Christ, or we may be attracted to particular Christian musicians, writers, or evangelists. While this isn’t a bad thing, it cannot be the only place where we get our spiritual nourishment. We should continually examine those we follow to ensure that what we get from them is in keeping with God’s word because the most important thing to our Christian growth is to study our Bible. We are so blessed to have His word because it is the direct instruction from God our Father on how we are to live our lives. The Bible is difficult to understand, but there are so many versions and study guides available that can help you to expand your knowledge. You can always talk with me about some of these sources. As Christians our hunger for God’s Word must be like an infant’s hunger for milk.


Verse 21 of our text reminds us that it is critical that we keep our eyes on Jesus at all times and use Him as our guide every day of our lives. The way He lived His life as a man while on earth is the goal we should all set for ourselves. I will be honest with you -- we will fall short of this goal many times. But that should never keep us from continuing on the path that He has laid out for us. When babies are learning to walk they fall all the time. We also will fall a lot. When we find that we failed to live up to His standard, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up. Remember, He is perfect. You and I are not. But Jesus knows that. When we fail we need to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness and then for the strength and courage to get up, go out, and keep trying.


Finally, I encourage us all to periodically do “growth check” to see if we are holding on to any relics of our past life or looking to sources to guide us that aren’t biblical. This will become clearer as you study the Bible. These kinds of things could be holding you back from a full and complete relationship with Jesus. Also, we need to monitor our devotional life: are we making time for daily prayer and Bible study?

All of this is important in order to grow and mature as Christians.


May God continue to bless you and keep you close to Him at all times.
 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

May 1st, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: C.Jay McCann

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022

 


 

GROW IN GRACE


II Peter 3:

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.
Amen.




The Christian life begins with a Birth. The New birth which we are speaking of is when we receiving Jesus Christ as our personal savior, we are then born again.

John 1:12-13
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
 

John 3:1-8

1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. (2) He came to Jesus at night and said,“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (3) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (4) “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”(5) Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (6) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (7) You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ (8) The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”


This is What Separates the Gospel from Religion.

Religion is man’s effort to reach up to God's salvation as outlined in the Gospel is God coming down to man and making him a New creation. But After Birth Comes Growth as we read and study God's Word.


What is Growth in Grace?

1. What it is Not:

a. It is not becoming more saved, than at the moment of conversion.
b. It is not becoming more pardoned, than when converted.
c. It is not becoming more justified, than at salvation.

What is Christian growth?

J.C.Ryle, first Bishop
of
Liverpool of the Church of England
(May 1816-June 1900)

“When I speak of growth in grace, I mean, increase in the degree, size strength, vigor and power of the graces which the Holy Spirit plants in a believer’s heart”



Let's consider the expectations of physical growth:

Some examples are:

a. In a child
(infancy to adulthood)

 It take nurturing, teaching, instruction to mentoring  and bring proper guidance.

b. Flower
(seedling to blooming),
When planting a seeds in the ground, we know germination takes time. Warmer temps 70*
During germination, the new growth, thin and frail will push and struggle their way through some of the hardest soils and conditions. Some seeds fall through small cracks of a sidewalk, parking lot, driveways. As they curl their way out, some still have the shell still attached to the leafy stem. Growing toward the light. and flourishing with vibrant array of color.

c. A Fruit Tree
(root to full grown tree)
We know the importance of Zone planting, and factors such as Full or part sun, acidity etc. When all conditions are met and proper care they have a full life in maturity they'll come to produce an abundance of fruit. When fruit trees are neglected, going without pruning, the sun gets "blocked out", which causes mold and disease destructive and will spread to every limb. Eventually it loses it's ability to bare fruit.


d. The Gardener and his Garden
The gardener's responsibility is to grow in knowledge, read and learn importance of knowing each plant and their individual needs to thrive. The gardener will cultivate of the soil to remove roots, rocks, clay and sandy soil needs of nutrients. Adding natural compost to allow "plants main roots" to get a jump start, which plays a key role in early stage of seedlings growth. With proper care prior to planting,
will allow these secondary roots, those which feed and take in water to branch off that main.

The entire root system was cared for and developed. Gardeners responsibility is to ensure this process will give the crops the very best conditioning needed for an abundant harvest.
However, slugs, larvae, cutworms lurk about waiting to devour your most precious crop.


Let's consider bible evidence of growth in men

A.) Peter: From Backsliding to Blessing

Peter was, by his faith and actions, the greatest of the Apostles. Jesus changed his name from Simon ("reed") to Peter ("rock").
Peter is the one who made the Great Confession that Jesus is The Christ;  Caught the fish with money in its mouth; he was the only disciple to walk on water, and was in the inner circle of 3 disciples. The Lord Jesus saw him as a trusted friend, because He saw the possibilities in Peter. Yet his loyalty to Jesus disintegrated to the point where he denied the Lord. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept

How could that happen?
We have an enemy named Satan who wants to ruin or destroy us.

All believers Are, Can and WILL be vulnerable to attack by the Forces of Hell. We must all be on our constant guard.

B.) Paul (also known as Saul) before his conversion from the Damascus Road to the Roman Road.
 Paul was persecuting all New Believers to their death. prior to this event.



In Acts when Paul was on his way to Damascus


Acts 26:13-18
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we had fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me and saying in the Hebrew language, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads, "and SAUL said, "Who are you Lord?" and the Lord said,
I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the gentiles to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the Power of Satan to God,
then they will receive forgiveness of sins and be given a place among God's people who are sanctified ( set apart ) by faith in me."


Saul describes Jesus commission of him as his messenger to Gentiles which must have amazed Saul,
(The Ultimate Gentile-hating Pharisee) to turn many from darkness to the light and from the power of Satan to God.

God's Instruction is Swift and Clear

God's Word teaches us that, when God truly touches our hearts, our only response can be,

"Lord, May your will be done and may you use me to do it."


John 14:15
If you Love Me, Keep my commands

1 John 2:23
Anyone who denies the Son doesn't have the father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Phillippians 3:10
That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

 John: From Son of Thunder to the disciple of love.

"Son's of Thunder"was the nickname Jesus gave James and John, two of his first disciples. The nickname described the two brothers well.
Fiercely loyal, they were the ones who wanted to burn up a city when the people refused to welcome Jesus. John began as a fiery fisherman,a son of Thunder, but he became the Apostle of Love, a pillar of the early church who along with James, the brother of Jesus and Peter led the church in accepting Paul as an apostle.

Jesus takes who we are and makes us into who we are meant to be. He took John's fierce temper and tempered it with love. He changed him from a man who wanted to call fire out of the sky to punish the people who rejected Christ  to the man who wrote to defend love
and teach us to love in order to bring people who rejected Christ into His great Love.

So What are the Evidences of Growth?

An increase of love
1 Thessalonians 3:12

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you;
To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all his saints.


John 13:35
By this, shall all men know, that ye are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

I John 3:14
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother, abides in death.
We are nothing without love, I Corinthians 13, Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.


How Do We Get An Increase of Faith

To increase our faith, We must Feed and digest the Words of God through study of the scripture. Faith comes by hearing the word of God, through the testimony of the servants of God, combined with study and prayer.

II Thessalonians 1:3
We are bound to thank God always for you brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.

What great promises attend, this fruit of the Spirit, when we live according to God's Will. We get an increase of the knowledge of God.
 

Colossians 1:10
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.



a. We should be asking ourselves these questions:


What we saw in Christ, when we accepted Him as our personal savior?
Compared to now?
and
Where are we Now?
Compared to the day we accepted Christ?

b. Do we know more about God NOW
than when we were saved?


Getting to know God more, brings a greater desire for holiness in Your Life

Philippians 3:13
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth
unto to those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling God in Christ Jesus

What are the means that God uses to help us grow in grace?


1.) He uses His Word


I Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the "pure milk" of the Word, that you may grow thereby

a. We never outgrow our need for milk.
Milk is loaded with calcium which strengthens our bones. God puts it into wholesome, simple to understand terms we understand.

2.) He uses our private devotional time

3.) He uses public worship and service

4.) He uses the fellowship of believers, this Congregation, You & I

Do You know there’s a New US coming everyday?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a New creature, The old things passed away, Behold All Things Have Become New.

B.I.B.L.E.
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
Always Look in This Book First,
It's your source of Encouragement, Hope and Instruction and Guidance



He Uses Trouble and Experience


Romans 5:1
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
By whom also we have access by faith, into this grace where in we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation  worketh, patience;and patience, experience
and experience, hope and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.
 

 Are we are Growing in Christ?

Have we grown in our walk with the Lord?

Are we spending time in prayer?

Are we reading and studying?

Is Christ truly the center of my life.

 If we don’t see growth. The problem is were backsliding.
We're missing quality time with The Lord and need to get back into His Word
Quickly!


By Reprioritizing our lives, it clears a "direct path" to our Savior.
Time with Christ Frees - US allowing MORE Time for God.
He fills us with His grace.

Eliminate things that draw us away from God

As we are Instructed in

II Peter 3:18

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of ourLord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 24th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: C.Jay McCann

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

GOD AT THE DOOR
Revelation 3:20

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

 if any man hear my voice, and open the door,

 I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

John begins this book of revelation, by explaining how he received
this revelation from God.


Revelation1:1-20
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave unto him,
to shew unto his servants things
which must shortly come to pass;
and he sent and signified it
by his angel unto his servant John:

2 Who bare record
of the word of God,
and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
and of all things that he saw.

The Setting and the Scene
John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos.
Some parts of Johns life are not clear and historical sources claim he was a leader of the church at Ephesus.
John eventually was captured by the roman Emperor and ultimately sentenced to Patmos. which was a small, rocky and barren area where many criminals of Rome were went to serve out their prison terms in very harsh conditions. There were mines on the island
that the criminals were forces to work. John was sent to the island for the same reasons because the early Christians
were considered a strange cult group who were known for causing trouble within the empire. Back in those days they didn't have electric lighting and surely the darkness which filled each corner of these mines and the living quarter's were far from the best conditions. But God comes calling.

After Johns arrived to Patmos.  He began to have these visions that were written into the Book of Revelation of the Bible.

Jesus’ messages to the seven churches was written by John.
Some historians and scholars claim that John died while on Patmos and others say that he was freed from the island before his death.
No one is certain when or where he died, but many people do agree that he was not executed like the other apostles. The vision John received begins with instruction for him to write to the seven churches located in Asia Minor. He both commends them for their strengths
and rebukes them for their flaws.

Each letter was directed to a church then in existence but also speaks to conditions in the church throughout history. Both in the churches we attend and in our individual lives, we must constantly fight against the temptation to become love-less, immoral, lenient, compromising, lifeless or casual about our faith.

The message for the Church:

This revelation is both a warning to Christians who have grown apathetic and encouragement to those who are faithfully enduring the struggles in this world.

The Themes which are touched in Relvelation:

God's Sovereignty:
He Is Greater than ANY power in the universe.
God Is All Powerful and is in constant control.
He will bring His true family safely into eternal life.

Christ Return:
Christ came to earth as a lamb,
the symbol of his perfect sacrifice.
He Will defeat Satan.
The assurance of Christ's return gives suffering Christians the strength to endure.
Since no one knows when he will appear, we Must be ready at ALL Times by keeping our faith strong.

God's Faithful People:
Revelation identifies who the faithful people are and what they should be doing until Christ returns.

God's Judgement:
God will reward the faithful with eternal life, but all who refuse to believe in Him will face eternal punishment.

Hope:
One Day God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth.
All believer's will live with him forever in perfect peace and security.


As we look at Revelation 3:30

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear my voice, and open the door,

I will come in to him,

 and will sup with him, and he with me.


It's a Familiar Text:

1.)Taught in Sunday School

2. Familiar in its language:
A man (Jesus) knocking at a door


3. Then, “Behold!” – Meaning Take Notice

Christ turns to the individual


Notice Where Jesus Stands

1. At the Hearts Door
2. The humble place.

Difficult to find some people who are willing to knock on doors.
a. Tough to get people to do door-to- door selling
b. Visitation programs are a continual struggle
c. Door-knocking can be a frightening experience for some.

3. How it is like Jesus to come to our most private, humble, intimate place,
"your hearts door" to come knocking.

Our Lord and savior, Jesus. Who was Born in a stable, lived among men, crucified to death.
Died in your place, for your Sin. Comes knocking at your hearts door.

How are you living your life?


Are YOU Ready?


Suppose there was a knock on Your door this afternoon after service.
You answer and Jesus is standing there asking to come in?

How are You Living?

"Jesus, IS always knocking at your hearts door."

Why would our savior come knocking our our hearts door?
Because He Loves YOU,

No Matter What.
Because He understands and knows, your every need. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
Praise God!!
He came and died and took ALL, Not Some, But All Your Sin to the cross.

How strange that God should knock on our heart’s door.

What's Important to ask ourselves, is this: Do we recognize that He is there now? Living within Your heart.

How does Jesus Knock
1. He knocks with His hand
The same hand of God created ALL things and spoke them into existence. The same hands that dug into the earth and formed man.  God  IS in control of Every circumstance, every situation which your living. You have a Mighty Powerful God which is Living inside of You.



If you'll just answer to His calling.


We've heard that familiar song: He’s got the whole world in His hands

Our God IS Omnipresent:
Meaning Present Everywhere at The Same Time.

Our God is Omnipotent
The quality of having Unlimited or Great Power

The hand of God is setting the stage of prophetic fulfillment.

Nations and nature are moving according to His plans

 He Calls as He knocks
a. “If any man hear My voice”

b. He speaks through His Word, the Bible
c. He speaks through His servants, ministers of the Gospel
(not just ordained - but ALL who are saved)

d. He calls in Love and with Urgency

What Jesus Will Do
"If We Open the Door to our hearts" and make Him our Lord.

1. “I will come into him”

2. The sure promise:
a. Our part is to open the door to our heart

b. The Lord’s part:
“I will come in”

3. How Can Jesus come in?
a. By His Spirit. The Holy Spirit.

b. We become partakers of the nature of God

II Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 Our body becomes His temple
I Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

CONCLUSION

A. Do We Feel Him Knocking?

When you get that feeling as though your heartstrings are being tugged at.

It's an unbelievable, overwhelming sense off Joy.

Do we Hear His Voice?

It will always be Pure Love, soft, still and assuring.

 Will We open the Door?
Allow Jesus to Come In, Welcome Him In and allow the flood gates to pour out the depression, anxiety and stress your may be carrying.
By opening that door to your heart, you'll experience a Freedom to experience True Life, More Abundant and Free with The Spirit of The Lord In Control of your life.


So Let Go and Let God

Let Go and Let Jesus Take The Wheel.
He'll take it from your hands and provide You a life, which will be More Meaningful, Full of Purpose and Hope.

Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts because He has Saved us and wants to have a personal fellowship with us.

He patiently and persistently waits to get through to us.
Not Breaking and Entering, but knocking.
He allows Us to decide whether to open our lives to Him and Welcome him in..

Do You intentionally keep his life changing presence and power on the other side of the door?


We must always take time in our daily lives to listen and call upon Christ, keeping Jesus our focal point.

Knowing He lives within our heart, He is "our most personal savior and friend."
The load is less cumbersome and lighter when we communicate with Him, Trusting Him as He is always knocking reminding us:

Listen:  Jesus Is Calling

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me.
 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 17th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

WHO SHALL ROLL AWAY THE STONE?
 Mark 16:1-8

Happy Easter! Our Lord and Savior Jesus has risen and is alive sitting at the right Hand of the Father until He is told to come get His children! The resurrection is vitally important to our faith. Without it, there could be no overcoming of the finality of death, nor could Satan have been defeated. All four of the New Testament Gospels tell of the resurrection but this morning I would like to focus on what Mark wrote in chapter 16, versus 1 to 8 which say: “ (1) And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. (2) And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sum. (3) And they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher? (4) And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. (5) And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. (6) And he said unto them, Be not affrighted; You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; He is risen; behold the place where they laid Him. (7) But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goes before you into Galilee; there shall you see Him, as He said unto you.”
So, imagine how these women must have felt. They had a grim task ahead of them and they were concerned about how they would get the stone moved. But when they saw the stone was already moved, they were afraid. Perhaps they were worried that something might have happened to the body of Jesus. The angel first calmed their fears and then confirmed what Jesus had said before His death: He was alive and well and they would see Him soon.


Matthew 16:21
is one place in Scripture where we see Jesus telling His disciples how He would again live after three days but somehow, they missed that important piece of information. And He didn’t only tell this to the disciples; He also said the same thing to the Jews in the Temple as we see written in John 2:18-22. And they also refused to take Him at His word.


Let’s look at the other things that the stone is telling us today. The women were concerned that it blocked their access to the body of Jesus. But as it turns out they didn’t have to worry. While the stone was designed to keep people from getting in, it was also put in place to keep Jesus from getting out! This stone also speaks of how death keeps our loved ones from us. When those we care most about, we no longer see them here on earth. But this stone was rolled away removing the concern of how the women would get in. For us, it’s confirmation that we will one day be reunited with those who have gone before us in death!


The stone also speaks of the efforts of the enemies of Jesus. The tomb was sealed at the request of the priests and Pharisees to prevent the body of Jesus from being stolen; thereby giving the disciples reason to claim He was alive. But their concerns were for nothing. Little did they know that God had a bigger plan in mind. The faithless religious leaders and the Roman empire were all enemies of Jesus. But today there are supernatural enemies of Jesus. Satan is His enemy and so are the children of Satan. Ever since the Garden of Eden and until the establishment of the eternal kingdom, demonic forces will be at large trying to undermine the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth. But because of Jesus’ resurrection they are already defeated.


I will never forget a conversation Pastor Don and I were having one time about the resurrection. He said that the stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to show the world that He was no longer in the tomb. Think about that. Jesus was already gone when that stone was moved. Jesus didn’t require any act of man to let Him out. His divine nature is what released Him and allowed Him to overcome the sting of death for all of us. Our physical bodies may someday be placed in a grave, but our new bodies will be with Jesus in Heaven until it is time to enter the eternal earthly Kingdom ruled by Jesus. I Corinthians 15:55-58 confirm for us how the death and resurrection of Jesus removed the sting of death.


The stone at the tomb also speaks of anything that separates us from our Lord and Savior. The women saw themselves as helplessly standing before the stone because they believed it would keep hem separated from Jesus. For us today, sin is the stone that separates us from Jesus as we can see in Isaiah 59:1-2. But Jesus welcomes and forgives those who bring their sins to Him. And Romans 8 shows us how those who trust Jesus will never be separated from Him.


Because of Jesus, we can now have a relationship with God our Heavenly Father. We can put all our fears away because the stone of our sin that once separated us from God, is now gone because Christ has conquered death, caused by our sin, through His resurrection. A Jewish friend of mine once said to me that she had no problem believing that Jesus was crucified and that He is even the Messiah, but she had a problem with the resurrection. So, I told her -- and you today -- that without the resurrection, there is not point to the crucifixion. If Jesus stayed dead, there is no victory over death, and He would be just another man that had died. We rejoice today because our Savior is alive and well and one day, we will see Him face to face.


We have a lot to celebrate on this Easter morning. Don’t let the stone of sin keep you from seeing Jesus for all that His is. Share His message of forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life. May God help you to keep your faith strong and give you the courage to share His good news with all who you meet today and every day.


 

 

 

 





 

 

Good Friday

April 15th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


IT IS FINISHED
John 19:30


Tonight, we’re here to remember the suffering and death of Jesus. While all four gospels record the crucifixion, our text this evening is from John 19:30 which says, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost.” Remember it has only been a few days since He was welcomed as the King of Kings into Jerusalem by the crowed of people gathered for the Passover feast. The sound of hosannas had hardly died when they were instead crying “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” One day you’re crowned and the next crucified. And who did they ask to be freed in His place? A murderer named Barabbas. Proof that praise by the world’s standards is always fleeting. If we think about this, we can see that the world hasn’t really changed in 2,000 years. Have any doubts? People who were worshiped as hero’s are being cancelled left and right for saying something that offended someone else. Criminals are being released on the streets to continue to commit crimes again and again. So little progress in society after so many years.


Our Bible gives us seven statement made by Jesus as He was dying. After being nailed to the cross and raised in shame for the spectators to see, He asked God for their forgiveness when He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The Jews had rejected Him as their Messiah because they wouldn’t take the time to understand Him or His mission and instead worked to have Him killed. Yet, He forgave them. How many of us can forgive those who have wronged us?


The next documented statement was to one of two thieves that were crucified with Him. This man showed Jesus his repentance when he admonished the other thief for chiding Jesus about saving Himself if He really was the Christ. This thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus said to him, “Today shall you be with Me in Paradise.” Next, we see the love Jesus had for His mother Mary. After seeing her, He said, “Woman, behold your son.” And because of the unbelief of His siblings, He left the care of His mother with His beloved disciple John when He went on to say to John, “Behold your mother.” From that point forward, John took her into his own home.


It was at noon, the sixth hour, when darkness covered the earth. We aren’t told the exact cause of the darkness, but we do know it was not the result of a solar eclipse as some nonbelievers will try to reason away. Then three hours later, the ninth hour or 3:00 pm, Jesus tells us why because He said in a loud voice, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” He knew that even God Himself couldn’t bear to watch the agony that His Son was experiencing so He took away the daylight.


Now more than nine hours into the agonizing ordeal, Jesus knew He was close to death and needed to moisten His mouth to speak again because He said, “I thirst.” While one of the soldiers soaked a sponge with vinegar and gave it to Him, Jesus said, again in a loud voice, “It is Finished,” followed by “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And then He died.


Let’s take a closer look at the sixth recorded statement, “It is Finished.” Unbelievers and skeptics will look at this statement as words of defeat. These are absolutely not words of defeat; these are words of completion and of conquest. Many people leave this world with so many things never completed. Think of the writer whose pen drops from his hand mid-sentence, or the painter whose brush falls before the painting is done, or the chisel that tumbles from the grip of the sculptor. How many of us have lost loved ones and friends who still had so many things they wanted to accomplish?


The truth is, Jesus is the great finisher. We see in Genesis 2:1 that Creation was finished. Revelation 21:6 tells us that the new heaven and earth are ready when God gives the word for Jesus to return and set up His kingdom. And our text tells us that redemption is now finished with the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God. Read Colossians 2:14-17 and we learn that all the requirements of the law have been completed with the death of Jesus. His death ended all the Old Testament sacrifices as we are told in Hebrews 10:11-18; and as John tells us in I John 1:7, Jesus took upon Himself all the suffering required to pay for our sins. JESUS PAID IT ALL for me and for you.
When He cried out loud that “It Is Finished,” it wasn’t a cry of defeat. NO, it was a cry of victory and He said it loud enough for Satan himself to hear. Satan knows that he is condemned for his deception of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan knows that he and all his demons have been defeated at Calvary. Jesus endured all the mocking and snide remarks from the religious leaders and skeptics at the cross. They dared Him to come down from the cross and save Himself if He indeed was who He said He was. But the truth is that Jesus could have ordered ten thousand angels who were at the ready awaiting His call to save Him, but instead He chose to stay and endure the pain and agony to defeat Satan once and for all.


Because of Him, no Christian should ever feel defeated by Satan. We are all equipped to win the battle because we have a victorious Christ. Our debt of sin is paid in full. We all know how good it feels to finally pay off a long-standing bill. It gives us so much peace of mind to have that burden lifted. Well, believing Christians have eternal peace of mind because Jesus paid our sin debt in full. Remember the thief Jesus saved? If he can have salvation, so can we! All it takes is faith and trust that Jesus is who He said He is, and acceptance of His gift of salvation. Being a good person will not save anyone if they refuse to accept Jesus and allow Him to come into their hearts and make the changes in their life that only He can make. All who put their faith and trust Him will be saved and can rest comfortably in His finished work on the cross.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 10th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

PALM SUNDAY AND SUBMISSION


Text: Luke 19:28-40

Today of course is Palm Sunday or the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem. Our text is from Luke 19:28-40: “(28) And when He had thus spoken, He went ascending up to Jerusalem. (29) And it came to pass, when He was come nigh to Bethpage and Bethany, at the Mount called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, (30) saying, Go ye into the village over against which at your entering you shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him and bring him hither. (31) And if any man ask you, why do ye loose him? Thus, shall you say unto him: because the Lord has need of him. (32) And they who we sent went their way and found even as He has said unto them. (33) And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, why loose ye the colt? (34) And they said, the Lord has need of him. (35) And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. (36) And as He went, they spread their clothes in the way. (37) And when He was come near, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; (38) Saying, Blessed by the King Who comes in the name of the Lord; peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest. (39) And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke Your disciples. (40) And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”


This day is called Palm Sunday because many of the worshipers spread palm branches in the road as a sign of reverence and worship. The people were extremely excited to see Jesus. While we read from Luke today, each of the four Gospels record this event.
When Jesus and His disciples left Bethany to go to Jerusalem, it was about five days before the Passover – the most important Jewish feast commemorating the saving of the Jews from angel of death in Egypt. The city was very crowded with 300,000 people there in anticipation of the upcoming celebration. But today, let’s step back and take a look at how Jesus was actually submitting to the will of His Father.


His disciples didn’t want Him to go to Jerusalem because it had become dangerous. John 10:22-40 tells of an attempt on Jesus’ life. He was confronted by the Jews in the Temple who asked Him to tell them plainly if He was the Messiah; and after He did, they threatened to stone Him. Then after Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, the danger to Him increased. The religious leaders wanted Him gone and were plotting how they could kill him. Yet despite the danger, Jesus knowing His ministry was coming to an end and he would soon die, submitted to the will of God His Father, disregarding the concerns of His disciples.


Jesus also knew that by going to Jerusalem He would be fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Zechariah 9:9 speaks of Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and Daniel 9:24 tells of the His arrival as the King. Yet with all the adulation shown to Him that day, I can’t help but think that He was more focused on the reason for His coming and the upcoming events: there would be the Last Supper with His disciples, the first communion, the trial, the scourging, and then the cross. Yet as troubling as this must have been for Him, He was setting an example for all who will come after Him. Philippians 2:5-7 tells us to “(5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; (7) but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”


Jesus submitted to the will of His father wherein He left the glory of Heaven to become a human just like us! How many of us would be willing to do the same especially knowing what it would entail? Make no mistake. Jesus knew from the beginning what He was headed for the moment He left Heaven. But He did it anyway!


Next let’s consider the submission of the disciples to the will of Jesus. In verses 28 and 29 of our text we see that they followed without question His instructions concerning the colt. Jesus told them to ‘go.’ He is telling us to go today. Our task is to tell others about Him. Look at the colt: he was tied up and they were told to loosen him. Today, sinners are tied up in the bondage of sin, but they can be freed by the Savior. Jesus told them to bring the colt to Him. Bound sinners can be brought to Jesus for total forgiveness. When He told the disciples “if any ask,” reminds us that there will always be public opinions to contend with. Some will join the cause of Jesus, and some will not, fighting all those who do. And finally, there is the purpose of the colt: “The Lord has need of him.” Like the colt, Jesus gives all believers a purpose in life. There are many people in bondage today that are waiting to be freed and we have the source of that freedom who is Jesus Christ!


In verses 35-40 we can see how even the donkey submitted to the will of Jesus. That usually stubborn animal was brought to Jesus, covered with the disciples’ garments, and allowed himself to be used by the Lord to accomplish His mission of salvation and restoration of sinners. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, we see how the storms, the winds, the sea, the fish, the rocks and even animals submitted His will. We must do no less. Because by doing so we will become part of the coming kingdom of Jesus that is beautifully described in Isaiah 11:6-8. The world ruled by Jesus will be of the character and nature that God intended when He created the Garden of Eden. People and animals will coexist and there will be peace. There we will live a life of eternal peace and happiness. No more tears, pain, or death.
Submission in the Christian life is to one another, spouses, citizen to law, and believers to church leaders, but above all this to Jesus. Salvation is a call for each one to surrender their will to His will. By doing so, we will be afforded a place in the eternal kingdom ruled by Jesus.

 So, we must each look within ourselves to ensure that there aren’t things in our lives that prevent us from submitting to the will of our Lord. This world will always present pressures to question or even leave behind our Christian values and beliefs, but we must be strong and continually ask for strength to stand firm. Never forget what Jesus gave up in Heaven or how He willingly took on the shame of the cross in order that we could be restored to the loving relationship God wants with every person.

No sin is too terrible that God won’t forgive if we accept Jesus as the payment for our sin and commit ourselves to loving Him and telling others about Him. By doing so, the rewards throughout all eternity will far outweigh whatever problems we will have to live through until the day we see Him face to face.
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 3rd, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

 

The Most Loved Text on Heaven


John 14:1-6


Today I’d like to share with you the most loved text in the Bible. It’s found in John 14:1-6 which says: “(1) Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (2) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (4) And where I go you know, and the way you know. (5) Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can we know the way? (6) Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”


Most of us are familiar with this passage. But let’s look at it a little deeper. It’s part of the conversation Jesus had with His disciples during the Passover celebration the night of the Last Supper. It occurred just after Jesus had told Peter how he would deny the Lord. Even though Jesus was talking to His disciples, He is giving us a vital message today. All we need do is open our hearts and listen to what Jesus is saying.


The message is very poignant because of the setting -- Jesus would soon be leaving His disciples; and because of its tenderness -- this passage is overflowing with the love Jesus has for His disciples and every one of those who believe in Him today.
Verse 1 gives every believer assurance. ‘Let not your heart be troubled.’ Jesus had just told them that He would be leaving them. Even though He has told them He would leave them many times throughout their time together, they still didn’t fully comprehend what He was saying.


There are so many troubled people in the world today. They’re filled with fear, anxiety, worry, and doubts about the future. Well, God wants to relieve every troubled heart. This is confirmed in I Peter 5:7 which tells us to ‘cast all our cares upon Him; because He cares for us.’ In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said “(28) Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto our souls. (30) For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” And then there’s John 14:27 where Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”


There’s a twofold application of the assurance we are given for the person who has Christ as Savior at the point of death or for those who are left when Christ returns. Jesus was assuring His disciples that God would keep and guide them after He was put to death. And do you know what? That same assurance is given to every believer today.


Verses 2 and 3 of our text speaks of ‘anticipation’ and tells us that there’s a lot to look forward to: many mansions in Heaven, Jesus preparing a place for us; and that death is a departure -- not an end. John 16:7 speaks of the Comforter that Jesus sent first for His disciples and then to us at the point of our salvation. But this could not happen until His mission on earth was completed.

Philippians 1:21 tells us ‘…to die is gain’ because at that point we will realize the complete spectrum of eternal life. II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Today there are a considerable number of professed believers that say, “I want to go to Heaven but I’m afraid to die.” Such a statement exposes a weakness of faith. If you take nothing else from this passage today, take this: death is a transition that will take us to a better place. And the best part of the transition is the opportunity to meet Jesus face to face. He said, ‘…where He is there we may be also.’ Think about that. Right now, Jesus is preparing a place for each one of us in Heaven so that we can be with Him for all of eternity.


And then there is the disciple Thomas who we also know as the doubting Thomas. Remember after the resurrection and Thomas was told by those who had seen Jesus, yet he refused to believe until he saw Jesus for himself. Apparently, Thomas was a skeptic even before the resurrection. We see in verses 5 and 6 that Thomas had concerns about exactly where Jesus was going and how could they know how to get there. In response Jesus tells Thomas that He is the way. Not only for the disciples but for all who believe in Him even today. Because Jesus’ death paid the price of our sin, we are permitted into Heaven if we believe and accept Him as our Savior. There are many who believe that being a kind and good person will get them into Heaven. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. We are all sinners, and our sin must be cleansed before we can be permitted into the presence of God. Jesus is the spotless Lamb who paid the debt our sin caused by offering Himself on the cross. Because that debt has been paid, believers have the keys to the doors of Heaven.


No matter how some may want to spin it, Jesus is the only answer. Jesus alone brings assurance and peace into our hearts as we navigate our way in this mixed-up, crazy sin filled world. It is Jesus alone that gives us hope beyond the grave. Think of that time when we will not only meet Him face to face, but we will also be reunited with those who have gone before us!


Only Jesus can be trusted to help us solve all of life’s problems. Because He died for us, our guilt and fear are gone. It is said that there are over 365 “fear nots” in the Bible. That’s a lot of instances that tell us not to be afraid or to fear not. That’s also very comforting. No matter what we must face, we need not fear because we have an all-powerful God and a loving Savior to help and guide us through whatever Satan decided to put in our path. All we need do is believe and let Him take over.


But the greatest thing that we have to look forward to is eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord. Don’t let fear and worry rob you of the joy that is given to you. And never forget that it’s all because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 20th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

 

 

IF JESUS SHOULD COME TODAY


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 John 2:28



We have been studying Daniel for the past several weeks and have plans to go on to study the book of Revelation. We know in the end that God wins, but have you thought about what would happen if Jesus was to return today? It’s true that Jesus will return to earth someday but only God Himself knows when that will be. There are millions who accept this intellectually, yet they don’t allow this truth to change how they live their daily lives. Each of us should look within ourselves to see if we knew for a fact that Jesus was coming today, what would we need to adjustments in our lives.


There are so many signs that tell us the second coming of our Lord is very near. Ezekiel 37 speaks of the restoration of Israel as a nation before the second coming and that has happened. Ezekiel 38 and 39 present a prophecy that many scholars believe speaks of Russia becoming a militaristic world power wanting to take over the middle east. Well, Russia is a militaristic world power, and it tried to take over the middle east when it invaded Syria and Afghanistan and it currently is involved with Iran that we should be concerned about. There is no question that the world is preparing for the antichrist which we will learn more about when we get to chapter 13 in our study of Revelation. We can’t deny that there is a growing distain for Christianity around the world. In addition, we are seeing signs in nature such as famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers – or many different – places, which are as described in Matthew 24:7. But what will happen when Jesus comes? Let’s look at what will happen when He does return. Our text this morning comes from two places: I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and later I John 2:28.


Let’s start in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 reads: “(13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (meaning believers who have died), that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. (15) For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words. This presents a clear picture of the Rapture.


If Jesus comes today, the Christians raised from the dead first is confirmation that the grave is not a place of despair but rather holds the promise of eternal life. Understand that when Christians die, they go to heaven immediately as Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body (dead) means we are present with our Lord in soul and spirit. The Rapture reunites those gone before with their physical bodies. I John 3:2 tells us that the new body will be like the body of Christ. There will be no more pain, sickness, suffering, limitations, or death.


Should Jesus come today, living believers would escape death. Many -- famous, not so famous, and even infamous -- have died over the years. We’ve learned through our Bible studies of Adam, Abel, Methuselah, Jacob, strong man Samson, and so many others. Many are still dying today. But not all Christians will die. Those who are living when Jesus returns will be caught up and changed to meet Him in the air and reunited with those who have gone before us. Those still living will be translated – meaning changed like the prophets Enoch and Elijah were without experiencing death. And what a blessed promise that is!


Yet, if Jesus should come today, some will likely be ashamed. That’s the second part of our text in I John 2:28 which says: “And now little children, abide in Him, when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” This again points to the Rapture and makes it clear that there will be those who will be ashamed when Jesus returns.


The suddenness of His return will be in the “twinkling of an eye, ” and take the whole world by surprise. Those who are true to Him and living out their faith will have no reason to be ashamed. This is why we must take care that living out our faith applies to all aspects of our life. We need to ask ourselves if, in that moment of His return, will we be stuck in a fit of anger, or reading a borderline book, or perhaps passing on a piece of gossip that we just couldn’t keep to ourselves. We need to be careful about how we live every day of our life and how we conduct ourselves all the time – not just on Sunday morning in church. We need to ensure that we are ready for His coming.
The return of our Savior is a blessed and sobering event. As professing Christians, we can never take it for granted. And we must do whatever it takes to be ready at all times. It will be that moment in time we least expect that will affect our eternity with our Lord. We must be willing to let this truth change our lives and do the hard work to be ready for the moment that Jesus returns.


Only God knows the exact moment that Jesus will return. But we must live as though Jesus is coming back today. If that make us feel pressured, then we need to take the time to make the necessary changes that will have us living our lives in a way that will not cause us to be ashamed at the coming of our Lord. To be Raptured with all the believers on earth at that time would be an indescribable experience. I don’t have words to tell you what that would be like. But what I can tell you is that anything you may feel you have to give up or let go of to make sure you won’t be ashamed or embarrassed before Jesus will fade in comparison to meeting Him with a clear conscience. Live your life expecting Jesus to return at any moment. I promise you; it will be worth it. May God bless you and give you the courage to live your life for Jesus.







 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 13th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

THE JOY OF SALVATION


Psalm 51:12

Last week we looked at why Christians suffer. Today, I thought it would be good to counter that with the joy of salvation. As we go through our lives and get weighted down with things that happen to us along the way, we can lose the joy our salvation brings to us. The joy of salvation comes from knowing God loves us, that we have Heaven to look forward to, that our sins are forgiven because of the Cross, and that while we will have trials, we have help to get us through. Let’s look at how King David lost the joy of his salvation and hopefully we can apply it to our own lives which will allow us to be happier despite the difficulties we encounter as Christians. Our text is from Psalm 51:12 which says: “Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation; and uphold me with Your free spirit.”


The entirety of Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession. We see that David is asking for forgiveness, cleansing of his sin, and restoration of the joy that he had previously found in his relationship with the Lord God. David was the leader of his people politically, spiritually, and even musically. Yet he wrote this psalm asking for forgiveness, and restoration of the joy he had previously known. What did he do to lose it? He had an affair with a married woman (Bathsheba) and set her husband up to be murdered in battle. Even though we will likely never do something quite this bad, we can still identify with the psalm because we also fail in our Christian lives. Why? Because we are imperfect humans in a fallen world. And as we continue our journey, we are often guilty of pushing God away rather than leaning on Him completely. We don’t take time to pray, we forget to be thankful for the blessings we receive, and pride prevents us from asking him for help and guidance. All these things can cause us to lose the joy of our salvation. Let’s focus on just one statement that is found in our text:

 “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation.”


If we do a quick search of all the Psalms we will learn that David had previously known the joy that salvation brings. In Psalm 9:1 David said, “I will praise thee.” Psalm 21:1 says, “The king shall joy in Thy strength.” In Psalm 23:5 we read “…my cup runneth over.” And in Psalm 34:1 David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” So even though David has sinned, he knew if he confessed, God would restore joy to his life.


Why does our salvation give us joy? Well, we are assured of forgiveness of our sins, we know we will go to heaven, there will come a time when we will be in the presence of the Lord for eternity, and we have the savior Jesus Christ to help us through all the ups and downs that we will surely go through in our lives.


The word “Restore” at the opening of our text tells us that David had joy from his salvation but at this point in his life, it was gone. Is David the only person to have experienced this? Absolutely not. Every Christian will experience this in their faith walk. All we have to do is look around and we can see many people are filled with gloom that were once filled with happiness. So many are burdened who once were blessed. Many are sad who were once filled with song. And many are pouting who were once praising. Just as was David, many people today have lost the joy of their salvation and can’t see a way forward to a better day.


David longed to have the joy of his salvation restored and he prayed for it to return. For David and for those today in the same situation, the road back begins with remembering the joy that existed before. It requires confession of sins that were committed along with a recommitment of faith in God and all He provides, and then to live life knowing that God will always come through, no matter what. So, if you or someone you may know has lost the joy of salvation, I would encourage you to read Psalm 32 which is a psalm of the blessedness of forgiveness. It reminds us that even though we are sinners, the Lord will not condemn us, providing our Faith is in Christ who has taken the penalty of our sin upon Himself through the cross. Never forget, it is only the true believer who knows will know real joy in this life.
There are many things that Satan uses to pull us away from God which causes us to lose the joy that our salvation gives. There will be times throughout our lives when we will experience the loss of the joy. When we’re at our lowest and don’t know which way to turn, that’s when Satan swoops in and takes advantage of us. When we find ourselves in these situations, it’s more important than ever to lean on our faith, look to God, and ask Jesus to intervene and restore us to the joy that we know is possible. We can’t ever let our pride get in the way causing us to think that we can get through it on our own. We can’t and we won’t. In these crazy times that we are living in, keep your faith strong and never forget that you aren’t alone. It takes some humbleness and a lot of prayer. But if you turn to God and pray for restoration, the joy that you knew in the past will come to you again.

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 6th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

WHEN CHRISTIANS SUFFER


1 Peter 4:12-19

It seems that no matter where we turn, we see so much suffering in the world and even in our own lives. It can bring us down if we feel there’s no way to get away from it. So, I thought it would be a good time to consider why Christians suffer.

Our text comes from 1 Peter 4:12-19 which say: “  (12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (13) But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His Glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. (14) If you be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on our part, He is glorified. (15) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. (16) Yet if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (17) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall the end be of them who obey not the Gospel of God? (18) And if the Righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (19) Wherefore let them who suffer according to the Will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a Faithful Creator.”

When we made the decision to become a Christian, I can guarantee that none of us thought that is would include suffering. We were more likely thinking that our problems and heartaches are over, and we forward to going to Heaven. But the fact is, suffering, while an unpopular subject, is a real part of life. Every time we pass a hospital, we’re reminded that suffering is real. When we hear the screaming sound of sirens it doesn’t mean that something good is happening. The success of advice columnists, the number of suicide prevention and addictions organizations clearly remind us that a lot of people are suffering. And it’s a fact that Christians will suffer in their lives.

Peter tells us in verse 12 of our text that suffering is not strange to Christians. It’s not an easy road to Heaven that we are traveling. We have trials because we are part of a fallen race. We live in a world where there will be wars and rumors of wars which put many people on edge. There are always floods, tornadoes, earthquakes that happen, and sin runs rampant and often unchecked because Satan’s fight for mankind too often brings violence.

Christians particularly have trails because of the power of Satan. We read in Ephesians 6:11-12:(11)Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Devil himself is our adversary and we see that clearly in what happened to Job in the Old Testament. We shouldn’t be surprised when he attacks us. After all, we are on a collision course with the world. Jesus was despised and rejected by the world because His life was in opposition to the course the world is taking. As a result, through the centuries since Jesus walked as a man, Christians have and will continue to suffer because of our faith.

But Christians trails are different. Verses 13-14 of our text show us that we don’t suffer alone. Other Christians stand with us during our suffering, and even in our darkest hours, Christ is working in us and for us. Romans 8:18 says “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” As Christians, we can always find joy, no matter what trouble we are facing because our Heavenly Father is always taking care of us and preparing us for the future with Him. Look how Paul handled himself when he was in prison. Acts 16:25 tells us that “..at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them.” Then there was an earthquake and eventually the men were freed. With Heaven watching over us, we will get through all the trials we must face.

Verses 15-19 of our text caution us to be careful that we don’t sometimes bring suffering on ourselves. Verse 15 says “…let none of suffer as a murderer, thief, an evil doer, or a busybody.” When we don’t place our faith entirely in Jesus and the cross, Peter is telling us trouble can definitely find us. We say we aren’t murderers, thieves or evil doers but thinks about it….Busybodies murder people’s reputations. Cross words can cut like a knife. Verse 16 goes on to tell us that we should not be ashamed to suffer because this means our faith is strong and being tested. Sometimes Christians engage in habits or practices that bring on suffering.

When this happens, Hebrews 12:6-7 tell us that because the Lord loves us, He disciplines us when we backslide.

Every single human being will be judged for the life they lived, and judgment begins with Believers and their faith. We must commit ourselves to keeping our faith strong and look to Jesus who is our role model on how we should live our lives.

It’s so important for all of us to look within ourselves and determine if we are willing to suffer as Christians. The Christian that can say they never find themselves facing problems or trouble, it could be because Satan already has them. If that’s the case, there must be a lot of prayer and life changes made to get on the right track.

Our challenge this morning is to examine our lives to see if changes are needed, to strengthen our faith, to release Satan’s hold on us, and to avoid bringing suffering on ourselves. And we should never forget that the suffering we go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross for each one of us.

So, examine your life continually to keep your faith strong and Satan at bay. Then when trouble comes, you will be fully equipped to weather the storm.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

February 27th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

 

COURAGE TO SHARE YOUR FAITH


1 Corinthians 9:22


As Christians, we need to have courage. Especially these days. Sharing our faith is a requirement of every Christian. But it can be scary, so I’d like to share with you some pointers for doing this. Our text comes from Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22 which reads: “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” Paul made a purposeful choice not to avail himself of some of his Christians Liberties because he didn’t want to cause some weak Christians to stumble. But he never did anything that would compromise the gospel.


We know we are to share our faith. This charge comes from Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 which says: “(18) And Jesus came and spoke unto them saying, all power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth. (19) Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (20) teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This passage is known as the Great Commission and occurred just before Jesus ascended to Heaven. Sadly, though too many times it’s the Great Omission because fear often keeps us from telling others about Jesus. Personal evangelism is the greatest lack in most churches today. So how can we conquer the paralyzing fear that keeps us from reaching out to people about Jesus? There are three words that can provide the courage to share our faith. They are Compassion, Communication, and Confidence.


We begin with Compassion. Paul said ‘…I am made all things to all men…’ When he was Saul, the proud Pharisee and highly religious man who though himself above all others, would never have spoken these words. Saul hated and tried to destroy the church in its infancy. But on the road to Damascus, after a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, Saul was changed to Paul and became a man filled with compassion for the lost. He actively pursued them, prayed for them, and pleaded with them to come to Christ. The former prosecutor became a preacher of the gospel. Jesus is the supreme example of compassion for all mankind, especially on the cross. Compassion allows us to conquer cowardice and creates courage. When we care enough, we can overcome our fears and share our faith.


Next there is Communication. Paul continued in verse 22: ‘…that I might by all means save some.’ Courage grows with a sanctified strategy. We need to pray for an approach that enables us to communicate with those we want to share our faith. Strategy is important because witnessing, at some point, requires words. In John 4:7, Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Give me drink.” He had a strategy that included the common element of water. In Acts 8:30 Philip said to the Ethiopian after hearing him reading the prophet Isaiah ‘… do you understand what you are reading?’ When we put or faith on the line to talk with others, we must always be kind and understanding so we don’t alienate them.


And finally, there is Confidence. When Paul said ‘…that I might by means save some…’ he expected results. He witnessed in faith. He wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” And he believed it. He stood before kings and judges, and he shared his faith. When he was put in jail, he witnessed to his captors. He expected God to use him in ways that would allow him to share the gospel. When we expect God to use us in reaching lost souls, He will give us the tools we need to do it.


Will we always have success when we witness? No. Even Paul knew this. He said that he might save “some” not “all.” But we should continue our efforts to share our faith. Preparing a strategy or a plan of action can help, but we must also pray for guidance and help from above. The Holy Spirit will provide us with all Compassion, Communication, and Confidence require for our success in sharing our faith. If we approach people with compassion, communicate our compassion in our interactions and show confidence as we reach out to them, we will reach lost people that we meet.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

February 20th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

Five Life-Changing Words



I would like to talk with you about Five Life Changing Words. Our text comes from Isaiah 6:1-8 which says: “(6) In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a Throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. (2) above it stood the Seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts: the whole Earth is full of His glory. (4) And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. (6) Then flew one of the Seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the Altar (7) And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged, (8) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, here am I; send me.”


Let’s start with a short Bible lesson. What Isaiah saw was actually a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The vision places Jesus the Savior in the midst of guilty and lost men, just as he was on the cross between two thieves. And the word Seraphim, which means “fiery ones, is found no where else in the Bible except here in Isaiah. They were stationed at the Throne of God and are leaders in divine worship. The triple repetition of Holy, Holy, Holy is understood by all ages of the Church as connected with the Doctrine of the Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, back to our five life changing words….


We live in a crazy world and our faith is constantly under fire from outside sources. And the fact is, there are millions of Christians out there who aren’t living up to their full potential for many reasons. They’re caught in ruts of unchanging routines; they’re busy but feel their lives are empty; or perhaps they’re active but feel they accomplish very little. So, what’s missing from their lives? It’s likely they may never have experienced the adventure of full surrender to God through Jesus Christ thereby causing them to miss the joy of involvement in the greatest work on earth which is winning people to Jesus. Christians like these need to become like Isaiah and tell God: “Here am I; send me.” What can we learn this morning from Isaiah’s vision and then make these five words life-changers for each of us?
First, as we learn in verses 1-4, we learn that we must see God as He is – not as we would like Him to be. Isaiah lived in a wicked period of his nation’s history. His people had forsaken the Lord; violence filled the land; immorality was rampant; alcohol flowed freely. King Uzziah had been Isaiah’s hope for the nation -- but then he died. What is described in the first four verses of chapter 6 can also be said about the world we live in today. When you look around at all that’s happening, it’s no wonder Christians are feeling helpless.


Isaiah realized his only hope was in the Lord. Do we feel the same way today? Of course. Politicians were unable to solve root problems in Isaiah’s time – and that’s still true today no matter what they may tell you -- only God can do this. It was at this panic point that Isaiah was given a vision of the Lord in all His Holiness. Our Lord’s holiness is revealed all throughout the Bible, but most especially at the cross. And changing views of sin absolutely do not change God’s Holiness. Nor does it change the fact that sin is still sin in the eye of God. No amount of changes this world goes through will change what sin is.


Next, we must see ourselves as we are. As a result of the vision that Isaiah was given, we see in verses 5 – 7 that he experienced an old-fashioned conviction of sin. What does that mean? Well, he was able to see himself as he really was. It takes a lot for all of us to look deep within ourselves and see the kind of person – the good, the bad, and the ugly – as we really are. Because he was made aware of the holiness of the Lord, Isaiah became acutely aware of his own sinfulness. His response: “Woe is me, for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” He had an eye-opening experience that caused him to do some deep self-examination. Each one of us must ask ourselves how long has it been since I measured myself by God’s perfect standard? Have I been excusing my sins? Have I been comparing myself to others to make myself look good? There’s no doubt we have all done this. But there is hope for us. Just look to 1 John 1:9, which says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We can never be perfect in this life or live up to the standards of a just and all-powerful God. The good news is He knows this and loves us anyway and is willing to forgive us if we confess to Him.


Finally, we must see the World as God sees it. In verse eight we hear God asking “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us (Us being another reference to the Trinity)? A lost and dying world was the reason for God’s call to Isaiah. It’s at that point that Isaiah stepped up and said, “Here am I; send me.” These five words changed his life and launched him on a great adventure. Isaiah would spend the rest of his life telling people about God. The same kind of conviction happened with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus in Acts chapter 9 when he encountered Jesus as he was heading out to kill Christians. Saul, who later was renamed Paul, experienced a true conviction of his sins, causing him to surrender himself completely to Jesus -- and look what Paul was able to accomplish.


The challenge to each of us today is to ask God to allow us to see lost people as He sees them. Then, if we are willing to step up with the same five words that Isaiah used, -- Here am I; send me - we too can experience a life changing event that will relight a fire within us to do everything that we can to make a difference in this world. When I say world, I don’t mean you have to travel great distances. You can make amazing differences in your circle of friends and associates by how you stand of for Jesus and conduct your lives in all actions you take. Should you make this commitment, I guarantee that your life will never be boring again.

Think on this and may God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

February 13th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Pastor Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

 

 

PERFECT PEACE
Text: Isaiah 26:3

With all the chaos going on in this world, I though it would be good to talk about peace. Peace is the longing in every heart. Of course, we would like to have no stress, confusion, disagreements, and uncertainty in our lives, but the fact of the matter is, that won’t happen in this lifetime. But our Bible gives us some instruction on how we can find peace in this life. Isaiah 26:3 tells us: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” In other words, when we trust in Jesus and keep our minds focused on what He has done at the cross, He will give us the inner peace we need to survive this earthly life. The Bible presents three dimensions of peace: peace with God, peace of God, and World peace.


The first, Peace with God, comes to us immediately upon salvation. Romans 5:1 says: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The moment we accept Jesus as our personal savior, we are given a peace that can carry us through the most difficult of times. Doesn’t mean there will never be heartache, pain, confusion, or stress. It just means that when we focus on Jesus and what He has done for us, we will be able to draw on the strength His love gives us to navigate our way through the storm that we may be facing. An interesting aside is that Peace with God was the title of Billy Graham’s first best-selling book.


Second, the Peace of God, comes to us when we totally surrender our lives to Him and allow Him to be the guide in everything we do. Philippians 4:6-8 tell us: “ (6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Paul’s advice to us is to turn our worries into prayers. When you find yourself worrying about anything, stop and pray. God’s peace is different from the world’s peace. It’s not found in positive thinking, or the absence of conflict, or in good feelings. Real peace comes from knowing that because God is in control, our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom is sure, our destiny is set and our victory over sin is certain Also, we must be mindful of what we expose ourselves to and let occupy our minds will determine our words and action. Always working to replace harmful input with wholesome material while continuing to study our Bibles and keeping an active prayer life.


The third peace dimension, World peace, will not be fully realized here on earth until Christ returns to establish His kingdom. We read in Isaiah 9:6-7: (6) For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This glorious promise pertains not only to the first advent, but to the second advent as well. The pronoun “us” refers to Israel from Abraham through to the Messiah Jesus. The government upon His shoulder is the coming Kingdom Age when Christ will rule and reign over the entirety of earth. Then verse seven says: “(7) Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.”

This verse continues the promise above but lets us know that it will take time upon Christ’s return for the Kingdom to increase to fill the entire world. Revelation chapters 19-20 explain this in greater detail. And it will become a time when the entire world finally knows REAL peace.


But the good part is that until we get to that time, we aren’t left to ourselves to find peace. We have the perfect source of peace right now: God and Jesus Christ our Savior. Recall what we just read from Isaiah which is backed up by David in Psalm 29:11: “The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” God gives His own strength and peace to all who will believe and trust Him! And Paul tells us in Romans 15:33 that our God IS the God of Peace.

Perfect peace in our lives is a picture of what is to come. It comes by focusing on the Lord which will allow us to deal with the storms we face but won’t allow those storms to rob us of the peace God gives us. Our faith in Christ enables us to overcome the stresses because it enables us to drive away the fear we feel, thereby letting our faith give us the victory, which is our salvation. Isaiah is an excellent guide for us. He looked forward to a better time by focusing on future blessings rather than present trials. He envisioned people singing of salvation rather than their sorrows. He foresaw a great revival and he refused to be overcome by problems of his time. The theme of his prophecy is best be described as “the best is yet to come.”


Charles Spurgeon was an 1800’s English Baptist preacher who was highly influential among Christians of various denominations and was known as the Prince of Preachers. His writings are very informative even today. I have read a few of his books and highly recommend him. He asked two questions which we should all ask ourselves when we’re facing trials that threaten to overtake us: (1) Why are we weak when we have divine strength available? and (2) Why are we troubled when he Lord’s own peace is ours?


Is this always easy to do? No.

 But as we grow and mature in our faith, we will find that when storms and trials hit, instead of reacting with fear and panic, we will instead react by reaching out to God and trusting that Jesus will carry us through.


 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

February 6th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 


 

 

WHAT IF JOHN 3:16 WERE NOT TRUE?


Text: John 3:16

Good morning. This morning I’d like to talk with you about one verse in the Bible: John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”


We all know this verse. It’s probably the first verse we all memorized as children. And no doubt, it’s the most familiar verse in the entire Bible. Martin Luther called it the little Bible because it sums up the entire Bible in a few short words. And it’s often quoted to people as they are facing death.


Let’s look at the setting in which the verse was given. A Pharisee named Nicodemus, came to Jesus in the dark of night to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus was also a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling body of Israel. Despite opposition of Jesus from the other Pharisees and Sanhedrin, Nicodemus saw something in Jesus that made him want to know more about this Man who was preaching to thousands. Jesus took the opportunity during this visit with Nicodemus to explain God’s plan of salvation for a fallen world. Jesus gave Nicodemus the most famous verse in the entire Bible – John 3:16. But where would we be if this great, familiar verse weren’t true?


The verse starts with “For God so loved the world…” If God had not loved the world the earth would still be a dark planet hurtling through space without any hope. Without His love, there would be no hope at all. We would have nothing to live for and no purpose to our existence. Every death would be the end of personal hope and every grave a place of despair. We would live in a world where our prayers would be nothing but useless cries to the skies.


But God does love the world! How do I know? Well look around. Everything we see speaks of His love. The sun rises every day, and the moon shines every night according to His plan. The seasons change on schedule every single year – with each one providing us with its own special beauty that man is incapable of creating.


Look at the face of a child. The innocence and joy that life hasn’t yet taken away. There is nothing that compares to the laughter of a child! Every child is created in His own image. But the greatest demonstration of His love is the cross.


Next the verse says “…that He gave his only begotten son…” What if God had not given us His Son? For sure His love would be frustrated without the cross because of our sin. You see, our sin is what separates us from a loving and just God. He had to find a way to take away that sin and He did so by giving us His Son. What parent in this world would be willing to do the same?


Real love always demands giving. Love without giving is selfish and isn’t real love. Couples marry then work to give of themselves for the relationship. Parents give themselves to their children to raise them with values and morals. They anticipate their death, so they buy insurance. This giving is not only applicable in marriages but also in relationships and friendships that are most important to us all. We must give of ourselves when listening to cares and concerns of our friends. And sometimes we give of our labor when helping friends with tasks they can’t do alone.


Our God has given us His Son to redeem us of our sins, and apart from this, there would be no salvation for this sinful world.
And then we read “…that whosoever…” What if God’s offer of salvation were not to the “whosoevers”? Let’s look at that word. It’s a word that is general in nature, yet it is also particular. In general, it embraces everyone. But it’s particular because it touches each one individually. It reaches out to everyone personally.


Suppose God had offered salvation only to the rich, the healthy and the educated? Imagine how many people would be shut off to eternal salvation. But God didn’t do that. He calls all people everywhere, individually to trust Him. God doesn’t care about your skin color, social standing, how much money you make, what college you attended or didn’t attend, what town you live in or how big your house is.
The next part of the verse says “…believeth in Him…” God calls each and every one of us individually to trust in Him. Just because Christian parents may have raised you, doesn’t automatically grant you salvation. And just because you came from a family that didn’t now God at all doesn’t cut you off from salvation. We must individually accept Him and believe in the Christ who died for us. He wants us to have faith that He means what He tells us through His word. Faith is the key that unlocks salvation’s door.


What if God’s offer were not based on faith alone? We would be lost because there isn’t a job we could do, couldn’t work to earn enough money, and no amount of learning could ever redeem us from our sins and make us worthy to stand in the presence of the all-powerful just and loving God that created us and the universe in which we live.


Finally, the verse ends with “…shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Remember the dying thief alongside Jesus on the cross. What did he get for having faith in Christ? Eternal life. We see this in Luke 23: “And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto you, today shall you be with Me in Paradise.” This wasn’t a question; it was a statement of fact by the Savior Himself. And this shows us that we all can be saved by faith in Jesus Christ because He alone gave up His perfect and sinless life to redeem all who will trust in Him. His sacrifice alone is what became our substitute to satisfy a sin debt so we could be Him and love Him as much as He loves us. In return for that faith and trust, we get to be His children for eternity. And as His children, we are heirs to all He owns. We have a future to look forward to that unbelievers can’t imagine. Truth be told, even we can’t fully comprehend what we have in store for us. Our human minds simply can’t fathom what is ahead.


So you see, we can rest easy because John 3:16 is true! It tells us that all who have faith and believe are saved by Christ. This is the message that we must take to the world. We need to tell them what Jesus did for us and what we have to look forward to when we pass from this life. Everyone is going to die. What remains to be seen is where everyone is going to end up. Are we going to trust in God and accept that Jesus redeemed us on Calvary, or are we going to be banished to Hell with Satan and his followers? It’s every individual’s choice.
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 23rd,  2022

Contributed by Dr. Craig Nelson

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022


 

 

The Call To Worship God In Spirit And Truth
 


Summary: An insightful look and the reason for Worship and its Benefits to the Believer
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24 ESV)

Definition: The word ‘WORSHIP’ is used as both a noun and a verb in the New Testament. The Worship of God is not defined anywhere in Scripture. It has been said the praise is thanking God for what He has done and worship is thanking Him for who He is.

1. As a Verb, it means "to make sincere respect, homage, worship, adoration, reverence, awe, devotion, humbly, serve, honor, submission."

2. As a Noun, it denotes "an object of devotion worship" "to will-worship" (Vine's)

3. In the Old Testament when the word is used towards God it means "to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down."

I. Jesus is the Proper Object of Our Worship.

A. When Jesus accepted worship He was admitting and declaring Himself to be the Creator of all things; He is

totally worthy of all worship. (Matt 2:11,14:33, 28:9-10,16-17; Luke 24:51; John 9:37-38; Heb 1:6; Rev 22:3)

B. Even the angels are instructed to worship Jesus (see Heb 1:6). In Heaven the Elders and the living

creatures worship Jesus (see Rev 4:9 11).

C. The Bible declares that everyone shall worship Him (see Rev 15:4 and Phil 2:10 22).

II. Expressions of Worship

Most of our expressions of worship are either directed to Jesus or in His name.

A. Worship is the "key" to God's presence and the "secret" to true joy and happiness.
(Luke 4:8; John 4:23)

B. Worship is the single most important thing a Christian can learn to do. (Psalm 100:4-5)

C. Worship is expressing our love to God for who He is, what He’s said, and what He’s doing. (Rom 12:1-2)

D. Worship is our response to the revelation of God’s love for us (John 4:24)

E. We can only worship the Lord to the degree that we love and are surrendered to Him. (Heb 12:28)

F. True worship comes out from walking daily in humility.

(Matt 6:34; 1 Peter 5:7; Phil 2:4, 4:6)

G. The goal of worship is the enjoyment of God. (Gen 9:13)

III. Divine Invitation

A call to worship is an invitation, a summons, for the church to turn their attention toward God.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20)

“Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!” (Ps 3:8)

A. We Can Draw Near in Confident Boldness Before the Throne of God

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:14–16)

The blood of Jesus bought the right to “come boldly to the throne of grace” so that Christians “may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The word “come” means to approach and draw near in an attitude of worship. The word “boldly” means to be out-spoken, frank, and blunt, with confidence and assurance. Christians are now welcome to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” and enter into the intimacy of His inner chamber “through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb 10:19-22 NKJV).

B. We Must Come Before God in Humility

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” (Ps 5:7–8)

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Ps 95:6)

C. We Must Come with a Heart full of Thanksgiving

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Ps 9:1–2)

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

B. We Are to Have a Heart full of Joy!

“Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” (Ps 66:1–4)
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Ps 100)

**Praise and worship is a powerful part of our walk with God, and is appropriate for every day and every hour! (1 Ch 23:30; Ps 59:16, 92:2)

IV. The Attitudes of Worship

Worship is always a NOW act flowing from a genuine and vital relationship with Jesus. It is our expression of extravagant love towards Love Himself.

God must be worshipped in the beauty of holiness because He is Holy.

(1 Ex 15:11; Chron 16:29; 1 Sam 2:2; Ps 29:2,96:9; 1 Thess 4:3,7-8)
A. True Worship is both Expressed and Released

“…and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:38 ESV)

1. Brokenness (Ps 51:17; Jer 23:29; Mark 12:30)

2. Humility (Isa 57:15; 1 Peter 5:5)

3. Love (Deut 6:5, 10:12; Matt 22:37; 1 Jn 4:16)

4. Giving (Ex 23:15, 34:20)

B. True Worship will Flow out of Proper Attitudes.

The key to maintaining the attitude of worship is: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

V. Ten Benefits of Praise and Worship

1. It Invites the Presence of God (2 Chron 5:11-14; Ps 139:7)

2. It Draws People To God (John 12:32)

3. It Helps Us Find Rest and Satisfaction for Our Soul (Ps 63:1-5; Matt 11:28–29)

4. It Helps Lift Us above Our Problems (2 Chron 20:15-20; Ps 27:4)

5. It Brings Us Deliverance from Our Enemies and Drives Away Depression (Ps 18:3, Isa 61:3)

6. It Helps Us to Receive the Promises Of God (Isa 11:10, 49:6)

7. It Brings Liberty (Acts 16:25-26)

8. It Brings Joy (Ps 16:11, 100:4)

9. It Helps to Strengthen Our Faith (Rom 4:20)

10. It Helps to Bring Us Closer to God (James 4:8)

VI. Begin the Journey!

Extravagant worship is the first step that will begin the journey to having an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe! We are going to spend eternity worshipping God - just as the Angels!

“And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God. They said, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!" (Rev 7:9-12 NLT)
God is a relentless pursuer and lover who desires to ravish His people with His love. We must become relentless in our pursuit of His passion and presence. He is looking for radical worshippers. A person can only worship in the degree of their revelation. Worship takes us deeper into the revelation of who God is. The deeper we move into worship, the greater degree of the revelation of His glory and the more we will enjoy Him. As a result, we will become a greater reflection of His beauty in a world that is lost in a darkness that is only getting darker.

Worship truly is a way of life. Not just worshipping but being a worshiper by living a life that is pleasing to Him, no matter where we are or what we are doing. The secret to greater intimacy with Jesus is learning to focus on Him - breath by breath - and what He has done for each of us - not on what we can do for Him!

Every Christian can become lost in the ecstasy of intimate embrace! They can press into Jesus and let Him hold them so close that He takes their breath away. Every individual Christian takes His breath away every moment of every day. The Cross proves He loves so much it hurts. God isn’t mad anymore. He is madly in love!

It is time to come to that place in worship where we begin to enjoy Him (because He enjoys them!) and are totally overwhelmed with His presence - His beauty - His majestic splendor – His infinite love. He desires to love us so intimately that the waves of passion from His flaming heart will make a casual observer blush.
A. Become Dry Wood

Our churches must become places of extravagant worship and teaching - places of training and mentoring in order to empower and send out a bunch of revolutionaries to take every city for the Kingdom. Shepherds must teach what it means to be truly loved by God, not just as His servant but as His Bride. Christians need to ask God to make them dry wood so that His fire may burn brightly and consume them and every life they touch.

It is time to cry out for God to move with each breath, not just when He speaks! We must break the chains that hold us back from knowing Him more so that we can be released into the anointing that breaks every yoke! If we are ready and willing, then we must pray the Gethsemane prayer; “.. not MY will but YOURS be done..” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

If we want to be just like Jesus and flow freely in the anointing and power of the Resurrection to proclaim His liberty to the lost, heal the sick, and mend the broken hearted (See Luke 4:18-19) – then we must also be willing to share in the fellowship of His suffering. (See Phil 3:10) Dying to self is no easy task, and it will take a lifetime!

VII. The Best is Yet to Come

Never, ever, forget the beautiful God wants only the best for you! He has already laid out His plan:
“For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” (Jer 29:11-13 LB)
“When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen” (Eph 3:14-21 NLT).

No matter what has - or will - happen in your life - no matter what you have done or anything you will ever do - can stop Him from being head over heels and madly in love with you for He takes great “delight in you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride
” (Isa 62:4-5). The inheritance of God - the Dowry of the Bridegroom King - has been guaranteed (See Eph 1:11-14).

Jesus longs for you to go deep into the Inner Chamber so that He can consume you with His love. Experiencing a deeper relationship with the Creator of the Universe is possible! If you are ready for more - and desire to journey deep into the Beauty Realm and loving arms of the Savior - then it is time to make Him your ENTIRE life - not just a “part” of it. It is time to fall more madly in love with the beautiful God.

 

The Bridal Chamber of deep intimacy – the secret place of God - is hidden within the wilderness. Coming to the end of self is when it is found.

It is no longer the time to weep tears of sorrow. You have been forgiven! His shed blood has paid the price for your redemption! It is time to weep tears of joy! It is time for dancing in the streets! It is time to jump and shout in celebration for the Bridegroom is coming!
Blow the trumpets in Zion!
Sound the alarm! Make way for the beautiful God because the day of His appearing is near! Amen!

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 16th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022


 

 

 

 

CHRIST AFTER COMMUNION


Last week I talked to you about Christ and Communion. This week I’d like to share with you Christ after Communion. Our text comes from Matthew 26:30-42 which says:

 “ (30)And when they had sung a hymn, they went out. (31)Then said Jesus unto them, all you shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad (this comes from Zech 13:7). (32)But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. (33)Peter answered and said unto Him, though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended. (34)Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto you, that this night before the rooster crows, you shall deny Me thrice.’ (35) Peter said unto Him, though I should die with You, yet will I not deny You. Likewise, also said all the disciples. (36)Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and said unto the disciples, ‘Sit you here while I go and pray yonder.’ (37)And He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (38)Then said He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with Me. (39) And he went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed saying, ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will’. (40) And He came unto the disciples, and finding them asleep, and said unto Peter, ‘What, could you not watch with Me one hour? (41) Keep watch and pray, so that you may not give into temptation. For the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ (42) He went away again the second time, and prayed saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Your will be done.’”


Two thousand years later Christians everywhere continue to break bread and share the cup that began with Jesus and His disciples around a table. What we know today that the disciples didn’t fully understand what the first Communion was -- a preview of the cross. But for us it is a memorial to the salvation work of our Savior Jesus Christ. It gives us the opportunity the remember His death and to anticipate His return to earth to set up His Kingdom. We also see three pictures of Jesus in this first Communion.


First in verse thirty we see a picture of the Singing Savior. They sang a hymn and went out. What kind of hymn did they sing? Jesus had given thanks for the bread and the cup so it’s likely they sang hymns from Psalms 115 -- which is praise to God Who is our help and shield; and Psalm 118, a psalm of thanksgiving for the Lord’s salvation.


That Jesus was thankful during Communion is a mystery of grace. He was thankful for being able to go to the Cross. He was thankful for the spit, the spite, and the spikes He had to endure. He was thankful for being the source of salvation that is available to all of us by enduring the cross. And that’s why every communion service must give us a song of praise to Jesus for paying for our sins with His blood.

 Revelation 5:9 says, “And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the Book, and to open the Seals thereof; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your Blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation.”

This tells us that even all of Heaven sang -- and continues to sing of the salvation sacrifice of Jesus!


In verses 36-38 of our text, we see a picture of a sorrowing Jesus after the Communion service. As they left the house and entered the garden, we see how Jesus began to realize what He was about to take on. He recognized the pain, shame, and suffering ahead and prayed to the Father to take it away if it was possible. Nevertheless, He knew He had to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 53 and become the suffering servant. There will be people who will leave churches all over this country today and will face sorrows that they never expected would come nor would ever be able to handle. But every one of us can take comfort in the fact that when we must deal with unspeakable sorrow during our life, we have a sorrowing Savior that understands and cares. Charles Spurgeon, often referred to as the Prince of Preachers, was an English Baptist preacher who lived in the late 1800s and is still highly influential today among Christians, once wrote “God is with us in Sorrows. There is no pang that ends the heart. I might almost say, not one which disturbs the body, but what Jesus Christ has been with you in it all.”


Finally, we see the picture of the Submissive Savior in verse forty-two of our text. Even though Jesus had asked that the cup be taken away, He said, “…if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Your will be done.” As it was most certainly for Jesus, it is for us today that the four most difficult words to pray are Thy Will Be Done. For Jesus it meant submission to the pain and cruelty of the cross. These words express the submissive heart in every prayer we pray. Each of us should ask ourselves how long has it been since our prayers contained these words? We spend a lot of prayer asking for God to do this and do that, but do we always let Him know that we will submit to His will and let His will be done? When we don’t get answers to prayers perhaps this is the reason why. How long has it been since we truly and completely submitted ourselves to God’s will?


Our challenge today is to be like Jesus after communion with a song in our hearts because of His love for us. And we should be ever mindful of the picture of Christ that is developing in us for others to see.

 Pastor Don often said that we may be the only Bible people we meet ever see.

 Does the picture we present show the love and kindness of Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 9th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022


 

 

 

 

Christ and Communion
Matthew 26:26-29

Our sermon this morning is about Christ and Communion and comes from Matthew 26:26-29
which say's:


“(26) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘take, eat; this is My body.’

 (27) And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink ye all of it

(28) for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

 (29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom’.”


There is no question the disciples didn’t fully understand the meaning of what Jesus was telling them so let’s look closer at how Jesus was preparing them for what was to happen.


The world was approaching the Hour of the Ages which Jesus referenced in Matthew 26:18 with His response to the disciples’ question on where they would celebrate the Passover meal.


“And He said, Go into the city
(They were to go into Jerusalem as they were currently in Bethany) to such a man (who the man was is not known; some think he was the father of John Mark, who wrote the Gospel of Mark), and say unto him, The Master says, My time is a hand (this is the statement that carries with it the meaning of the ages); I will keep the Passover at your home with my disciples (What an honor for that family and that house!).” When He said, “My time is at hand” He was of course referring back to what he told his disciples in verse 2 of chapter 26: “You know that after two days is the Feast of the Passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be Crucified (The Holy Spirit had revealed to Jesus that Judas would betray Him).”


This Passover was the last one He would share with His disciples. It was also the last Passover ever, because the shedding of the blood to spare mankind from the darkness of death was ultimately and finally fulfilled at the cross. And they also shared the very first Communion service which gives us the covenant -- meaning promise -- of eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.


Let’s look at the communion service, also referred to the Lord’s Supper. First, we are to remember the body of Christ. Verse 26 of Matthew shows us that Jesus told His disciples to take, eat; this is My body. This is a symbol of that which He would do and become; He was the “bread” and consequently, “blessed.” Likewise, His body was “broken at Calvary; and He gives the results of this action at Calvary to all who will believe in Him.


Now the disciples were most assuredly confused about this because they could see His body and they could see that He was in His body. Because we have the benefit of hindsight and the Word of God to study, Luke 22:19 clears this up for us when he writes: “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.” His body was prepared by God in order that it be a perfect sacrifice. We are to remember His death on the cross at Calvary because that is what bought our redemption. We celebrate this every time we celebrate Communion. Yes, celebrating a death -- especially such a horrific one – is a human contradiction. But is a celebration because it bought our freedom from eternal damnation.


What should we remember about His body at Communion? Philippians 2:5-8 say: “(5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; (7) but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; (8) and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” In other words, Paul is telling us that Jesus is our supreme example in that He gave up His deity and all that Heaven afforded Him -- including his co-participation with the other members of the Trinity in the expression of the Divine Essence. Instead of asserting His rights to the expression of the Essence of Deity, our Lord waived His right to it, and became a servant in the body of a human. But just because He did that, He didn’t exclude His position of Deity in becoming a man, He laid aside the “expression” of Deity -- He never lost “possession” of it. In the eyes of men, He was brought low, but willingly became obedient to death. He was always the Master of Death but here He subjected Himself to death. The character of His death was one of disgrace and degradation, which was necessary for men to be redeemed, allowing Him to pay the terrible sin debt and do so in totality. Christ endured the pain of the Cross in His body for each one of us.


What should we remember about His blood at Communion? Again, the disciples were confused because they knew His blood was in Him and not in the cup that He was offering. Matthew 26:27-28 tell us that the cup with the wine is a symbol of His shed blood at Calvary. His death at Calvary settled forever the sin debt, and for all of humanity, or at least for all who will believe--as is obvious, the Lord’s Supper ever directs the believer to the Cross. We’re shown this throughout the New Testament. Romans 5:9 shows us that Christ’s blood was shed to pay for our sins. We see in 1 Peter 1:18-19, His blood redeemed us and 1 John 1:9 shows us that His blood cleanses us from sin. And in Revelation 1:5, we are told that Christ’s blood proves His love for us. By remembering His blood at Communion our love for what He did for us is increased.


The communion service reminds us that there is a new life for everyone, and that death is simply a transition from this life into the Kingdom of Christ. There will come a time when we will see Jesus face-to-face and be with all those who have gone before us. So you see, the Communion Service or the Lord’s Supper, not only causes us to look back to the Cross, but it allows us the peace of mind to look forward to the Kingdom of God and the promise that it brings. It’s also a time for each one of us to search our heats and confess our sins and to celebrate our wonderful future with Christ in His kingdom.


When we Remember the Cross, we become aware of our sins. It is incumbent on each of us to respond to the love that makes our forgiveness possible. We must ask ourselves if we’re doing that and making it known others in the life we live. Our response will determine if we will be with Christ in His kingdom forever.
 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 2nd, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2022


 

 

Title: How to “Practice” Your Faith


Text: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

Part of this mornings message is taken from
Scripture Reading: James 1:22-27 and Hebrews 11:1
which speaks of faith.

James 1:22-27
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearer's only,
deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer,
he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (a mirror)

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
 

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein,
he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart,
this man's religion is vain.

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows
in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

There is no doubt that James, in addition to writing this epistle under "devine inspiration"
was also drawing on a rich background of experience. James was a pastor, and he had had opportunity
to observe firsthand the different ways in which Christians practiced their faith. He had seen some of the people
develop disappointing and even dangerous habits in regard to their “profession” and their “practice.”

In our text, James made a proposition, provided an illustration, and drew an application about how to practically apply one’s faith.

James made a proposition (1:22). In the previous passage, specifically in verse 19,


James told us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

He was talking about hearing the Word of truth.
But now he is calling our attention to a great danger of which we must be aware in this “swift hearing.”
We are not to make the hearing of the Word an end in itself.

James was talking about Christians who love to hear the Word but never get around to putting it into practice.
Christians fall into two categories in regard to this issue. Some Christians faithfully listen to the Word and even feel a “spiritual high”
because of what they hear, but they never apply the truth of God’s Word to their lives.

Other Christian.  distressingly small percentage of the whole receive the Word with joy
and allow it to be disseminated into their life and behavior. The verb tense in James’s exhortation is significant.
He said, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.”

The tense is present imperative,
which suggests continuity "Continuous"

Literally, it means “keep on being doers of the word.”

1 Peter 1:25
"The Word of The Lord endures forever."
This Word is distinct from creation, and has a voice that is other than our own. Everything else on earth and in heaven will pass away, but The Word of The Lord will always stand.

No one becomes an accomplished  “doer of the word” in one action.

A process of development and growth is involved.

Many Christians are like posts instead of trees. If we plant a tree, it begins to grow;
if we set a post, it begins to decay. “Doers of the word” naturally take on the characteristics of their Lord.

One day an elderly Christian woman was getting on an elevator in a large department store.
The elevator was dimly lighted, and to make conversation, she said to the elevator operator,
“You don’t get much sunshine in here, do you?”
The operator replied,
“Only what folks like you bring in, ma’am.”

Thus “doers of the word” are those who take the truth of God and, in the power of the Holy Spirit,
translate it into everyday, practical illustrations of what God CAN and WILL do in one’s life.

James provided an illustration (1:23–25).

The illustration is that of a man looking at himself "glancing" in a mirror and walking away,
immediately forgetting what he looks like. Christians who merely “hear” the Word of God do something similar to this.
They hear the Word but soon forget it, and it has no influence on them.

James implied that the Word of God is like a spiritual mirror to a person’s soul.
When Christians look into the mirror of the Word, they see the correct and complete delineation of their souls.
They see the areas that need to be altered or cleansed. The mirror of the Word has a dimension that is not found in an ordinary mirror.

God’s Word not only shows us where we are;
it shows what we can become (v. 25).

There is an interesting play on words here. The word in verse 24 translated “beholdeth” suggests only a passing glance,
without any serious intention to profit from what he sees. But the word translated “looketh into” in verse 25 has the sense
of looking carefully, closely, seriously. The same word is used in John 20:5 to describe John as he stooped down to look into the empty tomb. The word suggests a searching inspection of something.

Why did James call this “mirror of the Word”
the “perfect law of liberty”?

He called it the “law” because it is the standard by which the Christian life is regulated and directed.
And by “liberty,” James meant that it is a law that gives spiritual freedom to those who bring themselves under its authority.

James drew an application (1:26–27).
He gave three examples of the practice of the Word.
First, he mentioned “the bridling of the tongue” (v. 26). James was talking about carelessness in conversation.  To bridle is to restrain,
to discipline, to curb. The imagery he used indicates that the tongue is like an unruly horse that needs a bit and bridle to check its wild tendencies.

In verse 27 James gave two more examples of practicing one’s faith: having compassion for the needy and living an unstained life.
He did not give an all-inclusive definition of religion here. Rather, he was simply saying that the “externals” of worship  are unacceptable to God unless they are accompanied by loving service and a holy life. Jesus said that we are to be in the world but not of the world.

The proper place for a ship to be is in the water, but if the water gets into the ship, it sinks.
The proper place for Christians to be is in the world, but if the world gets into Christians,they sink to the depths of unhappiness and sin.
It is only as believers practice their faith that they are set in contra-distinction to the world and its standards.

“What is faith?"


Hebrews 11:1
It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see.
(NLT) vs. 6 …
without faith it is impossible to please God.”

God wants us to possess faith.

We need to build our faith and strengthen it through practice.

A lot of us say I’ve got faith.
I’ve got faith in this.
I’ve got faith in that.
I’ve got faith in Jesus.

Well where is the practice of it?

We’ve been granted a measure of faith and when a circumstance or situation arises or a storm is on your horizon what do we do?
We practice that faith, and if we don’t practice that faith we won’t be able to stand on that firm foundation because our faith will be weak.
We’ve got to practice it.

We need to build our faith and strengthen it through practicing our faith and by getting in a place where faith is preached, where faith is.

How do we use (practice) our faith?
Do we use it like a spare tire- used only in case of emergency!


Do we use your faith like a wheel barrow- must be PUSHED!
Or
Do we use it like a greyhound bus- Ridden only when it goes your way!


Or perhaps we use our faith like BRYL- CREAM- a little dab will do you!

Whatever, kind of faith we have, it is of no VALUE unless we are using it to PLEASE God.

Because, Faith without works is DEAD!

James 2:26 (KJV)

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.

Luke 6:46 the Lord speaks saying, why call me, Lord, Lord, and Do not the things I say?

You have to practice your faith.
A doctor practices medicine, an attorney practices law, a Christian must practice faith.

The word practice means: to live out, to perform, to apply and rehearse and to act upon.
Those are all action words. My favorite is to live out.

So, how do we use our faith; practice it;  live out our faith?

We must use or practice our faith as:

1. A WORSHIPPING FAITH Heb. 11:4 (Gen.4)

vs. 4 “it was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God…

God accepted Abel’s offering to show that he was a righteous man. And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his FAITH.”

It wasn’t enough for Abel to say he believed in God. He heard the voice of God and he used the faith that he had in God.
He practiced his faith. He put into action what he believed.

James 2:14-17
King James Version
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead,


God challenges us and encourages us to start living out your faith today by walking day by day in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As much as we tell people we are Christian let them see it
MORE & MORE.


We must prepare our Hearts, Mind and Soul for The Lords second coming for His Bride
"The Church"
...............................
Matthew: 14:22-33
22 Immediately Jesus made the diciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
Later that night, he was there alone,


24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.


25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.


26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost, they said, and cried out in fear.


27 But Jesus Immediately said to them" "Take courage! It is I, Be Not Afraid.


28 "Lord if it is you, Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29 "COME" He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the wather and came to Jesus.


30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink,Cried OUT! "Lord, Save Me!"


31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith," He said, "Why did You doubt?"


32 and when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.


33 Then those who were in the boat Worshiped Him
Saying, "Truly You, are The Son of God."
 


We read the Word of God.. But are we really reaching out to grab hold of God's hand?

Applying God's Word means allowing God to move in.
A trial comes along, and along with it comes the winds waves of
despair,
doubt,
fear,
uncertainty..
All traits which are NOT of God
but of the evil one

Matthew: 14:22-33
Is saying, take My Hand. Don't look AWAY,
He informs us perfectly here, that He NEVER Leaves Us and is right there when we call upon His Name.

Trust God, even when He is silent.
Even in the midst of tragic circumstances, God is present, even when it is hard to see or perceive him.

Palm 46 says:
God is our refuge and strength, a "very present help" in trouble.


Let's Get OUR HEARTS, MINDS AND SOULS be Receptive, Quick and Willing to Receive His Abundant Blessing.



 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

December 26th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: Light and Wisdom from the Wise Men


Pastor Don’s sermon this morning is entitled Light and Wisdom from the Wise Men. Our Scripture Reading is Matthew 2:1–10, which says: “(1) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, (2) saying, “Where is He who was has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the Est and have come to worship Him.” (3) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (4) When he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (5) So, they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (6) ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rules of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ (7) Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. (8) And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (9) When they heard the king, they departed; and behold the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. (10) When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.


Surely there was a scurry in heaven as Jesus prepared to leave for His mission on Earth. A commotion was caused by the fact that the Christ was leaving heaven for His humiliation. Peter said in his first epistle that the time of the coming of Christ was a time unknown to any of the angels in heaven. Only God knew the appointed time. When the time came, even the angels of heaven participated in the things that God was now doing. God sent an angel to speak to Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph, and also to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. He even sent an angelic choir to the shepherds.


During this great commotion of heaven, God decided to speak to some Gentile men. We do not know much about these men, but many fables and myths have arisen about them. The Eastern church in the fourth century gave names to them and declared that there were three of them. The Bible does not tell us who they were. Doubtless they were students of the stars and probably some of the wisest men of their time. The Bible says they saw a star in the East, which they knew to be the star of Christ. Upon seeing that star, they became excited and made the journey to Jerusalem so they might inquire about the birth of the Messiah.


If we don’t get lost in the fables and myths, and if we stay with God’s truth, we have a marvelous revelation. Some theologians tell us that when Paul went on his first missionary journey, or when Peter went to share the gospel with Cornelius, the first Gentiles were converted to Christianity. Actually, this is untrue. The first Gentiles to be converted were these wise men who came when Christ was born. They fell down before Him and worshiped Him.


There are two lessons for us to learn this morning. Let us gather light from the star and wisdom from the wise men.
The light of the star.


The star was an unusual creation. It may have been a comet, as many have claimed. It may have been a special creation. Whatever it was, it revealed to the magi that the Jewish Messiah was born. God had told Israel to be ready for the coming of the Messiah. They were ready neither to receive him nor to share his message, so God revealed the coming of the Messiah through creation.


God never fails. If people do not do His will, He uses others.


The star was a leading light that led to Christ. It told the wise men that the Christ had been born. Then they went to Jerusalem. They traveled through arid desert country. No doubt it was a difficult trip, but they would not be stopped. They inquired as to the place of the Messiah’s birth. Ultimately. they were taken to the scribes and told that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. As they proceeded toward Bethlehem, the star appeared, leading the way to the Christ. We should be like that star, leading people to Christ and always showing the way to Him.


The star attracted their attention. The Word of God taught them the exact details. The light led them to the Christ and stopped there. The light of every Christian needs to lead others to Christ. Don’t lead people to church buildings or programs and leave them there. Lead them to Christ.


The star became a witness. It told those wise men that the Messiah was born. Then it led them to the Messiah. That is the kind of light the church must have in the world today.


The wisdom of the wise men.


Perhaps these men were teachers of science in Persia. They were not called kings; they were called magi, which means “wise ones.” God gives us messages in nature. Many scientists conclude that perhaps the Christian message is not true because we have made so many myths about God rather than listening to God as He has spoken. God spoke loudly through nature to those ancient scientists. People may see God’s handiwork in a tree or in the human body. Who could study either without recognizing that a divine Designer made them?
God gives us messages in His Word. Paul said that God reveals Himself in nature. He reveals himself in a general way in nature, but for details we must turn to God’s Word. That is exactly what these wise men did. Let us be just as wise. When we look at the beauty of the sky, of the ocean, or of human life, let us recognize God’s handiwork. Then let us turn to His Word and believe the exact details that God reveals to us about himself.


The wise men persisted. When they saw the Messiah’s star, they wanted to know Him, so they traveled across the desert. They went through wild, rugged country filled not only with physical hardship but also with bands of robbers. They journeyed not on a jet airplane but on camels or by walking. They persisted in their search. They were not discouraged when they arrived at Jerusalem and found uninterested people. Many today are discouraged by lesser things in their search for Christ. The wise men did not become discouraged. In trying to learn about the Messiah, they could have said, “We will see if we like the scribes. Where did the scribes go to school? Are they friendly scribes? Are they good mixers? Do they stand at the door and shake hands when you come in, or do they not?” They did not say those things. They went eagerly to hear the message of God. They were tenacious in their search.


The wise men rejoiced because they knew that God was leading. Oh, my friends, if we could return to a rejoicing search for God! We come here to church like zombies. We come here to the house of God acting as if we do not want to hear God talk. Is God speaking to us out of His Word through His prophet? If He is, then we ought to rejoice as we come into the presence of God. That is what the wise men did. They rejoiced when they saw the star!


The wise men worshiped when they finally arrived at the house where Jesus was. Now with all of their persistence, with all of the revelation they had, they could have blown it right there. They came to the house where the young child was, and what did they do? They did not call a committee meeting. They did not send a telegram to their denominational headquarters to get permission. They entered the house. They came to Jesus. They did not hesitate; they immediately came to him and fell down before Him and worshiped Him. They had found the revelation of God.


The wise men worshiped the baby Jesus. Theirs was not curiosity gratified but devotion exercised. We also must worship the Savior, or we will never be saved by Him. He has not come to put away our sins and then to leave us ungodly and self-willed. Oh, you who have never worshiped the Christ of God, may you be led to do so at once. He is God over all, blessed forever. Adore Him. Was God ever seen in such a worshipful form before? Behold, He puts rainbows in the heavens, He rides upon the wings of the wind. He scatters flames of fire. He speaks, and His dreaded artillery shakes the hills. You worship in terror. Who would not adore the great and terrible Jehovah of the Old Testament?


But is it not much better to behold Him here, allied to your nature, wrapped like your own children in swaddling clothes—tender, feeble, next to kin to your own self? Will you not worship God when He has thus come down to you and become your Brother born for your salvation? Here nature itself suggests worship. And oh, may grace produce it! Let us hasten to worship where shepherds and wise men and angels have led the way!
 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

December 19th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: The Time of Christmas


Text: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

Scripture Reading: Galatians 4:1–7
(1) Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child. deffereth nothing from a servant,
though he be lord of all; (2) But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. (3) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.  (4 ) But when the fullness of the time has come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law.  (5 ) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying "Abba, Father" ( 7 ) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

As Paul reflected from a theological viewpoint on the birth of Christ, he said that until Christ came
we were like children in a wealthy home. The child was the heir, but the child did not receive his inheritance.

He was no different than a slave. He was under slave tutors who taught him.
He was obedient to his father just as a slave would be obedient to his father, but he had a hope.

He had a promise.

The promise of those people of Old Testament times was the promise that the Messiah would come;
so Paul, looking back on that event, which had just a short time before transpired, said,
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son.” vs. 4

His Son (God's Son) changed our relationship.

He came “that we might receive the adoption of sons." vs.5

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”
(Gal. 4:5–7).

Abba is translated as “Father,”
but it really means
My Father

The significance of the birth of Christ cannot be fully known until Christ lives in your heart.

It is interesting that the evangelistic messages of the apostles recorded in Acts do not mention the birth of Jesus.

Instead, they focus on his death and resurrection.
Years later, however, under the Spirit of God, the apostles recorded the whole story of salvation.  They wrote about the miraculous birth of Jesus. They told of one born of a virgin, born beyond the comprehension of human understanding.

They told of God stepping into humanity
to say to all people everywhere,

“I am your Christ.”

They told of an angel choir, a shining star,a lowly manger,
and shepherds who came to adore him, the humblest of all being the first to praise the King of Kings.

They told of wise men from afar,
educated men, who had come to praise him.



Historical significance.
The religion of the Greeks was dead.

The religion of the Romans was already relegated to mythology.

The religion of the Persians,
though still in its ascendancy,
(Governing in control & Dominance )
had never satisfied the hearts of the people.

So, suddenly, when people were in despair, when people were searching for reality, at that moment, God sent his Son.

Spiritual significance.
Paul was suggesting that Christ came in the flesh to be God with us.
Paul surely knew the story of the virgin birth. Doubtless he had heard of the wise men. He knew that Joseph had been told that Jesus was to be “God with us.” When he said that Jesus was born to redeem, he believed that Christ had entered the world by God’s miracle
to deal with humankind’s spiritual need.

The greatest need humanity has
is forgiveness of sins.


The spirit of the time.


Not motifs but salvation. If Christmas is only a time for decoration and festivity, its significance is lost.

Jesus came to be the Christ.

If he is the power of heaven living in your heart, if he is God alive in you, then he is the Christ.

The Bible says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
(Rom. 3:23).

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.
no one does good, not even one”
(Rom. 3:10–12 RSV).

That describes us naturally.

We are not good people; we are sinners.
We are not searchers for God; we retreat from him constantly.

We are hopeless, but Jesus came to bring hope.

Paul said of him, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Because nothing else could pay the price of our guilt, the Son paid it.

Not of despair but love.

Often people speak of the spirit of Christmas as though it is something to be caught while shopping.

I heard someone say, “I went shopping and I caught the Christmas spirit.”
I recently went shopping with my wife, and people were in such a rush they shoved us and stepped on our feet.
We stood in line for hours waiting to pay for our purchases. Furthermore, we spent more money than we meant to spend.

If that’s the Christmas spirit, I guess we’re in trouble.

I think what most people mean when they say they want to catch the spirit of Christmas is that they want the warm feeling of love.
They want to feel love for others, that inside warmth that says, “I want to give of myself to someone else.”

This is the kind of spirit that comes from God.

God’s gift for the time. God’s gift to us.
The real spirit of Christmas begins when we accept the best gift of all,
the gift who was born in a manger, the Son of God.

When we accept Jesus Christ, we accept the gift of salvation, the gift of forgiveness.

But that is not all. We also receive the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes to live within us and guide our steps.

Our gift to God.


God wants us to give ourselves to him. How do we give ourselves in service to God?
We must be willing to abandon self and let God use us in any way he chooses.

Our service to God may simply be done by showing that the Holy Spirit is alive within us.

If Christ is born in our hearts, God is our Father and the Holy Spirit is alive within us. Because of this, we will serve God by serving our brothers and sisters. "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you,
let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve”
(Matt. 20:26–28).

If you really want the Spirit of Christ to live in you, and therefore the spirit of Christmas,
you must be his servant; and you are his servant by giving yourself in service to others.

Look again!
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit
of his Son into your hearts”
(Gal. 4:4–6).

Where?
In your hearts, so that out of your hearts you cry,
“My Father,” because he lives within you.

If Christ is merely a nativity scene on your coffee table, he is dead.
If the star of Christmas is only an ornament atop your tree, it has nothing to say.

But if Christ lives in your heart, he has everything to say, because from your heart
the living Christ causes you to cry out,


“My Father!”
 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

December 12th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

The Word Became Flesh


Today’s message from pastor Don comes from John 1:1-5 & 14 which says:

(1)In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God, and the word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (4) In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. (14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Then over to 1 John 1:1-3 which says: “(1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – (2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – (3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellow ship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”


Each of the Gospels speak in different ways about Jesus’ birth.


Matthew lists the genealogy of Joseph because he was interested in the legal and the Jewish aspects of Jesus’ birth.
Luke, who apparently had many conversations with Mary and with others, told of the visit of the angelic choir. He spoke of the manger and listed the genealogy of Jesus on Mary’s side. Mark didn’t mention Jesus’ birth. But he does tell us about Jesus’ miraculous deeds.
John wrote his gospel from an entirely different perspective than did the other three. He was the youngest of the apostles. He wrote his gospel, his three epistles, and The Revelation when he was an old man. He didn’t give a chronological view of Jesus’ life, but he reflected on Jesus’ life in relationship to what had happened to him. It is not appropriate to simply say that John wrote philosophically about Jesus. He was more interested in Jesus religiously than historically. John was saying, “Let me tell you what has happened to me because I know Jesus.”

 So, let’s look at the ways in which John see Jesus.


Jesus as the Word. When John called Jesus the Word, many believe he brought a new dimension to Christian theology. They say that John tried to unite an African philosophy and Christianity. It’s doubtful that John even knew what the philosophers of Alexandria were saying. John wrote under inspiration, as though he were saying to us: “I want to tell you about what I have experienced from God; I want to tell you about the Word, the Logos of God, one whose name is Jesus.” He said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).


Before Bethlehem. Before Bethlehem, the Word existed because God is the Word. John believed that Jesus was the Son of God. In fact, there is no reason for Christian theology if Jesus is not the Son of God.


The Word as authority. There must be a basis for Jesus’ authority. Why would John call Jesus the Word? Because he thought of God as absolute authority. He thought of God as the source of every existing thing. So, he said, “In the beginning was the Word.” God has always existed. John said, “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He was calling Jesus the Word; and he was saying, “Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.” John had a Trinitarian concept of God. He was saying, “There is one God; and while there is one God, Jesus, the Word is with God. The Spirit is with God; and He is God.”


Jesus as the source. “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:2–3). This God who is Christ, is the source of all things. “All things were made by him.” Our environment was made by him. Our lives were made by him. In fact, “without him was not anything made that was made.” Nothing is possible in this life without God. Without Jesus, people can create nothing. Without Jesus, people can accomplish nothing.


The source of life. Life comes from God, and thus all of life’s meaning comes from God. Every activity of life comes from God. “Without him was not anything made that was made.” We are totally dependent on Him. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). God did not come to the world as theory. People have always tried to explain the source of life in some natural way. People may explain life as coming from the sun, from fire, or from a process of evolution. People may actually admit they don’t understand life, but they do know there must be a source.


The source of light. Tradition says that John ministered in the city of Ephesus, the ancient city built around the worship of Diana of the Ephesians. Diana is a form of the ancient Greek god Aphrodite. The Ephesians believed that the very unusual statue they had of Diana had been dropped out of heaven. There stood this gigantic stone statue of a virgin goddess; and a whole state bowed around her and acclaimed her to be God, but she was dead—only a stone—nothing else. God sent his Son, and He is alive.


The life is the source of light for humanity. Listen to John. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:4–5). What is the darkness? It’s the darkness of our sin. It is the darkness of the despair in our lives. God says that even the darkness of sin and death cannot hold back the light. The world says, “We will snuff out the light of Jesus; it must not shine.” But God says, “The darkness cannot hold back the light of the living Son of God.” Light comes to our souls to change us, to make us new creatures; and this light comes from Jesus.


Jesus as man. John said, “And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). The Word was in the beginning. The Word was God. And the Word became flesh. God came in flesh in the manger of Bethlehem. It was God in the flesh who walked the streets of Nazareth. It was God in the flesh who touched blind eyes and deaf ears and healed them. It was God in the flesh who taught by the shore of Galilee. It was God in the flesh who faced controversy at Jerusalem with the religious powers. It was God in the flesh on the cross of Calvary, and it was God in the flesh who rose from the dead. “And the Word was made flesh . . . (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).


The glory of God. Many people claim that Jesus is not the Son of God, saying that He is an example to be followed but no more. How wrong they are! He is not just an example. Any person can be an example. We see in Jesus the glory of the Father. We see Him full of grace, full of unmerited favor, and full of truth. We see Him, the Son of God, willing to die for us though we are sinners. We see Him paying the price of our sin on Calvary’s cross though we do not deserve it.


The glory in humankind. John testified that the glory of Christ is available to all (1 John 1:1–3). He told about his personal experience with Jesus as the Word of Life. He testified that he had seen Jesus with his eyes and had touched Him with his hands. He is talking about his Christian experience. He is saying, “Christ was born! Christ came to the world, and He became the ultimate sacrifice for sin.”

 But more importantly he is saying, “Christ came to me! I saw Him, I touched Him, and He changed my life!”
So, you see, this is what Christmas means. It’s not just a beautiful story, not just a nativity scene. It’s not a star in the sky and certainly not one on top of your Christmas tree. Christmas is Christ living in you and me.


“Why has God touched my life?” asked John. “To change it,” he answers himself. But listen, for there is even more. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). With that John lifts the Christian experience entirely out of the realm of theory and puts it into the realm of practice. “In the beginning was the Word.”


Is that all? Does the story end with a star and angels and shepherds and wise men? No, there is more: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Is that all? No. Jesus is alive, and He comes to us one by one to call us to everlasting life and fellowship with him. The Christmas story is Jesus alive—and Jesus alive in you! Is He there? Has the star shone in your soul? The wise men followed it to Bethlehem. Wise men today come to the Christ and believe in him.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

December 5th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: Reflections of Jesus in Genesis
By: Pastor Donald Magaw


Text: “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen. 22:14).


Dr. Robert G. Lee used to tell about a famous songwriter who loved the Lord very much.
The composer wrote a song with a beautiful romantic tune and a wonderful message about Jesus.
He was offered a large sum of money by a secular publishing company if he would change the lyrics.
The publishing company asked him to substitute the word “love” for “Jesus.”

The composer replied, “If you leave out Jesus, you have left out everything.A professing Christian, after having a powerful experience with God, said to his pastor, “I had been listening to you preach for many years but had not been hearing you.
I know you had been preaching the Word of God and Jesus, and I know you had been telling me what I needed to hear, but I had not been hearing it.”
He continued, “Since I committed my life to Jesus,
I now hear what you’re saying.”
 

People read the Bible and fail to see Jesus. They go to church and do not come face-to-face with him. Often people are in the environment of Christian experience, but they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They know about him, but they do not know him personally.


In reading Genesis we can see Jesus on almost every page. The problem with the Jews in the first century was that they could not identify the Messiah because they had not really seen him in their Bible. In journeying through Genesis, we see Jesus in many experiences. Genesis does not speak of Jesus’ birth, but it does demonstrate his existence.


Two experiences in the life of Isaac illustrate God’s plan in Jesus. They show us that God has always had a plan to seek and save the lost.


A Sacrificing Savior (22:8–14).


Promise.

Isaac was the son of promise. God had made a covenant with Abraham, telling him that all nations of the earth would be blessed through his descendants, but Abraham did not have any descendants. Abraham took this matter into his own hands. Since he did not see any way the promise could be fulfilled, he decided that he would help God work it out. Abraham had a son by the handmaiden Hagar, but he was not the son of promise.

Then God spoke when Abraham was ninety-nine years old
and Sarah was ninety.

God said, “I am going to give you a son.”
Miraculously, he did.
Isaac was born.

Later God said,
“Abraham, you must be willing to sacrifice your son.”
So Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah. Isaac, carrying a load of wood for a burnt offering on the altar, said,
“Father, where is the lamb?”
Abraham answered, “God will provide.”

The Weight of Sin.

Isaac carried the load of the sacrifice. All humankind is under the weight of sin. If we read this passage in light of our socialistic trends,
we might judge God to be unjust in asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. But if we look at it from God’s perspective, it is quite different.

Isaac deserved to die, just as we all do.
He was a sinner, and so are we, and the wages of sin is death.

Isaac, on his way to his own sacrifice, is symbolic of the needs of humankind.

 He was under the load of sin—a sinner with questions and no answers, a sinner with sin and no forgiveness,
a person with no hope even though the promise of God rested on his whole life.

God’s Provision.
Abraham and Isaac went to the place God had designated, and Abraham built an altar. He tied his son and was ready to sacrifice him when God spoke. We see Isaac as a symbol of sinful humankind under the load of sin and without hope. But then God spoke and we do not see Isaac. We see the provision of God. For God supplied a ram with his horns caught in a bush,
put there as a sacrifice in place of Isaac. God was ready to take the load of sin off the shoulders and out of the heart of Isaac.

The ram was sacrificed in Isaac’s place. Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his son,
but the important thing is that a sufficient substitute had appeared by the grace of God.

This story reminds us of Jesus.
We are carrying the burden of our guilt—not supposed guilt, not assumed guilt, but real guilt. We deserve the penalty of hell,
but by grace God has sent a Lamb. That Lamb is Jesus, humbly born in Bethlehem’s manger;  sadly yet victoriously living among his own people who rejected him; and terribly yet gloriously dying on Calvary’s cross for our sins/

The Victory.


Picture Abraham and Isaac coming down from Mount Moriah. Isaac is not carrying the load of sacrifice.
The sacrifice has been made. Isaac is no longer asking, “Where is the lamb?” The lamb has been provided.  Isaac has been saved.

The Christ has come. The sacrifice has been made.

The price has been paid on the cross of Calvary, and the resurrection has providedsalvation for all who will accept. We are free from the guilt of sin because of the Lamb God has provided.

A Seeking Savior (24).
Another story about Isaac reminds us about the seeking Savior.


Abraham had left his relatives in Haran and gone to Canaan. Isaac needed a wife. The Canaanite women were not right for Isaac because their people worshiped idols. Isaac, as the son of promise, would be an ancestor of Jesus. So the right wife had to be found for him.

The Searching Spirit.


Abraham sent his servant Eliezer back to Haran to find a bride for Isaac. Eliezer went to the home of Laban, the kinsman of Abraham
and Sarah, where he obtained Laban’s permission to take Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife. Rebekah’s mother did not want her daughter to leave, but finally the moment came when Rebekah was asked,


“Will you go and be the bride of Isaac?”
She said, “I will go.”

The Joyous Christ.


A glorious meeting took place between Rebekah and Isaac. “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at eventide:
and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac,
she lighted off the camel” (Gen. 24:63).

Why would God put a beautiful love story like this in the Bible?
Because God is telling us about Jesus.
He is telling us about the son of promise, Isaac, in search of a bride.
Jesus also came to search for a bride. Jesus is the Son of God, and his bride is the church.
As Abraham sent out Eliezer, God sends out the Holy Spirit in search of the bride of Christ.

What did Eliezer do?
He went to Haran and told Rebekah about Isaac. The Christ has come, and the Holy Spirit of God moves around the world to tell people about the Christ. He gathers the church, the bride of Christ.
God has always had a plan, and the plan is Jesus.

If you leave out Jesus, you have left out everything.

Jesus is the essence of God’s grace. Jesus is the Savior who not only saved Isaac from death but also from guilt and from hell.
And he saves us from death, guilt, and hell also.

The Willing Bride.


Jesus is the one who sends forth his Holy Spirit in search of his bride. What a beautiful truth!
Not only has God provided salvation, but he searches the earth for the souls of men and women, boys and girls who will give themselves to him and who will say as Rebekah said,


“I will go.”

The story of Jesus is an eternal story. It did not begin in a manger in Bethlehem; it began in the very being of God. It is a story that has been included in the purpose of God ever since he said, “Let there be light.”

It is a story that is ever expanding as God touches the lives of all people who will submit to him.

The Christmas story is not written in the pretty decorations we place around our homes.

It is not written as we exchange nice gifts.

The Christmas story is written in our acceptance of Jesus as the Savior and Lord of our lives.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 28th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

Courage to Say Yes


Pastor Don’s message this morning that speaks of the Courage to Say Yes comes from John 21:15-22 where we read: “(15) So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these? He said to Him, yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My Lambs. (16) He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, yes Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Tend My sheep. (17) He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, do you love Me? And he said to Him Lord, you know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. (18) Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. (19) This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow Me. (20) Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is the one who betrays You? (21) Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, But Lord, what about this man? (22) Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”


Pastor Don says that he discovered that the key to answering many of the questions concerning his life as a Christian was knowing when to say yes and when to say no. Courage to say no is not always easy to come by but, having the courage to say yes when we are called to give our best may be even harder than saying no to the dark temptations of life. Our text confronts us squarely with the challenge to say yes. You see, Peter wanted to say yes, but it was difficult because he had failed before.


Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Three times he asked the burning question. At first glance it appears that Peter indeed said, “Yes, Lord, I do love you.” But a closer look at the Greek text reveals that Peter equivocated. Jesus had asked him, “Peter, do you agapaō me?” Which means “Do you have the highest spiritual devotion to me?” Peter replied, “Lord, you know that I phileō you.” Which means “I have a warm brotherly affection for you.” Perhaps Peter remembered his heartfelt but unkept promise, “I will lay down my life for you,” which is found in John 13:37. He had talked more than he could perform. Now he was more reticent in his response. He wanted more than anything to serve his Lord; but how could he say, “Yes, I will agapaō you,” when he failed so miserably before in the hour of his Lord’s crisis?


So, when Jesus asked Peter the third time, “Do you love me?” he used Peter’s word, phileō . Peter must have been pierced to the heart by Jesus’ willingness to accept what Peter could say even if it was not all his Lord had a right to expect from him. Peter’s dark failure in the night of his Lord’s agony haunted him now. But Jesus would not leave Peter in his defeat. He needed Peter’s yes at the level Peter was willing to begin. So, with great tenderness our Lord gave his broken servant a new task. “Feed my lambs,” Jesus said to him. “Tend my sheep.”


Many people have made commitments to serve Jesus Christ as a missionary, as a Sunday school teacher, as a deacon, or as a faithful steward of the possessions God has given. And many have failed to keep their commitments. If you are one who has failed before, what would Jesus say to you? He would ask you, as He asked Peter, “Do you love me? Then do My work: follow Me and feed My sheep.”
The courage to say yes must not depend on another person’s response. The disciple John was closely watching the exchange between Peter and Jesus. Peter turned to John and then back to Jesus and asked, “What about this man?” I’m sure we all know that feeling. Weary and doing all we can do; we sometimes grow discouraged because of others around us who seem to do so little. But Jesus replied, “What is that to you, Peter? Follow me.”

We can personalize that by saying What is that to you Wanda, Follow me.
To be sure, it is irritating to be around people who are always willing to “park on someone else’s dime.” Some of us grow weary in well-doing and are tempted to judge the inadequate or faithless response of others as justification for our reluctance to say, “Yes, Lord. You can count on me.”


The courage to say yes is necessary if we are to be victorious.


No victories can be won unless we learn to say, “Yes, I am available to serve.” In our church we are faced with a remarkable challenge. If we were less brave, or if our cause were not so crucial, we might be tempted to run and hide, or maybe to take a leave of absence from our church responsibilities.


But the truth is, God has called us to be His church right here, right now. We need to say yes to His call to make a difference in this community and throughout the world.


Jesus has the heart of a shepherd. He seeks lost sheep. Frightened or hungry sheep are the object of His special care as we see in John chapter 10, verses 1–18. So, when Jesus asked Peter to take care of His sheep, He was calling him to join in the task of the Great Shepherd.


Great causes do not move forward without great commitment. It’s a risk whenever we set out to do more than we’ve ever done before. There is always the possibility of embarrassment if we fail. But we can never know the glory of victory if we are unwilling to risk defeat. We as Christians must believe that if God is in the task, it does not matter who is against us. We must nurture the flock to maturity in Christ. We must search for an open place in the hearts of others where we can enter in Christ’s name. Single adults who are afraid that life will never make sense must be reached by this church. Families who are holding on by their fingertips must be reached by this church. Young people who are desperate for the assurance that they are loved must be reached by this church.


When Jesus asks, “Do you love Me?” we must commit ourselves to caring, sharing, giving, and loving! Although it’s not easy to say yes, we must not hold back.

 He will give us the courage to say yes because He believes that we, too, can follow him.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 21st, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

Title: The Secret of Thanksgiving
Prepared By: Pastor Don

Text: “O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
(Ps. 107:1 RSV).
Scripture Reading:
Psalm 107:1–9; Philippians 4:4–13

 


Philippians 4:4-13 NIV
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

The Psalms have been - for faithful Christians the source of song and praise and, along with the Lord’s Prayer, the pattern for - our most earnest and joyful prayers.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer learned much about prayer in his courageous struggle against the Nazis in Germany. He insisted that Christians cannot really learn to pray unless they come to the Psalms. He considered it a dangerous error “to think that the heart can pray by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings all of which the heart can do by itself with prayer. And we confuse earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty”


(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms:The Prayer Book of the Bible
[Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1974], 9).

The Psalms are full of the range of human emotions all offered to God in prayer. In the psalm before us, the prayer is one of joyous thanksgiving to the Lord. In this text we will discover the secret of thanksgiving.


The first secret of thanksgiving is that we are able to do the following:

Celebrate the goodness of God (107:1).
God’s goodness is illustrated in different ways throughout the psalm.


He "delivered them from their distress"(v. 6 RSV).

He satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things (v. 9).
“He brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder” (v. 14 RSV).
He healed the sick and delivered his people from destruction (v. 20).
When sailors in bitter distress, staggering like drunken men on ships buffeted by mighty storms, cried out to the Lord, “he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed” (v. 29 RSV).
“He raises up the needy out of affliction” (v. 41 RSV).

The people of God are called to be thankful to a God who is good. The joy of thanksgiving to a good God, is too much for a solo voice. It requires choirs of people. So this psalm is sung as well as prayed by the congregation. The Lord is good. Let his people praise his name.

The second secret to thanksgiving is to do the following:

Focus on the main issues of life
(107:4, 10, 17, 23–27).
The psalmist painted four pictures of people who have been forced to consider the main issue in life.
First, there are travelers who lost their way in the desert wilderness (v. 4). They circled in a desert where there were no familiar landmarks. Alone, hungry, and thirsty, they were ready to give up when they called to the Lord, and
“he led them by a straight way, till they reached a city to dwell in” (v. 7 RSV).

The second picture is of captives who suffer in terrible prisons, covered by darkness and bound in irons.

The third window through which we view the extremity of life - reveals those who are sick and barely able to keep out of the grave. Though all sickness is not a result of sin, sinful ways do bring deadly ills.

The fourth description of terror is of sailors who are helpless before a relentless storm (vv. 23–27). The Jews were not known - for their prowess at sea. Indeed, the sea was a special terror to the Hebrews.


In these illustrations the psalmist reminds us of the primary issues in life.
A person may complain of not having expensive shoes to wear until he sees someone who has no feet. Another person may complain of not being admitted to a prestigious university until she meets a child who is mentally challenged. Thanksgiving wells up in the hearts of men, women, and children who know the difference between necessities and luxuries, and who have learned to be grateful for the basic joys of life itself.

The New Testament gives its own word of grace to those trapped in the despair described in the four pictures of this psalm.


For lost travelers in the desert, Jesus is both the Shepherd and the Way (John 10; 14).
For captives in dark prisons, Jesus is the one who gives “deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18).
For those who are sick, Jesus is the Great Physician who cared for the sick and healed those who came to him.
For those at sea who fear for their lives, Jesus is the one who spoke to the storm “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).,

Alford “Butch” Summers, thirty years old, was buried under tons of rubble when a hotel collapsed while he was working there as a welder.. He said, “There was no warning. All I could remember was all of a sudden, blam! It just collapsed. No warning. There was no way of warning anybody. Everything was dark. . . .“Did I panic? Oh, there was a time -when I thought I might not make it. But I just kept pounding the pipe and praying a lot and hoping. I mainly laid down and prayed. I did an awful lot of praying. I prayed to Jesus, because he was the only one I knew who could get me out of this. I’m not much of a religious man, but if anyone could get me out alive, it had to be Jesus”
(Fort Worth Star Telegram, November 16, 1978, 3A).


Three and a half days after the collapse of the hotel, Summers was rescued from the two-foot-high cavity where he had been trapped. From his hospital bed, Summers said, “I don’t know how long I was there. All of a sudden the world caved in on me.”


When the world caves in on us, as it did on Butch Summers, or as it did on the people described in the psalm, we cry out to the Lord in our distress, and he does hear us.

The secret of thanksgiving is partly discerned when we face trouble and realize that all things are not equally important. When the basics of life are provided, then is the time for great thanksgiving.

The third secret to thanksgiving is this:

Remember the source of our help
(107:3, 7, 14, 16, 20, 29–30).

Although Summers said he was not much of a religious man, he did know the source of his help. He knew that “if anyone could get me out alive, it had to be Jesus.”

The people of Israel understood,
as this psalm so clearly shows, that God was the source of their strength and deliverance.
He had brought them out of bondage;
he had led them through the wilderness;
he would bring them safely home.
If we are to be thankful, we must remember
from whom the blessings flow.

A man who had sought to maintain an atheistic viewpoint confessed that he came to a time when he began to believe in God. This came as a result of not knowing who to thank when he delighted in the joy of life, the beauty of a dawn, the glory of the birth of a child, the love in the eyes of his wife. On reflection he had to admit to himself that the astonishing joy of life was so magnificent that nothing less than God -could have made it possible. His desire was to say thank you.
Only God was worthy of gratitude.

The fourth secret to thanksgiving is the following:

Take time for gratitude (107:8, 15, 21, 31).
After God’s deliverance of the people, noted the psalmist, they took time to be grateful.
We have often wondered with some amazement that of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed,
only "one" returned to say thank you
(Luke 17:18).
We are often guilty of the same carelessness.
When we do not give thanksgiving, it is sometimes because we simply are not willing to do so.

On an autumn night in 1860, a steamboat broke up and sank in Lake Michigan one mile from the village of Winnetka, Illinois.
Of the 393 passengers aboard the Lady Elgin, 279 drowned. Of the 114 survivors,
17 were saved by Edward Spencer, a student at Northwestern University.
Spencer was a strong swimmer, but after having made seventeen round trips, he became delirious from the strain. It was reported that he asked again and again,


“Did I do my best?”


As a result of that night, Spencer became sick and was confined to a wheelchair all through life.
Some years later, on Spencer’s birthday, a reporter asked him his most vivid memory
of that heroic date in his life.


His answer?
“I remember that not one of the seventeen returned to thank me”

Finally, then, the secret of thanksgiving is simple.


(1) You must be open to the goodness of God.


(2) You must be willing to focus on what really matters.


(3) You must remember where your help originates.


(4) You must be willing to take time to say thank you.


Now  you know the secret.


Knowing this, you can turn every day into Thanksgiving Day.


 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 14th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021



Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


Pastor Don’s message this morning comes from the parable of The Baron Fig Tree found in Luke chapter 13.


Luke 13:6-9 says: “(6) He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. (7) Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground? (8) But he answered and said to him, Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. (9) And if it bears fruit, well, but if not, after than you can cut it down.”


This short parable from Jesus has many lessons. We must not dwell on what we can’t understand to the extent that we miss what is so obvious. We need to approach this parable with an honest mind and a prayerful heart. Let’s take a look at four lessons this parable teaches us.


First there is the necessity of repentance. How do we know this? Well, Luke introduces the parable in the first five verses of the Chapter. Twice in those five verses, Jesus tells his listeners that they must repent or perish. As the chapter continues, se see that this introduction supports the parable in verses 6 through 9. It becomes clear that those who fail to bear fruit must repent. The need for repentance applies to many areas of life. Those who are lost in sin must repent in order to be saved. Christians who are unfaithful must repent because they are unproductive. The church—Christians collectively—must bear fruit. If the church fails in this area, its members must repent and strive to produce fruit for God’s kingdom.


The second lesson in verse six shows that Special opportunities are presented to each of us. We are judged according to our own opportunity. No one is held responsible by God for someone else’s opportunities. Those who are lost have an opportunity now. If they don’t seize it, they may live to regret it. A church may have an opportunity at a given time, but if the opportunity is not seized, it may never be offered again. Opportunities may not always be available. For one thing, death will destroy opportunity. Once death overtakes those who are lost, they never have another opportunity to be saved. This is equally true of a Christian and service.


The third lesson in verse eight tells us We must have patience. The parable of the barren fig tree is a picture of the Lord Jesus at work. He is portrayed as the mediator between God and humankind. He makes intercession for us. The parable is also a picture of God the Father waiting patiently. He goes the so-called second mile. He gives another chance. He waits and waits. If you are waiting for something from God, be patient. Search your heart and your life and see if there is something you need to change in order to be more receptive to God and His message. Then again, be patient. God works in His time, not ours.


And the fourth lesson in verse nine speaks of the necessity of action. The words “Let it alone this year” in verse eight imply limitation. “This year,” to those who are lost, may be the worship service in which they are sitting. It may be a given invitation. “This year,” to the fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing Christian, may be a week, a year, or another given period of time. The words “then after that” in verse nine imply that judgment and destruction come quickly. The listeners are urged not to procrastinate or postpone. The time for them to act is now. The point is to repent. The point is to witness for Christ. God will not wait forever for us to take action….a missed opportunity might be missed forever. Do any of us want to stand before Him and try to answer the question, “Why did you not tell them about me?”
Second Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

 It is Pastor Don’s hope, my prayer, and my plea, that each of you will avail yourself of the opportunity that is presented right now.

If you are not saved, now is the time….if you are saved, now is the time to get busy for Christ!

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 7th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

Title: Parable of the Friend at Midnight
Prepared By: Pastor Don

Text: “And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”
(Luke 11:9–10 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1–13
The words of today’s Scripture reading are not specifically declared to be a parable.
However, studies by some New Testament scholars identify it as such.
And since a parable is a story used to teach a lesson, I will treat this passage as a parable in today’s message.
We find some big little words in these verses—words that are short in the number of letters but big in meaning.


One of these words- is the two-letter word if.
Notice how it is used in this passage.


First, Jesus said if (implied) a mere friend does not want to give because of inconvenience but will give when asked urgently, how much more will God give?
Second, Jesus said if a mere parent will give and not mock, how much more will the heavenly Father give?

Since this is the central message of the passage, let us discuss it by using two phrases.

“Because of his importunity” (11:8).
Consider this picture. It is a picture of sheer desperation. The root meaning of “importunity” is shame.
Thus -this is the perfect picture of a person lost in sin.

In the Scripture passage the man was desperate because he failed to plan ahead. In modern life the reasons are very similar.
Consider this lesson. The lesson is that a person brings this condition of desperation on him- or herself.
It is the result of sinful attitudes and behavior.

Humankind is lost because of sin. Some Christians are ineffective because of it.
“And I say unto you” (11:9).


These words are intended as words of hope.
Even though a person may be lost in desperation, God is ready, willing, and able to do something about it.
He offers hope to those who ask for his help in sincerity. He is able to meet all needs.We need only to ask, seek, and knock.
These words are continuous action. They do not relate to a singular attitude or activity but to the continuous attitude of a person and his or her relation to God.


Christians are to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking.

The passage referred to as the Lord’s Prayer reflects this attitude.
One must have an attitude of confidence (v. 2).
The term “Father” indicates someone who is close at hand. God is always close by, and believers are to pray with an attitude of faith in him.
One must have an attitude of reverence (v. 2).
“Hallowed be thy name.” The word “name” denotes all that God is in character. Believers are to treat his name as holy.


One must have an attitude of submission (v. 2).
“Thy kingdom come.” This refers to the rule and reign of God. Submission begins with an openness to God’s will, starting within one’s heart and moving out to others.


One must have an attitude of dependence (v. 3).
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” Bread stands for everything one needs for earthly existence. Believers are to depend on God to supply their “daily bread.”


One must have an attitude of penitence (v. 4).
“Forgive us our sins.” When believers pray for forgiveness, they also confess. Forgiveness means to send away.


One must have an attitude of humility (v. 4).
“Lead us not into temptation.” This is a prayer for deliverance from temptation. It is also a prayer for strength to resist temptation.

In today’s message we have discussed how to have our needs met.
Our greatest need is eternal salvation.
We need to ask for forgiveness and receive it.


Remember “all we like sheep have gone astray,…..
There is none righteous, no not one.”


We are all sinners saved by God’s grace!
 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 31st, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 


Title: Parable of the Good Samaritan
 



Text: “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37)


Scripture Reading: Luke 10:25–37

In this parable,
Jesus described two types of religion, or two different degrees of religion. Religion based on the law but with no real commitment.
This type of religion has no eternal value.
The lawyer, as presented in Luke 10:25,
indicated that he was concerned with the law, in the Jewish sense, but not in the secular sense.

He had a knowledge of the law of Moses and the prophets.
This can be illustrated by a person who has a knowledge of the content of the Scriptures, but does not show any evidence of the Christian experience of transformation and does not show Christian love.

The lawyer’s question did not spring from a sincere desire to gain insight; - instead, the question was intended to trap Jesus.
The lawyer had no heart in his religion. He believed he had only to keep the law to be saved.

Jesus’ answer in Luke 10:27 is a summary of the Ten Commandments.
The first section refers to a person’s relation to God
and the last refers to a person’s relation to others.

This type of religion has many obvious errors.
It seeks excuses for prejudice (Luke 10:29).

It fails to meet the needs of humankind (vv. 31–32). It brings misery to the one who holds such a religion. - It does not meet God’s approval.

Religion based on commitment to God that lends quality to life. This type of religion is in sharp contrast to the first.

The priest and Levite were professional religionists. The priest was one who offered sacrifices,
and the Levite cleansed various things.


The Samaritan, however, was a hated person. In Luke 10:37 the lawyer would not so much as say the word Samaritan.
This type of religion is demonstrated in compassionate concern.
Religion based on commitment to God overcomes prejudice.
Each person, regardless of ethnic background, is precious in God’s sight. This kind of religion motivates personal sacrifice for others (10:34).

 


This kind of religion follows through on meeting needs (v. 35). The Samaritan told the innkeeper, “I will repay thee” (v. 35).


The heart of the parable of the good Samaritan is “Go, and do thou likewise.”


The lawyer asked how to inherit eternal life, and Jesus answered him, “Become like me.”
Love everyone. Do your best to meet the needs of others.


We claim to be Christians but the word Christian really means Christ like.


Are you Christ like in your dealing with those around us?


Sure we talk a great talk, but do our actions show that our walk is Christ like?


Many times, what we do speaks louder than what we say.
St Francis Ascici said “Preach the gospel always and when necessary use words.”


Those words are very true.

Our walk had better match our talk!

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

October 17th 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: Giving Thanks To God
Prepared By: Pastor Don

Text: “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (Ps. 95:2 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:1–4
The psalmist said,
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to thy name, O Most High” (92:1 RSV).

Our being thankful pleases the Lord.
He does not actually need our thanks or our love, but we can be sure that his heart rejoices when we offer thanks for his goodness and kindness to us.

Being thankful is good for us.
When we take time to review all the good things God has done for us, our hearts are filled with joy and our faith is increased. Thus we can be optimistic as we face the future.

Our being thankful is good for those around us.

Hearing our expressions of thanksgiving to God may be the means of others coming to have faith in him.
We should praise God so that others will be attracted to him.
Certainly we cannot be a very good witness to God’s grace if we have no gratitude in our hearts that expresses itself in thanksgiving.

Our being thankful is good for those beyond our acquaintance.
The influence of a grateful heart moves out as a benevolent influence upon others.
Many people can be blessed if we follow the invitation of the psalmist and give thanksgiving to God.

Let us give thanks to God for his character.

The Bible reveals God to be personal, powerful, and always present.
The Bible reveals our God to be a righteous God characterized by integrity and justice.
The Bible reveals God to be trustworthy, reliable, and merciful.
We should always, in every situation, thank and praise God for being the kind of God he is.

Let us give thanks to God for the church.

Through the church God blessed many of us with Christian parents.

Through the church he gave us the good news of his love.

Through the church he has provided us with teachers and worthy examples to follow.

He has also provided us with invaluable friends and made us part of a great family in the church.

Even though the church is imperfect, let us thank our Father God for it.

Let us give thanks to God for our country.

Around the world all people should discover those things about their nation and their government for which they can give thanks to God.

Let us give thanks to God for our family.

The Bible teaches us that we are to honor and respect our parents. We are to obey them in the Lord. After they become aged, we are to provide for them.

Those who have been fortunate enough to be reared in a Christian home should be eternally grateful to God for this wonderful blessing.

Many of us can be thankful for a Christian companion who has been God’s blessing to us in marriage.

Many of us can be thankful to God for Christian children.

Let us give thanks to God for personal blessings.

Each of us has received unique gifts, some of which are evident to all, but many of which are private and personal.

It is good for us to thank God for these unique blessings.

Being thankful does not happen automatically; being thankful is a learned habit.

The psalmist would encourage all of us to develop the habit of coming into the Lord’s presence with thanksgiving.

He would also encourage us to go out into the community and express our thanks to God to others.
.................................................................................

A personal note from Pastor Don….I am thankful that God has once again spared me from the ravages of cancer and has given me a chance to serve Him more,

And we are Thankful as well to God and Pastor Don. Family, We have seen the MIGHTY Hand of God perform His Healing.
We have brought Pastor Don in front of The Family / The Church and Lifting his needs and placed our hands on Pastor Don.
We had placed our "Trust In God and Our Faith without doubt with hearts wide open, knowing HE Is The Great I AM.

Yes, God Still Heals, God Still Moves the mountains of discouragement and despair.

God's Light "Still Shines Bright" in the Darkest of times, when we place our Trust In HIM.

Are you fighting a battle today?


Are you carrying a HEAVY Load that seems to have no end in sight?


God's Love, God's Son.. Jesus,
Hung on that cross at Calvary arms outstretched Wide OPEN and nailed to the cross for You!

His Love reaches as FAR as the East is to the West. It Never Ending.


Thank God for sending His only Son Jesus, to take your place.

Your Sin's are FORGIVEN
You have been washed WHITE AS SNOW.

That's something to SHOUT ABOUT.
Amen.




 





 

Sunday

October 8th 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

Rejoice in the Lord


Pastor Don’s sermon this morning, titled Rejoice in the Lord, comes from Philippians 4:1-7 which says: “(1) Therefore, my beloved and longed for brethren, my jo and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. (2) I implore Euodia, and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (3) And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (4) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! (5) Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our key verse here is verse 4. It’s translated in the Revised Standard Version as: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.”


Paul was truly practicing what he preached because he wrote this epistle of joy from a prison to the members of a congregation in another city where he had been imprisoned. After having been beaten with many stripes (whip lashes), Paul and Silas were able to experience the joy of worship in unfavorable circumstances. Acts 16:25–26 tells us “(25) But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. (26) Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Even in the most trying of circumstances Paul was able to continue rejoicing in the love and grace of God.


It is quite surprising to find an urgent pleading to rejoice in the Lord coming from one who was a prisoner for his faith. Yet Paul repeatedly encouraged the believers in Philippi to rejoice. In this imperative he reveals to us the true source of joy, and he encourages us to respond to it with a positive mental attitude characterized by optimism and hope amid circumstances that may not be favorable.
The Philippian believers needed this exhortation. And the truth is, we also need it almost 2000 years later. We have something to rejoice over and be glad in. Jesus desired that his disciples experience fullness of joy. John 16:24 tells us Jesus said: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Then in John 17:13 He went on to say: “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”


The world needs a religion of joy. Many people live in defeat and despair because they search for joy and happiness in the wrong places. Paul didn’t say, “Rejoice in your health.” One’s health can fail. Paul didn’t say, “Rejoice in your wealth.” You may not have wealth, and even if you did, you could lose it. Paul didn’t say, “Rejoice in your friends.” Your friends may disappoint you. Paul didn’t say, “Rejoice in your family.” Family can be a source of unhappiness. Rather, Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.” He encourages us to make a spiritual inventory of that which gives life meaning and purpose. He urges us to truly value that which is valuable and to find our greatest satisfaction in our relationship with God.
Let us rejoice in the Lord’s person.


The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a moral God. He is a God of integrity who is characterized by righteousness and dependability. He never makes a mistake and will never conduct Himself in such a way as to disappoint us, for He is a God of holiness and love. Let us rejoice that he is the kind of God He is. Let us rejoice in our Lord’s purposes.


All of God’s purposes toward us are purposes of love, and He deals with us according to His perfect wisdom. He knows our past, our present, and our future. No evil is in Him, and no selfishness is in His purposes toward us. It’s God’s will that none of us should perish, but that all of us should experience life in its fullness.
Let us rejoice in the Lord’s promises.


The Bible is a book that contains many promises from the Father God to His children. We need to discover these promises and respond to them in faith and obedience. It is by His promises He uplifts us and enriches us.
Let us rejoice in the Lord’s power.


Our God is no weakling. He is the creator God and the sustaining Lord. He provides all good things for us. In His strength we can resist evil and can become what he wants us to be and achieve what he wants us to do. Let us rejoice in God’s inexhaustible spiritual power, which is available to all who seek and serve him.
Let us rejoice in the Lord’s abiding presence.


Our Lord promised His disciples that He would be with them at all times, in all circumstances, to the very end of the age. We see this in Matt. 28:20 where Jesus said, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age…” He is the God who has promised never to leave us or forsake us. It is impossible for us to drift beyond the range of his loving care as we are reminded in Psalm 139.
Let us rejoice in the Lord’s provisions.


God has provided for the forgiveness of all our sins in the past, and he provides for our deepest needs in the present. Further, he promises to provide a home at the end of the way. We are told this by Jesus in John 14:1–3 where He said: “(1) Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (2) In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”


Many things in life can cause us to become downcast, disappointed, and discouraged. We must beware so that we don’t go searching for happiness and joy in the wrong places. When the Lord is the basis for our hopes for the future, we will find the source of unending joy.
Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.” As you rejoice in the Lord, you will find life to be more meaningful. And you will find life to be more productive as you seek to minister to others.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

October 3rd 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

Title: Let Us Sing to the Lord
Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

Text: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High” (Ps. 92:1)


Scripture Reading: Psalms 92:1–4
Some say that three books are necessary for advancing the kingdom of God—
the Bible, the hymnbook, and the pocketbook.


Especially important are The Bible and The hymnbook.
The Bible is the record of God’s self-disclosure to our hearts and lives, while the hymnal is a revelation of the noblest thoughts and intents of the human heart and of its emotional response to God in worship and prayer, and the pocketbook pays the bills.
Sacred music has always been connected with worship.


When the psalmist calls upon us to join our hearts together with him in singing to the Lord, he is encouraging us to do what Moses had done after the crossing of the Red Sea  (Ex. 15), what Solomon would do when the temple was dedicated (2 Chron. 5:12), what the angels would do when they announced the birth of Christ (Luke 2:9–14), and what we will do when we get to heaven.


The ministry of sacred music.
The psalmist is not alone in challenging people to join in praise to God. We find the apostle Paul saying to the church at Ephesus, “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father”  (Eph. 5:19–20 RSV).


We should join our hearts together in singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. This is the noblest medium for the ascription of praise to God. Singing aids us in our worship.


The singing of hymns and spiritual songs with joy in the heart moves the unsaved to trust Jesus Christ as Savior.
There never have been - any great revivals apart from much singing.
A songless church is a powerless church.


The singing of gospel songs is an important part of an evangelistic service in which the church is trying to win the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.


The singing of hymns and spiritual songs produces a unity of spirit, mind, and purpose among the people of God. Singing contributes immeasurably to the fellowship of the church.


The singing of hymns and spiritual songs creates a martial spirit among the people of God, encouraging them to march against sin and evil.
The singing of hymns and spiritual songs serves as a medium for learning great scriptural truths about God.


Let us join together in singing to the Lord.
The psalmist said, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live” (Ps. 104:33 NIV). We can sing about God’s greatness and power. We can sing about God’s goodness and mercy. We can sing with the joy of those who have been forgiven. We can sing because death has been defeated. We can sing because immortality is a reality through the risen Christ.


We may not be able to sing like the Morman Tabernacle Choir, but at least all of us can make a joyful song to the Lord. We can rejoice that our God is the God who puts a song in the heart.


Nowhere does it say we have to sing on key….but it does say to sing a new song unto the Lord!
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

September 26th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

A Command Regarding False Teachers

 


Pastor Don’s message this morning, entitled A Command Regarding False Teachers comes from Philippians 3:2-11 that says: “ (2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! (3) For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, (4) though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: (5) circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; (6) concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless (7) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being confirmed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”


Let’s look at verse 2 from the Revised Standard translation: “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”


In this command concerning false teachers, the apostle Paul warned the beloved congregation in Philippi against the peril of being misled in their faith. In the verses that follow the text, we gain the impression that these false teachers were the Judaizers or those who believed that Gentiles must become Jews in order to be Christians.


The Judaizers found it exceedingly difficult to believe that the Gentiles were included in God’s great redemptive purpose. They would have preferred to restrict Christianity to Jewish listeners, and they resisted every outreach effort that was extended toward non-Jews. The Judaizers were seemingly unable to see that their traditions placed restrictions on the love and mercy of God. They were legalistic and literalistic in their interpretations of the Old Testament, and they were blind to the changes that the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit were bringing about in the hearts and lives of Gentile believers.


In this warning concerning the necessity of being on guard against false teachers, Paul feared that the Philippian congregation would be subjected to the same kind of perils that he dealt with in his letter to the Galatians. The Galatians had responded to the gospel by faith. Later they were confused and misled by these Judaizers, who caused them to fall away from the way of grace. They added to faith the works of the law as essentials for salvation.


The warning against legalism begins at verse 3 and continues through verse 11 where we draw the conclusion that Paul was informing his converts in Philippi to be on their guard. They needed to oppose those who insisted that the proper observance of external religious ceremonies, along with ancestral relationships, gave them a position of privilege in God’s sight.


Paul went into great detail to demonstrate that he no longer put his faith and trust in the things on which he previously had based his hope for a right relationship with God. We see in verses 7-10 that he no longer put faith in his religious self-discipline or achievements as a basis for acceptance before the Father God. And in verse 9  Paul encouraged the Philippian congregation to trust in Jesus Christ plus nothing for a righteousness that comes through faith.


In the closing verses of Philippians 3, Paul warned believers against listening to and following those who separate creed from conduct and behavior from belief. The false teachers in this passage may be the Gnostics, who believed that people found acceptance before God on the basis of a superior knowledge. This was communicated to them by those who were initiated into the secrets of the knowledge of God. The Gnostics believed that matter is essentially evil and that the Creator God is so exalted and so far removed from humankind that he is unconcerned about human conduct.


These false teachers denied the true humanity of Jesus Christ and in so doing also denied His divinity. The end result was complete license in conduct. Paul warns his beloved Philippians against the belief that there is no relationship between the condition of the soul and the life that one lives.


There are many false teachers in the world today. Some of them are very sophisticated. We need to beware lest religious teachers lead us astray from the truth of God’s Word. We need to be cautious lest we are led away from the path of proper conduct by what we see on television or in videos. We need to be on guard lest we are led astray by the customs and the traditions of our culture that are often accepted as the law and the gospel.


Perhaps the finest way to prevent ourselves from being misled is to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ as heaven’s infallible teacher as well as Lord and Savior. Let’s listen to Him as He speaks to us with authority concerning God, others, and things that are of eternal value.


There are many churches, colleges and organizations that claim to be Christian but, in fact, they are not. We can identify them by examining them to see that they have the form of godliness but deny the power thereof. There are those who sugar coat God’s commands….they try to say that God really did not mean this or that. Remember, this was the same line the serpent gave Eve in the garden that led to man’s downfall.


Read your Bible. Understand that if God said it once, once is enough. Just like when mom and dad gave you something to do or not do….they only had to say it once to mean it. God hasn’t changed His rules in spite of what modern society says to the contrary – another example of false teachings.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

September 19th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

The Command to Cooperate


Pastor Don’s sermon this morning, entitled

“The Command to Cooperate” come from Philippians chapter 2, verses 12 and 13 “

(12) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”


As disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to give joyous attention to the great imperatives that came from the apostle Paul. This veteran soldier of the cross, this great missionary leader, this warmhearted pastor was seeking not only to glorify God, but to point out those human responses that were essential for spiritual growth and effectiveness in witnessing.


In the words of our text, Paul was encouraging the disciples at Philippi to cooperate with God as He carried on a good work within them.
Philippians 1:6 states: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Paul is telling us that God’s good work within each of us began at conversion and will continue until Jesus returns to rule this earth.


The church in Philippi had heard the good news of God’s love that was revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They recognized what they needed to do to receive the gift of new life. Paul told them that the conversion experience is only the beginning of the human response to God, and it’s only the start of God’s great redemptive work on our behalf.


As our text shows us, God’s good work in us continues as we cooperate.


Paul wasn’t declaring that the believers in Philippi had to work their way to heaven. The salvation of the soul is not the result of the good works of even a sincere and devout person. This is confirmed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he wrote in chapter 2, verses 8 and 9: (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

And again, when Paul wrote to Titus chapter 3 and verse 5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Instead of works, Paul was affirming that if they would experience God’s full salvation from the downward pull of a fallen nature, but they had to cooperate with God as He worked within them.


Modern translations of our text can help us to see a bit clearer that for which the apostle was pleading.

 In The New International Version reads, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”


If we would work with God, we should make much of his Book. God will communicate His will to us through the pages of the Bible.
If we would work with God, we must find our way into the closet of prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with God, but even more important, it’s how He communicates with us.


If we would work with God, we must let the church be the church in our lives. It is through the local expression of God’s family that we experience His presence and His love. It is through the church that we receive encouragement and correction and comfort. All too often people say they don’t need to go to church to worship God. But the truth is, we DO need the church and the family it creates for us. Want proof? Just look at how we have seen the power of prayer work for us as a group. God’s family helps us all.


If we would work with God, we must be responsive to the Holy Spirit. He is seeking day by day not only to strengthen us, but to use us in witnessing to unsaved people around us.


God’s good work in us will be completed when the Lord returns. We read in Philippians 3, verses 20-21: (20) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”


Our salvation begins at conversion and continues through consecration. It will finally be consummated when Christ returns from heaven for His own. In conversion we are saved from the penalty of sin. As we cooperate with Christ, we are saved from the power and practice of sin. When the Lord returns, we will be saved from the very presence of sin.


Our citizenship is in heaven. As disciples of Jesus, we’re just pilgrims here on a journey. This world is not our home; we’re only passing through. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we must live out that citizenship in an environment that is not conducive to spiritual growth. It’s in this present world that we must let our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:27: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”


This is a personal challenge to each of us. And it’s not going to be easy. That’s why we need one another through the church to help when we’re having difficulties which can make us vulnerable to intrusion by Satan. We must also maintain a robust prayer life -- personally and for others. And most important of all, we must constantly read and study our Bible for this is the one place where we can find all the answers we need in every aspect of our lives.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

September 5th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: Why Do Good People Suffer?

Text: “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the LORD God” (Ps. 73:28).

Scripture Reading: Psalm 73:3–17, 28

Following the funeral service for his father, a man and his young son walked out of the church to their car to drive to the cemetery. The son looked up through his tears and asked, “Why did it have to be Granddaddy?”


We find the question “Why?” in the hearts of young and old alike. Many things happen for which we can find no answer. Have you ever asked this question? If so, you stand in good company.

The psalmist tried to live a good life. He endured pain, suffering, and tragedy yet saw the wicked prosper on every hand.
He saw their pride. He heard them speak against God.
He heard them laugh at goodness.
 

The bewildered psalmist cried out,
“Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?”


Why do good people suffer?

People suffer because of sin.
We disobey the laws of God and suffer for our rebellion.
David suffered because he sinned against God.
People sow wild oats; then one day they reap an awful crop.
Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of Eden because they sinned.
Today people are driven from the gardens of happiness and blessing
into the deserts of misery and trouble
because of their rebellion against God.


The springs of life dry up. The flowers wilt and fade away. The birds cease their singing because sin has entered the heart.
People suffer because of the frailty of human life.
Jesus said to his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Jesus promised his people in the beginning
that because they lived in the world,
they would suffer.
We suffer because of our own mistakes,
foolishness, and sin,
and also because of the mistakes, foolishness, and sin of others.


Some people break the speed limit and run stoplights. They make foolish choices. They walk in the counsel of the ungodly.


They seem to court disaster.
Can you measure the amount of suffering
that is due to floods, fire, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and storms at sea?
Such disasters are simply a part of our existence in a world of natural law.


Can you measure the amount of suffering that is due to
disease, weakness, and frailty of body?


And how much suffering is due to:
accidents of all kinds?
We suffer simply because we live in a fallen world.
People suffer because it builds character.


Paul said:
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3).
God allows suffering in his world
because it produces character.
It educates. It disciplines.
It brings out the best in people.


Milton wrote more lastingly because of his blindness.
Tennyson wrote more beautifully because of his suffering.
Through suffering we learn that it is sweet to walk with the Lord and keep company with his people.
People suffer because it deepens spiritual growth.
.....................
The psalmist said,
“Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now have I kept thy word” (Ps. 119:67).
.........................

James put it like this:
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness”

 (James 1:2–3 RSV)

Suffering is often redemptive.
We learn through our pain to depend more fully on God.
It is said that one should darken a bird’s cage when teaching it to sing.
If the hand of the Lord had not darkened the windows, many of us never would have learned to sing or be strong at all.
.......................................................
Lay hold on God in times of suffering and pain
even if your attempt is no stronger than a prayer,
and you will find that he has laid hold on you.
....................................................
Remember, you cannot have a beautiful sunset without clouds….
you cannot climb a mountain if it was smooth,
and you never see a rainbow unless there was rain.
People suffer because it teaches
how to trust God.
We learn through suffering to trust God even when we don’t understand.
In John 13:7 we read,
“Jesus answered and said unto him,
What I do thou knowest not now;
but thou shalt know hereafter.”


There are some things we will never understand on this earth.


Mystery is woven into the fabric of life.
Sometimes I wonder if the questions that bother us are really as big in God’s eyes as they are in ours.

Have you ever watched a child cry or throw a temper tantrum because he or she didn’t understand why one block wouldn’t stay on top of another,or why a doll’s arm wouldn’t stay where it was placed?
That is big to a child, but to a parent it is such a trivial thing.


If we could only see life from God’s perspective, what a difference it would be!


English preacher: Maude Royden wrote,
“Christ does not give us reasons, at least not at the first instance. He gives us strength without telling us why the pain has come and gives us reasons only beyond the victory.”


It has been said that the worst sentence ever passed on Christians in the early days of persecution was to be sentenced to the mines of Numidia.
Their chains were shortened so they could never be able to stand upright again.
Often one eye was knocked out.
They were then given a lamp and a pick and sent into the mines to dig until they died.
Being watched by merciless overseers, these Christians knew they would never come out of the mines alive.
Still God placed songs on their lips.
Their radiant witness and their grateful prayers are recorded on the walls of the mines.
One word of courage there occurs over and over again.
It is the word “life.”


Their persecutors could shut them away from the world, but no enemy could shut God in Christ away from them.
In their darkness they saw the Light of the World. They drew close to God and found the secret of life.
May you draw near to God in time of suffering and find that he draws near to you and makes you a stronger, happier, and better person.
.............................................................
A special note from Pastor Don,
being human, when diagnosed with cancer again I wondered why me? ….
but I have been "able to witness" to people I would never have met…
doctors, nurses, and I was able to "give hope" to other patients who were being treated at the same time….
one doctor even told me that my faith in God helped them to renew their own faith in God.
If one person was drawn closer to God by my illness, then to me it was worth it all.
...............................................................

Time is shorter than we think.


Are you a LIGHT in this dark fallen world?
People are surely looking for answers:
And Jesus is THE WAY!


It's time We ALL Share The Good News with Someone Today!
Reach out to those who are searching, it will make an ETERNAL Difference not Only to that individual,
But for God's Family, His Church.


Friends, Christ Is Coming Soon!


Are You Ready?
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

September 5th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit

This morning’s message from Pastor Don is taken directly from I Thessalonians 5:19 where Paul wrote: “Don’t Quench the Spirit.” This negative command reveals that it’s highly possible that each one of us can be guilty of doing just that. And, doing so is to grieve the heart of our Heavenly Father, to deprive ourselves of His benevolent ministry, and to withhold from others that which they could receive through us if the Spirit wee permitted to do His good work.


There are two question each one of us must ask ourselves: First, have I choked the life of the Spirit from within me? And second, have I poured water on the creative fire of the Holy Spirit? When we honestly answer both questions, our response to the Holy Spirit will require each one of us to plead guilty. So, how do we avoid the possibility of making a negative response to the Holy Spirit?


Remember that the Holy Spirit is not some mythical thing floating around like a Halloween sheet ghost. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and is very real. Unfortunately, in today’s languages, practices and understanding, we have this mythical image when we hear the word spirit.


Let’s recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” And then in chapter 6:19–20 Paul continues: “(19) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”


Have we quenched the Spirit by our very failure to recognize that He was and is God’s gift to us at the time of our conversion experience? Let’s look at what Luke wrote in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins’ and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Then in Galatians 3:2 Paul wrote: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”


Some people have the mistaken idea that they must wait for a kind of spiritual extravaganza before they experience the Holy Spirit’s presence. The fact is, He came quietly but significantly in the moment you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Paul confirms this in Romans 8:9, which says: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

We need to stand in awe before the significance of this truth that the eternal Spirit has come to dwell within us.


We must cultivate the fruit of the Spirit with cooperation. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us exactly how to do this: “(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Our Heavenly Father’s purpose for us is to bring us into conformity to the image of His dear Son. We see in Romans 8:28–29: “(28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be he firstborn among many brethren.”

Keep in mind that it’s not the person that is predestined, but rather God’s plan.


The Heavenly Father is in the process of helping us in that direction day by day. He has bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to make that possibility real. Paul told the Colossians that Christ in them was the hope of glory when he wrote in chapter 1, verse 27: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Becoming genuinely Christian is not a matter of our lifting ourselves up by our own spiritual bootstraps, because on our own it just won’t work. Instead, it comes about as we respond positively and continuously to the work of the Holy Spirit. He seeks to reproduce within us the very nature and personality of Jesus Christ.


We read in Galatian 5:22-25: “(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (24) And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit.” In these nine graces of the Spirit, we find a verbal portrait of Jesus Christ. We also see a vision of what we can be as we are led by the Holy Spirit


Hebrews 3:7-11 says: “(7) Therefore, if you will hear His voice, (8) do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, (9) where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. (10) Therefore, I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ (11) So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’.” Using the example of rebellious Israelites in the wilderness journey to the promised land, let’s make sure we listen to the Spirit with joyful obedience.


There is no way God can lead us into our personal promised land in the here and now if we neglect to hear the voice of the Spirit and refrain from obeying His Word. No one can do your listening and obeying for you. God is at work for good in each of us individually. To experience the fulfillment of His promise, we must listen and obey.


It’s no accident that each of the seven epistles to the seven churches of Asia Minor concludes with the exhortation in Revelation 2:7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The Holy Spirit is present in our hearts if we are believers, but it’s incumbent on us to listen and obey Him to reap the full benefits of His presence. We can discover His presence by responding positively to His gracious work within us. And then we can rejoice in what God wants to do in us by His Spirit.


Don’t pour water on the fire of the Spirit!

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

August 29th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: The Habit of Prayer


Text: “Pray constantly” (1 Thess. 5:17 RSV).


The King James Version translates our text, “Pray without ceasing,” and The Living Bible paraphrases it, “Always keep on praying.”
Paul is informing the dear disciples of Thessalonica that they should develop the habit of prayer and then never break that good habit.
Jesus told his disciples a parable to the effect that they “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 RSV). It is the will of our heavenly Father that we form a consistent habit of prayer and then not break that habit.


For the good of our own spiritual lives and for the advancement of God’s kingdom, we should give ourselves constantly to prayer. This is not to imply that we should assume some pious pose or that we should enter some type of convent or monastery to give ourselves to uninterrupted prayer.


Prayer has both a human and a divine side: we talk with the Father, and the Father communicates with us. True prayer is always a dialogue in which we bring our confessions, our thanksgivings, our petitions, and our intercessions to the Father. The most valuable part of the prayer experience is the listening side, in which we let the Father speak to our needs.
We should have the habit of prayer because the Father God listens.


The Father is eager to bestow his gifts upon us.


The Father gives only gifts that are good for us (Matt. 7:11).
The Father gives gifts that are in harmony with his purpose.
We can discover God’s character by studying the Bible.


We can understand God’s gifts as we follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership.
We can know what to expect from God when we pray (John 15:7).


We should have the habit of prayer because of our great need.


We find that the great prophet Daniel had the habit of praying three times each day (Dan. 6:10–11).


We should always pray a prayer of confession when we have any consciousness of sin in our lives (1 John 1:9).


We should pray when we stand in need of wisdom (James 1:5).

Wisdom is God-given insight that enables us to see the end from the beginning of a particular course of action.


We should pray when we are tempted by Satan to do evil (James 4:7–8).


We should pray when we or our loved ones experience the pain and suffering of illness (James 5:13–18).


We should pray when we are in any kind of need for God’s grace and help (Heb. 4:16).


We should develop the habit of prayer and not break it, because God yearns for fellowship with those who are near and dear to him and because God has placed a hunger in our hearts for fellowship with him.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

August 15th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: The Ministry of a Comforter


Text: “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18 RSV).
Scripture Reading:
 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18


The words of our text are directed to believers in Jesus Christ. Each of us is commanded to participate in a ministry of bringing comfort to others. We are to render this ministry with the precious promises and provisions of God described by the apostle in the preceding verses (1 Thess. 4:13–17).
There is a need for comfort.


Sooner than we can imagine, we will either be in need of comfort or be associated with someone who needs comfort. Very seldom does a month pass in which death does not touch the life of someone who is near and dear to us. We are not to remain unconcerned in the presence of grief.


“But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep” (v. 13 RSV). While there is much speculation concerning death and the afterlife, there is great ignorance concerning what the New Testament teaches regarding God’s provisions for those who die with faith in Jesus Christ. Each believer should study the New Testament to fully appreciate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need to delve into great passages of Scripture like
1 Corinthians 15.


“That you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (v. 13 RSV). Believers grieve over the death of someone near and dear just as unbelievers grieve. When a person dies, all of those who knew him or her feel loss, and this brings pain. While believers experience grief, Paul tells us that we must not grieve as do unbelievers, for their sorrow is the sorrow of those who have no hope. A nonbelieving husband was heard to say in connection with the death of his Christian wife, “If I were only a Christian, it would not be so bad.” He knew that apart from Jesus Christ he had no hope of ever experiencing his wife’s presence again.


A perceptive observer on the mission field noticed the radical difference between the grief of believers in contrast to that of unbelievers in the presence of death. He expressed the judgment that if this were the only benefit that came as a result of being a Christian, it would be worth all the effort and expense put forth by the missionaries. As followers of Christ, we are encouraged to refrain from grieving as though we have no hope.
What is the basis for the Christian’s comfort.


The apostle Paul said we are to “comfort one another with these words” (v. 18). What are the words to which he was referring?


“We believe that Jesus died and rose again” (v. 14 RSV). Our only hope of victory over death and the grave is based on the fact that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for our sins. He conquered the power of death and the grave on our behalf. The resurrection of Christ provides us with a revelation of what God has planned for those who trust Christ as Lord.
The occasion for these words of instruction and comfort grew out of the pain that these early believers were experiencing when friends and loved ones entered into death prior to the expected return of Jesus Christ. Paul affirmed that when Christ returns to claim his own, believers who have experienced death prior to that event will be with him.


Those who are alive at the second coming of Christ will not have precedent over those who have died prior to that event (v. 15). Some people interpret these verses of Scripture in terms of a detailed explanation of our Lord’s return. We will get closer to the truth if we interpret them in terms of instruction and comfort to distressed believers a short two or three decades after the ascension of our Lord. Paul was affirming that both living and dead believers will share equally in the wonderful victory of the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. He was affirming that “we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (v. 17 RSV). He was dealing here with the pain that is experienced when death separates the living from the dead. He was affirming that the day will come when we will be together in and through Jesus Christ.


Each of us will need the comfort that comes from the God of all comfort and the Father of mercy (2 Cor. 1:3–4). Each of us is encouraged, even commanded, to be a source of comfort to one another. To comfort means to encourage, to impart assurance of victory, to help others know that death will have no final victory over us or our loved ones who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


We need to study the Scriptures. If we would be obedient to this command, and if we would be a source of help to others, we need to know what the Scriptures teach about the Lord’s provisions for those who trust him.


We need to claim the promises of God. The New Testament contains many promises to those who trust Jesus Christ. Only as we claim these promises on a personal basis can we experience God’s great comfort.


We can be the channel through which God’s help comes to others. Our presence and our words of assurance and sympathy will bless others in their times of grief.
Determine that with God’s assistance you will be a source of help to others in their times of sorrow and grief. Grief can not only involved death but it can involve serious illnesses. We need to be there for them all.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

August 8th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

A Ministry to the Whole Person

 


Today’s sermon, prepared by Pastor Don, bring us to the end of one of the most practical letters in all the Bible. There were no holds barred as James dealt with many areas of the Christian life. He addressed the wrong use of the tongue, and showed the great harm and destruction can be done by this little member. He addressed those who have been blessed of God materially but who have misused their wealth, even to the the point of hurting others.


Then, about halfway through his letter, James changed his approach. He began to deal with the “whole man,” and his words became unusually kind and compassionate. If James had been following the modern-day style of letter writing, he probably would have placed his “complimentary close” at the end of verse 11 and added a “postscript” beginning with verse 12. From the 12th verse through the end of the chapter at verse 20, he dealt with matters that he didn’t bring out previously in the letter.


James’s first message in the “postscript” is about watching one’s speech. He wrote in verse 12: “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your Yes be Yes and your No, No, lest you fall into Judgment.” He was speaking of the common practice of swearing in his day. We know that swearing has always been a common practice -- then and now.

 But James said, “Above all, my brethren, swear not.” Why “above all”?


He had just written about trials and afflictions. When a person is under great stress, he or she may be tempted to ask, “Why?” Why has all this come upon me? Or, “What have I done to deserve this?” The use of God’s name in the trials of life can become an expression of anger rather than an expression of praise. In times of trials and affliction, we must guard our speech, for what we say in those difficult hours is very important. The fact is, a Christian’s conduct under pressure always affects others.


We may have trouble trying to determine all that James meant in verse 12. Some interpret his words to constitute an absolute prohibition of oath-taking. But if we carefully examine both the Old and New Testaments, we’ll find many instances where God Himself, His prophets, and His apostles make use of oaths, or what we would call vows. What James was encouraging us to do here is support what we say by what we are and what we do. Many times, our works are more persuasive than our words.


James’s second message in the “postscript” is praying under all conditions. We read in verses 13 to 18:(13) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. (14) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (15) And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (16) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (17) Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. (18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”


James made an earnest appeal for Christians to let prayer and praise be part of every aspect of their lives. We should pay close attention to this.


First, he mentioned suffering in verse 13. “Is any among you suffering?” Here James was talking about any kind of trouble, physical or mental troubles, personal or family troubles, or whatever. What is the proper attitude of Christians under such circumstances? The answer is, “Let him pray.” Prayer can either move God to take away the affliction or give us grace to bear it Paul reminded us of what Jesus said to him in 2 Cor. 12:9 when he wrote: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


Second, James asked, “Is any cheerful?” James’ advice is appropriate: He said, “Let him sing psalms.” We should never forget to praise God in times of joy just as we remember to pray to God in times of trouble.


Third, he dealt with the sick in verse 14. When James spoke of suffering in verse 13, he was talking about suffering in a broad and general way. His reference to sickness is more specific. The Greek word suggests that it’s a sickness that incapacitates a person. Those who are sick are to “call for the elders of the church,” whose presence will encourage and hearten them, and make them more conscious of the effectiveness of prayer. The elders are to pray for the sick person, “anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Now Oil in the Scriptures is a gracious symbol of the Holy Spirit. In Bible times it was also a medicine. But here anointing with oil may have been intended as an aid to the sick person’s faith.


Fourth, James summarized the matter of prayer verse 16. He drew two conclusions. There is a need for confession of sins. He wasn’t saying that we must confess all our faults to our fellow Christians. But rather we are to confess to those whom we may have offended.
James also encouraged intercessory prayer in verse 16 when he said: “And pray one for another.”. All the people are to pray, not just the elders. James then said that there is great power in the prayer of a person who is right with God.


Now we reach the conclusion of the epistle in verses 19 and 20 where James wrote: “ (19) Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, (20) let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”


James is urging Christians to reclaim those who have fallen away. It’s here where the “pastor heart” of James surfaced. He was talking about those who are spiritually sick. To “convert” those who have wandered astray means to bring them back to the way of truth, to turn them around. It’s God’s plan and purpose to use His people as instruments in the saving of souls from death and in the covering of a multitude of sins.


We can learn a lot from Pastor James. Remember he is a brother of Jesus Christ and didn’t accept him as the Messiah until after the resurrection. His words that have been given to us to show how we as Christians should live and behave. We may be the only example of Christianity that someone may see so we need to be on notice that how we conduct ourselves could be the difference between saving or losing another person for all of eternity. Yes, it’s sobering to think about but it’s the truth. And we must take it seriously. Wouldn’t hurt to reread this short book often.


May God bless you all.
 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

August 1st,  2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

Title: Being Patient in Affliction



Text: “Take, my brethren,
the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord,
for an example of suffering affliction,
and of patience.
Behold, we count them happy which endure”
(James 5:10–11)

Scripture Reading: James 5:7–11
Sometimes preachers write sermons that are geared to specific instances he sees in his congregation, and even sometimes preachers write sermons that they themselves need to hear, this is one of those sermons that the preacher needs to be reminded about especially when he himself is going through some difficult times, because preachers are human too!


And I am sure it also fits each one of us at one time or another.

Beginning with verse 7 of the final chapter of James’s epistle, James’s entire tone changed.
Note that he reverted to the word “brethren” as his word of address. His theme in these verses
is a call for steadfastness in times of great affliction and trial.


He made an appeal for several things.
James exhorted Christians to be patient under trial (5:7–8).


James began his letter with an exhortation to “let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (1:4).


Then he began its conclusion with a similar appeal:
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord” (5:7).
The word “therefore” doubtlessly points to the sufferings that poor Christians were undergoing at the hands of the merciless rich,
which is the theme in the first six verses of this chapter. The inference is that all the oppression they were undergoing
would be brought to justice, and they were to exercise godly patience under trial. The word James used for “patience” is significant;
it means to be long-tempered, not short-tempered.


It suggests a self-restraint that enables one to bear insult and suffer injury without resorting to a hasty act of retaliation.
James told us why we are to be patient.

When James said that we are to be patient under affliction unto the coming of the Lord,
he was talking not only about duration the length of time we are to bear insult and trial but also the reason for our willingness to be long-suffering.


The idea is that suffering Christians are not to take matters into their own hands; rather, they are to know that God is able to avenge them, and they are to wait for him to act. James showed Christians how to be patient under trial (5:7, 10–11).


He used three illustrations to support his point.
First, James illustrated the experience of the farmer (v. 7).
The farmer patiently waits for his land to produce a crop. He prepares the soil, sows the seed, and keeps the fields free of grass and weeds. Then he waits expectantly. James made an application: “Be ye also patient; establish your hearts” (v. 8).


Next, James illustrated the experience of the prophets
(v. 10). “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”


There are two ways in which the prophets were an example to us—in their sufferings and in their patience.


Finally, James illustrated the experience of Job (v. 11).
We know from reading the book of Job that Job sometimes gave vent to outbursts of frustration and even anger.


...................................................................................
But in spite of his trials, he maintained a persistent
trust in God.
This is what James meant
when he referred to “the patience of Job.”
..................................................................................


He used a different word entirely from the word meaning “long-suffering,” which he had been using all along.
For Job did not show a great deal of long-suffering, though he clearly showed steadfastness, which is the meaning of this kind of “patience.”


The very fact that James spoke of God as
“full of compassion and mercy” (v. 11 NIV) suggests that our Lord feels with us when we are undergoing these hard times.


The writer of Hebrews underscored this thought when he said of the Lord Jesus, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (4:15 NIV).


Therefore we must remember that our Lord
is hurting with us when we are enduring the hard times of life.
From it all will come the strength to grow and develop as mature sons and daughters in his family.

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

July 25th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

A Warning to the Rich


Continuing in our study of James, Pastor Don brings us to Chapter 5 verses 1-6. Here we find that this wise pastor has some direct words about relationships between Christians within the body of Christ. It seems that James began this teaching in 4:13, which deals particularly with arrogance and self-centeredness in the Christian’s life.


Although poverty was far more widespread than wealth in the early church, some people had been blessed materially. Some wealthy landowners who belonged to the church were misusing their wealth and taking advantage of those who worked for them. Whether they were genuine Christians we have no way of knowing. They may have accommodated themselves by using the church for selfish advantage. In any event, James spoke plainly and sharply to them, and his words are good advice for all of us.


We read in verses 1-3: “ (1) Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! (2) your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. (3) Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.” James is boldly saying that these rich men had taken for granted the material blessings God allowed them to receive.


There may have been a secondary purpose in James’ mind as he penned these harsh words to the rich. Some people in the church, though not wealthy, may have been working for riches. They may have begun to be a little prosperous, and the taste of prosperity was sweet in their mouths. So, these words might also have been “preventative medicine” for some of the Christians.
James spoke plainly first about the doom of the rich who placed their confidence in material things. He had mentioned the rich in two earlier passages. In Chapter 1, verse 10 James reminded wealthy Christians that their wealth would soon pass away. Then in the opening verses of Chapter 2 he referred to the unbelieving rich.


In the passage we’re studying this morning, James appears to be delivering a broadside hit to the rich, speaking in the manner of an Amos or a Micah, declaring that the judgment of God will inevitably fall on them and on their wealth.
He began his warning by telling the self-centered rich to “weep and howl” because of God’s judgments, which were soon to come upon them. Someone once said that there are four classes of people when it comes to the matter of possessions:  (1) those who are rich in this world and poor toward God; (2) those who are poor in this world and rich toward God; (3) those who are poor both in this world and in the next; and (4) those who are rich in this world’s goods, but because they hold them with a loose hand, are rich in the next world also. Unfortunately, this last class is not a very large one.


What was James calling these deceitful rich people to do? He told them in verse 1 to “…weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” This is not the weeping of true repentance, though. Instead, they will have realized too late that their wealth is not a passport to heaven and into the presence of God. They will “weep and howl,” but it won’t get them what they want because in the end they will have nothing.


In the ancient world wealth was of three types—food, costly garments, and precious metals. James didn’t name all three of these specifically, but what he had to say in verses 2 and 3 suggests that he had them in mind. He said, “Your riches have rotted” (that’s the literal translation of corrupted). This could refer to food that the rich had hoarded and had become unfit for human consumption. A comparison here would be the way in which the Israelites attempted to hoard manna found in Exodus Chapter 16. The garments James mentioned were expensive clothes that had become moth-eaten and consequently had no value. Also, the wealthy people’s gold and silver were covered in rust. Though gold does not actually rust, this was probably James’ way of saying that their money had lost its value. Then he added in verse 3, “You have heaped treasure together for the last days.”


James went on to list the sins of the rich in Chapter 5, verses 4–6 where he wrote: “(4) Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. (5) You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. (6) You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.”


The first sin, seen in verse 4, was injustice. These rich men, in their greed, had withheld wages from those who worked for them. James dramatically pictured the wages of these defrauded laborers crying out (the Greek word means “to shriek”) to God for vengeance.


The second sin in verse 5 was extravagance. This is a picture of people wallowing in luxury and immorality. Like cattle fattened for slaughter, they have grown fat in body, mind, and spirit.


The third sin shown in verse 6 was violence against the righteous. James was probably referring to legal or judicial actions taken against the poor.


As only he could do, James pulled no punches! In fiery, righteous indignation he condemned those who have misused the blessings of wealth God had allowed them to receive. Instead of using their prosperity to bless others and to glorify God, they had used it to curse and destroy.


Even though many godly men and women through the ages have used their wealth to bless others and advance God’s kingdom on earth, the temptations that accompany material affluence are many.


James wasn’t condemning wealth; he condemned the misuse of wealth and that’s really the bottom line of the lesson. God doesn’t forbid wealth. Rather He, through His Word, is warning us that the wealthy need to be very cautious of how they use it. Wealth and prosperity that causes the heart to change is the problem. And if it becomes the priority and causes one to put God and a Christian life aside, it has become a corrupting influence which endangers the eternal salvation of the wealthy individual.

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

Sunday

July 18th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

Who Is a Sinner?


Continuing our study in the Epistle of James, Pastor Don has prepared today’s message from chapter 4:11-17 where James asks us, who is a sinner.


There are two kinds of sinners in the world. One kind are those who reject Jesus Christ and consequently dwell in spiritual darkness. Among these, there is extreme divergence. Some are openly defiant and hostile toward God, while others are passive and even apparently kind toward Christianity. The other kind are those who are “saved by grace.” They’re clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and when God looks on them, He sees them secure under the blood of His Son. Yet these believers in the Lord Jesus still live in unredeemed bodies and therefore fight a continual, lifelong battle with temptation and sin. These are the kind of sinners James was talking about in our text. He was describing Christians who fall victim to sin.


He speaks of the Christian who criticizes other Christians in verses 11-12 where he wrote: “(11)Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. (12)There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
In addressing the need for Christians to permit God to humble them, James mentioned how those who have won some victory may become proud and arrogant in their attitude toward other Christians. They allow Satan to worm his way in, and they find themselves “evaluating” the lesser victories of their brothers and sisters. The position of victory is often more dangerous than the position of defeat.
James wasn’t talking about the fools who irresponsibly criticize everybody but themselves. Rather he was speaking of those who are so wise in their own conceit that when it comes to others, they are unable to exercise good judgment.

Some Christians have come to think so highly of themselves that when they speak of others, criticism and devaluation become automatic. James enforced his command by reminding us of two facts:


1. Those who are guilty of slandering others when he wrote in verse 11 of speaking evil of the law and judging the law. What they are doing is setting themselves above the law of God and considering it unworthy of their obedience.
2. And the second fact came when he wrote in verse 12: There is one lawgiver, who can save and to destroy. In other words, God is the one who holds the final judgment.

In his Epistle he wrote of three areas of human disregard: Verses 1–10 show the human disregard for God in preference for the world and the pleasures of the world; verses 11–12 show the human disregard for God in judging one’s fellow Christian; and verses 13–17 show the human disregard for the providence of God. The fact is, humans, in their pride, don’t want to acknowledge that they can’t determine their own fate and make their own plans.


James goes on to depict those who arrogantly disregard God in verse 13 when he wrote: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’.”


Notice James’s illustration in verse 13. He said that those who make plans without God say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Certainly, profit-making is essential in any business, but when it becomes a passion and the motivation behind all our activities, we’re on dangerous ground.


Why is it wrong to let the profit-making motive become a consuming passion in our lives? James told us in verse 14, that we do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (NIV). Humankind stands between the past and the future, and when we refuse to trust God with our tomorrows, we’re torn between the memory of the past and the ignorance of the future.


So, what are the lessons to be learned from these facts? Well, we should take full advantage of today and its opportunities. And our ignorance of what tomorrow holds doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think about tomorrow and make provision for it. The fact is most of the duties for which God holds us responsible call us to work for tomorrow.


James depicted the mystery of life verses 14–15:  (14) “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (15) Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”


Here is one of the greatest questions ever asked. “What is your life?” James’s answer is profound: “It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” He was clearly illustrating the swiftness and transitory nature of life.


The great tragedy is that most people confuse life with the circumstances of life. Life is largely independent of its circumstances. A person may be rich yet unhappy or poor yet be happy. A person may be in prison yet sing, as did Paul and Silas, while another may be free yet be sad and depressed.


Verse 17 says: “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James is speaking of the sins of omission, and he meant that when we are fully aware of our duty yet fail to perform it, we sin. It’s not enough to know to do right; we must do what we know we ought to do.


When emperors were crowned at Constantinople in the ancient past, the royal mason would set before the emperor a certain number of marble slabs so the newly crowned emperor could choose one of them for his tombstone. The point of this custom was for the new emperor to realize that he would do well at his coronation to remember his funeral.


Life is time, and the purpose of time is to prepare for eternity. There is no more profound question in all of Scripture than this one that James placed before us: Who is a sinner?

May God help us to consider that question with great soberness.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

July 11th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

When the Humble Person Is Exalted

 


Today’s message is from Pastor Don and continues our study in the epistle of James, focusing on chapter 4:1-10. Remember that James was writing to Christian Jews of the dispersion. What does that mean? Simply that Christians were living among non-Christians all over the world. Christians today continue to live among those who are strangers to God’s grace. Because the world has succeeded in penetrating the hearts and lives of many believers today, James’ words are just as relevant to us as they were to the Jewish Christians. In these first ten verses of chapter 4, James wrote about worldliness, or self-gratification, in the Christian’s life.


Verses 1-2 say:(1)Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from our desires for pleasure that war in your members? (2)You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” The RSV translates this passage as the obsession to gratify self is the cause of wars and fighting among God’s people.


Christians have said that the chief purpose of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. But another philosophy of life originates in the sinful human heart that says that happiness and pleasure constitute the chief goals of life; in other words, the chief goal of humanity is the gratification of self rather than the glorification of God.


James asked two questions.

 The first is, “What causes wars, and what causes fights among you?” James wasn’t referring to international wars but to feuds and conflicts that develop among the people of God. The two words “wars” and “fights” are significant. The Greek word for “wars” describes a continual or chronic state of feuding or hostility, whereas the word for “fights” suggests flare-ups or outbreaks resulting from this tension.

The second question answered the first: “Do they not come from our desires for pleasure that war in your members?” James said quite plainly that quarrels and conflicts arise among God’s people because having their own way is their chief aim. He further specified that this warring is “in your members.” He wasn’t talking about the members of a congregation but about the members of our bodies. In other words, these external wars start within us!


James became more specific in verse 2 as he developed the relationship between passions and wars. He was simply telling us what can and does happen when people choose the gratification of self rather than God as a way of life. He wrote in verse 3: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Clearly showing that the passion to satisfy self, undermines the effectiveness of prayer.


Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If we have our sights set on things below, it’s only natural that we seek those things. Even after we become Christians, it’s possible for us to place the wrong value on material things in relation to God’s purpose for our lives.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:33 to ”seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
What did James mean when he said, you ask amiss -- or wrongly? He may have been referring to asking for the wrong things (which can be done as the result of ignorance), but most likely he meant asking with evil intent and with wrong motives. He clarified with the next phrase: “To spend it on your pleasures.” Make no mistake, God will neither hear nor answer that kind of prayer.


Verses 4-6 tell us “(4) Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (5) Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?’ (6) But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ James is referring to unfaithfulness and spelling out for us that our tendency to gratify ourselves is abhorrent to God and being a friend of the world makes us enemies of God. He enforced what he said with a quote from Proverbs 3:34: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The proud are those who arrogantly defy God and refuse to admit His sovereignty over the world and over their lives.


James continues in verses 7-9 with “(7) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (9) Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”


This passage consists of a series of brief exhortations uttered with the quick staccato of military commands. Each command calls for the self-seeking and worldly-minded Christian to return to God. James sounds very much like an Old Testament prophet in these statements. The essence of repentance is revealed in James’ appeal to lament, mourn and weep in verse 9. He’s showing us the picture of the person who realizes what his or her sinfulness has done to a righteous and loving God.


Finely, the result of our doing all that James has said is reflected in verse 10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” We must acknowledge God’s right to rule in our lives. We must also recognize that we are nothing—and only as we become nothing can God be everything in our lives.

As the Apostle Paul stated “Not I but Christ!"

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

July 4th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

Who Is Wise?


Today’s message, entitled Who Is Wise? is from Pastor Don and continues our study of the Epistle of James. A reminder, James isn’t writing as an Apostle nor is he writing theology. He’s writing as a pastor to his church. Our text comes from chapter 3:13-18.


At this point in the chapter, James seemed to change his subject. The first twelve verses are devoted to the tongue. Now he turned to the subject of wisdom. In these six verses, he approached his subject from three perspectives.

First, he discussed the proof of wisdom; then he dealt with false wisdom; and finally, he concluded with a declaration of the essence of true wisdom.


What is the proof of wisdom? James wrote in verse 13: “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” It can be said that two of the most sought-after qualities of human life are wisdom and knowledge.


Judging from the verses that follow, James tells us that the wise person is the one who possesses true knowledge of things both human and divine; “endued with knowledge” speaks of one who can apply that knowledge to the practical details of life.


Understanding that wisdom is not something acquired, but instead given by God, James put forth a challenge to those who feel they have both wisdom and knowledge.

 “Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”

 James was saying here we need prove our wisdom! We do this by making sure that our life matches our profession of faith.

To put it in today’s terms: put up or shut up. And we are to do this with meekness of wisdom; or as the NIV translates it,

 “By deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.”

The beautiful thought James put forth here is that meekness, or humility, is to be the natural accompaniment of wisdom.

Where there is no meekness or humility, there is no wisdom.


He then goes on to talk about false wisdom, which doesn’t have its origin with God.

 James wrote in verse 14: “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”

 He’s telling us here that there are telltale signs that let us know when this wrong kind of wisdom is present in our lives. These signs are bitter envy and strife.

The word translated “envying” is the same Greek word from which the word zeal is derived. The word literally means to boil or bubble up. Zeal can be both good and bad. One’s zeal—or fire—will either warm others or burn them! When others feel the bitterness of our zeal, they will surely conclude that the wisdom we seem to possess isn’t heavenly wisdom at all.


Verse 15 says: “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

 Here James outlined the distinctive traits of false wisdom. First, he described it negatively: This wisdom does not come from above meaning God, it’s earthly, sensual, and demonic. Then in verse 16 he wrote: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there,” which describes the destructive consequences of this false wisdom.


Then he gives us hope in verses 17-18 where he wrote:

“(17)But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (18) Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

James said that this true wisdom from above -- or from God -- is first pure.

 In other words, above all else, wisdom from God is pure. It’s undefiled; it’s free from the self-interest that characterizes false wisdom. Worldly wisdom produces contention and strife. True wisdom is peaceable. It delights in promoting and making peace. It’s reasonable, forbearing, and courteous, and it doesn’t always insist on its own rights. True wisdom is compliant, conciliatory, willing to yield yet without compromise to evil.


James also said that heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits.

The word mercy speaks of compassion and pity shown toward those who are miserable and in need. Let’s not forget that mercy is a characteristic of God himself.


Finally, James said that true wisdom is without partiality, and without hypocrisy. In other words, there is no prejudice and doesn’t show respect of persons. It makes no distinctions. Instead, it’s genuine, sincere, and unpretentious.


The NIV translates verse 18 to: “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

One of the characteristics of a wise Christian is righteousness. Being righteous involves growth. If we are to bear visible fruits of righteousness before the world, we must grow from the seed stage. It doesn’t mean we are always going to get it right because we aren’t perfect. Instead, using Jesus Christ as our example, we strive to be better every day and when we backslide -- which we will – we ask for forgiveness, we make amends, and learn from our mistakes.


The question we need to ask ourselves is what kind of wisdom characterizes our life?

 Is it a false wisdom that’s selfish, ego-centered, and inconsiderate toward others?

 Or is it a wisdom existing in you because Jesus Christ, the essence of true wisdom, lives in you? We must always seek wisdom that is born of God.


Sometimes in life we are dead right, but at the same time we are dead wrong in how we react to others. We need to remember and live by: What Would Jesus Do?

Today is the 4th of July when we celebrate our independence. With all that’s going on in this country, it’s clear there is a lot of false wisdom being applied to decisions being made and action being taken throughout the highest levels of government and throughout all corners of the population. We as Christians need to be bold in telling our truth but do so in a way that reflects the characteristics of the true wisdom that comes only from God. If enough of us do this, we can and will make a difference in the direction that we as a nation are going.

May God bless you all and may God bless this country again.

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 27th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Pastor Donald Magaw

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

The Tongue Is a Terror


All too often we get ourselves in trouble with things we say. Continuing with Pastor Don’s studies in James, today we’re going to look at the Tongue as a Terror. Our text this morning is James 3:1-12.


James had a great deal to say about the tongue. So much so, he devoted an entire section of his letter to it. Yet he wasn’t introducing a new concept. He spoke about the tongue earlier when he warned in chapter 1 verse 19: we should be swift to hear and slow to speak. He went on in chapter 1 verse 26 to “bridle our tongue” suggesting that we have the tendency to run ahead of our thoughts.

Even though there are many references to the tongue throughout the Bible (see Prov. 13:3; 18:21; 21:23; Psalm. 34:13; 39:1), James wrote more strongly about its dangers than any other Bible writer.


In chapter 3 verses 2-5 James spoke of the power of the tongue from the standpoint of both evil and good when he wrote, “(2) For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in work, he is a perfect man, able to also to bridle the whole body. (3 ) Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. (4) Look also at ships; although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. (5) Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”


James gives three illustrations to prove the power of the tongue. First, in verse 3, he drew a parallel between the horse and the human body. A horse, unrestrained, seeks to satisfy its physical needs. It’s an illogical being. If it’s to accomplish anything useful, anything not merely for the satisfaction of its own desires, it must be directed by a logical being, a thinking person. It’s the same with the human body. When humans direct themselves, they seek the satisfaction of self instead of seeking the glory of God, which is the specific purpose for which they were created.

What do we do to harness a horse? We use a bit and bridle. By controlling its tongue, we can control the whole body. The horse doesn’t bridle itself—it must be bridled by someone else. Likewise, people can’t control themselves. They must defer to a greater power.


In the second illustration James used great ships. He didn’t know anything about the ocean-going vessels of today, but even in his day there were ships that could be described as great. How were the movements of these great vessels controlled, even under the most adverse conditions? By a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

 The point of these first two illustrations is made in verse 5: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. In relation to the other members of the body, the tongue is little; but it can achieve great results.

This isn’t just words. The tongue can sway people to violence or move them to the highest and noblest action.
Fire is used in the third illustration. Verse 5 tells us that a great forest is set ablaze by a small fire. James contrasted how the smallness of a spark can bring about a huge destructive fire.


We see in verses 6-8 the vicious nature of the tongue: “(6)And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. (7) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tame and has been tamed by mankind. (8)But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”


James said that “the tongue is a fire.” We know that controlled fire can be a great blessing. People can overcome the cold, cook their food, and drive the engines of industry. But fire out of control leaves desolation and tragedy in its wake. So, the tongue, like fire out of control, also scorches and consumes!
He then said that the tongue is “a world of iniquity.” The word world is translated to cosmos also means “ornament” or “decoration.” The good and sanctified tongue will condemn unrighteousness, but the evil tongue will complement and “decorate” it, making it appear as if it were righteous. James concluded this metaphor by saying that the tongue that does this “is set on fire by hell.” Meaning, the uncontrolled fire of the tongue is fed by the never-dying flames of hell.

Then he goes on to say the tongue is wild and untamable. A person may control the tongue, but it must always be kept under careful guard; and the guard can never be let down.


Finally, James spoke of the inconsistency of the tongue in verses 9–12:(9)With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. (10) Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (11)Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? (12)Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus, no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”


He’s telling us that the tongue is notoriously inconsistent. With it we bless God and curse others who are made in God’s image, and it’s abnormal and inappropriate to bless God in prayer and praise yet speak evil of members of God’s family.


This inconsistency is illustrated in verses 11-12 with two figures drawn from nature. The first is a fountain of water where he asks if it’s possible for a “salt spring to produce fresh water. Then the second concerns fruit. Can a fig tree . . . yield olives, or a grapevine figs? The answer to both is No because the laws of nature demand that like produces like.


An unbeliever hired a professing Christian to paint his house. He knew that this Christian could pray beautiful prayers and could quote a great deal of Scripture. But when it came to painting, he didn’t fill the nail holes with putty like he was supposed to, and he didn’t paint the tops of the doors where no one could see them. The unbeliever later said, “Now I know that his prayers and his piety don’t mean much. I prefer Christians who will fill up the nail holes and paint the tops of the doors!”

 In other words, what we say must be backed up with our actions.


So, in this short passage, James gives us a beautifully clear lesson of how dangerous our tongues can be. I have no doubt that each one of us can look at our lives and find many instances where we have gotten ourselves into trouble because we failed to control our tongues. As Christians saves by God’s grace, we have a duty to do our best to control our tongues. And there will be times when it’s extremely hard to do.

Are we always going to be successful? Of course not.

We are fallen sinners forgiven by grace. But we must be ever mindful that what comes out of our mouths can be the difference between salvation or eternal damnation for an unbeliever. And when we look at it in those terms, it should make us try harder to control how we use our tongue.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 20th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared Pastor Donald Magaw

Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: When Faith Is Alive

Text: “What does it profit, my brethren,
if a man says he has faith but has not works?
Can his faith save him? . . .
Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead”

 (James 2:14, 17 RSV).

Scripture Reading: James 2:14–26
Someone has said that faith is like calories:
you can’t see them, but you can see their results.
Today we study a section of James’s letter that is probably the most misunderstood passage in the entire letter.
Some see this passage as a contradiction of Paul’s teaching concerning the way of salvation.
But when the teachings of both Paul and James are understood properly,
there is no conflict.
Three things must be kept in mind as we study these verses.

The situations presented by James were entirely different from those presented by Paul.
 Paul had in mind those who denied the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith and insisted on ceremonial works,
whereas
James was saying that true faith expresses itself in deeds.
Paul was talking about the way of salvation,
and James was talking about the life of a person after he or she has been saved.

While Paul and James used many of the same words,
they put different meanings into them.
By “works” Paul meant works of the Jewish law ceremonies and rituals.
For James, “works” were works of love, proof that faith was alive and real.

James takes up the topic of work in detail in the second part of chapter 2.
When discussing work, he invariably uses the plural “works” (Greek ergo) rather than the singular “work” (Greek ergon).


This leads some to suppose that James
uses “works” to mean something different from “work.”


However, erga and ergon are simply plural and singular forms of the same word.[1]
James is describing any kind of work, from works of kindness, such as giving food to someone who is hungry, to on-the-job work, such as increasing the sustainable yield of rice paddies. His use of the plural shows that he expects Christians’ work to be continual.


James’s intention was not to contrast two opposing methods of salvation.
His intention was to show two kinds of faith one genuine and the other false,
one alive and the other dead.

James said that true faith produces (2:14–17).


14 What doth it profit, my brethren,
though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them,
Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body;
what doth it profit?


He tried to show that things such as mental agreement,
or saying we accept Christ, do not mean much unless
they are proved by the fruits of faith at work.
Almost with an air of disgust,
James said, in essence, “What good is faith without works?
Does it help anyone?”
Note that James did not write, “If a man has faith,”
but
“If a man says he has faith.”


Repeat:
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?

 John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, had a character named Talkative,
and of that character he said, “Religion has no place in his heart, or house or conduct;
all he has lies in his tongue,
and his religion is just something to make a noise with.”
 

This is the kind of person James was describing.

Note the statement, “Can faith save him?” (v. 14).
An ad-jective is implied that does not appear in the wording here.
It is better read, “Can that faith save him?”
 The reference is to that false,
fruitless faith.. James had just described.

James’s theme is that true faith is alive (2:18–20).


18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith,
and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?

This is another difficult area of the epistle.
 James seems to have been dramatizing here, as he often did in this epistle.
He felt so certain of what he was saying about faith and works
that he saw an imaginary man rising in support
of what he had been saying.


This man turned to the one in the assembly.. who made a profession of faith.. but did not prove it by works.
 This may well have been the man James described in the preceding illustration, who had said to the cold and hungry, “Be ye warmed and filled” (2:16). With righteous indignation, the first man burst out,


“You hypocrite! Of what use are your long prayers, of what use is your profession of faith, since you just had the opportunity to practice it and failed to do so?”
 

What is the principle here?


 Faith is something that dwells in the deepest recesses of the heart, and only God can see it.
Others can only see the outward appearance.


But if there is faith deep in the heart, it cannot but manifest itself in outward expression.


Ralph Erskine, a great Scottish preacher of the seventeenth century, used to say,
“Faith and works are the two feet with which a man walks in Christ.”
One without the other produces a spiritual cripple.

James showed a bit of “sanctified wit” (v. 19).


In spite of the fact that demons are afraid of God, they do not obey him.
Fear can never inspire obedience that pleases God.
Much so-called religion today is prompted by a slavish fear.


 If we try to obey and serve God out of this kind of fear, ...our obedience and service will never be accepted.

James said that true faith produces obedience (2:21–26).


21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works,
when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 

22 Seest thou ..how faith wrought with his works,
and by works was faith made perfect?
 

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,
Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
 

24 Ye see then how that by works- a man is justified, and not by faith only.
 

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works,
when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?


26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


James was not teaching that Abraham’s justification or “acquittal” before God - depended on his works to the exclusion of faith.
He was not even saying that his justification depended on works in addition to faith.
He was saying that one’s justification before God is simply by faith, but it is the kind of faith  that moves the heart and regulates the life; it is a faith that does not lie dormant but manifests itself in active obedience.

For his second illustration,
James chose Rahab, who was as far removed from Abraham as night is from day.
James insisted that her experience with God teaches the same lesson as that taught by Abraham’s experience.
James 2:26
Just as the body without the life-giving spirit is dead, so faith, which is a mere shell of profession if it is void of fruit,
is dead also (v. 26).

This kind of fruitless faith brings no glory to God
and yields no benefit to the person who has it.


 What James was saying is that the union between faith and works is as close as the union between body and soul.

James gives us instruction to act with mercy.
 So whatever you do and whatever you say, let it be done with love and mercy.

 

 

 

 





 

Sunday

June 13th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

  

 

THOSE WHO PLEASE GOD


This morning’s message was prepared by Pastor Don, and he invited me to share it with you this morning. It comes from the book of James 2:1-13.


James was the brother of our Lord Jesus, who became the head of the first Christian church. Remember even the family of Jesus at first rejected Him as the Messiah. But then he was converted by the risen Jesus. James wrote this epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel, which, at the time were scattered throughout the known world. His focus was on Christian living and his writings certainly apply to us today.
This epistle is considered the most practical treatise in all Holy Scripture. James made no attempt to teach theology; he left that to others. Being a pastor, dealing with individuals’ day after day, he was far more concerned with the application and expression of the Christian faith. In many respects, this second chapter may be considered the heart of James’s message, for in it he gives a description of the character of faith. He shows that the expression of this kind of faith is that which pleases God in our lives.
 

Let’s examine the precept that James set forth in Chapter 2:1 where he writes: “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.”
Probably the most common sin among believers is the sin James spelled out in this passage – that of showing favoritism, or partiality. In fact, it is such a common practice that we often allow it to exist without our consciences even bothering us about it. But James was telling us is, “Don’t hold to the Christian faith—which sees every believer saved by grace through faith, not of works—and at the same time practice discrimination between different classes of people in the fellowship. For this is a shameful demonstration of hypocrisy!”
 

Because we can’t know everything there is to know about a person, we cannot possibly judge a person correctly. This truth was driven home in Acts 10:34 when Peter at Cornelius’s house. He had resented the mission God had given to him—to go and preach to Gentiles—yet when he saw what God had made happen among them, he declared, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” God doesn’t care about race, nationality, income or education levels. All He cares about is the condition of the human heart.
James spoke of having “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and he drew a comparison between that and our having “respect of persons.” In essence he was saying, “Let there be agreement between what you profess has taken place on the inside and what you express on the outside.” James was simply reiterating the general theme of his epistle espressed in chapter 1:22: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” shown in chapter.


Note that James called Jesus “the Lord of glory.” Jesus Christ should always be the glory of every believer. As we observe our fellow believers and are tempted to criticize and discriminate between them, we must remember that within every believer is the glory of God in Jesus Christ. It’s the same glory, and before God there is no partiality shown.


Second, let’s consider an illustration of this precept He writes in 2:2–4: “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; (3) and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; (4) are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”


James paints a picture of two men coming into the church. One was a rich man, finely and elaborately dressed, and the other was a poor man, dressed in keeping with his meager means. Then James showed, hypothetically, how we might treat these two worshipers in the church assembly. From the descriptions of the men given, it’s unlikely that either was a believer. Yet when they arrived, the richly dressed man was shown great respect, not because of his true worth but because of his outward appearance of wealth and position. In contrast, the poor man was treated harshly, with no warmth or compassion.


We see his application in verse 4. “Have you not partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” He was saying that it’s wrong to honor the rich at the expense of the poor. Both stand on the same level before God and should be treated accordingly.
James said two things about those who practice partiality. They have made distinctions among themselves. In other words, they’re at odds with themselves. There’s a wide difference between profession and practice. And he calls them “ judges with evil thoughts.” This is a serious charge against any professing believer who shows partiality or respect of persons.


Third, James shows us in verses 5 through 11 why having respect of persons is sinful. The principle stated in verse 5 is simple: “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” This shows us three blessings that God has bestowed on the poor: They’re chosen of God; God chose them through His Spirit, convicted them of sin; and He drew them with love toward Himself.


God has made the poor “rich in faith.” Their wealth does not consist of gold rings or fine apparel. It is found in faith. James said they’re “heirs of the kingdom.” They possess and have become a part of the kingdom of God.


Then James became practical. He writes in verse 6: “Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” And not only that, but the rich were those who most often blasphemed the name of Jesus. Of course, this was not a blanket condemnation of all rich people. Some wealthy people in the early church were generous and faithful servants of God, just as they are today. But overall, this was not the case.


The overarching principal James is speaking of is that partiality is a violation of the royal law of God. We see in chapter 2:8-9 “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convicted of the law as transgressors.” Respect of persons is showing partiality and James tells us that’s a sin. And “royal law” is the law of love expressed in the command “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Why “royal”? Perhaps because Christ, the true King, is its disseminator.


Verses 12 and 13 are the conclusion of this passage with an appeal and a warning: “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” The appeal is that obedience to the royal law be expressed both in speech and action. The warning in verse 13 “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” We are warned that those who show no mercy will find none at God’s judgment.


So how do we please God? By showing mercy and love to all people regardless of their station in life. We must be careful never to make assumptions about anyone as we don’t know what they’re dealing in their life. So rather than trying to figure out what we can’t possibly know, it’s better to treat all people the same and loves them as we have been instructed by Jesus.

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 6th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Agree With God

Contributed by Marilyn Murphree
Scripture: Job 22:21-25, Amos 3:3


We often say things that overrule what God has said and then we wonder why
our prayers are not answered.

He tells us
he is the Lord that healeth us
and we disagree
because we still have pain in our body
and do not feel we are healed.

We Need To
Agree with God

Job 22:21-25 NLT


21 “Submit to God,
and you will have peace;
then things will go well for you.

22 Listen to his instructions,
and store them in your heart.

23 If you return to the Almighty,
you will be restored—
so clean up your life.

24 If you give up your lust for money
and throw your precious gold into the river,

25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
He will be your precious silver!

We often say things that overrule what God has said about things
and then we wonder why our prayers are not answered.

We think God is ignoring us
when He has already spoken on a number of subjects.

For example, He says, “I am the Lord that healeth thee” but we disagree
because we still have pain in our body
and do not feel healed.

We are quick to remind God
of how much we hurt
but ask for the same thing over and over again.

He says, “I am the Lord that healeth thee”
and we continue
to insist that we are not healed.

We are not any better at all.

Scripture tells us,

1 Peter 2:24 NLT

24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.

By his wounds you are healed.

“By his stripes we are healed” in Isaiah during the atonement on the cross..

and we were healed in

I Peter 2:24.

We still insist,
“No, I’m not healed yet.
Maybe some day if it is His will.”

We look at circumstances with our natural eyes
and continue to disagree
with what God
has
already said.


Matthew 18:19-20 NLT

19 “I also tell you this:
If two of you agree here on earth
concerning anything you ask,
my Father in heaven
will do it for you.

20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”


Apparently Jesus had reminded his disciples of this before because he said,

“again I say unto you…”

How quickly they forgot.

He told them
once again
two agree about things
and
God would do it.

Maybe it is just in our nature
to argue about things
and say, “No, Sir,
that’s not the way things are for me.
I am not healed, I still hurt,
and I don’t know
if it is ...for me.”


We make it too hard on ourselves all the time.

A verse in Job 22:21-25 NLT

21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace;
then things will go well for you.

22 Listen to his instructions,
and store them in your heart.

23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—
so clean up your life.

24 If you give up your lust for money
and throw your precious gold into the river,

25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
He will be your precious silver!


What is the good we are looking for?

One thing is that
we don’t continue to hurt—
that the Healer has come
... like He said He would.

“I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
Why can’t we just say,
“OK,” Lord, I believe it and I take it.

I believe we need to strengthen our knowledge
about what God has already said to us
so that we won’t waver
on whether we can
rely on it or not.

Psalm 119:160
"The very essence of your words is truth;
all your just regulations
will stand forever."

We must firmly believe that ...
and that “God is not a man that he should lie”

(Numbers 23:19) NLT
19 God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human,
so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?

Has he ever promised
and not
carried it through?


Do we firmly believe that
or
do we sometimes believe it
and sometimes ...
not
depending on the circumstances?

(Hebrews 10:35) NLT

35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

Agree with God.
Learn to not only stand firmly
on the promises of God
but
make a demand on them
and
expect them to happen.

Another scripture that often comes to mind is

Amos 3:3
“How can two walk together unless they be agreed?”
Remember this verse in the last Sermon a few weeks ago?
Walking together means FORWARD Motion if they agree.. If two can NOT walk together in agreement,
There is lack of forward progress!

We think of two people walking together in agreement
but
Jesus called his disciples - friends.

We are walking hand in hand with him
as our friend
and in perfect harmony
with HIM..

Agree with God on what He has said
in HIS Word
To US.

It is reliable.
......................................................................
(Psalm 119:89-96)

89 Your eternal word, O Lord,
stands firm in heaven.

90 Your faithfulness
extends to every generation,
as enduring
as the earth you created.

91 Your regulations
remain true to this day,
for everything
serves your plans.

92 If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy,
I would have died
in my misery.

93 I will never forget your commandments,
for by them
you give me life.

94 I am yours; rescue me!
For I have worked hard
at obeying
your commandments.

95 Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me,
I will quietly
keep my mind on your laws.

96 Even perfection has its limits,
but
your commands have no limit.


We can be assured
that the power of the Lord
was present to heal in Bible days
are also just
as
revelant today?

Scripture tells us (Hebrews 13:8).
that the power of the Lord
was present to heal and that
if it was ...then
it still... is today



“Jesus Christ is the Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever."

Get rid of the “yeh buts”
that disqualify us
from receiving
what He has for us.

You see:
We MISS OUT
on the blessings along the way
when we question His Word
or His guiding Presence.

Learn to say, “Lord I believe what you are telling me.

( loud )
I receive it NOW.”

All of us have some things in our life
that need to be
removed.

We must exercise our authority
over negative things, especially our words.

We need to SAY, Think and SPEAK
I am not going to disagree
with
God today.

My words are going to be
in alignment with what God says,
and
(loud and firm)
I‘m going to speak them OUT LOUD.

“I agree with You
that the power of God
is in my body
to drive out
sickness and disease.

The power of God
is PRESENT
to Heal Me.

I agree with you Lord.

I expect to see
sickness and disease
leave my body
in the Name
of
Jesus.

We can make Revelation 12:11 NLT our scripture.

11 And they have defeated him
by the blood of the Lamb
and
by their testimony.
And they did not
love their lives
so much
that they were afraid
to die.


I AM Overcome as well

By the blood of the Lamb

Jesus Christ our Lord
and
the word
of my testimony.

Brothers and Sisters,
We Are Family,
The Family of God.

Today
TRUST Jesus

Trust in the Lord with All thine heart,
and lean NOT
unto thine own unerstanding.

Lean Not Unto Our Own Understanding
In ALL thy ways
Ackknowledge HIM,
and
HE WILL / Shall Direct
Thy Path.

...................................
Conclusion
..................................

Now unto him
who is able to keep YOU from falling,
and to present you FAULTLESS
BEFORE the presence of HIS glory
with exceeding JOY.

To the ONLY wise God
our Saviour,
Be Glory and Majesty,
Dominion and Power,
Both NOW
and FOREVER.

AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 30th 2021

 

Sermon Prepared By: Wanda Wohlin

Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE

 

This morning I’d like to talk to you about God’s gift of grace. Our text is Ephesians 2:1-10. Grace is a precious word to Christians that refers to the underserved favor of God, extended to us free of charge, even though we have no natural right to it and can never earn it on our own merits. When we understand its meaning, we see that grace is at the very heart what Jesus has done to offer us salvation. Jesus died for our sins so that we could be right with God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 best expresses the concept of God’s Grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” We have been saved by grace. Forgiveness of our sins, salvation, and reconciliation with God come to us as a gift. We can’t earn it through good works or good behavior. It’s given to us through faith.
Little wonder these verses are special to followers of Jesus. Millions of us have memorized them, keeping their precious, life giving, encouraging words close to our hearts. So, let’s explore how these verses fit into Paul’s message of grace. In their immediate context, they take on even greater significance and meaning because they provide the inevitable and joyous conclusion to the argument that begins the Chapter.

Ephesians 2 begins rather bleakly. Verses 1 and 2 say: “(1) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, (2) In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Paul tells us we’re dead in our sins. He doesn’t mean that we were physically dead without knowing it – he means we’re spiritually dead because of our transgressions and sins. A transgression is a type of sin that involves breaking a rule. Sin refers to our rebellion against God, whether through transgressions or not. Humanity instinctively rejects God. It’s a natural inclination expressed through words, deeds, and attitudes. We need to appreciate the significance of being dead -- physically or spiritually. If we’re physically dead, we can’t do anything. We’re dead! Lying in the coffin, six feet underground means our story is over. It’s too late to fix the things we’ve done wrong. We can’t apologize to those we’ve offended, can’t mend broken relationships with family or friends, and it’s too late to undo all our regrets.

To be spiritually dead means to be completely cut off from God. We can’t reach out to Him, can’t fix the things we’ve done that offended Him, nor can we apologize for rebelling against Him, for pretending He doesn’t exist, and for living as though we’re God.

So, we see in verse 1 that dead people can’t make things right. Any solution to our deadness must come from somewhere other than ourselves. After telling us that we’re dead in our sins, Paul goes on in verse 2 to tell us that we’re dead in our sins in which we once walked. Walking was a common Jewish way of speaking about the conduct of life. For example, to walk in peace means to conduct ourselves in a peaceful way. So, Paul says that, though dead, we used to live in sinful ways. In other words, we’re the zombies in the Bible!

Verse 2 also tells us that as walking dead we’re not just out for a stroll as though we have freedom to do whatever we want. In fact, zombies follow two leaders: the ways of the world, and the ruler of the kingdom of the air.

Following the ways of this world means to live by the world’s values and ideals. Just like zombies, the walking dead are mindless followers of the world around them. They aren’t rebels against the status quo, they don’t question values forced on them, and they don’t look for a better way. The walking dead also follow the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Paul doesn’t name this spirit, but the most obvious candidate is Satan himself. The world often treats Satan as a joke, but he’s not a fun-loving, naughty little guy with red horns and a tail. It’s easy to dismiss him as a silly idea when we see him in this way. Satan’s greatest trick is to convince us that he doesn’t exist. Satan is an evil spiritual being who is real and dangerous. He’s the zombies’ puppet master as they mindlessly follow his directions and the ways of the world.

Lest we get the impression that Paul is speaking in a judgmental way about the zombie-like walking dead, he gets a little more specific with exactly who these zombies are in verse 3: ”Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” All people – you, me, even Paul – are or were at one time one of these walking dead.

Another thing to notice in verse 3 is that the walking dead are characterized as gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Christians used to live according to our appetites. Whatever we craved and desired mentally, materially, and physically is what we would try to get. Self-gratification was our highest pursuit.

Putting all this together, we see that living according to self-gratification is following the world and Satan. We might think that we’re not hurting anyone by chasing after our desires and cravings, but it makes us one more cog in the wheel of a world that turns its back on God. And we don’t notice that living this way is just what Satan want us to do.

The world tries to tell us that “freedom” is being able to do whatever we want: chasing after our desires, gratifying our cravings, simply doing whatever makes us feel good -- but this is a lie. The world’s freedom is no freedom all. Rather it’s the slavish following of Satan.

Finally, Paul adds in verse 3 that we, like the rest of the world, were by nature, deserving of wrath. Left in our natural state, we deserve nothing less than the consequences of rebellion against our Creator. Mindless, self-gratifying, Satan-following, world-pleasing, spiritual zombies deserve to face the wrath of God. Ephesians 2 does indeed begin with a bleak picture but thank God, it doesn’t leave us there!

Paul says in verses 4-5: “(4)But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loves us, (5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” While we were self-gratifying, spiritual zombies, God loved us. Yes, loved us!

Because of His mercy and out of His great love for us, God did what all the heroes of the zombie movies try to do. He provided the cure for the zombie plague. God made us alive with Christ. Dead in our sins, unable to change our situation, God took action to bring us to life. And as Paul says, we’re saved by grace. We can’t claim any credit for making ourselves alive. Dead people can’t do that. Our changed situation is due only to God’s gift, which is what grace means.

Paul continues in verse 6: “and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Paul says that we’re made alive, raised, and seated with Christ. We share in the key events of Christ’s experience. Theologians call it participation with Christ. Our trust in Jesus connects us to Him, so that His death becomes our death, His resurrection becomes our resurrection, and His ascension become our ascension.

Participation with Christ is a concept that Paul uses throughout his many letters in the New Testament. Our connection to Christ is spiritual. Paul doesn’t mean we physically died with Jesus or were physically raised with Him; he means that our spiritual selves become connected to Jesus and go with Him through death and resurrection. This is why Paul can say that our old person has been put to death and a new one now exists in its place. This isn’t an exaggeration or a metaphor; it’s spiritually true.

Our participation with Jesus as like hitching our wagon to His. Wherever He goes, we go. He pulls us along – through death, into new life, and ultimately into Heaven itself. We don’t deserve to receive resurrection life, but we’re granted it because our wagon is hitched to Jesus. We don’t deserve to live in Heaven with Him, but we can because we participate with Him. We share His achievement.

We have been invited to share in the achievements of Jesus! We have no natural right to share in them, except that we have been invited to do so. That’s participation with Christ.

And this invitation leads us to marvel at God’s incredible goodness seen in Verse 7: “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Seated in heaven with Jesus, we see the incomparable riches of God’s grace. He showed us grace so that He can show us more grace!

We were dead. We were blind followers of the world, rejecting God and His good purposes for us. But God raised us up from spiritual death and gave us new life with Jesus. His grace is indeed magnificent. And that’s incredible!

Now we come to the verses many have committed to memory. In 8 and 9 we read: “(8)For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9)not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Having worked through Ephesians 2:1-7, we can now see how these two verses fit in. They’re simply the inevitable conclusion of the argument Paul has been making since verse 1. We’re saved by grace because we were spiritually dead – unable to save ourselves – and God made us alive because of His mercy. Because of His great love for us. Certainly not because we impressed Him. Not because we earned it. Not because we were especially attractive zombies. We were saved purely by grace. This is the gift of God. We’re not saved by works, or by anything we have done, or by any merit of our own.

But what exactly does “grace” mean? It’s best expressed at the end of verse 8: it is the gift of God. Grace is pure gift. But sometimes our understanding of gift giving doesn’t offer the best picture of grace. We often give gifts out of expectation. If it’s a birthday, you may feel obliged to give a birthday present. Or think about Christmas. An expression sometimes used – “the exchange of gifts.” If gifts are exchanged, are they really gifts? Isn’t it just an exchange? Aren’t we simply swapping our stuff? It’s why we feel embarrassed if someone give us a Christmas gift, but we didn’t get that person anything. That shows there’s an expectation to exchange gifts.

Consider a gift that someone gave you for no apparent reason. You say, “Why are you doing this, it’s not my birthday, it’s not Christmas, I haven’t just graduated?” The answer is simply, “Because I love you.”

That’s the grace of God. Salvation isn’t given to us out of expectation, it’s not exchanged for something else – it’s a pure gift. Why? Because He loves us.

The gift of salvation is truly spectacular. Rather than receiving the wrath we deserve, our sins are forgiven. We’re adopted and brought into God’s family to be His children. We receive eternal life in perfect peace, joy, and love together with Him. For all eternity we will enjoy being in His presence, rejoicing, and giving Him thanks. It will be a life without sin, trouble, and hardship, and without suffering and pain. And our salvation brings a multitude of blessings for this life too. We know God and are known by Him. We instantly become part of a worldwide family. Our identity is transformed from being dependent on achievement, success, the praise of others, money, and status to being grounded in Christ. Truly the gift of God is remarkable and precious.

But you may know all that perfectly well. You may be quite familiar with the teaching of salvation by grace through faith. You know you aren’t saved by your works or by anything you contribute. You understand what the give of God is. And yet sometimes we can have knowledge of a certain truth, but that truth has yet to sink in. It hasn’t yet permeated down to our core. It’s in our head, but not our heart. Can you relate to that?

Some believers know that salvation is by grace. They may have even shared that message with others. But if they’re honest, they recognize that deep down there’s a part of them that’s still depending on their good deeds to be right with God. They still hope to impress God with their goodness. And really hope that they’re good enough for God. What they know intellectually and how they live their lives don’t match. The evidence demonstrated that what they really believe is that they must do something to impress God, to either earn or repay their salvation.

While we can know something to be true, sometimes we don’t know it truly. It can take a while to really sink in. We may know it intellectually, but we have yet to accept it. We haven’t yet allowed the truth to shape us at the core of our being. God loves us! He really loves us! And because of His love, we are saved by grace! The burden of trying to be good enough for God was finally lifted from our shoulders.

Being saved by grace through the gift of God and not by our own works is no basis for boasting. No Christian can be proud of their salvation. In fact, every single human being stands guilty before God. No matter what we may have done – whether we’re law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes and are generally nice people, or convicted criminals serving a sentence for armed robbery – we’re all in the same boat before God. Guilty. Even the friendliest, most compassionate, and honest person can’t boast before God. All are humbled by God’s grace since it confirms the reality outlined in verses 1-3. Before we received God’s grace, we were mindless zombies under the control of Satan. Only fools boast of their own goodness!

Rather than being about our impressive performance, or our “nice guy” credentials, his is all about what God has done. In verse 10 Paul says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

He says we’re God’s handiwork. We’re the result of God’s work. This is a deliberate turnaround from discussing our works. Salvation can’t be earned by our works. Our salvation is the work of God. God’s the one who raised us from the dead with Jesus. God raised us up to be seated in heaven with Jesus. God saved us by grace. We’re God’s handiwork.

Paul also says we’re created in Christ Jesus to do good works. So far in our text, all the discussion about our works has been negative: we aren’t saved by works, our deeds were transgressions and sins, and we lived to gratify the craving of our flesh. But in verse 10 we see that God wants us to do good works.

Why affirm the value of good works now? The text has been careful to say that our works don’t save us. Paul meticulously demonstrated that they have been pushed to one side. Why now suggest that works are part of the equation?

The answer has to do with the placement of verse10 in the argument. Now that Paul has made it abundantly clear that we’re not saved by our works, we can address the right place for them. They aren’t for salvation, yet good works matter. Once we accept Jesus, we’re able to live in a way that pleases God which wasn’t possible while we were mindless zombies, obedient to Satan and trapped by our own desires. But now that God has made us alive with Jesus and saved us by His grace, we have become new creations. We no longer belong to the evil powers that held us. We belong to Jesus.

Belonging to Jesus means we can live in a way that pleases God. Our works can be good. Believers should look to please God in the way that we live. We should strive to serve God. We should consider how we’re acting in this life. We should seek out the good works that God has prepared for us to do.

In fact, when Paul says we have been “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand” he’s saying we’re created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to walk in. We come back to walking. We see this contrast of 2 types of walking in verses 2 and 10. Verse 2 the spiritually dead walk in their sins and trespasses. Verse 10 is the walk of the spiritually alive, who walk in good deeds please to God. All humans will walk one way or the other – like zombies or in the way of Christ.

One encouraging aspect of walking this new way is that God has already planned the good deeds He in which He wants us to walk. Does it mean that God has planned every good deed for every Christian? Or does it mean that God has planned the good deeds in general that His people as a group will walk in? It’s both. Throughout the Bible, God’s plans and actions show a concern for the one and the many. He cares for the group and the individual. You can’t have a group without individuals. The one and the many go together. So, God planned a way (in general) for us as a group to walk in. As members of that group, we each will walk in the particular good deeds God has prepared for us. We all have different God-given abilities that we can use for Him in good ways.

This means that even our good deeds are given to us by God. He doesn’t just save us by grace then leave us to our own devices. We’re saved by grace, and we live by grace. God plans the good He wants us to do, and He enables us to do it. This is most encouraging. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for not doing enough good in the world. Nor do we need to worry about whether we’re doing the right good things. God has arranged the good deeds we will do, and we should take comfort in that. He is in the driver’s seat; all we need do is trust where He takes us!

When we fully understand God’s grace, it changes our lives. But to understand His grace, we must first understand the depth of our sin and our complete spiritual deadness prior to receiving God’s grace. Only then can we appreciate that being made alive with Jesus is an act of pure grace. It’s the sheer gift of God that He raises the dead and gives us new life. We have been made new, no longer trapped by the world and Satan to mindlessly walk in rebellion against God. We now belong to Him, having been seated in His very presence in heaven.

Being alive with Jesus, we’re able to walk in a way that pleases God. We have been created for good works and can walk in the deeds He has prepared for us to do – not to gain our salvation, but because we’re saved by grace.

When we understand this, nothing can remine the same. The burden of sin and guilt has been lifted, our feelings of inadequacy are ended, and we can rest secure in the overwhelming love of God and in His abundant mercy. We now know the true freedom of God’s grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

Sunday

May 23rd, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

Summary: In this message as we look at the life of the prophet Jeremiah, we will learn some powerful truths that will help us to keep going when we feel like giving up.

How To Keep Going When You Feel Like Giving Up

Contributed By: Steve Malone

Let's start off with 2 passages of scripture  that have been some of my favorites for Years.

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Have you ever felt like quitting?

Have you ever felt like throwing up your hands and tossing in the towel and saying;

I mean you’re making little if any progress, you’re spinning your wheels, you’re not getting anywhere. You’re tired, Worn Out, Weary and Frustrated.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there and done that..

Romans 15:4

 ‘Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises.

This morning we are going to be looking at yet another Old Testament guy, Jeremiah…

The prophet, NOT  The Bullfrog.

A guy who keeps going even when he felt like giving up.

Jeremiah has been one of my mentors,  a person that I have both looked up to and have often felt a kindred spirit with for years. He’s one of my heroes. I mean many times in my life during the last 30 years, there has been occasions when life was kind of tough, and I felt like...why bother, I might us well just tap out.

It's then I would grab; my pen, my bible, and crack open words written by this prophet of God over 2,500 years ago. And each time God has used Jeremiah to speak straight to my heart.

The goal this morning is two-fold

FIRST & FOREMOST - To lift up our awesome and mighty God…

AND SECOND – My hope that something shared today (a word, a thought, a phrase, whatever) will help someone here who feels like quitting. Now before we talk about Jeremiahs reasons for quitting. I think it would be a good idea to kind of summarize a little OT (Old Testament) history, so that we will all understand  the HISTORICAL context that Jeremiah is writing from.

In Genesis 12, God calls on Abraham to leave his country and follow Him, and become the father of a New Nation. Abraham does that and he has a son named Isaac, and Isaac has a son named Jacob. And they all lived in tents for a couple hundred years waiting to get this NEW land..

Now during the times of Jacob there is a famine in the land which caused Jacob to take his family to live in Egypt. Which worked out well, because God had providentially placed Joseph one of Jacob’s sons  as second in charge of all of Egypt. So God’s people live in Egypt, and they do pretty good for awhile, but after a brief period of time (a Pharaoh comes onto the scene who does not know Joseph) and he makes the Hebrews slaves. And they would be slaves for 400 years. Until Moses comes along and through the POWER of God deliverers the people from slavery.

After Israel leaves Egypt, after they walk through the parted waters of the Red Sea. They camp on the east side of the Jordan River. Now God wants the people to go into the promise land and take possession of it. But there is a glitch to this plan the people who live there are huge, the cities well fortified and the people heavy armed.

But /Later– God’s people chicken out, because they have No faith in God… And this lack of faith causes them to wander in the desert for 40 years.

40 years later they get another chance. And before they go into the land, Moses says to them.

Dt 30:15-20

"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, laws, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to Enter and Occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed.  You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life then you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." 

So after this Joshua takes the baton of leadership from Moses, and crosses the Jordan and in 27 years conquers the promise land.

So now God’s people are finally living in the land God promised to Abraham 600 years earlier.

Eventually in this land they get a king. His name is Saul, Saul starts out good and ends up really bad.

And the next king is David. After being king for 40 years David dies and his son Solomon takes the throne. Where David fought and won many battles for the Lord. Solomon builds the Temple of the Lord.

When Solomon dies his son Rehoboam becomes the New King… and this is where things for God’s people start to go downhill fast.

You see right after he became king (Rehoboam ) a bunch of people came to Jerusalem from the north  (they were led by a guy named Jeroboam) and these people come to the New King and tell him.

“Dude we need a tax cut…your dad’s (tax rates) are killing us.” Rehoboam gets some bad advice and basically tells them to stop their whining - and Get Ready because the tax rates are going up.” Well this ticks off the people from the north so they start their own nation and a civil (war) between the north (Israel) and the south (Judah) begins. Brother fighting brother. Never a good thing.

And since the people in the north NO longer have the Temple, they turn away from God and start to worship foreign gods. God removes his protection and the Assyrian empire in 722 BC comes in and destroys the northern kingdom (wipes them out, it’s pretty ugly.)

Then they try to take out the southern kingdom (Judah) as well… but just as they surround the city,  God sends an angel to rescue them.  So the northern kingdom is gone because of turning away from God.

What do you think  that the southern kingdom (Judah) learned from this?

Now you would hope they learned that it’s not a good idea to turn away from God and worship idols. but they didn’t. Instead they to choose to Serve and Worship other Gods

Understand it was during this time, a time when God’s people are doing really bad, living totally against God, that Jeremiah is born and had his ministry. (and by the way, his dad was a priest so Jeremiah was a PK- prophet king he grew in a town 3 miles north of Jerusalem.).  It was a TOUGH Ministry and Jeremiah had many reasons to quit many reasons to give up and throw in the towel.

Let me quickly share a few with you.

I. Reasons For Giving Up

The first reason would be.

A) The People

Have people ever made you want to give up?

You would have hoped that the Southern Kingdom (Judah) would have learned from watching what happened to her sister kingdom in the north. That it’s NOT-- a good idea to turn away from God and worship idols, But they didn’t.

CHECKOUT – what God says to Judah;

Jeremiah 3:8-10 (CEV)

Her sister, the kingdom of Judah, saw what happened, but she wasn't worried in the least, and I watched her become unfaithful like her sister. The kingdom of Judah wasn't sorry for being a prostitute, and she didn't care  that she had made both herself and the land unclean by worshiping idols of stone and wood. And worst of all,  the people of Judah pretended to come back to me. Even the people of Israel were honest enough not to pretend.

 

Understand these guys didn’t learn a thing. Instead they too worshipped false idols and committed immorality on every hill in Jerusalem, they even sacrifice their own sons and daughters to the flames of their pagan idols. And worst of all, the people of Judah  pretended to come back to me. Even the people of Israel  were honest enough not to pretend. Jeremiah 3:10,11

Do you see the picture Jeremiah is painting? The people of Judah pretended to come back to God. They came to the services, sang the songs, lifted their hands they even filled in Jeremiah’s sermon outlines. But it wasn’t real. They worshipped with their lips, but  their hearts were far from God.

Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NLT)

Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and worship Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!" only to go right back to all those evils again? Do you think this Temple, which honors my name, is a den of thieves? I see all the evil going on there, says the LORD.

Yes -People made Jeremiah want to give up.

Again,  Have people ever made YOU want to give up?

Another reason Jeremiah had for wanting to throw in the towel was:

B) Is The Ministry God-Himself Had Called Him To

Understand Jeremiah had a tough ministry to preach a difficult message that no one wanted to hear.

And what was ‘The Message"…???

That God was angry at the nation and His justice was about to be  UNLEASHED on them for their sins.

2 Chronicles 36:15-17

The LORD, The God of their ancestors, repeatedly SENT HIS Prophets to Warn Them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple.  But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done. So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. 

The only thing left for Judah to do, their only hope to surrender to their enemy the Babylonians. And...if they do things would go "Reasonably well. "But if they refused to surrender, then things would be terrible. Their city & temple would be burned to the ground and tens of thousands of people would die from the sword and from famine.

Yet Jeremiah preached a 40+ year sermon series called, ‘Captivity and Death.’

And as you might have guessed, this message wore Jeremiah out.

Listen to these words  from Jeremiah 23:9

My heart is broken and I tremble uncontrollably. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the LORD has spoken against them. The ministry, The Task, The road God called him to walk down, and being the prophet of (doom & gloom) and of (death and destruction) was enough to make Jeremiah want to quit.

Has the task, The ministry, The road God has called YOU to walk down ever make you feel like -giving up?

NEXT comes

C) The Rejection and... Futility

Understand Jeremiah preached his heart out for 40+ years and NO ONE ever listened (He made No impact, -He changed No lives)CHECKOUT  this passage: Jeremiah is talking to God’s people;

Jeremiah 6:16,17

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will NOT walk in it. We will NOT listen.'

Did You Hear That?  'We will Not walk in it… 'We will Not listen.' And because of that refusal they would never find rest for their souls. And not only did the people reject him. But God rejected his prayers. Jeremiah loved his people, he didn’t want to see them suffer. So he constantly prayed for them. And more than once God has to tell Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 11:14

Pray No more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will Not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.

Understand -Rejection and Futility is enough to make even the strongest person want to give up.

It's Satan's Tool's & LIES!

Then there was the loneliness.

D) The Loneliness

If ever a man needed a sympathetic spouse. This prophet surely did. Yet God ordered Jeremiah not to marry.

Jeremiah(16:2).

"Do Not get married or have children in this place."

His lifestyle must match his message. And for Jeremiah to marry and have children would be inconsistent with his announcement that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed by the Babylonians.

And for that very same reason, Jeremiah was not even allowed to attend parties or social gathering, because there was nothing to celebrate.

So, do you see the picture here? For 40+ years Jeremiah was all alone preaching a message, No one wanted to hear to a people who would not listen.

 Has feeling all alone, feeling like YOU are the only one who cares and feeling like your the only one who is trying ever made you feel like giving up?

E) The Hardships

And if that wasn’t bad enough for Jeremiah, (let’s throw some abuse and hardships into this boiling pot of discouragement)

Here are just a few examples

• Men from his hometown - plotted against him… (11:9ff)

• He was put on trail- for his life (26:11)

• His -first draft -of God’s word -was burned by the king (36:23)

• He was flogged -and put in public stocks- for people to mock (20:1)

• He was attacked- by the false prophets -who spoke another message (28:1-17)

• He was arrested - and accused of treason (37:11)

• He was dragged from his prison cell -lowered by ropes into an empty well in the prison yard,  there was no water in it  but there was a thick layer of mud and Jeremiah sunk down deep into it (38:6)

NOW - I don’t know about you, but I think Jeremiah had a lot of reasons for giving up, for throwing in the towel.

In Fact: Some of the very same reasons that often come against us STILL TODAY. People, The tough task, ministry we were called to, futility and rejection, loneliness and hardships. Did you know how Jeremiah is often referred to by biblical Scholars, as " the weeping prophet.

Listen to these words from a tired and worn out man of God.

Jeremiah 9:1

Oh, that my head were a spring of water - and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night.

II. Sometimes Jeremiah Wanted To Quit

Not all the time. But there were moments when he had enough. Moments when he cried out in great frustration and said 

‘I can’t take it anymore. "

Have YOU ever had - any of those moments? Jeremiah did

Jeremiah 15:15-18

“LORD, You know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Please give me time;  don’t let me die young.  It’s for YOUR sake that I am suffering. When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins. Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”

Can you feel his pain? Jeremiah is hurting big time and  you know what I love most about Jeremiah, It's that he puts it all out on the table (the good, bad and ugly). He doesn’t come to God- pretending. He's talking and pouring his heart out. Openly!
Talking to God One On ONE

“GOD you led me down this road, I’m always alone, and it seems like you are never there for me. Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.  Now that was not true, But that was how Jeremiah felt.

One More "I feel like quitting moment" from chapter 20;

Jeremiah 20:14-18

I curse the day I was born! -May No One celebrate -the day of my birth. - I curse the messenger -who told my father, “Good news you have a son!” Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, because He did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame. Those are not the words of a man all pumped up and ready to charge a hill or land on the beach…

RATHER – they are words of a man ready to cash in his chips and go home. That towel is in his hand,  his arm is drawn back and he’s ready to throw it…Rejection, - hostility, -pain, - suffering, - futility, - loneliness and an unpopular message for 40+ years.

Jeremiah had so many reasons to give up, Yet Jeremiah hangs tough for all of those years. Sure he had many moments when he felt like quitting, But he NEVER did…

III. Why Jeremiah Did NOT Give Up

You know as I thought about my man Jeremiah and how he hung in there. I asked myself over and over again. How did he do it? How was Jeremiah able to hang in there and not give up? What kept him going? And I think I found at least part of the answer. Now let's  talk about 3 keys, 3 things that YOU and I (like Jeremiah) Must have if we are going to keep going when we feel like giving up.

A) Jeremiah Had A Purpose To Live For

In the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes: Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them, not success, wealth, fame or pleasure. Without a purpose,  life is motion without meaning, activity without direction and events without reason. Without a purpose life is trivial, petty and pointless.

When Life has meaning you can bear almost anything. Without Meaning, nothing is bearable.  Jeremiah’s life had meaning and purpose and we see this in the very first chapter of his book.

The Lord gave me a message.

Jeremiah 1:4-7

He said, "Before I Formed You in the womb, I Knew You, Before you were born, I set You apart, I appointed YOU as a prophet to the Nations. Alas, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak, I am too young. But The Lord said to me, "Do NOT Say, I am too young, You must go to Everyone I Send You To and Say whatever I command you. Jeremiah,  I am the one who created you. I knew you in your mother’s womb therefore I know who you are and what you should do. So don’t say ‘I can’t..’

YES - Jeremiah knew his purpose to speak the Words of God. That purpose helped him to keep going even when he felt like giving up.

Checkout these words in

Jeremiah 20:7-9

You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; You overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.

8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.

9 But if I say, “I will NOT mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." Yes, Knowing that God had a purpose for his life that burned like a fire in Jeremiah’s bones and empowered him to not give up.

B) Jeremiah had a Hope to anchor to.

Let me share one of my favorite stories that illustrate the power of hope. A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those Undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours.

 Why? Not because they were given a rest, but Because they suddenly had hope! You see those animals believed that if they could stay afloat just a little longer,  someone would reach down and rescue them. UNDERSTAND - Jeremiah had hope because like our little  ‘just keep swimming’  rodent friends he was confident that someone (That God) would one day come and rescue him.

Not only did Jeremiah speak the following words from God,  he BELIEVED them. And it gave him(even in the face of - rejection, -futility, people and hardships) an Unsinkable HOPE.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future… - Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah knew that battles, war, death, famine, sin & destruction were NOT God's Ultimate Plan for his people even in the midst of their sin, idolatry and rebellion. God’s plan for His people was still to prosper them (not harm them) and to give them a Hope and a Future.

I have no doubt that this gave Jeremiah hope.

I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, - Jeremiah 29:14

God does not punish us or allow bad things to happen to us in order to PAY us back,  but to BRING us back!

 God’s passion, His goal, His desire has remained Unchanged since man’s fall in the garden. To do whatever it takes to bring us back to Himself!

• Jeremiah had this Hope. A hope anchored to the plan and purposes of God.

• Jeremiah knew that God’s desire was NOT To Pay His people back, but to win them back. He was able to write these words as he left Jerusalem with the city and the temple in rubble burning in his rearview mirror.

Lamentations 3:19-26
"The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD  is my inheritance; therefore, I will Hope in him!” The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.  So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD."

C) Jeremiah Had "A Mighty God" To Trust In

"O Sovereign LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power. Nothing is too hard for you! O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds you performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours.

Jeremiah 32:17-20

God everything you ever wanted to do you did YOU made the heavens & earth. YOU delivered your people…AND EVERYTHING - YOU ever said Would Happen, HAS or WILL happened, Nothing is too hard for YOU! LORD: I put my trust ‘completely’ in YOU and YOU alone. For You are worthy of my trust.

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.  Jeremiah 17:5-8

A purpose to Live for - A hope to anchor to - A mighty God to trust in.

WE as Jesus followers have those exact same 3 three things.

We have a Purpose To Live For

We are God’s Masterpiece, Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

I stand before you this morning and proclaim to you on the authority of the Word of God that you have a purpose to live for!

• To know God, To bring Him pleasure,  honor and glory

• To be a part of His family

• To become LIKE Christ and Reflect Him to this world

• To do what God has Uniquely Shaped  and prepared for you to do. To help redirect the eternity of men and woman, and LEAD people to the fullness of life! And we have A HOPE to anchor to. We have to run to God for our safety.

Now HIS Promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of  "The hope that is right here in front of us." This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches ( behind the curtain) and into the most holy place. Jesus has gone there ahead of us, -and he is our high priest forever - Heb 6:18-20

I love it!!!! Jesus has gone ahead of us + PLUS, We are going there too! ONE Day - He will come and rescue us and take us home so “just keep swimming…

Yes One Day the heavens will be ripped open and the New Heaven (our perfect eternal home) will come down from the sky.

• And He will wipe every tear from our eyes

• There will be no more pain or sorrow, sin and hatred

• Where we WILL- SEE Him as He really IS.

"The one sitting on the throne said, "Look, " I am making all things new! " And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true." - Rev 21:5

We have a mighty God to TRUST in.

Paul was is in prison he was there for preaching the gospel…AND he knew that at any moment the guards would come and lead him down a dark narrow corridor to his death at the edge of an axe. So he pens some final words to his good friend Timothy. Paul is letting Timothy know that he has no regrets he says; "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 2 Tim 1:12

He also wrote in Ephesians 3:20,21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,  according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

• A Purpose to LIVE for,

• A HOPE to anchor to

• and A Mighty God to trust in…

These are the KEYS to YOU and I

Hanging In There when we feel like giving up. But How and Where do we not only get - BUT MAINTAIN Those things…?

Through a relationship with Christ, Accept No substitute.

By seeking God as Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 29:13,14
With all our heart…You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be FOUND - by you," declares the LORD…"

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 16th, 2021

 

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021


 

 

OVERCOMING WHAT KEEPS US FROM JESUS

(Adapted from Walking Free by Winn Collier)

This morning I’d like to talk about the seven deadly sins -- pride, envy, sloth, greed, anger, lust, and gluttony. As fallen sinners, we must be wary of their destructive temptations. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. So even when we mess up, God is always there to pick us up and forgive us.

Of course, this list isn’t the final word regarding human vices. We find other lists of harmful sins in Proverbs 6 and Galatians 5. These seven weren’t even intended to show the worst sins -- such as murder. Instead, they provide an opportunity to learn from others’ example and to reflect on how or where these temptations may show up in our own life. Early Christians called them the seven capital vices because they believed these were the source of a multitude of temptations and grief. For example, anger can lead to murder and abuse, while envy can lead to the destruction of a community and friendships. Each sin, when indulged, ignites a whole other world of hurt and heartache.

A vice is essentially an immoral habit or practice – and habits, thank goodness, can be changed. Awareness of the seven deadly sins helps us recognize our own imperfections, bad habits, and cracks in our character that we might ignore, allowing for transformation to begin. The Bible assures us that we can resist these devastating vices, and over time with grace and diligence, God can renew us to walk down a path that leads to joy and freedom. So, let’s begin.

1. PRIDE. Pride is the is where we put self over God. Many consider it to be the root of all other sins. In the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s misstep was to believe they knew better than God. The foolishness at the Tower of Babel was the idea that by a show of strength we can raise ourselves to God’s level. The root of so many of our destructive impulses is the belief that we can be or grab for ourselves what only God can be and give to us.

We all know egotistical people. They maneuver conversations and social settings to ensure that everyone knows they’re at the top of the food chain; they silence or shame people and tell stories where they are the hero. They appear to be powerful but instead, they’re living in a fear trying to create a life where they feel important, secure, and beloved. And if we’re honest, we can find times in our own lives where we may have behaved the same way.

What’s sad is our God can meet all the yearnings of the egotist’s heart but they’re so busy trying to promote themselves, they can’t receive the goodness God longs to give them.

To counter this destructive, prideful impulse, look to the first Commandment, Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me. Perhaps this is why Jesus told us in Matthew 22:27-39 that the most essential commandment is to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind, followed next by the command to love our neighbor. All love comes from God. If we’re not receiving the steady flow of God’s love, we’ll have none to give away and we’ll never be able to properly love our neighbors, ourselves, or God’s good world.

People with power, wealth, knowledge, or notoriety are often seduced by Pride. The more resources we have, the easier it can be to believe we can handle life on our own. An Old Testament example of this is King Uzziah. He oversaw monumental construction projects, amassed sprawling vineyards and enormous herds of cattle, and built an impressive army that made his enemies tremble. He became a great king with vast dominance, but his success went straight to his head. II Chronicles 26:16 tells us: But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Mosaic law demanded this function to be carried out only by the high priest. It was Uzziah’s pride that told him he was so big and important; he didn’t need God. But it’s not only the powerful who struggle with pride. If we’re fixated on ourselves, we exhibit pride in many ways, even when we seem to have little reason for bloated self-importance.

As with all the seven sins, pride is the result of a good desire twisting in an unhealthy direction. A prideful person wants to be seen and noticed. This is a good thing because we’re made to be seen, enjoyed, and to experience another’s delight in us. However, our desire can only be met through God’s abundant gifts – His love, mercy, and acceptance in His family. Whenever we create a false image to grab what we want, we push away the very love we so desperately crave. To combat pride, we can practice silence. Instead of speaking up every time we have an opinion or at times where we could draw attention to ourselves, choose strategic moments to stay quiet. We should also find time often where we can be quiet, listening only to God. Then we will hear His delight in us!

2. ENVY. Envy is another good desire gone rogue. We all long for goodness, affirmation, blessings, and joy. While God intends for us to experience all these things, envy grows whenever we think our happiness depends on securing what another person has. When we’re envious, we fixate on something we think we must have, and we think we know what we really need. But too often, we’re mistaken and confused and as we wander further away from truth and love from God, we lose our perspective, and we lose ourselves.

Envious people feel an internal void and want what others enjoy; whether it be abilities, beauty, strength, relationships, or accomplishments, to name a few things. An envious person always compares themselves with others and judges their own shortcomings. They’re also very self-critical. When we’re unable to see ourselves as God’s beloved, we despise who we are, and then turn toward others to make up for what we see as our deficiencies. Then this combination of envy and self-hatred devours us from the inside. Proverbs 14:30 says: “A sound heart is life to the body; but envy is rottenness to the bones.”

Often envy is our response to a painful rejection, a sense of inadequacy, or a fear of failure which points us toward quick relief in our quest to find validation, recognition, and love. Yet, even if we were able to grab whatever we’re fixated on from another person, it would never satisfy what we think we lack. As the proverb says, not only does it rot the bones, it also never produces a heart at peace or a “sound heart.”

Envy rots us from the inside. The only power strong enough to heal envy is love. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, kind, and it does not envy. God is love, so to find freedom from envy we must abandon ourselves to God’s enduring love. This allows us to discover that we don’t need to possess, perform, or accomplish anything. We’re simply loved and delighted in by the God who has already moved heaven and earth to call us His beloved children. A life without envy allows us to be free and to accept others as they are.

3. SLOTH. Sloth brings mind of someone in PJs, glued to the couch popping M&Ms with pizza boxes scattered around the room, binging Netflix for days on end. Unhealthy for sure, but a deadly sin?

Well, the Christian tradition, shows something far more treacherous than mere laziness. It’s the many ways we shrink from the fullness of life God has called us toward. We shrink from our relationships and we shrink from the God who loves us and from this wonderful, yet often demanding and perplexing life God placed before us. Surrendering to sloth causes us to lose our fire and boldness.

Sloth’s causes us to withdraw from God and His world, and from our God-given confidence, causing our vision to narrow.

Proverbs 15:19 tells us: “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway.” Sloth drains our energy and hems us in. But when we push away the malaise and turn in trust to God, something shifts. Hope returns, and renewed energy begins to seep in. This is God pushing us toward a wide-open future.

Sloth is a symptom of an increasingly wilting soul that’s trapped in the quagmire of idleness. We feel helpless to embrace our life or pursue God with any conviction or passion; causing God’s energy to drain from us. Sloth stops us from seeing the joy in God, in our good life, in those we love, and in this beautiful world. It allows us to surrender to hopelessness and futility rather than to the God of Hope who infuses us with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit as Paul tells us in Romans 15:13.

When we recognize the lethargy and despair, we’re in, our first reaction is to load shame on ourselves when instead, we should use it as an opportunity for healing. Healing comes when we question why we feel so empty or desperate or disconnected from God’s kindness and mercy. When we turn to God, in time we experience a renewal of love for God and all people and things around us.

4. GREED. In Luke 12:15 Jesus responded to a man who attempted to get Jesus to take his side in an ongoing feud with his brother over their inheritance. Whether or not the man’s grievance was justified, the young man’s heart was focused on the wrong things. Jesus’ response was “Take heed and beware of covetousness for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Today, just as much as in the first century, greed’s seductive allure requires our resistance. We’re constantly assaulted with Ads bombarding us with messages telling us all we don’t have. Our economic system pounds into our head that making piles of money and buying huge amounts of trinkets secures happiness. Even the label we’re given – consumers – prods us to grab more, use more, want more.

Greed distorts reality and degrades humanity and pushes us to follow our insatiable appetites without ever thinking about what’s good, true, healthy, and beautiful. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.” Greed distorts our vision of God, fueling the deluded notion that our cravings can be satisfied apart from the One who created us and who knows our deepest longings even better than we do. Left to our own devices, greed robs us of joy and a trusting reliance on the God who owns the world and everything in it. We need to depend entirely on God for everything in our lives.

While greed may be most easily spotted as we search for more money and more stuff, it can take on a thousand shapes. Jesus said to be on guard against “all kinds of greed.” Such as power and prominence, security or comfort, relationships, knowledge, personal space, intimacy, or to have others see us as the expert. With each manifestation of greed, we’re tempted to believe that we must have more of something or someone for our life to be whole. Eugene Peterson, author of the Bible translation “The Message” paraphrased Jesus’s words in Luke 12:15 with: “protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”

Despite how serious greed’s effects are, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s merely the twisting of a good thing. God has created us to desire, to want. The words of David in Psalm 30:4 suggest that delight and desire are woven into our life with God and are an essential part of an awakened heart. Jesus doesn’t tell us to squelch desire, but to pay attention to truer desires. The problem with greed isn’t that it reveals our wants, but that it tempts us to settle for things that are immature, flimsy, and ultimately destructive. He truth is, God wants so much more for us than this.

5. ANGER. Destructive anger is how our pain and fears show themselves. When we’re afraid someone else will step ahead of us or take the limelight away from us, we get angry. When we experience deep wounds or disappointments, we get angry. Anger often reveals that we’re operating out of a wounded ego, that we believe someone has wronged us or failed us in a way that seems to threaten our sense of identity. So, rather than looking into our own darkness, extending mercy, turning to faithful friends, or turning to God, we lash out.

As destructive as anger can be, when we consider how Scripture portrays it, we see a portrait that is more complex than anger being merely a vice. While the Bible repeatedly views anger as a destructive force that overwhelms us and subverts clear thinking and harms everyone it touches, there’s also a counter theme. Sometimes, anger is just. Paul suggests in Ephesians 4:26 there is a kind of anger that aids our efforts to resist sin. Jesus at times became angry. Whenever religious powers oppressed the weak, used God as a pretext for their greed or power plays, Jesus’ anger burned. If sin and injustice are destructive, then it’s right to feel a fire in our bones when evil expands its sinister reach.

Knowing that each vice distorts something good, we can learn the difference between a righteous anger defending the vulnerable or seeking justice and a caustic anger that can obliterate everything and everyone it touches. A righteous anger fights to protect others and to safeguard love. An unrighteous anger leaves behind a trail of wounded relationships without considering the casualties. Anger and rage apart from Jesus’ transformative love, always does harm, no matter how noble the intent.

In the book of James, we’re told we must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness God desires. On its own, our anger never yields the good life, never heals, never turns enemies into friends and never opens new possibilities. It only destroys. Sadly, it’s easy for us to justify our anger. Maybe we really have been wronged, maybe someone else truly does need us to come to their defense. But our anger, isolated from its rightful foundation in God’s love, simply can’t create goodness. It’s like trying to put out a fire with a blowtorch; we only fuel the destruction.

6. LUST. When we think about Lust we think about desire. Desire becomes a sickness when it owns us and becomes a thing, we believe we must have to be fulfilled. Lust is the distortion and ultimately the squashing of the good desires God wants us to enjoy.

Scriptures tells us Satan is at work in the world scheming and conniving to replace God. He worms his way into our hearts through a variety of seductions. I John 2:16 tells us the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These aren’t from the Father but are from the world. The lust of the flesh tempts us through runaway cravings for food, sex, and every sort of physical pleasure. The lust of the eye tempts us through our desires to gorge all we can on a ravenous pursuit for prestige, power, and reputation. However, lust only destroys.

The great tragedy of indulging in lust is the way it keeps us from enjoying real pleasure, and from receiving God’s true joys. It blocks us from receiving true pleasure because it turns us away from the God who provides it. Lust can cut us off from the capacity to experience the pleasures God longs to give. Lust is a selfish quest to conquer others and grab more for ourselves and makes it impossible to be present to the actual moment we’re in, and to miss what’s happening in our soul, to miss the real person in our life, and miss to the goodness surrounding us.

Like cancer, lust eats away at good, sensual, and healthy pleasures. It feeds off the lie that we must have this experience, that person, this relationship, that sensation – and we must have it now or we will be forever unfulfilled. But with that grasping, insatiable posture, everything we touch gets devoured and ruined.

Lust makes us lost wanders, crawling across the desert. All we can think about is getting to water. But the “water” lust promises is always a mirage. Lust feeds the lie that God is not really the source of true pleasure and promises that whatever we crave will fulfill us, but it never does. Only God has that power.

7. GLUTTONY. We see a glutton as one who stuffs themselves with food, well past the point of being full. But whenever gluttony in any form becomes a pattern of life, it’s no laughing matter. Proverbs 23:2 uses hyperbole to show how seriously we should take this temptation. It says: “And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite.” The Bible tells us gluttony isn’t about calories but about forgetfulness that can lead to rebellion and ruin. The first example of this happened when Adam and Eve forgot that God had given them everything they could possibly need and that nothing outside of their life with God would satisfy them. Likewise, when God led Israel out of Egypt through the desert, they quickly forgot what life had been like under Pharaoh and how astounding God’s rescue was. Still, God continued to provide food for His people with manna and quail. He did this so the people would never forget their God.

But of course, Israel forgot. We all forget. The people were told to gather enough food for each day because God will provide more each day. But many didn’t trust God and thought they needed to stockpile extra. Later, others decided that manna and quail weren’t enough and began to crave other foods. Their cravings ran away with them – they became gluttons.

We have the same temptations. We stuff ourselves with food, media, experiences, and opportunities. We gluttonously pursue an image or another person’s acceptance or some achievement. Stuffing and hoarding, we no longer believe that God is who we most crave. What we all need far more than food or reputation, or any other experience or person, is God. Our temptation to stuff ourselves signals to us a profound truth: we are indeed hungry…hungry to experience God and life in His kingdom. So, we shouldn’t despise our hunger; rather we must move deeper into it and the deepest longings it points to which will allow us to discover the good news that our kind and generous God longs to give us all we need. If we insist on gorging ourselves, we’ll never be ready to receive His gifts.

After this review this morning, it can be disorienting and painful to see our sinfulness and the sickness inside us. But there is no shame here and there’s nothing to fear. We simply need to see the lies in our lives so that we can throw them off and come out into the bright sunshine. God’s generous arms are spread wide open to embrace us. His love is far more powerful than delusions, addictions, and destructive patterns. Whether its pride, envy, sloth, greed, anger, lust, or gluttony, God’s light chases those pretenders away.

This is a constant battle for all Christians. But when we’re tempted to despair or to oppressive guilt or self-ridicule, remember God’s tenderness and gentleness. Remember that God calls us His beloved even when we’re mired in foolishness and vice. God invites us to come out of hiding, to step into the radiant light of love. He calls us to a life that is whole, and free.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

May 9th, 2021

Sermon Prepared Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Today is Mother’s day and I want to wish all our mothers a very happy an blessed day. For those of us whose moms are no longer with us, let us take the time to remember just how much our moms meant to us. Had I been able to be with you today, this would have been my message.

God bless

Pastor Don

 


 

 

Title: Mother—a Basic Need of Life

Text: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Children, obey your parents in the Lord:

for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise”

(Eph. 5:25; 6:1–2).

 

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:25–6:3

The climax of God’s creative activities was the presentation of humankind. The natural system that God selected to populate the earth was that of union between husband and wife. The father is essential to plant the seed in order for children to be created, but the mother is the basic unit for conceiving, developing, and giving birth to a child.

Hearts are almost universally sentimental when reference is made to a mother. Because of her unique role in producing the family, a mother has her own particular needs. And the family and society have special needs that a mother can meet.

Let’s look at a mother’s needs.

The role of a mother is not easy to fulfill. Many factors outside the home influence children, so it is necessary for a mother to make certain efforts if she is to be successful in rearing her children.

 

A mother needs to have society on her mind. A mother must be aware of the evils facing her children when they are not under her immediate care, and she must warn her children of these evils. Care must be taken so that none of these dangers invade the intimacy of the home.

On the other hand, since children’s attitudes are forged by their mother, a mother must also be aware of the good that exists in the world and instill in her children a desire for this good in their lives.

A mother needs to have God in her heart. A mother plagued by guilt will be a ghost in the lives of her children. Therefore a mother owes it to her family to have a clear conscience and a soul set free by salvation through Jesus Christ. Then she may guide her beloved children to genuine life in him. The most peaceful spot on earth is the path in the center of God’s will. The wise mother desires this reality for herself and her family.

A mother needs to have a husband by her side. A mother must have the true friendship of her husband. They must work side by side to make the home a nurturing environment for their children.

A mother needs to have children under her guidance. The Bible requires that children obey and respect their parents. A basic need of the mother is for her children to love and obey her. A rebellious child will force a mother to a premature grave.

The basic needs for successful motherhood are met by God, by the yielded spirit of the mother, by the loving heart of the husband, and by the obedient mind of the child.

God ordained a basic place for motherhood within the structure of our society. We cannot do without her. Those who have tried to do so have suffered the consequences.

A mother is needed by a sick society. Motherhood is a symbol of righteousness and concern. When there is a degrading of this concept, society becomes sick. When a mother exemplifies biblical standards of holiness, society is healed.

A mother is needed by her children. Children have lofty feelings of pride about their parents. Although no parent can be perfect, a mother owes it to herself and her children to strive to maintain a proper life.

A mother is needed by her husband. Her husband needs her to assist in the rearing of their children. Mothers should foster a true spirit of maternal love so as to truly minister to their child and to be a source of strength to her husband.

A mother is needed by the church. The local church has an awesome dependency on mothers. A mother learns biblical truths and shares them with her family and friends. Her time and talent are used in the many functions of the congregation. Her children follow in her footsteps.

God has placed a mother in the life of every person, yet some circumstances may not allow certain people to benefit from a mother’s tender concern. But blessed is that mother who shares the truth and life of God with the children he has placed within her care.

As a personal note, I was blessed with a wonderful mother. She loved her Lord more than anything else, but her family was always next on the list. Mom was faithful in helping dad with the church work, evangelism, and even helped dig the footing for the addition to the church. Mom had a sense of humor and never thought of her own needs…her family came first. But most importantly, she made sure I knew about the things of the Lord at an early age. She started me in church when I was less than two weeks old, sure I probably didn’t understand much of what was going on, but the idea of being in church was instilled in me at a very early age. Not to mention that mom was a great disciplinarian with her wooden spoon or ping pong paddle (properly placed when needed).

 

 

 





 

Sunday

May 9th, 2021

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

God's Blueprint - For Building A Christian Home

Contributed by Robert Webb

A very fitting message for today.

Booker T Washington: Was an American educator, author, orator and advisor to several presidents of the United States. He once said  “If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother”

Washington Irving : American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian and diplomat of the early 19th century. Best Know for "Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

“A mother is the - Truest Friend we have, when trials-heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity- takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she will cling to us, and endeavor -by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate- the clouds of darkness, soft and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

William Ross Wallace is quoted by saying “The hand -that rocks the cradle rules the world” This poem praises "That Motherhood" as the preeminent force, for the change in the world.

We can learn a lot from our mothers in our adolescent years

Mother’s teach RELIGION: Through by instruction: We'll hear forcefully when that grape juice spills on the carpet, "You better pray that stain will come out of that carpet."

Mother’s teach LOGIC: From her decisive words forcefully "Because I said so; That's WHY."

Mother‘s teach FORESIGHT:  "Make sure your wearing clean underwear, In case you’re in an accident."

Mother‘s teach IRONY:  "Keep laughing, and I’ll give you - WHAT??
Something to cry about." (of course)

Mother‘s teach about STAMINA: "You’ll sit there ’until all that spinach is finished."

Mother‘s teach about WEATHER:  "It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."

Mother‘s teach THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:  "I brought you into this world,  I can take you out."

Mother‘s teach about behavior modification:
"Stop acting like your father!"

Mother‘s teach about ENVY: "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't
have a wonderful Mother like you do"

All kidding aside...

A mother is a vital part of God’s Blueprint for building a good Christian home.

I want to look at some Images this morning that mothers provide in making the Christian home what it should be.

1.A Christian home should be a filling station, a place where you can go get checked and refueled and it's the fuel that keeps families going is LOVE.

Hannah was a good example of a Godly mother  who loved her child: She prayed for a son and dedicated him to serving the Lord even before he was born.

1 Samuel 1:vs 11-28

11 And she made this vow: “O Lord -of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime,  and as a sign that he has been dedicated- to the Lord,  his hair will never be cut.”

12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her.

13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking.

14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”

15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.

16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

17 “In that case,” Eli said, “Go in Peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again and she was no longer sad.

19 The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah.

When El-ka-nah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea,

20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel for she said, “I asked -the Lord -for him.”

21 The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice- to the Lord and to keep his vow.

22 But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.”

23 “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.”  So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned.

24 When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine.

25 After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli.

26 “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.

27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy and he has granted my request.

28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.

How much Greater Love could a mother have for her children than to give them into the service of the Lord?

Is that not the same that is expected of us today? AMEN?

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,  he will not depart from it.

2. A Christian home should be a Storm Shelter, because children are not only looking for love they are also looking and in need of security.

Are we not also children of God??

We all have that internal sense, a deep seeded emotion which God has placed within us ALL.. and we ALL Long For this Love.

Proverbs 14:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 Whoever fears the Lord has a  secure fortress, and for their children
It will  be a refuge.

Children want to know that there is a place that they can be safe and have peace from all the storms of life!

A four-year-old and a six-year-old presented their mom with a houseplant. They had used their own money to buy it and (Mom) was thrilled.

The older of them said with a Sad face: "There was a Bouquet at the flower shop that we wanted to give you. It was really pretty but it was Too Expensive.  Mom, It had a ribbon on it that said: ‘Rest in Peace,' and we thought it would be just perfect since you are always asking for a little peace so that you can rest.

Out of the mouths of babes. slow But straight from the heart.

3. A Christian home should be an Emergency room, a Trauma Center for ALL the Non Medical Emergencies of life. Every child is going to be wounded sooner or later! We All have and had those times with our mom's, memories flooding back. A song will play the radio that takes us back to a moment. A Rewind- Instant Replay

Some events absolutely leave an indentation on our hearts. It's NOT a scare by any means, because the nurturing and love that was poured out from Mom, it's where your heart grew in size from the experience. You've probably heard this expression:

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go, Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.

 We came into her life, and that indentation is her footprint that has been placed on our heart forever changing us.

Something in this life is going to break a child's hearts. Could be Event, harsh words from a friend, But it's those life events , some harsh experiences that come along, some events will reach into our Adult Lives.

Where will THEY Turn?

Where do YOU Turn?

or

Who Have you turned To?

Yep, Mom, and of course The Lord!

Why?

They carried you In their Womb. Yes, They literally carried us. Much like the footprints in the sand: It was THEN that I carried You.

It's a Love Much as Christ loves us.

 

A Mother's Prayer takes our heartbreaks, our brokenness and it's much like a baptism for our souls.

True loving compassion, that's the feeling you get which flows and washes over you and cleanses from within from the relationship between a child and their mother.  A woman of God, who gets on her knee's and prays. Sometimes a mother doesn't have to be blood relation. You can be blessed with mother In-Law or even a Mother figure. Growing up we all need a Christian home to turn to with sound godly parents.

Margaret H Cobb tells a story: My 13 year old daughter Amy is perhaps having more trouble than some teens "discovering who she is” because she is adopted from South Korea and we have no idea who her birth mother might be. Recently Amy received braces on her teeth and she was more and more uncomfortable as the day wore on. By bedtime she was miserable. I gave her some medication and invited her to snuggle up with me for a while.  Soon she became more comfortable and drowsy.  In a small voice that gradually tapered off to sleep she said “Mom, I know who my real  Mom IS. It's the one who takes the hurting away.”

A Mother has her Emergency Room OPEN - 24- hours a day 7 days a week!

4. A Christian Home should be a schoolhouse. Someone else may teach your children math, how to type or about science, but at home is where children should learn about life  The Bible says that Mom's and Dad’s teach about life.

Proverbs 6:20-23

20 My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

21 Bind them -always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.

22 When you Walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.

23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching " is a light," and correction and instruction are the way to life, children need to be taught how to deal with life and it needs to be taught in a Christian home. How to get along with people?  How to be a good decent and honest person, about values, what’s right and wrong, morality and its application verses immorality and its consequences.

The things that are  most important in life will be taught in the schoolhouse "That Mom and Dad Run."

A teacher was giving a lesson on fractions. She asked this question: Johnny, suppose there were 7 of You.

5 children and a Mom and Dad.

Suppose there was a pie for dessert. What fraction of the pie would you get?

That’s easy , Johnny said, one sixth!

What do you mean asked the teacher, Don’t you know about fractions?

Johnny said; I know about fractions, but I also know my mother too, and she would say- She didn’t WANT Any!

5. A Christian home must be a Worship Center. A child shouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to worship God.

Our homes ought to be Holy Ground  because  God is there and children should know- God is real because -He is REAL to their parents.

In 2 Timothy

Timothy’s mother Eunice was commended highly by Paul:

2 Timothy 1:5

“ I am reminded of Sincere Faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your Mother Eunice and, I am persuaded,  Now lives In You Also.”

Mothers must pass on to their children A Faith - To Live By.

Eunice raised Timothy to have a Great Faith in God despite their home being religiously divided.

You can see the importance of Generations of the Christian faith. And you can see that Lois, Timothy’s Grandmother, played a pivotal role in grounding Eunice and Timothy in a sincere faith in God. Children should know that God is real, not only by the bible stories they read, but because they are influenced by parents and can see faith lived out within their families, because homes are a Worship Center where Christ is not merely spoken of, but lived out by pattern and example for all to see.

Rose Kennedy, Mother to John F. Kennedy was quoted saying in the book Celebrating Mothers: A Book of Appreciation." Whenever I held my newborn babe in my arms, I used to think what I did  and what I said to him would have an influence, not only on him, but on everyone he meets, not for a day, or a year, but for all time and for eternity.

What a Challenge, What a joy!”

Mother’s Get Their Blueprints from the architect

- God.

Psalm 127:1

"Unless the Lord" builds the house, its builders labor in vain. "Unless the Lord" watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

A Christian Home will be a:

1. Filling Station, for all the Tune Up’s we ALL Need from time to time.

2. Storm shelter, a Secure Fortress, A Refuge for their children.

3. Emergency Room, Always OPEN to take care of whatever emergency arises.

4. Schoolhouse, teaching about life and how to grow up with manners and morality.

5. Worship Center, where spirituality is NOT Only taught but seen in the lives of the parents.

God is THE Priority.

This message for ALL today Rings -LOUD and CLEAR from Joshua

Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom YOU will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for ME and MY Household, We Will Serve the Lord."

Very Thankful today for Mothers that have decided to serve God in their households and raise their children looking to God as a first priority in their lives and using -

"His" Blueprint- To Build a Godly Home.

 

 

 

 





 

Sunday

May 2nd, 2021

Sermon Prepared and Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2021



 

 

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

Sermon Prepared and delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

Soldiers are committed to putting the mission before comfort, their comrades before self, and obedience to duty above their personal opinions about the orders they’re given. It’s a lifestyle rooted in discipline, authority structures, and teamwork.

The core elements of soldiering haven’t changed over the centuries. Yes, the technology, equipment, and training have changed; but the basic commitments to obedience, duty, discipline, authority, and teamwork haven’t. So, with that in mind, let’s consider what military life might have looked like for first-century Roman centurions talked about in the New Testament.

The word centurion comes from the Latin term centum, meaning “one hundred.” A centurion was a Roman officer who commanded a hundred men. In the Roman army, centurion was the highest rank an ordinary soldier could achieve. The position was what we know today as a company commander. The centurion typically earned his rank the hard way, and it was a position of prestige and honor, commanding the respect of others. Centurions received a substantial pension at retirement and were viewed as notables in the towns where they lived. The centurions mentioned in the New Testament were men of financial means who contributed to their communities and were respected.

A centurion’s tasks fell into two basic areas. In combat, he was responsible for implementing military strategy and would almost always be leading the charge into battle. Away from the battlefield, he administered discipline in the ranks, mediated interpersonal conflicts among his men, provided security and protection when called upon, supervised police actions in occupied areas, and most notably for our purposes, oversaw executions. Generally, these executions were done by the sword for Roman citizens and by crucifixion for non-Romans.

Several centurions are mentioned in the New Testament. We will look at four this morning to see the degree to which the message and influence of Jesus were crossing social, ethnic, and political lines and barriers.

Let’s start with the Centurion of Capernaum. Matthew 8:5-13 says: Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him pleading with Him saying “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me and I say to this one, ‘go’ and he goes. And to another ‘come’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘do this’ and he does it. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way, and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

This man came to Jesus on behalf of his servant. He exhibited great submission (calling Jesus “Lord”) and great faith in declaring that he believed that Christ need only say the word and his servant would be made whole. As if this wasn’t remarkable enough, this tough warrior showing deep concern for a mere slave by seeking out the rabbi of Nazareth is utterly amazing.

Next there is the Centurion of Caesarea. The Book of Acts tells us: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”…While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Cornelius, a prominent Gentile convert, was a centurion who had dealt kindly with and was appreciated by the Jewish people. Through his exposure to Judaism, his heart had been prepared for the seed of the gospel, and when Peter came to him with the message of the cross, he believed!

And then there is the Centurion of the Shipwreck. We learn this in Acts 27 and 28: And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one name Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment. Nevertheless, the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land. Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.”

Julius, the centurion responsible for delivering Paul to Rome for trial, was reluctant to accept the apostle’s counsel at first. During the shipwreck experience, however, he was exposed to the vitality of Paul’s faith and saw the power of God in the miraculous and saved Paul’s life when it was threatened.

Centurions were part of an occupation force – professional soldiers exerting the iron heel of Rome and its subjugation and bondage. The hated Roman conquerors were brutal and swift in their approach to all problems. Yet, according to the Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “The centurions mentioned in the New Testament are uniformly spoken of in terms of praise, whether in the Gospels or in the Book of Acts.”

The ancient Roman historian Polybius noted that centurions were chosen by merit and were remarkable not so much for their daring courage and valor (although those qualities were important) but for their deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind. Regarding these centurions, he wrote, “They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action and reliable; they ought not to be overanxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed they must be ready to hold their ground and die at their posts.” In fact, Bible scholar William Barclay concluded, “The centurions were the finest men in the Roman army.”

This historical background sets the stage for the appearance of the Centurion at the cross and for the weight and the credibility of his words.

We read about the Centurion at the Cross in Matthew 27: Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying…”Eli, Eli, Lama sabach thani? That is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So, when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

What a declaration! These weren’t quivering words from a frightened recruit or an easily manipulated conscript. This was the reasoned conclusion of a seasoned veteran who had been watching men die horrible deaths – and had been putting them to death – for years.
Some have speculated about what he may have meant. Was this a confession of faith, or was he just trying to define something outside the scope of his experience? The answer is found in the context. Obviously, the centurion was deeply moved by the events he had witnessed, and the declaration of deity is what followed his observation.

To fully understand the magnitude of the centurion’s words we need to understand the evidence against this declaration and the evidence supporting this declaration.

The evidence against such a declaration was strong indeed. This centurion was aware of the strong condemnation of the Jewish religious leaders that put Jesus on the cross for claiming to be the Son of God. His commander-in-chief, Pontius Pilate, had upheld that claim. But the centurion rejects the condemnation and affirms Jesus’ claim. Why? Because the arguments in favor of Christ’s claim were overwhelming.

Looking at the evidence in support of this declaration, we must remember that this man had likely supervised many crucifixions. Yet there was something extraordinarily different about this one. So, what did he see? There are several events of the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus that give us insight into the centurion’s statement. It’s Jesus’ response, silence, dignity, and mercy as well as Creation’s response that are evident:

Jesus’ response to the injustice that He had been forced to endure at the hands of His own countrymen through the trials is found in Matthew 27: And while He was still speaking, behold Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’ But Jesus said to him, “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me” I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled...And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy!! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” Then they spat on His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck you?”

The dignity with which Jesus responded to the lynch mob that demanded His blood was a sheep, silent before the slaughter. Scripture records no response by Jesus to the mob’s cries but does tell us in Mark 15: But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” So, they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” So, Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

Jesus’ mercy toward the people who rejected Him and the soldiers that crucified Him, including the centurion, is shown to us in Luke 23:34: The response of Jesus was: “Father forgive them!”. Even as they sat down to gamble for His meager possessions and to watch the gruesome spectacle, Jesus’ concern was for their forgiveness, not His own escape. THAT IS POWERFUL.

And then there’s Creation’s response to the Creator’s sin-bearing act. Matthew records witnesses saw the earthquake and the things that were happening. They saw the sun go dark, felt the power of the earth quaking under their feet, and they saw these supernatural phenomena suddenly end when Jesus gave up His spirit with a loud voice and died.

This centurion was understandably shocked by the significant events that accompanied the death of the Christ. In all his up-close exposure to torture and death, he had never seen such things before, and the impact on him was inescapable.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Bible Commentary offers this: “There cannot be a reasonable doubt that this expression [Truly this was the Son of God!] was used in the Jewish sense, and that it points to the claim which Jesus made to be the Son of God, and on which His condemnation expressly turned. The meaning then clearly is that He must have been what He professed to be; in other words, that He was no imposter. There was no medium between those two.”

Bible scholar Dr. Herbert Lockyer writes, “What a remarkable testimony Christ received from this Gentile! How striking was the homage he paid to the crucified One at Golgotha!”

The Centurion at the Cross had seen, heard, and felt all the events of the crucifixion and death of Jesus. As a result, he and his troops “became very frightened.” The centurion and his group of battle-hardened soldiers had learned to cope with fear, but now they experienced sheer terror – not a true reverential fear, but perhaps, as commentator John Gill wrote, the “fear of punishment: lest divine vengeance should light on them for their concern in this matter.”

They had reason to be fearful because there was absolutely nothing ordinary about the significant events they were experiencing.

It was NO ORDINARY EXECUTION. The darkness, the earthquake, and the cry of abandonment from Christ convinced the soldiers that this was no ordinary execution. The events terrified them and probably led them to believe that these things testified to heaven’s wrath. What a realization – they had put God’s Son to death!

It was NO ORDINARY POWER. They didn’t come to this conclusion because of the announcement of some angelic messenger or prophet. Their conclusion came solely from the effect of the power of God on display at Calvary that dark day.

And it was NO ORDINARY CONFESSION. The centurion’s confession tells us something eternally important: Jesus as the promised Messiah and Son of God is seen most clearly in His passion and death. How interesting that the Jewish religious establishment had mocked Him with the title by which a Roman centurion now confessed Him to be.

Matthew Henry wrote: “The dreadful appearances of God in His providence sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and Him crucified and be affected with that great love where with He loves us. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the Cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the Unjust, that He might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to His service.”

Church tradition says this centurion was named Petronius. If he was won to faith in Christ, he came as a pagan and, like the thief on the cross who believed, was saved as Jesus hung on the cross. How simple and basic! All who are saved are saved because of the death of Jesus on the cross. So, the cross began to do its work immediately. And that work has continued for two thousand years!

The preaching of the cross may be foolishness to the world, but to those who are saved it’s the power of God. No wonder Charles Wesley declared in his hymn of praise for the death of Christ, “Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!”

It’s that powerful cross and the love displayed there that moves hearts from death to life – even the hardened, battle-weary heart of a career soldier. There’s an old saying, “The ground is always level at the foot of the cross.” It was in the first century, and it still is today. The foot of the cross is where paupers and princes, religionists and pagans, well-known and unknowns, and yes generals and centurions find level ground to kneel and embrace the Christ who died for them – and for all of us.

The men and women who witnessed the trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus saw more than words can ever express. They heard things that we can only imagine. But what they saw in their lifetime, we see in the Scriptures, and the result is amazingly the same: Though we may not have seen Him physically, we have seen Him through the pages of Scripture and find solid ground for belief. Romans 10:17 explains the phenomenon this way: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the work of Christ.”

“Truly this is the Son of God!” We have heard and we have believed. But it must not end there. We must burn with the passion to know Him – the very passion of the apostle Paul, who wrote in Philippians 3:10 that his life’s goal was “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being confirmed to His death.”

May that same desire burn in our hearts as well, that we might truly know the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.

(adapted from the book Windows on Easter by Bill Crowder)

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

April 25th, 2021

Sermon Prepared and delivered By: C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Sermon: 4/25/2021

Contributed by Jerry Flury

Message Delivered By: C.Jay McCann

 

 

Have you ever been asked...

What's -YOUR Walk -With God Like?

Last month you may Remember a sermon which was delivered to you. We spoke of Elijah being taken up in a whirlwind while he was alive. This was due to the close relationship and Love Elijah had for God.

Enoch also had such a close relationship with God that grew so intimate that he also was taken into heaven without experiencing death.

Genesis 5:22 His epitaph or (phrase / memory of words or description) of Enoch is this-

That He - “Walked With God.

Two men in the Bible stand out as unique; unique because out of the entire scope of Man’s Existence, these two men alone never died.

Elijah and Enoch!

We are told that Enoch had such a close relationship with God that grew so intimate that he was taken to heaven -without experiencing death.

I. Enoch walked with God because he had a true desire to be with God.

A. Genesis 5:21-24 KJV  “And Enoch had lived 65- years, and begat Methuselah, and Enoch walked with God. After he begat Methuselah 300 years and begat sons and daughters and all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked with God and he was Not, For God Took Him.”

B. He Walked with God implies: a spiritual mindset.

1. Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, NOT on things on the earth

2. Enoch had to turn away from the temporal things that tauntingly,  tempt us daily and seek to  spiritually sidetrack or derail us in our spiritual lives.

3. 1 John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world or the things - in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

4. “In the Christian life your mind is like the rudder of a ship.  Whether the flesh or the Spirit Controls - The Rudder
That WILL Determine ,The Course your life will take you.”

5. Romans 5:5-8 “For those who live - According to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is HOSTILE to God, for it Does NOT Submit to God's Law;

Indeed, It Cannot.

And that death is Spiritual Death Without God.

This is an Eternal - Daily Choice and Decision- We Choose

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

6. Two -Can Not -walk together if they are moving in two different directions.

7. Amos 3:3 “Can two, walk - together, unless they ARE Agreed?”

C. Walking with God implies, Progress and Growth

1. The very concept of walking; is Movement.  It is a forward progression. When a person walks, regardless of how slow he or she may move, does not remain in the same place. Those who Walk With God make spiritual progress in their lives.

2. To “Walk” is used here- as a popular biblical metaphor for our daily lives, the way we conduct ourselves day in and day out.

3. I believe the longer Enoch walked with God, the brighter the light of His presence became as the things of this world grew strangely dim. The beautiful lyrics of that familiar song are not just words nicely placed together with a melody pleasant to the ears...

This is TRULY -The wonderful experience we literally get to enjoy in our lives here and NOW. When we follow Jesus and are in constant communication with our Savior.

..................................................

Turn Your eyes Upon Jesus,

Look Full , In His Wonderful Face,

And The Things - of this world

Will grown strangely dim,

In THE LIGHTof His Glory and Grace!

.......................................................................

4. Psalm 73:23-26 (NLT) “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, Leading Me- To a glorious destiny.  25 Whom have I in heaven - But you?  I desire you more than anything -on earth.  26 My health may fail, and my Spirit - may Grow Weak, BUT God Remains THE STRENGTH -of my Heart; He is mine forever..”

D. Walking with God - Implies a Right Relationship with God.

1. Remember that Amos 3:3 posed the rhetorical question “Can two walk together, - unless they are agreed?”

2. Genesis 5:21-23 “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. after he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God - three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.”

3. There is an implication here that Enoch - DIDN'T WALK in a  manner pleasing to God the first - 65 years of his life.  For 65 years, Enoch walked Without God, Doing his own Thing.

 It's Amazing- how we also can get caught up with the things of this life and of this world. That Deception comes from the master of lies. I'm sure you've had times, Heck "We ALL Have" When we take the reigns and want to live life our way.

Let me ask? How'd THAT work out for you?  I Thank Jesus Christ for Keeping That-door OPEN to ME, There was a time in MY life, where I had walked away from God, due to events in my own life,

Which could have easily ended my life.

That's Satan's Biggest Lie.

For He Places that burden of BLAME- ON -YOU!!

Brothers & Sisters,  Jesus IS ALIVE and IS Living Inside of YOU! What people call instinct: That pulling at YOUR heartstring, that feeling of OVERWHELMING Emotion, Love, JOY. When we stray from Our Father, we are choosing to turn away from our heavenly father, and that is not the path HE wants for us.

God won't follow YOU into Un-Rightiousness. 

 I can ASSURE You,

HE IS WAITING for YOUR RETURN with OPEN Arms.

 

We don’t know what happened BUT when Enoch became a father "Something Took Place" - That Made Him Realize HE needed to turn his life over to the Lord and walk hand in hand in Constant Communion with God. HIS HEARTSTRING was being tugged.

That's God's Calling!!!

Sixty five years of his life were wasted Enoch Woke Up- Because -He LISTENED and RESPONDED and spent the next 300 years reconciled with God.

Life Changing Experience

4. Romans 12:1-2  “I beseech you - therefore, brethren, by The Mercies of God, that YOU Present Your Bodies a Living Sacrifice, Holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And Do NOT BE- Conformed to this world, But be -Transformed - ( HOW??) - by the Renewing of YOUR mind,
that YOU may - prove what is - "That Good - and Acceptable -and Perfect will of God.” We are given the Holy Spirits Power to Be Transformed

5. God does not force "a walk" with Him on anyone!

But when we say - YES To Him, Walking with God means abandoning -the World’s Way, and giving up our right to choose our own way-which leads to DESTRUCTION and following...God’s Way.

II. Enoch Walked By Faith

A. Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: -Taken Him- for before his translation-  he had this testimony, That he pleased God.”

This use of the word Translate: Is that Enoch was taken- moved from earth to heaven without dieing. Did you hear that "HE Had" in there... Enoch Already had COMPLETE, Trust and Focus 

*What is Faith: It's IS Complete TRUST / CONFIDENCE in, Someone or Something -you can't See.. Yet You-KNOW it Exsist's.

"God- Restores and Enforces Faith" through your trust and confidence - IN HIM."
 

Friends, There IS POWER in HIS Word 

-We Surely Serve A-  MIGHTY  - GOD 

Who is more than able and capable to take care of our every need.

Don't Limit Yourself -

From What God Has Prepared for YOU!!

You are Made in the Image of Christ- and CAN Do ALL THINGS!!!

B. When we Walk -By - Faith we are placing - All of our TRUST in Him and we constantly seek to honor him by obeying His Word and doing those things that please Him.

A Perfect Example of Walking By Faith:

Our own Pastor Don, He is going through the trial of his life. However, Don is constantly and consistently witnessing to everyone he meets sharing His Faith,  All the while in FAITH- through this trial. The Lord has GREATLY Blessed Our Pastor, Christ's Church here at Port Monmouth Community and continues to bless and anoint our congregation - ( our Family in Christ's Love ) and as christan's in strong faith.

We KNOW and UNDERSTAND  -That God Does NOT and WILL NOT Forsake US.

He has given us clear instructions as to how we are to handle ALL-situations in our own lives and as a Church Family.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath NOT Given Us - The Spirit of Fear; But of POWER and of LOVE, and of a sound Mind.

Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, But we also glory -in our Sufferings, Because WE KNOW -that Suffering Produces, Perseverance, perseverance, Character; and Character, HOPE.
 

There's That Word.. HOPE!!

Blessed HOPE

Oh my precious .. Family of God, That's Something to SHOUT About!!

There is ALWAYS HOPE - Through Jesus Christ our Loving , Living -Personal Lord and Savior.

C.  2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we - Walk by Faith, NOT - Sight!.”

It is saying - that we - NO Longer are relying on our judgment, doing what we want, Following - Our own dreams,
Fulfilling - Our own desires or worrying about a cancer diagnosis that we have Absolutely

No Control Over.

Rather we are walking- IN Complete Reliance & ASSURANCE - on God

KNOWING  He Knows What Is Best For Us  -

Our Only true happiness and fulfillment in this life is To Be - Following Him

Unreservedly - Unrestricted

Prayer Is: God's Wireless Connection with Our Father!

Believe That and Watch- How God Responds in YOUR Life, your Marriage, your Friendships, or diagnosis.

But Most Importantly With Your Relationship with Jesus Himself

D. Hebrews 11:6  “But without Faith, It is Impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that HE IS a Rewarder / Redeemer of them that diligently Seek Him. Anyone who wants to Come to Him must believe that God Exisits,
And that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him."

E. Walking By Faith - Means -

LIVING Life - In The light of Eternal Consequences. To walk by faith is to Fear God more than man; To obey His word even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to -Choose Righteousness- What's- RIGHT-PURE-DEVINE - Over Sin,

NO - Matter What The Cost;

TRUSTING God -In EVERY "Circumstance; " and to believe God Rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise.

 Watch for those blessings to pour out in His Favor.

........................................................

As we conclude this message:

III. Enoch walked consistently by Faith


A. Genesis 5:21-23
“Enoch lived sixty five years, and begot Methuselah. after he begot Methuselah,

Then: ENOCH -WALKED WITH GOD- THREE HUNDRED YEARS!”

There's That Transformation

B. Enoch walked - In INTIMACY with God -for 300 years. Most of us have a hard time staying close to the Lord for 300 days!

C. A brief, simple, But Expressive Eulogy was pronounce by Martin Luther upon a pastor in Zwickau Germany in 1522 named Nicholas Haussmann. “What WE preach, - He Lived,” said the Great Reformer.

Can That- Be Said of US?

D. The ONLY Way that you and I can lLive consistently is by surrendering daily. God see's everything, There is NO Place we Go without Him Knowing our Every Thought or Deed.

Does He Still Feel The Nails? - Every Time I Fail?

We must be ever mindful of our actions daily. How many times must HE be crucified until WE UNDERSTAND.

We Must Take Up Our Cross, and Follow Him.

E. 1 Corinthians 15:21 NLT
"So you see, just as death ;came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead -has begun through another man."

“I die daily.”

F. The DEATH - HE (Paul) talks about is a Continuous - Present - Tense.

It’s a CHOICE - I must make - Every Day of my Life to Die to my Own Desires, Rights, Wishes and Decisions for the sake of -

Bringing Fruit - for The kingdom of God.

It's your Enternal Choice

There Is No shortcut and No Other Way.

G. Christ calls us to pick up your cross daily. Someone has rightly said that we just don‘t make this decision once and then sit on it. Daily we are called to make choices and decide whether we will keep following Christ and do things according to His will and way, or do we choose things without Him and do them our own way. Let me tell you, I've tried doing things my way many a times when I was young in my faith. My earthly father use to say at times:

Let me know how that works out for you!
 He was so right.

It's Humbling to fall to Your Knee's

Why?

Because That's Really Were -It ALL STARTS

H. Frank Sinatra sang a song, “I Did It My Way”.

Enoch’s song was and IS “I’ll Do It - point-up - His Way

A.W. Tozer said: “Enoch's daily walk was a walk of faith, a walk of fellowship with God.

What the Scriptures are trying to say to us - is this:

If Enoch could live and walk with God by faith in the midst of his sinful generation, We likewise are fully capable to follow His Example.

God is "SO" Faithful.

Oh, Yeah, When Things are going GREAT..

We are on TOP of That Mountain- It Comes off the lips so... EASY. God Is Great!

BUT When the Bottom FALLS - OUT  from underneath us,

and it will. Give it time!
A Death of a family member, Mom, Dad, Sibling,a bad Diagnosis (pastor Don), a Job Loss, Where is God In our valley?

It IS Truly Then, All The MORE...When God wants to Hear -YOU - SING!

He wants that communication with us. That's Faith!!!

Communicating is talking to God and Telling Him

"I - TRUST - YOU"

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday, and Today and Forever.

Revelation 1:8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, The beginning and the end, saith the Lord, which IS, which WAS and which IS To Come. The Almighty!"

 

Jeremiah 1:5
"
Before I formed You in the womb, I Knew You, and before you were born, I consecrated You, I appointed You a prophet to the nations.

2 Timothy: "He who Saved us and called us to a Holy calling, Not because of our works, but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Jesus Christ before the ages began.
 

He Knew Us Before Time Eternal!!!

IV. Enoch’s Faith - was evidenced and validated by God

A. Hebrews 11:5 NIV “By Faith - Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death, He could not be found, because God had taken him away. Before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God: For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God."

B. Enoch’s life and words - Stood as a Testimony or clear witness for God before a corrupt vile world.

C. He was RARE -

Enoch was not Conformed to the world and Enoch was not Controlled By The World.

ARE YOU RARE??

Does your walk with God - Stand OUT in the midst of the world You are living in DAILY ?

E. God’s desire is that through our walk with Him as the children of God we might be without Fault -in the midst of a crooked and Perverse Generation, among whom we shine as lights in the world.”

(Philippians 2:15)

F. Enoch Stood out and was commended as someone -who walked with God.

G. Is The validity of your faith Evident by Your Walk?

H. Your walk and talk go hand in hand.

One of the evidences that your Faith is Real -Is a desire to keep God's commandments. If there’s no desire to do what God says, One might have good reason to question - WHERE -they are in their relationship with God. If On the other hand, you have a deep burning desire to walk with God and to Live according to His Will and His Word and you strive To DEMONSTRATE that in your daily living your life, will validate and give clear testimony to the Genuine ness -of your faith.

"God Wants To hear You Sing!

(Sung By: Greater Vision)

 

 

 





 

Sunday

April 18th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

THE VICTORY OF CALVARY

(Taken from “For This He Came,” )

By Bill Crowder

Sermon Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death” which makes death an ultimate reality. It entered the world because of the disobedience of our ancient parents in a garden of glory and to this day continues to hover over fallen humanity like a dark specter (seen in the Grim Reaper) that we cannot escape. When Jesus came into the world to redeem a fallen human race, He had to do something unimaginable – He had to kill death. He had to kill death dead. And making it even more unimaginable, Jesus had to kill death dead by dying. That was what the cross was all about – killing death. The Son of God took sin’s penalty so that the guilty could go free; the wages of sin – death – have been dealt with and resolved. The resurrection of Christ stands to declare it.

This morning we will explore the depth of that amazing truth through the experience of Mary Magdalene who was a witness to the victory of the cross by bearing witness to the empty tomb. Her rescue declares life and hope and victory for all of us as well.

The followers of Jesus had experienced an unbearable period of darkness with the shock of Jesus’ arrest and trials, the brutality of the crucifixion, and the fear that they were next. All of it had driven them into hiding. The disciples had been devastated and their sensibilities had been shaken by the death of the Master. That’s what death does – it shakes us.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (along with Salome and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward) felt the need to do something as they made their way to the tomb of Jesus. Helpless to do anything but grieve, they had found a final way to express their love and devotion to the Christ. In their haste to beat the Sabbath deadline, the burial party had not prepared the body of Jesus as thoroughly as possible. With their arms loaded with spices and embalming supplies, they left early in the morning to go to the tomb and finish the burial ceremony.

It’s fitting that Mary of Magdalene should be there. In these events she becomes our guide and proxy as she stands in our place to bear witness of the events that would reshape the world. But who was she?

The reputation of Mary Magdalene suffered over the years from a kind of “mistaken identity,” through many media efforts. From The Last Temptation of Christ to The DaVinci Code, she has been taken from a true worshiper of Christ to that of an alleged lover. Add to that the fact that for years, film presentations of the life of Christ have followed traditions that presented Mary Magdalene in one way, and one way only – a prostitute. It’s important to note that there is absolutely no biblical evidence to support such a representation. This woman was much more than amoral glorified groupie. She was a true believer – and privileged beyond all others! What we do know of her is found in her conversion in Luke 8:1-3:

Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, (2) and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities – Mary call Magdalene out of whom had come sever demons, (3) and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

So, Mary was of Magdala. Magdala was a region east of the Jordan River in the lower Galilee, probably not far from the chief city of Tiberias, which is believed to have had many villages, any of which Mary might have called home. And she had been possessed by no fewer than seven demons! She lived under the torment and control of these fallen angels who had possessed her body. The Gospels show many accounts of the horrible lives of people possessed of demons. Finally, Mary was rescued. Jesus found her in this terrible condition and had exercised the power of heaven to set her free. Her life was instantly changed. In response to this change, she became a devoted follower of Christ who not only talked the talk, but she also walked the walk. She supported the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. Her life, values, and priorities all had been changed, radically transformed by the grace of Jesus.

In Luke 7:47 Jesus said that the one forgiven much, loves much so it’s no surprise that Mary did not want to be separated from the One who had rescued her from the depth of demonic oppression. To the end she was faithful when Jesus’ disciples (apart from John) had abandoned Him. John 19:25 tells us “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Her devotion didn’t fade nor did her love cool. Even at the cross, though heartbroken and devastated, Mary Magdalene stayed right there, witnessing the brutality and horrors of the Cross and suffering of Jesus while most of the disciples were in hiding. She couldn’t walk away but rather was compelled to stay because this was where the Christ was – and she had to be with Him. Watching, suffering, wondering, weeping. Nothing could describe the deep sadness of the hearts of these women as Jesus yielded His spirit to the Father. We sing a hymn that expresses Mary’s love for Christ:

O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul on Thee; I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depts its flow May richer, fuller be.

The love of Jesus that redeemed Mary held her in its wonderful, devoted grip. And even at His death, that love would not let her go.

Mark 15:47 tells us: Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid. Nothing could drive Mary Magdalene and the other women from the side of their fallen Lord as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea performed the grim and grisly task of removing the body of Jesus from the cross. Faithfully they followed the mournful little procession as they made their way from the Place of the Skull to the tomb – purchased by the Arimathean for his own burial but now given to the Lord he loved. They watched as the spices and wrappings were hastily applied to complete the burial before sundown – and the beginning of Shabbat. These women were there every step and their deep love for Christ overshadowed the danger of publicly identifying themselves with an executed “criminal.”

Mary of Magdala becomes to us the very image of grief. As the darkness of night deepens to match the darkness of the sorrow in her heart, she sat by the grave – her heart filed with unanswered questions such as:

How could the One who commanded demons die at the hands of mere men?

How could the One who gave her life lay lifeless in a tomb?

How could the One who had brough light to her heart now be darkened by death?

Yet even in the darkness and gloom of grief, there existed the brightness of hope – hope in the One who had rescued her and redeemed her life. Even the nature of these questions calls for answers that go beyond our natural points of reference. As the hymn continues, it carries the promise of that hope:

O joy that sleekest me thro’ pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow thro’ the rain, And feel the promise is not vain. That morn shall tearless be.

Firsts are always notable: Babies first tooth, first word, first steps. However, Mary Magdalene is, arguably, the most significant “first” in human history! After the days of darkness, knowing that her Lord of life was buried in a tomb, she’s the first at the gravesite, and she will be the first to see the risen Savior! She comes broken hearted, but with a devotion that surpasses even the apparent certainty of death. It’s important that we see that Mary had not come believing but hurting. She had not come with a sense of anticipation, but with brokenness and grief. Yet what she lacked in understanding she made up for with love and faithfulness and on that first resurrection morning, she would learn in a wonderful new way the truths of two Old Testament Scriptures:

Proverbs 8:17: I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Psalm 30:5: …Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Mary arrived at the tomb and found it empty. Fearing grave robbers, she ran to tell the disciples what she found. Then following Peter and John, she returned to the tomb to mourn. The death she had witnessed had been disturbing; the disappearance of the body was even more distressing. Peter and John left to return to the rest of disciples, but Mary sat at the tomb and mourned the loss of the body of Jesus – and the loss of what must have seemed like her last opportunity to serve the savior. But as she mourned, the unthinkable happened -- she encountered the risen Lord!

John 20:11-16 says: Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb (12) And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (13) Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” (14) Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus (15) Jesus said to her “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sr, if you have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni” (which is to say Teacher.)

It’s highly significant that the risen Christ first appeared to a woman. In first-century Israel, women were generally viewed as being of low value and considered of little or no importance – but not to Jesus! He valued women and treated them with a dignity and honor that the world of that day would have found shocking. Mary, broken hearted by her loss, wept at the side of the tomb – at first oblivious to the presence of two angels! As she looked into the tomb where the body had laid, through her tears, saw them! Their appearance was fascinating, for they were seated at either end of the burial slab. They responded to her weeping and her only though was that they might know where Christ had been taken. The depth of her love, measured by the depth of her grief, saw only the sorrow and loss – not the amazing reality of the angelic beings before her.

When she turned away from them, there before her was Jesus Himself! Perhaps it was her grief that blinded her eyes to His identity for, she assumed He was the caretaker of the garden and pleaded for information about the location of the body.

In the most tender of moments, Jesus called her name, and she immediately recognized Him. She was shocked with joy! As Christ had taught in John 10, the Shepherd calls His sheep by name, and they know His voice. This is the Shepherd calling His sheep by name tenderly, but with the authority of One who has conquered death. Powerfully, lovingly, gently, He says her name as it has neve been spoken before: “Mary!”

She faced Him and as she saw Him, she turned from death to life; from grief to joy; from despair to belief. She responded “Rabboni” – teacher, master the equivalent of “my dear Lord,” the title only a believer can utter about Christ. Her emotional roller coaster had settled into peaceful calm. She had seen Jesus alive. Mary of Magdala, once demon possessed, but now set free; once grieving, but now joyful, was the first person to see the risen Christ. For the first time in days, darkness had been overtaken by light. Death had been killed dead by the resurrection of Christ.

Events in history are viewed as credible or false based on the integrity and character of the witnesses. Witnesses state the facts of what they saw and how it felt. It’s a wonderful blessing to know that the resurrection of Christ has many witnesses! Over five hundred people saw the risen Christ at one time in only one of several post resurrection events. The testimony of those witnesses and others, as well as the witness of two thousand years of changed lives, declares that Jesus Christ is risen. Mary Magdalene was but one of those witnesses – but she was the first: In John 20:18 we are told: Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Not only was she the first to see, she was the first to tell. Mary Magdalene was richly privileged because she deeply loved. She ran back to the disciples and did what we are now to do – she told what she saw, and she told how it felt. He is alive, and because of that we have life forever more! Joy has come where weeping had endured, for Jesus was – and is yet today – alive!

For two thousand years, men and women, boys, and girls have stood up -- for many on pain of death – to be witnesses of Christ. We’re invited to join them in this grand, eternity-transforming enterprise of telling people of the risen Christ. Like Mary, our call is to go into the world and tell what has happened in our lives because of Jesus conquered death. Like Mary, we aren’t called to eloquence, brilliance, or cleverness. We’re called to tell what has happened and how it felt.

Jesus kept His word and provided the rescue He had promised. In fulfilling His mission, He did the impossible by taking dead people and making them living persons. This is the victory of calvary. The victory of love and the victory of life-changing grace is secured and made possible by the love that holds us in its arms and won’t let go.

It was George Matheson who wrote the hymn, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” He wrote: “My hymn was composed in the manse of Innelan (Argyleshire, Scotland) on the evening of the 6th of June 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at the time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles, this came like a dayspring from on high.”

That is the heart of George Matheson, and it is the heart of Mary Magdalene as well.

Her identity may have been misrepresented over the years, but her witness is clear, and her devotion is unmistakable. It’s a declaration of the glory of the cross and the power of the resurrection. It’s the wonder of the Christ and what He does to change one single individual, which is eternal life. And that is the pulse of the powerful witness Mary gives of the Savior who died and rose again that we could have forgiveness and life. Matheson’s hymn ends with:

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground their blossoms red. Life that shall endless be.

Life that shall endless be. Not death – life. May we, like Mary Magdalene, go to be living witnesses of the living Lord Jesus Christ who killed death dead so we could live alive.

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

April 18th, 2021

Shared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

This sermon was written by T.T. Crabtree but I thought I would share it with you.

Pastor Donald Magaw


 

Title: Until Jesus Comes, Be Witnesses

Text: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:6–12

Jesus’ earthly ministry was now complete! He was born of a virgin, lived a blameless life, died a vicarious death, and arose from the grave with a glorified body. He had been on earth for forty days since his resurrection “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). He was now ready to return to heaven. The Mount of Olives, just outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem, served as an ideal location from which to view God’s City of Peace. Jesus chose it as the place from which to give his final promise to come again and for his ascension into heaven.

The disciples were curious about the future. When asked about a coming kingdom, Jesus pushed that into the background to give an urgent command for his followers, in that day and every day, to major on telling the world about the Savior. He used the word witness, which is from another noun meaning “martyr.” In the days of Jesus, and those that followed soon after, to be a Christian witness could mean death. In certain parts of the world, it is still dangerous to proclaim the message of Christ. In fact, to be a genuine witness is not easy in any civilization. Certain requirements are necessary. Let us look at three of them.

A witness must know something.

Go to a courtroom and look at a witness on the stand. What is the first requirement? A witness must be certain of the facts, else there is no need for him to appear in court. If the witness says, when asked a question, “I think—” immediately the opposing attorney will arise and say, “I object, Your Honor! We are not interested in what this witness thinks. We’re only interested in what he knows.” The judge will then sustain the objection.

What is the first qualification for a witness of Jesus Christ? He or she must know something! Paul certainly did. He said, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12) A great Christian of another generation was asked on his eighty-sixth birthday how he felt toward the next life now that he had reached such an advanced age. He replied, “I have naturally been thinking much of that during recent years. I have stood in the shadow of bereavement many times and sought to comfort sorrowing hearts. Now in my declining days, I can say, I am not half so sure what the future life is as I was forty years ago. But I’m twice as sure that it is.” How true! As we grow older, the details of heaven—that is, what type of place it will be—are not nearly as important as the certainty we have that “[our] Father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2 NIV). We can have a steadfast hope of a home in heaven if we know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

What about your knowledge of the Savior? A good witness must know something!

A witness must say something.

Every once in a while we read of a witness coming along years after a crime who has a testimony that frees a prisoner from jail. If this person had been a witness at the trial, the prisoner never would have been convicted. This person knew facts but didn’t tell them! As a result, the prisoner was convicted unjustly.

To know about Jesus and fail to tell others is criminal! What if somebody knew the remedy for cancer or AIDS and kept quiet? No logical argument nor eloquent persuasive oratory can turn the world upside down; only the simple testimony that Jesus is Savior and Lord can do that. Many stories have been told of tragedies in people’s lives because of undelivered messages. The greatest tragedy, however, is that many people have never been saved simply because a Christian failed to speak the proper words at the proper time.

Our failure to ask someone if he or she would like to become a Christian may be the only reason that person does not become saved. John D. Rockefeller Sr. played golf with a dear friend of his in the insurance business. One day the friend heard that Rockefeller had taken out a life insurance policy for one million dollars. When he saw the wealthy man, he asked, “Why didn’t you let me write the insurance policy for you?” Rockefeller replied, “Why didn’t you ask me to let you?” Many people never become Christians simply because good people who know Jesus as Savior and could testify concerning him simply fail to tell a lost friend about Jesus.
A good witness must be something.

A famous skeptic who was called the spiritual father of Nazism nearly became a Christian at one time. While he was trying to make the decision, he decided to live among Christian people to see what Christians were like. He is reported to have said, “These Christians will have to look a lot more redeemed before I believe in it.” Gandhi attended a Christian school and was disillusioned. He is believed to have said, “I would have been a Christian if it had not been for Christians.” Of course we cannot always accept at full face value such statements from non-Christians as the true reason for their failure to receive Christ. But there is enough truth in such an indictment to make us examine our way of life.

In the courtroom a witness may know something and say something, but if the opposing attorney has evidence that the witness is not a person of integrity, the attorney can present the facts to the court and make an impassioned plea to throw out the testimony. Likewise, all of our verbose vocalizings will be like “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” unless our lives are consistent with our testimony.
The first call is for us to become Christians! Until we have been born again, we begin at no beginning and work toward no end. If you are not a Christian, become one today!

New birth, however, is but the first step of the Christian life. In the ultimate sense, our Christian experience includes the totality of our relationship and fellowship with Jesus from the moment we receive him as Savior until the day we receive our resurrected body at his second coming. If you are a Christian, be a witness. Seek to be wise as you testify, but do not fail to let others know, both through lip and life, that Jesus is your all in all. Many things make us grow, but the fruit of a Christian in the most real sense is another Christian!

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 11th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: How Much Do You Love Jesus?

Text: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15 RSV).

Scripture Reading: John 21:1–17

The Sea of Galilee is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Even today you can board a ship at Tiberias, take the short trip to Capernaum, and feel that you are living in biblical times. The angel had promised on the resurrection morning that Jesus would meet his disciples in Galilee. That promise had been fulfilled, at least for seven of the disciples, who had been fishing all night without success until Jesus came.

Breakfast was over! Jesus had provided everything, as he always does when we have a need. He had told his disciples where to cast their nets for fish, had prepared a fire of coals on which to cook the fish, and, from some source, had secured bread.

Jesus focused the “after breakfast” conversation on one thing. In one sense, he was speaking to all the group even though he directed his words to Simon Peter. Scholars have had a problem with the grammatical construction of Jesus’ question to Peter. Exactly what did Jesus mean by the expression, “Do you love me more than these?” Three suggestions have been made.

“Do you love me more than your fellow disciples do?”

A short time before Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, Simon Peter had boasted that his loyalty was greater than that of his peers. As they went out to the Mount of Olives after observing the first memorial supper, Jesus said to the group, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad”

(Matt. 26:31).

Peter answered first, as he usually did, saying, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (26:33). Perhaps Peter did not mean to boast but was rather seeking to assure the Savior of his loyalty. But that’s not the way it came across! Without realizing what he was saying, Peter was letting the others know that even though their faith may be weak, he would never fail to trust his Master completely and serve him without compromise or disloyalty.

This question comes to us in our day. How strong is your love when compared or contrasted with the love of other Christians? Of course, let it be said immediately that we are not in competition with our fellow Christians as to who is the best servant of Jesus. Such an attitude is entirely unchristian if it causes us to develop a critical spirit toward others and a comparison of faults and virtues. This can make us almost pharisaical in our approach to Christian consecration. Yet the question is worth asking! Are you only a nominal Christian? Or are you known among your friends as one whose loyalty to Jesus is far above the minimal standard?

Almost every church has at least two groups of people. First, there are those who merely belong. Perhaps they are saved, but they are not showing by their fruits any evidence of a deep love for Jesus. They more or less hang on for the ride but cannot be depended on to witness or serve in any effective way. On the other hand, there is the inner circle, the nucleus, that bears the load. Which group are you in?

“Do you love me more than you love other people?”

There were six others with Jesus and Peter. What about Simon’s love for Jesus as compared with his love for his fellow friends?

Peter must have been a man of influence, for he was the one Jesus chose to be the leader of the Twelve. That influence was demonstrated when one day he said to his friends, “I go a-fishing.” They replied, “We also go with thee” (John 21:3). No doubt, Peter enjoyed his leadership of the group. All of them may have become disillusioned. They probably had not seen Jesus since his second appearance in the upper room when he had revealed himself to Thomas in such an expressive way. Jesus had accepted the challenge of showing the scars left by the nails and allowing Thomas to thrust his hand into the side that had been wounded. Perhaps the disciples had asked themselves, “Was it all real, or was it some sort of dream we had?”

Peter’s decision to go fishing was more than getting away for a few hours; he was ready to return to his old job. Now Jesus came and showed Peter once again his divine person and his need for Peter to be a part of his redemptive plan. But Jesus said that Peter needed to love him more than he loved his friends. Even if Peter’s friends deserted him, he must determine to follow Jesus.

Some questions come to us. What do you love the most? The applause of the crowd or the approval of the Savior? Will peer pressure cause you to compromise your faith? Is there a price tag on your dedication? One great Christian hymn writer told how, as a young man, he faced the decision of drinking an alcoholic beverage at a party. He watched others, whom he thought to be strong Christians, drink freely. He realized he must make a decision when the offer came to him. He chose one young lady nearby as his model and said to himself, “Whatever she does, I will do.” She smiled sweetly and turned her glass upside down when the host came to her. After that, it was easy for him to refuse to drink. He later married that fine girl, and they served the Lord faithfully for many years. But suppose she had yielded; would this have been an excuse for him? We must love Jesus more than we love anyone else. And we must never allow another person to come between us and our Savior.

“Do you love me more than these ‘things’ that are near you?”

The most likely interpretation of our text is that Jesus pointed to the fishing nets and other equipment used in the trade as he asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” The real test of a Christian is when he or she is confronted with the matter of personal priorities. The problem of “things” and making a living is always with us!

Nowhere does the Bible condemn anyone for striving to earn the necessities of life for oneself and one’s family. Only when this labor gets out of hand and becomes top priority does it become wrong. Paul said, “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). The Bible warns us, however, about majoring on the material things of life.

One of our greatest spiritual needs today is, in the words of a modern writer, “to defy the tyranny of the tangible.” What are the “real things” in life? Are they those that can be seen and handled? No! These things can fade away in a moment. But you cannot tear away the spiritual truths or concepts behind them. You can burn a book, but you can’t burn an idea. You can destroy a bridge, but you can’t destroy the concept of a bridge. What is the true cause of an automobile? Is it the assembly with all its automated machines? No, you must look deeper into the personal purposes of the manufacturers and the buying public. How we need to be liberated from the enslaving power of things!

What do you love the most? Things or spiritual principles? Answer that question realistically and you will give a correct evaluation of yourself as a Christian. Years ago an outstanding preacher make a statement that should never forgotten. He said, in contrasting Abraham and Lot, that Abraham was the kind of man who, if his business interfered with his religion, gave up his business, while Lot was the kind of man who, if his religion interfered with his business, gave up his religion. Do you love Jesus more than the “things” that are constantly around you in daily living?
The three questions are self-explanatory. No application or summary is needed. Rather, we need to look at ourselves realistically and face honestly the question of our love for Jesus. After all has been said and done, the true motivation for service is love. If we love, we serve. If we do not love, we do not serve. If we are not serving, it is because we do not love Jesus enough. The answer for more dedication on the part of Christians is for each of us to have a greater devotion to the living Savior.

Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). I had the job of plowing a field once, it required me to keep looking straight ahead if I wanted to keep the rows in line. If I looked back, the rows would all be all over the place. It requires no strength of character to quit, to give up your faith, to renounce your allegiance to Christ and his church. Anybody can quit. Are you an apostate? Have you given up living for Christ?

This is the question you need to ask yourself.

 

 





 

 

Sunday

April 4th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: Hell’s Most Horrible Hypothesis

Text: “If Christ be not risen . . .” (1 Cor. 15:14).

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:10–20

One of Paul’s greatest strategies was to anticipate the argument of his opponent and then answer it. To the Romans he wrote, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1–2). To the Galatians he wrote, “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law” (Gal. 3:21). Writing to the Corinthians, Paul anticipated an argument that, had it been valid, would have destroyed the foundation of the Christian faith. Some in that sophisticated city were saying there was no such thing as a resurrection from the dead. This was, of course, one of the cardinal differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The former held tenaciously to the supernatural and thus accepted the fact of a resurrection. The Sadducees, borrowing their worldly wisdom from the Greeks, had “thrown in the towel” and given up any hope for a life to come.

With his keen logical mind, Paul saw that if there was no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, then the glorious news that Christ is alive must be labeled as false and untrustworthy. What would that do to the Christian faith? The worst possible thing!

For the sake of discussion, Paul posed an assumption to the Corinthian Christians. What if the worst possible thing that can be said about Jesus is true? Let’s look at it! One authority defines a hypothesis as “a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical . . . consequences.” Paul presented the most horrible hypothesis that hell could ever manufacture in order to set the scene for an examination of the consequences, thus testing the validity of such a claim.

Our personal faith and witnessing is meaningless—if Christ is not risen.

Think for a moment of the great preachers who have lived through the centuries—Spurgeon in London, Moody in America, David Livingstone in Africa, Billy Sunday in America All of these men were fools, duped by their own egos, wasting their lives. In more recent years, Billy Graham’s crusades were and now Franklin Graham festivals are not only a waste of time and money, but a propagation of false doctrine. These terrible things are true unless the historical fact of the resurrection is true.

Every effort that we have made to win the lost to Christ has been only foolishness and vanity unless Christ arose from the dead. We have received no true forgiveness because the price for our redemption has not been paid. For, you see, the resurrection of Christ was the one event by which God placed his approval on the atonement. Our loved ones who have gone on before are not asleep in Christ but have gone out into a dark and empty nothingness. We are of all people most miserable if Christ is not risen.

But wait a moment.

This horrible dream is not true! The nightmare is ended! Christ is risen! The grave could not contain him. The enemies of Christ could not prevent God’s acting in power. Some who crucified him seem to have had more faith in his resurrection than some of his followers. They said, “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first” (Matt. 27:64). Why did they do this? Perhaps not so much that they feared the disciples, but they were afraid Jesus was actually telling the truth and had power to perform his words!

Jesus did arise! Two scholars who were devout skeptics determined to destroy Christianity by research. One chose the conversion of Paul and the other the resurrection of Jesus. After months of honest study and investigation, each confessed he had become a Christian. The one who investigated the resurrection of Jesus said, “All the evidence vindicates the claim. No doubt about it, Jesus arose.”

The purpose of this message is not to prove but to proclaim. Others have proved. Read their works, study the evidence, but then remember one thing: you cannot be saved by believing with your head. You must accept the truth with your heart, which means full commitment to the resurrected Christ.

Do you have the “burning heart”?

Luke recorded the conversation between Jesus and two disciples on the Emmaus road. At first they did not recognize Jesus, but later, after he had revealed himself to them and then disappeared, they said to each other, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32). When the resurrection is accepted by faith, a power comes into our lives that is possible no other way. It is this “burning heart” that sends missionaries across the sea and that inspires men and women to “count all things but loss” for service in God’s kingdom. Christianity is founded on the resurrection of Christ. Unless he arose, we have no motive for going into all the world and preaching the gospel.

Jesus did arise! The evidence is irrefutable. His death on the cross was a public event known to everyone. Paul said to King Agrippa, “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). In a short time, the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection spread over the known world. Do you have this burning heart? If so, you can say with the unknown person who wrote the following:

Fear not to take your place

With Jesus on the throne,

And bid the powers of hell and earth

His sovereign scepter own.

Your full redemption’s rights

With holy boldness claim,

And to its utmost fullness prove

The power of Jesus’ name.

Even those who have been skeptical of religion feel a tug when a crisis comes.

When we face the issue of life and death, the flame is fanned. If we will accept the fact of the resurrection and receive as personal Savior the one who arose, the flame can burst forth into a dynamic fire.

The Satanic hypothesis is not true! The satanic forces have done their best to persuade the world, but the evidence is irrefutable. Earth’s blackest day, Calvary, and earth’s brightest day, the resurrection, were just three days apart. Jesus went for a short time into the realm of death that he might come back forever as Lord of life.

An author who traveled in the East tells of a night in the desert. There was no sign of inhabited land, only desert sand. That night a man slipped out of the camp and returned the next morning with a fresh green blade of rice. During those three days and nights that Jesus was in the tomb, the land was desolate. Jesus slipped out into the dark black night and brought back the fresh green of life eternal. This was no accident! God acted in history! Death took hold of the manhood of Jesus and killed him. God took hold of death, and death died! Christ is the first-fruits of those who sleep. Because he has arisen, we, too, will arise with new and glorious bodies!


Seek ye the Lord?

Search not the cold and empty tomb;

He is not linked with night and gloom;

He is not bound by death and strife:

His name is Light and Love and Life!

He lives; Is risen; Go find ye then

The Living Lord—in the hearts of men!

M. Ethel Anderson


Hell’s most horrible hypothesis fails the test of experience and validity.

The resurrection is true! Jesus is alive!

Go tell it on the mountain!

PRAISE GOD HE LIVES!!!!!

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 28th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

This sermon is based on an outline by Rev. Crabtree

Title: Trust God with Yourself

Text: “Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:39–49

Never did people look upon a scene more ghastly, both in physical horror and in moral atrocity, than when the Sinless One was put to death by brutality and bigotry. To the world, the death of Christ spoke of utter defeat. Realistically, however, this event combined with Jesus’ resurrection brought forth the greatest victory the world has ever seen.

These last words of Jesus are perhaps interpreted by some as a parting wrench of pain. Actually, they were not only a prayer of relief at the mercy offered by death, but also a cry of joyful victory that Jesus had endured to the end and completely fulfilled his redemptive mission.

Most, perhaps all, people die as they live.

The last words people speak on this earth are significant. Those who have lived as John Wesley, dedicated to Christ and committed to his will, can say with that great minister, “The best of all, God is with us.”

Jesus’ last words were especially significant. When Jesus was about to commit himself to the Father, he reached back into the Old Testament and found a quotation from the book of poetry that has comforted many people both before and after he lived. The psalmist spoke divinely inspired words in the midst of tumult and danger as he recognized that God was merciful and faithful, able to protect and deliver.

As Jesus hung on the cross in anguish, he called out those words as his last act of surrender to God, yet his cry had a different meaning than that of the psalmist. The psalmist longed to be preserved from death, while Jesus asked to be preserved through death unto everlasting life. Although Jesus used the words of the ancient prayer, he made them his own. He had lived the perfect life; now he was dying the perfect death. He transformed the psalmist’s prayer into one of tender confidence by substituting the word “Father” for the psalmist’s expression “O LORD God of truth” (Ps. 31:5). Both prayed to the same person, of course, but Jesus could call him “Father” in a way that was not possible for any other person.

Only in God can we find security.

The illusion that security can be found in worldly pursuits drives people to do foolish things. We sacrifice our freedom, surrender our initiative, compromise our ideals, and often waste our opportunities by wandering off after something we believe will make us immune to any contingency that threatens us. Hard work must precede success. Suffering and pain must come before true peace can be realized. Where then is true security to be found? Only in God! And only in revelation of God brought to us by Jesus Christ.

Jesus found his security in God. Jesus had found his earthly security in doing God’s will. Now he found his security at death in the same place. We never find true fulfillment until we surrender ourselves to the Father’s purpose. Augustine wrote, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and we are restless until we rest in Thee.”

We find our security, peace, joy, and everything worthwhile by trusting in God’s perfect will for our lives.

The first step.

One must start at the beginning! No one becomes a Christian by piling up good works on the altar. The first step is to trust the Lord with our eternal destiny by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. The death of Christ on Calvary was God’s redemptive plan consummated on earth. The weight of our sins drove nails into Jesus’ hands and feet. The resurrection completed the divine drama! As Jesus commended his spirit into the hands of his Father and then expired, so we enter into the Christian life by dying to self. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

If we want to know the joy that the Savior knew in his victorious cry at death, we must make the complete commitment he made. We must literally wager our life on the fact that God not only loves us but has provided for our needs in the death of Christ on Calvary and will remove the guilt of our sin when we surrender ourselves to him. Nothing else is sufficient! Nothing else is necessary! Do it today!

How wonderful to see a person possessing the quiet confidence of a life resting in the providence of God! Pilate did not have that confidence. He had allowed Jesus to be condemned when he could have saved him. The Sanhedrin did not have that peace. They were disorganized and confused. Judas did not have that peace. He had already gone out and hanged himself. The frantic mob lacked that peace. The frightened band of disciples could not claim it. Only Jesus could, for only he had committed himself completely into the hands of his Father.

Are you willing to trust yourself to the Savior? It is the wisest thing, the safest thing, and the most needed thing you could ever do. Fanny Crosby wrote,

Thou the spring of all my comfort,

More than life to me,

Whom have I on earth beside Thee?

Whom in heaven but Thee?

Indeed, if Jesus Christ cannot be trusted with our soul’s salvation and our life’s joy, who can be?

One last thought, I am not preaching this sermon at you….. because I am human and I needed to be reminded it too!

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

March 21st, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

Title: God’s Plan Is Now Complete

 

Text: “When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30 RSV).

Scripture Reading: John 19:25–30

At least twice in Jesus’ ministry he must have cried wildly and triumphantly. One occasion came at the beginning of his ministry and the other at the close. When he finished with the third temptation in the wilderness, he shouted, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Luke 4:8), indicating that he was through listening to the tempter. Now at the close of his ministry, Jesus once more shouted. This time the cry was likewise wild and triumphant: “It is finished!” Both cries followed prolonged periods of distress. The first cry followed forty days of hunger and temptation. The other followed many hours of haunting misery and excruciating suffering. Both times Jesus proclaimed his identity with something and somebody. Both times he testified in the presence of God that he could withstand all the assault that the satanic forces of evil might bring against him. No pressure was great enough to make Jesus surrender his determination to be God’s suffering servant and sinless sin bearer.

Few people can finish a job completely. At best we stammer when we try to speak about God and weaklings when we try to do anything in his name. But Jesus was different! He never stumbled, mumbled, or grumbled. He kept his eye on God his Father. He would not turn back or be turned back; he was determined to complete the task God brought him into the world to perform. His victorious cry, “It is finished!” reveals three things worth taking to heart.

The sufferings of Jesus are now finished.

Many years before Jesus’ crucifixion, one of Israel’s great prophets had said in anticipation of Calvary, “It was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin,” (Isa. 53:10 RSV). The suffering of God’s Son was in full accordance with God’s eternal purpose. Because we are human, we cannot fathom the divine mind. We only know that God chose the substitutionary atonement of his Son as the way of redeeming humankind from sin. When Jesus hung on the cross for six hours, he bore in his own body all that we deserve to suffer for our sins throughout eternity. The thought is too profound for us to comprehend! It is the Lord’s doing, and it must remain wonderful in our eyes!

Jesus’ sufferings did not begin on Calvary; he was persecuted at every stage in his life. The Pharisees constantly dogged his tracks, seeking every opportunity to find him guilty of violating some small part of the Mosaic law. Often the worst suffering is not physical torture but mental anguish. Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of his day. He was too orthodox for the liberal Sadducees and he was too liberated from the technical demands of the law for the overbearing Pharisees. Though this latter group resided chiefly in Jerusalem, they followed him to Galilee during his marvelous eighteen-month ministry when he was so popular. They tried to make his life miserable by constantly nit-picking everything he did to meet the human need of the underprivileged people in that area.

The greatest suffering was, however, in Gethsemane and on Calvary. So intensely did he feel the weight of the world on him as he prayed that he cried out to God, “Let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus’ sufferings in Pilate’s hall were both physical and mental. He was handed over to cruel executioners who beat him with thongs laced with pieces of bone or lead. This was physical suffering to the utmost! Then they placed a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe around him. In some ways this must have hurt more than the scourging. Finally, Jesus endured indescribable suffering as he was nailed to the cross. Matthew merely said, “And they crucified him” (Matt. 27:35). But what depth is contained in that simple phrase! Gigantic nails being driven into his hands and feet. We yell and scream when we get a paper cut on our finger!

Now all the suffering was over. Jesus was beyond the reach of his enemies. No longer could they taunt him or throw insults at him. He had paid the price for our sins and no one could hurt him anymore.

All the prophecies of Jesus’ life and death are finished.

Beginning in the garden of Eden and continuing until the last chapter in the last book of the Old Testament, we have what has been called the “messianic strain.” God made himself known in many ways through revelation and inspiration, but the Old Testament is primarily a “drama of redemption.” Every book has something to say of God’s eternal purpose in the world. Some of the prophecies are direct statements clearly predicting the coming of certain events that became realities in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Others are in symbols, but they are, nonetheless, God’s divine word of assurance to Old Testament people that his redemptive purpose would not be defeated.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17). Christians in the first century had no New Testament. They found Jesus in the Jewish Scriptures. Philip was asked by the Ethiopian eunuch the meaning of an Old Testament prophecy (Isa. 53:7–8). The New Testament says that he “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).

In conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus reached back into the Old Testament for a beautiful parallel between the history of Israel and his own ministry, saying that “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). The symbolic teaching of the Passover, Day of Atonement, and all guilt offerings were fulfilled when Jesus died. The curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two when Jesus died. No longer does the high priest go behind the curtain. Jesus is our High Priest, and every believer has unlimited access to come boldly before the throne of grace to find help in time of need.

Every prophecy, every type, every ceremony, every ritual, every foreshadowing of the coming Messiah’s life and death for our sin has been fulfilled. It is finished!

The plan of salvation is now finished.

All that was necessary for the atonement of humankind’s sin had now been accomplished. Of course, the resurrection had to follow, but the price had been paid. The raising up of Jesus was the Father’s work. The Son had paid the price.

History records the linking of the great railway system across the United States. One group began in the East and built the tracks westward. The other group began in California and built eastward. A great day came when the two tracks met. Governors from two states attended the gala occasion. A gold spike was nailed at the last to commemorate the event. Someone spontaneously shouted, “It is finished!” What was finished? A “through way” had been provided. People could go from the East to the West, crossing the nation on rail. But when Jesus shouted, “It is finished!” an even greater “through way” had been established. People could now go all the way from earth to heaven through the Savior, who gave his life as a ransom for sin.

This was perhaps the greatest shout from the cross, for Jesus had completed the work God had sent him to do. From now on the responsibility is on us. Have you received the atonement and applied it personally to your life?

I’ve told you before, my dad was far from perfect, but he loved his Lord….his study Bible was stained with tears that fell every time he read about the crucifixion of Christ. Growing up, I could never understand why dad would come from his study with tears running down his face….now I know why!

Jesus died for all, but not all will be saved—only those who come to him by faith. Have you come? If not, will you come today? And if you have already come to Him, what are you doing to spread His love to those around you???

Only you can answer that question.

 

 

 





 

Sunday

March 14th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: Jesus Thirsted So That We May Drink

 

Text: “Jesus . . . saith, I thirst” (John 19:28).

Scripture Reading: John 19:23–29

Of all the things Jesus suffered, the fact of his thirst seems most inconsistent. At the beginning of his ministry, he began his conversation with a Samaritan woman by asking her for a drink (John 4:7). He used his request as a means of talking with her about his kingdom and to give her living water. Those who drink of this eternal water will never thirst again.

How significant that Jesus began his ministry by asking for water, and now ends it by asking for water. Meanwhile, he used thirst as a theme in many instances. What a great common denominator thirst is for both the body and the soul.

Jesus suffered many things.

How terrible were Jesus’ enemies! During his ministry they surrounded him with jibes, and at the cross they continued to taunt him. During his trial he did not open his mouth, but on the cross his sufferings were so great he had to speak. See how humanity shone forth in the Savior! He was all God, but he was also all man!

Although Jesus’ cry, “I thirst,” seems mild when compared to the other brutalities inflicted upon him, in reality it may have been the greatest. To die of thirst is one of the cruelest deaths. Do you recall times when you have been extremely thirsty? It is one of the emptiest feelings a person can have; we seem helpless.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he hungered and was tempted by Satan. At the end he was thirsty. The devil used every possible means to defeat the Savior by making him take a shortcut to his messiahship. But Jesus would not yield. We do find, however, that he cried out in this last struggle. His bodily anguish needed to find expression. Our physical needs may be forgotten temporarily during a crisis of spiritual conflict, but they always assert themselves with great insistence near the close. Jesus suffered! And he did so for our sins.

But Jesus did not dodge his duty.

In answer to Jesus’ plea, the soldiers gave him vinegar to drink. When we first read this, we are tempted to suppose that because of the unnatural type of drink they offered, the men intended to insult Jesus. We thus rank it among the taunts and sufferings Jesus endured at the crucifixion. A closer look at oriental historical customs, however, shows us that vinegar was the common drink of the Roman army and was most likely to be at hand at the moment.

We read elsewhere that Jesus was offered a different drink but refused it. He was offered a medicated potion, wine mingled with myrrh, to deaden his pain. Jesus refused to meet death in a state of stupefaction. (It is interesting to note that myrrh was given as a gift by the wise men to Christ after his birth) Jesus refused because he would conquer sin not through the flesh but through the Spirit. Had he escaped from pain and suffering through some kind of medication, he would not have borne our sins completely. The vinegar or sour wine he received was merely a refreshing draught and did not in any way deaden the pain or make him suffer less for our sins.

Calvary was not a pretty place.

The Christmas story is beautiful, but not so the message of the cross. The story of Jesus’ crucifixion is ugly and painful. It is easy to say, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,” but it is not so enticing to stand at the foot of the cross and hear the Savior cry. Psalm 69 is certainly a foreshadowing of this dreadful event. Jesus identified with it. When he quoted it, he was saying that he himself was the very heartbeat of this ancient Hebrew hymn. Jesus identified himself with all the hope Israel ever had in a Messiah. His cry became a sigh in a dry and thirsty land.

Have you ever seen how truly ugly all Jesus’ suffering is and how we should shudder afresh every time we read the story? Because Jesus suffered, millions have been blessed with personal salvation and strength for everyday living. Even in his cry for thirst, we see him bearing our sins in his own body on the cross.

“I thirst,” was the only cry of physical weakness Jesus uttered, but there is something most sincere and attractive about one who is not ashamed to voice his weakness and pain. Jesus’ action gives us the key to his saviorhood. He was afflicted in all our afflictions. The cross was ugly and painful. People would gladly banish it from their thinking if they could. Calvary remains as the time of sin’s victory, yet sin’s defeat; of God’s defeat, yet God’s victory, for God’s Son defeated sin once and for all by dying in humankind’s place and rising from the dead.

Do you thirst? Do you desire to be someone better than you are? If so, God can meet that need. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). This is the gift of eternal life. When we have met the Master, surrendered to him, and been mastered by him, our lives will be different. We will no longer thirst, for our needs will have been met and God’s Spirit will have moved into our hearts.

The message of the cross is that Christ can quench thirst because he once thirsted. He can make alive because he conquered death. We must remember, however, that the Christian life is not an abundance of material things but rather a realization of spiritual things. When Jesus brought the woman at the well face-to-face with her sin, she tried to change the question: Which mountain should people worship on, Mount Gerizim with the Samaritans or Mount Zion with the Jews? Jesus reminded her that the hour was coming when people would worship at neither mountain. He reminded her that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). When he declared to her that he was the Messiah, she received him and went off to town to tell others of her great discovery. You, too, will experience this joy if you will surrender to him who has the water of eternal life.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

March 7th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: The Road to Duty Is Lonely

 

 

Text: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:34–50

All conscious human beings have what is called a “pain threshold.” When we pass beyond this threshold, we enter into the realm of delirium, and no cool hand can reach us. Personally, I could never be spy because all they would have to do is mention torture and I would tell them anything they wanted to know. My pain threshold is a minus 10. How far had Jesus gone at the time he cried out today’s Scripture text from the cross? He may have been on the border, but he was still conscious enough to reach back into the Old Testament and pull out a quotation from one of his favorite psalms to express his innermost feelings. By quoting this psalm that was so related to God’s purpose in history, he was in all probability also giving witness to people that he was the Messiah.

The words Jesus spoke came near the conclusion of the six hours he suffered on the cross. His enemies had already quoted from this psalm when they said, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him” (Matt. 27:43 NIV; see Ps. 22:8). Perhaps Jesus was refuting their words with his quotation that had unique application to the situation at hand.

What was happening at Calvary? Jesus was treading the lonesome road to bring forgiveness to humankind. Some things we can share with others, but some duties in life must be faced alone. In Gethsemane Jesus had suffered just such an experience. Now he was facing it again.

In one sense, God never leaves us.

Scripture has many verses to teach us that God is always keeping watch over his own. God always remains with his own during their darkest times.

All of us can remember an experience in our life when everyone forsook us but God. How wonderful to know that no matter what comes, we as Christians can call upon the eternal God, knowing that he is our refuge and strength.

One of the greatest heresies possible is to believe that God forsakes his own. Do God’s will, and he will be with you to the end! We don’t have to wait until we die to be in God’s presence, for we can be confident that when we seek to please him here on earth, he is present with us.

But Jesus’ case was different.

One of the most profound mysteries, perhaps the greatest, in the world is the relationship of the human to the divine in our Savior. As a human being, Jesus suffered; and we must never for one moment forget this fact of Jesus’ life. Although the Father was with him in times of loneliness and heartache, as in the garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53 NIV), this case was different. Jesus had come to pay the supreme price for human sin. No theologian can fully explain why it was necessary for Jesus to die in order for humans to live. This is because we cannot fully understand the divine nature. But God willed that humans must be saved from their sin by a divine substitute, Jesus Christ. Paul said that in this way God becomes both just and the justifier of those who put their faith in him (Rom. 3:26). Jesus gave his life as a ransom for many. He was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, bearing the sin debt of the world. For him to be an effective substitute for our guilt, he had to bear our sins alone. Even God had to “turn his back” on his only Son, as Jesus became the curse in order for us to be set free from the curse.

Whatever the cost, remain faithful.

Throughout all of Jesus’ ministry, he was tempted to turn aside from his goal because of hardships. His friends did not want to see him die. Peter rebuked him when he spoke of his coming death. His own soul trembled when the cup of affliction was put into his hand. Nevertheless, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. He endured the pain of the cross without uttering a word of complaint.

Doing our duty means difficulty and often danger. Effort, restraint, sacrifice, and discipline form the package. Standing for our principles in order to reach the goal requires great patience. Often we must begin again and forgive those who do not even want forgiveness enough to repent. Dedication is the price in any realm of endeavor.

Most important, we cannot do our duty unless we love. Jesus went to the cross for the world’s eternal redemption because he loved. Loneliness was present every step of the road, but there was no other way!

Nothing worthwhile comes easy! But the reward is worth the toil. We do not have to wait until we get to heaven to begin reaping the harvest from the seed we have sown. One of the highest rewards for our toil is not what we get for it but what we become by it.

If the road of Christians as they pursue their duty is lonely, so much more is that of sinners.

They must repent, and that, too, is a lonesome road. But it is also a glorious one.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

February 21st, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Deacon C.Jay McCann

@copyright 2021


 

2 KINGS 2:1- 25

Elijah

Hebrew prophet

 

Elijah’s name means “Yahweh is my God” also spelled Elias or Elia, Hebrew Spelling and pronunciation: Eliyyahu

Elijah claimed that there was no reality boldly except the God of Israel, stressing mono-theism

Meaning: ( Only One God ) to the people with possibly unprecedented emphasis. Hebrew prophet who ranks up there with Moses in saving the religion of Yahweh (which is God ) from being corrupted by the nature worship of Baal.

Elijah was from Tishbe in Gilead. The narrative in 1 Kings relates how he suddenly appears during Ahab’s reign to proclaim a drought in punishment of the cult of Baal that Jezebel was promoting in Israel at Yahweh’s expense. Later Elijah meets 450 prophets of Baal in a contest of strength on Mount Carmel to determine which deity is the true God of Israel.

Sacrifices are placed on an altar to Baal ( the idol ) and one to Yahweh. (The True God )

The pagan prophets’ ecstatic appeals to Baal to kindle the wood on his altar are unsuccessful, But Elijah’s prayers to Yahweh are answered by a fire on his altar. This outcome is taken as - decisive by the Israelites, who slay the priests and prophets of Baal under Elijah’s direction. The drought, thereupon ends with the falling of rain. Elijah flees the wrath of the venge-ful Jezebel by undertaking a pilgrimage to Mount Horeb (Sinai)

1 Kings 19: 1-2

Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. She sent a message to Elijah:

“You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! Her message goes on to say.. I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely
if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.” Elijah was afraid when he got her message,  and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah where he is at first disheartened in his struggle and then miraculously renewed.

1 Kings 19:5 Tells us: Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel woke him up and said, “Get up and eat.” The angels awoke him twice. The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days.  At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.

In a further narrative, King Ahab has a man named Naboth condemned to death in order to gain possession of his vineyard. Ahab’s - judicial murder of Naboth and confiscation of his vineyard arouse Elijah as the upholder of the moral law,  before he had come forward as the champion of "monotheism." (Which is the doctrine or belief  that there is only ONE God.)

Elijah denounces Ahab for his crimes, asserting that ALL Men are subject to the law of God and are therefore equals. 

Later Ahab’s son, King Ahaziah, appeals to Baal to heal him of an injury, and Elijah once more upholds the exclusive rights of Yahweh by bringing down “Fire from heaven.” 

After bestowing his mantle on his successor, Elisha,  the prophet Elijah is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.

We are going to walk through 2 Kings with Elijah and Elisha

Now who is Elisha? And How is he related to Elijah?

Elisha was the son of Shaphat, a wealthy land-owner of  Abel-meholah ; he became the attendant and disciple of Elijah. His name first occurs in 1 Kings (chapter 19) in the command given to Elijah to anoint him as his successor.

So let's walk through this scripture and Picture - It ... as we journey through with them

2 Kings 2:1 -25

2:1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal

2 And Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay Here, for the Lord has told me to go up Bethel." But Elisha replied, "As surely as the Lord lives and You yourself live, I will never leave you!" So they went down together to Bethel.

3 The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, "Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?" Of Course I know, Elisha answered. "But be quite about it."

Note  a: "A group of prophets from Bethel" was similar to a school, a gathering of disciples around a recognized prophet, such as Elijah or Elisha. These groups of prophets, located throughout the country, helped stem the tide of spiritual and moral decline in the nation begun under Jeroboam. The students at Bethel were eyewitnesses to the succession of  the ministry from- Elijah to Elisha

4 Then Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay Here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho." But Elisha replied again, "As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will Never Leave you." So they went on together to Jericho.

5 Then the group of prophets - from - Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, "Did you know that the Lord is going to take away your master away from you today?" 

"Of course I know" Elisha answered. "But be quite about it."

6 Then Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay Here, for the Lord has told me to go to the Jordan River."  Elisha replied. As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you."  So they went on together.

7 Fifty men from the group - of - prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River.

8 Then Elijah folded his cloak together and stuck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went cross on dry ground!

9 When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away." And Elisha replied, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become -your successor."

10 "You have asked a difficult thing, " Elijah replied. "If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won't."

Again a side note: a: Elijah's cloak was a symbol of - his authority -as a prophet.

Secondly* b: God granted Elisha's request because - Elisha's motives were pure. His main goal was -not to be better -or more powerful than Elijah, but to accomplish more for God.

You see, If our motives are pure, we don't have to be afraid - to ask great things - from God. When we ask God - for great power - or ability, -we need to examine our desires and get rid of - any selfishness we find.

.....................................................

To have the Holy Spirit's help,

We must be willing to ask.

..................................................

 

Let's see what takes place...

11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a Chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.

12 Elisha saw it and cried out, "My father! My father! I see the chariots and Charioteers of Israel!" And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.

It's Important to Note: Elijah was taken to heaven without dying. He is the - second person mentioned in Scripture - to have this honor. Enoch was the first ( Genesis 5:21-24 ) The other prophets may - not have seen God - Take Elijah, or - they may have had a difficult time believing what they had just seen. In either case, they wanted -to search for Elijah ( 2 Kings 2:16-18 ) Finding no physical trace of him would confirm what had happened and had strengthen their faith. The only other person taken to heaven in bodily form was Jesus after his resurrection from the dead ( Acts 1:9 )

13 Elisha picked up Elijah's cloak, which had fallen when he was taken up. Then Elisha - returned to the bank - of the Jordan River.

14 He stuck the water with Elijah's cloak and cried out, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" Then the river divided, and Elisha went across.

15 When the group - of prophets from Jericho - saw from a distance -what happened, they exclaimed, "Elijah's spirit rests upon Elisha!"And they went to meet him -and bowed - to the ground before him.

16 "Sir," They said, "just - say - the - word and fifty of our strongest men -will search the wilderness - for your master, Perhaps the spirit of the Lord has left him on some mountain or in some valley."

a: These three incidents pause "were testimonies to Elisha's commission as a prophet of God. And They are recorded to demonstrate Elisha's.. pause "New power and authority" as Israel's chief prophet under God's ultimate power and authority.. Elisha did not strike the water -out of disrespect -for God or Elijah. He was ( pleading with God ) to - confirm his appointment as Elijah's successor to continue the Lords Works.

So here is Elisha's response, to this group of prophets from Jericho who are about to search for Elijah..

Elisha said, "No, " don't send them.

17 But they kept urging him - until - they shamed him into agreeing, - "Alright, Send them." So fifty men searched for three days but did not find Elijah.

18 Elisha was -still at Jericho -when they returned. "Didn't I tell you not to go?" he asked?

God continued to use Elisha with Miracles for his faithfulness .

Elisha's First Miracle

19 One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. "We have a problem, my Lord."-- they told him.  "This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But -the water is bad, - and the land - is unproductive."

20 So Elisha said, " Bring me a New bowl with salt in it" So they brought it to him.

21 Then he went out to the spring that - supplied the town with water - and threw the salt into it.
and he said,  "This is what the Lord says: I have purified -this water. It will - no longer -cause death or infertility.

22 And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.  But something interesting occurs.

23 Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. "Go away, baldy!" they chanted.  Again, "Go away baldy!"

But The taunting still continued..

24 Elisha turned and looked at them, and- he cursed them in - the name of the Lord. 

And look what happened next... It goes on to say:

Then two - bears came out -of the woods and mauled forty-two of them.

25 From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Sameria.

a: This group of boys was from Bethel, the -religious center of idolatry in the northern kingdom, and they- probably were warning Elisha not to speak "against their immorality" as Elijah... had done. They were not -merely teasing Elisha - about his baldness, but showing - severe disrespect - for Elisha's message and God's Power. They may also have Jeered him (rudely treated him) because of their disbelief in the chariot of fire that had taken Elijah.

When Elisha cursed them, he did not call out the bears himself. God sent them as a judgment for their callous unbelief.

b: These young men mocked God's messenger and paid for it with their lives. Making fun of religious leaders, has been a popular sport through - the ages -and still is today.

To take a STAND for God - is to be different from the world -and vulnerable to verbal abuse.

When we are -cynical and sarcastic - toward religious leaders, we are in danger of mocking not just the person, but also the -spiritual message. And that my friends is not only a dangerous attitude, It's also an invitation to a falling-out with God by choice. While we are not to condone the sin that some leaders commit, we need to pray for them, -not laugh at them.  Such as what is taking place in our Nation's Capital and congress Today! We need to get on our knees and PRAY for this Nation of - OUR and those who have been voted in to office. True leaders, are those who follow God and need to be heard - with respect and encouraged - in their ministry.

Not Mocked!

Friends, take a look around at the news today. The Lord is coming back. We need to keep - pressing - forward and share the message of Jesus Christ - to as many souls. That Will Listen.  Just as this passage from years ago, there will be some, who have - seen the very works- of the Lord, and yet will Still - Deny God and His Mighty Works - which we will all see.

God - Is at Work - brothers and sisters and we must get our hearts, our minds and our souls ready for his return.

 





 

 

 

Sunday

February 14th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

Title: An Instruction Regarding False Teachers

 

Text: Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. (Phil. 3:2 RSV)

Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:2–11

In this instruction concerning false teachers, the apostle Paul warned the beloved congregation in Philippi against the peril of being misled in their faith. In the verses that follow the text, we gain the impression that these false teachers were the Judaizers—those who believed that Gentiles must become Jews in order to be Christians.

The Judaizers found it exceedingly difficult to believe that the Gentiles were included in God’s great redemptive purpose. They would have preferred to restrict Christianity to Jewish listeners, and they resisted every outreach effort that was extended toward non-Jews. The Judaizers were seemingly unable to see that their traditions placed restrictions on the love and mercy of God. They were legalistic and literalistic in their interpretations of the Old Testament. They were blind to the changes that the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit were bringing about in the hearts and lives of Gentile believers.

They also conveniently forgot that the Jews had rejected Christ and Christ himself said to go to the highways and byways and compel them to come in.

In this warning concerning the necessity of being on guard against false teachers, Paul feared that the Philippian congregation would be subjected to the same kind of perils that he dealt with in his letter to the Galatians. The Galatians had responded to the gospel by faith. Later they were confused and misled by these Judaizers, who caused them to fall away from the way of grace. They added to faith the works of the law as essentials for salvation.

There is a warning against legalism.

From verse 3 and following, we draw the conclusion that Paul was informing his converts in Philippi to be on their guard. They needed to oppose those who insisted that the proper observance of external religious ceremonies, along with ancestral relationships, gave them a position of privilege in God’s sight.

Paul went into great detail to demonstrate that he no longer put his faith and trust in the things on which he previously had based his hope for a right relationship with God. He no longer put faith in his religious self-discipline or achievements as a basis for acceptance before the Father God (Phil. 3:7–10). Paul encouraged the Philippian congregation to trust in Jesus Christ plus nothing for a righteousness that comes through faith (Phil. 3:9).

There is a warning against false teachings.

In the closing verses of Philippians 3, Paul warned believers against listening to and following those who separate creed from conduct and behavior from belief. The false teachers in this passage may be the Gnostics, who believed that people found acceptance before God on the basis of a superior knowledge. This was communicated to them by those who were initiated into the secrets of the knowledge of God. The Gnostics believed that matter is essentially evil and that the Creator God is so exalted and so far removed from humankind that he is unconcerned about human conduct.

These false teachers denied the true humanity of Jesus Christ and in so doing also denied his divinity. The end result was complete license in conduct. Paul warns his beloved Philippians against the belief that there is no relationship between the condition of the soul and the life that one lives.

There are many false teachers in the world today. Some of them are very sophisticated. We need to beware lest religious teachers lead us astray from the truth of God’s Word. We need to be cautious lest we are led away from the path of proper conduct by what we see on television or in videos. We need to be on guard lest we are led astray by the customs and the traditions of our culture that are often accepted as the law and the gospel.

Perhaps the finest way to prevent ourselves from being misled is to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ as heaven’s infallible teacher as well as Lord and Savior. Let’s listen to him as he speaks to us with authority concerning God, others, and things that are of eternal value.

Remember that there was only one way to salvation and that was through the shed blood and a faith in Jesus Christ.

We cannot earn it, we cannot buy it, and we most certainly don’t deserve it, but God in His grace freely gives it to all believers.

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

February 7th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: When Jesus Gave Thanks

 

Text: “He took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ ” (Matt. 26:27–28 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:26–30

On this most solemn occasion in the life of our Lord, he found it possible to be thankful to God. With the agony of the cross in the immediate future, he was able to offer thanks. Evidently our Lord had developed the habit of giving thanks in the midst of all things and at all times. As we observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, we have every reason to be thankful.

Did our Lord offer thanks for God’s blessings in the past?

As Jesus contemplated dying on the cross, he offered thanks to God. Perhaps he was thanking God for the many provisions in his ministry up to this point. Perhaps he was thanking God for his redemptive purpose from the very dawn of beginning. Perhaps he was thanking God for the divine protection of his servants through the centuries. Perhaps he was thanking God for his abiding presence.

If our Lord could be thankful to God for the past, it follows that each of us can find many things for which to thank God. He has done so much for us. We can be thankful for the struggles and the sacrifices of those who are humanly responsible for the great spiritual heritage we enjoy today. We can be thankful for the prophets and the apostles, for the pioneer missionaries and our spiritual forefathers. Let us be grateful during this service for God’s provisions in the past.

Did our Lord offer thanks for God’s blessings in the present?

We can be certain that our Lord was living and laboring with an awareness of the presence of the Father God. Twice the voice had come from heaven declaring, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Our Lord had come on a mission that would involve teaching and healing and finally dying on a cross. He was so near to the completion of his mission that he felt thankful to God because of the joy of personal accomplishment.

Let us search for those things in our contemporary experience that can cause us to be thankful to God as we partake of these elements of the Lord’s Supper.

What would our lives be like if we had never come to know Jesus Christ? Let us take an inventory and evaluate the differences that Christ has made to enrich and improve our total human experience. Let us be grateful for the friendships and the relationships that have been made possible by his life, death, and resurrection.

As we partake of these elements that symbolize Jesus’ incarnation in human flesh and his sacrificial death on the cross, let us be thankful today.

Did our Lord offer thanks to God for the future?

With the agony awaiting him in Gethsemane and on Calvary, was our Lord anticipating the joy of returning to the Father? Was this an element in the thanksgiving that he offered to the Father as he held in his hands the symbols of his incarnation and sacrificial death on the cross? In the great intercessory prayer recorded in John 17, we hear our Lord saying, “And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee” (17:11 RSV).

Our Lord was thankful for what his life, his teachings, his ministry, his sacrificial and substitutionary death, and his glorious resurrection were going to mean to his followers. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that it was because of “the joy that was set before him” that he “endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2 RSV). We have glorious picture renditions of the Christ on the Cross, but they never show the cruelty and horror of a death on the cross. Not only was the convicted person sentenced to death, but he had to carry his own cross through the town. The films don’t show the reality of what a Roman crucifixion entailed. The prisoner was stripped naked and beaten severely and then crucified. There was no dignity involved as the crucified one was hanging on the cross, naked in the hot sun. Not a pretty sight.

Our Lord was offering thanks because, through his coming death on the cross, it would be possible for the love of God to be revealed to a sinful race.

As we partake of the bread that symbolizes Jesus’ coming to earth in human flesh, and as we drink the fruit of the vine that symbolizes his sacrificial death on the cross, let us rejoice and be grateful. Let us be thankful for what Jesus’ death and resurrection have done for our past, our present, and our future.

Our Lord had the habit of being thankful. He gave verbal expression to God and to others of his inward attitude of gratitude.
As we participate in the Lord’s Supper, let us be supremely thankful to him for what he has done for us in the past, what he is doing in the present, and what he is going to do in the future.

 





 

 

 

Sunday

January 31st, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: The Command to Cooperate

Text: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure”

(Phil. 2:12–13 RSV).

 

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to give joyous attention to the great instructions that fell from the lips of the apostle Paul. This veteran soldier of the cross, this great missionary leader, this warmhearted pastor was seeking not only to glorify God, but to point out those human responses that were essential for spiritual growth and effectiveness in witnessing.

In the words of our text, Paul was encouraging the disciples at Philippi to cooperate with God as he carried on a good work within them.

God’s good work began in conversion (Phil. 1:6).

The church in Philippi had heard the good news of God’s love as revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They recognized what they needed to do to receive the gift of new life. Paul told them that the conversion experience is but the beginning of the human response to God, and it is but the initiation of God’s great redemptive work on our behalf.

God’s good work in us continues as we cooperate (Phil. 2:12–13).

Paul was not declaring that the believers in Philippi had to work their way to heaven. The salvation of the soul is not the result of the good works of even a sincere and devout person (Eph. 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). Instead, Paul was affirming that if they would experience God’s full salvation from the downward pull of a fallen nature, they had to cooperate with God as he worked within them.

Modern translations can help us to see that for which the apostle was pleading. The New International Version reads, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

If we would work with God, we should make much of his Book. God will communicate his will to us through the pages of the Bible.

If we would work with God, we must find our way into the closet of prayer. Prayer is the means by which we communicate with God, but even more important, it is the means by which he communicates with us.

If we would work with God, we must let the church be the church in our lives. It is through the local expression of God’s family that we experience his presence and his love. It is through the church that we receive encouragement and correction and comfort.

If we would work with God, we must be responsive to the Holy Spirit. He is seeking day by day not only to strengthen us, but to use us in witnessing to unsaved people around us.

God’s good work in us will be completed when the Lord returns (Phil. 3:20–21).

Our salvation begins in conversion and continues through consecration. It will finally be consummated when Christ returns from heaven for his own. In conversion we are saved from the penalty of sin. As we cooperate with Christ, we are saved from the power and practice of sin. When the Lord returns, we will be saved from the very presence of sin.

Our citizenship is in heaven. As disciples of Jesus, we are pilgrims here. This world is not our home; we are only passing through. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we must live out that citizenship in an environment that is not conducive to spiritual growth. It is in this present world that we must let our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:27). This is a personal challenge to each of us.

The choice is yours to make….either accept it or reject it…you cannot just be a Sunday morning Christian it is 24/7.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

January 24th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Text: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:27–30

Paul shared many thrilling truths in his letter to his beloved church at Philippi. The letter to the Philippians is a letter of gratitude and joy that reveals the love of the apostle for this congregation. It records repeated expressions of the congregation’s love and support of the apostle in his missionary ministries. With genuine love and wisdom and with great optimism, the apostle gave some imperatives to these friends in the family of God. And as he spoke to them, he speaks to us today.

Philippi was a Roman colony, and its citizens enjoyed the privilege of being Roman citizens. They enjoyed legal rights there as if they lived on Roman soil near the capital of the Roman Empire. Paul reminded these believers on two different occasions that their real citizenship was heavenly (Phil. 1:27; 3:20). Paul was not suggesting that they ignore the obligations of earthly citizenship, but he challenged them to recognize their unique relationship with God and his kingdom work. He challenged them to live in the pagan city of Philippi as citizens of the holy and higher kingdom of God.

As he neared the end of his letter, Paul sent greetings to the saints in Caesar’s household. This may have served as a challenge to those in Philippi to be faithful and devoted servants of Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:22), for if one could live for Christ in Caesar’s household, it follows that one could live for Christ in Philippi or in any modern city.

Our response to God must take many different forms according to the pressures and the needs we encounter. It is interesting to note the manner in which Paul hoped his readers would conduct themselves as citizens of the kingdom of God.

He would have them stand firm in one spirit with one mind (Phil. 1:27).

The threat of divisiveness or disunity has always threatened the church’s witness. This is true today, and it was true in the early days of the Christian movement.

We need to recognize that there are many handicaps or hindrances to maintaining a unity of mind and spirit.

The immaturity of God’s family can cause disunity.

The individuality of persons can often create disunity.

Honest differences of opinion can sometimes be very divisive.

Physical and emotional fatigue can often create disunity.

We must recognize that our enemy the devil is always seeking to divide the people of God so that he might conquer them.

The apostle Paul was urging the church in Philippi to take steps toward unity within the body in order that they might reflect God’s grace and goodness in their city.

He would have them strive together in a united effort.

We must strive together side by side for the sake of the gospel. Jesus’ followers should work together like dedicated and disciplined athletes on a winning team. We should cooperate in redemptive activity like the members of a choir singing in perfect harmony. We should seek to avoid any discord lest we cast reflection on the message we proclaim.

We must strive together to protect the purity of our faith. Truth has always been attacked by error. Some people try to mix error with truth.

There are groups out there that claim to be Christian and are of Satan….they deny the Word of God….they will say, “Did God really mean that.” Relate it to something your parents told you….you would never dare tell them “I didn’t think you meant it.”

Thus we must strive together to protect the purity of our message.

We must strive together side by side in proclaiming the good news in our personal world.

He would have them stand firm against opposition.

In Paul’s world, preaching a message of a crucified but risen Savior was not a popular thing to do. Because of the multiplicity of idols and shrines, many with vested interests opposed any religion that served as a competitor for the status quo. Bravery, with a refusal to surrender to fear, was an essential for success in the face of opposition to the gospel message. Likewise, we must not rush off like a terrified horse when we are confronted by those who oppose our Christian message.

He encouraged them to be willing to suffer for the sake of Christ (v. 29).

In some parts of the modern world it is popular and socially acceptable for one to be a professing Christian. Such was not the case in Philippi, nor is it true in many parts of today’s world. Many contemporary followers of Jesus Christ have never faced up to the fact that the cross is the symbol of our faith and our commitment to God’s will. If we would be true followers of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to suffer as he suffered and as others have suffered for their faith.

What is the shape of your Christian life in the modern world? As those who seek for a city whose builder and maker is God, we must demonstrate the characteristics of heavenly citizenship in the here and now. Philippi was a Roman colony, and the citizens of Rome were encouraged to dress like Romans, act like Romans, think like Romans, speak like Romans, and never forget that they were Romans.

Paul encouraged the saints at Philippi to dress, act, think, and speak in a way that would be worthy of Jesus Christ.

Let us strive with the help of the Holy Spirit to be good citizens of the kingdom of God in our community now.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

January 17th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

 

Title: How We Can Know God

Text: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matt. 11:27 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:25–30; Colossians 1:13–20

The majority of Americans believe in God, and many believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God. This raises the question as to how we know there is a God.

We can know God by the mystery and majesty of creation (Matt. 11:25).

The mystery of the creative power is hidden from us. We cannot know the Creator or the meaning of his creation unless he reveals himself to us. We come to the majesty of creation with humility because we are faced with a reality of such scope and power that we know almost instinctively that its source is beyond human imagination or accidental happening. This way of knowing God is sometimes referred to as “general revelation” and is available to everyone (cf. Rom. 1:20–23, 25).

Our kids are taught in school that over billions of years ago, something happened…they haven’t figured out that part yet…but something happened in the universe to form the earth and other planets. Then they teach the theory of evolution as a fact. The sad part is that this theory being taught as fact is totally against all scientific principles which state that for something to be a fact it has to happen or be caused to happen over and over again. And so far, there have been no more things crawling out of the ocean (for some unknown reason) beginning to live on dry land. (and no more apes turning into men.)

At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of Creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith and power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

Many believed the time of creation was some twenty billion years ago. Somewhere out in the great, dark vastness of the universe there just may have been a God who called it all into being. This is further evidence of the compelling nature of general revelation, which brings people to a shallow faith. It is not final, nor is it conclusive as regards Jesus Christ, but it is for many a place of beginning. Jesus calls the Father “Lord of heaven and earth.” The mystery of creation is hidden from the wise but revealed to little children (Matt. 11:25).

Then we have the group that calls it theistic evolution when God caused all this to happen, that is that God took things that were already there and made them into the earth we know today and that God caused man to evolve from something that crawled out of the ocean and lakes.

However, careful study of your Bible will prove that God created the universe out of nothing and man was created from the dust of the earth…man did not evolve. (But this is a whole other study of God’s Word.)

My opinion is that if you are a Bible believing Christian, you cannot possibly believe in evolution. Either you believe the Bible in its entirety or you don’t.

We can know God by the mystery and majesty of Christ (Matt. 11:27).

Many people may be drawn to hope and beginning belief by the reality of creation, but redemption, reconciliation, and salvation are in Christ alone. The founder of the Theater of the Absurd lamented, “The world has lost its bearings. Not that ideologies are lacking to give directions: only that they lead nowhere. . . . People are going round in circles in the cage of their planet because they have forgotten that they can look up to the sky. .

In this astounding time of scientific openness to the mystery of life and of human despair at the absurdity of life, how can we put a face on God? Jesus said, “No one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (v. 27 RSV). The apostle Paul called Jesus Christ “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. . . . For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:15, 19 RSV). Jesus Christ revealed some very specific truths to us about the nature of the ultimate God.

The birth of Jesus indicates that God was not afraid to enter fully into human life Our Lord Jesus taught us to call the mystery and majesty “Father.”

In his life Jesus demonstrated how to live in a basic, trustful relationship with God.

In his death Jesus hung between heaven and earth, between God and man. Crushed beneath our iniquities, Jesus died for us.

Through Jesus’ victory over death at the resurrection, he has invited us to the victorious life. We know that death cannot rip us from the Father’s hand.

The promised return of Jesus to the earth reveals that God is not finished with this world or with our lives.

Jesus Christ is unique, one of a kind, but he is willing to share life with all who will believe. He has given us eternal life “in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29 RSV). The heart of our Lord’s appeal is simply this: you can know God by trusting him. In trusting him you will finally come to know him. Only in the life of the Son do we have any assurance that we can know God as he really is: God the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Father to all who will turn to him in trusting faith.

A very wise man said Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. I’ve tried it and it WORKS!

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

January 10th, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: Scriptural knowledge

Text: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 RSV).

The New International Version translates this text, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Phillips translates it, “For yourself, concentrate on winning God’s approval, on being a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, and who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage.”

While it is not necessary that one have a graduate degree from a school of theology before he or she can serve God effectively, it remains true that God does not want ignorant workers. In the words of our text, the apostle is urging upon Timothy and all of his readers the importance of presenting ourselves to our Father God as competent workers who are skilled in doing the work of God’s kingdom.

Paul encouraged believers to present their bodies to God as living sacrifices. It is in our bodies that we are to honor and glorify him. It is in our bodies that we are to demonstrate both the wisdom and power of God. Paul affirmed this same concept in his first letter to the Corinthians, in which he declared that the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and consequently it should not participate in immoral activities (1 Cor. 6:15–20).

The words of our text emphasize maturity, skill, and competency in the service of our Lord. Paul appealed to Timothy’s sense of pride in personal accomplishment, “a workman who has no need to be ashamed.” Have you ever seen a carpenter who was ashamed of his craftsmanship? Have you ever known a bricklayer who laid a crooked wall of brick? Have you ever known a woman who made a dress and was then ashamed to wear it? The apostle was encouraging Timothy to present himself to God and to do what was necessary to become a skilled worker who “rightly handles the word of truth.”

We can do a number of very practical things to improve our spiritual competency in our ministry for our Lord. The King James Version translates this verse, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Competency requires study and practice. Only as we study can we be skilled. Let us focus attention on how we should study the Bible if we would rightly handle it so as to accomplish the purpose for which God intended it.

Let us read the Bible regularly.

We should spend time every day listening to God as he speaks to us through the Scriptures. How can you tell someone you believe the Bible from cover to cover if you never read it?

Let us read the Bible subjectively.

It is not enough that we read the Bible merely as a record of what happened in the ancient past. God can and will speak to us in the present if we will listen to him. I remember when my daughter was growing up and had her physical and the doctor said, “Her hearing is fine.” And I asked him “but what can you do about her listening?” We need to listen to what the Holy Spirit tells us (opens our eyes to what we read)

Let us read the Bible intelligently.

One must beware of reading the Bible as he or she would read some kind of crystal ball. We must follow certain guidelines as we study the Bible.

Let us try to understand what the Bible meant in its historical context. This is when it was first recorded by man under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Let us try to understand the language. We need to understand the figures of speech and terminology the author was using to communicate divine truth. Remember over the years some of our current phrases did not mean the same thing to our parents.
Let us study the Bible in a logical manner, not merely searching for proof texts. Let us examine each phrase and verse in its context. Let us study the paragraph in the light of the chapter, and the chapter in the light of the book, and each book in the context of the whole of Scriptures. Remember we have an entire Bible not just the Old and New Testaments….the new is a continuation of the Old…a fulfillment.

Let us remember that the Bible is a record of God’s self-revelation. Only the Holy Spirit can unlock his secrets and reveal to us the great biblical truths of God.

Let us read the Bible systematically.

There is no set way to read the Scriptures. Some like to follow the plan of readings following some of the guides, such as the one Wanda distributed. Others just start at the beginning and read through to the end.

Another option I find very helpful is to “listen” to audio readings of the Scriptures and follow along, this is great for many who have difficulty in reading something and relating meaning to what they read. Personally I use the Wonder Bible to listen to audio, because even I will read something and miss words as I read but hearing them brings new meaning to the passage.

Let us read the Bible prayerfully.

Memorize and meditate on the great promises and the great warnings in Scripture.

Let us read the Bible obediently.

We should study the Word so that we might learn about God, ourselves, and others. And as God reveals his truth to us, let us respond to it.

Yes, it is true that reading the genealogies can be boring, but they are there to prove to us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, truly is the King of the Jews.

And yes, there are portions that we cannot grasp as humans, but as we study, the Holy Spirit will open up those passages to us. Sometimes we are like the soldier who is only given part of his instructions….on a need to know basis.

It is important that ministers interpret the Scriptures correctly and apply them properly. It is just as important that all Christians know how to handle the Word of God properly. And it is equally important that every Christian study to show himself or herself a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who uses the Word of God rightly. If we will study diligently and present ourselves joyfully to our precious Lord, it is highly unlikely that we will be ashamed of ourselves or of our lives when we stand before him.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

January 3rd, 2021

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2021


 

 

Title: What It Means to Be Lost

Text: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2:1–2 NIV).

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1–3

Sometimes we read in the newspaper or see on television that a mine has caved in and people are trapped in the tunnel. We feel something of the despair of their families as they grimly mutter, “They are lost! Lost!” “But,” someone might say, “they are not lost. We know exactly where they are in the tunnel.” “Yet,” the reply comes back, “they are as lost as if they were a hundred miles underground. We cannot reach them. We know where they are, but they are lost.”

This expresses the condition of those who are spiritually lost, without Christ and without salvation. We know where they are all right. But they are still lost without Christ.

For an answer to the query, “What does it mean to be lost?” there is no better place to turn than Ephesians 2.

To be lost is to be spiritually dead.

The lost person is cut off from the spiritual life and power that we find in Christ. Thus the condition of the lost person is death. Spiritual death is brought about by sin. Specific acts of sin are the result of the general habit of sin in one’s life. These habitual sins kill all spiritual sensitivity.

Scripture plainly teaches us: “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23 NIV).

To be lost is to be helplessly enslaved.

Enslaved by the spirit of the age. “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world” (Eph. 2:1–2 NIV). Think of things that characterize the spirit of our age or the ways of this world—greed, lust, pride, selfishness, unrestrained and undisciplined action.

Enslaved by the power of Satan. “You followed . . . the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2:2 NIV). The people of Paul’s day believed that the air was filled with evil spirits. These spirits were ruled by the prince of the power of the air—the devil himself. In our day we have relegated the devil to cartoons and caricatures. But if we look closely at the world, we can see that the power of evil is still loose. Satan is directing the spirit of the age. In our experience, Satan works slyly.

Enslaved by a spirit of rebellion. By “those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2:2 NIV), Paul is referring to those whose lives are characterized by disobedience, the very essence of sin. From the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden until now, disobedience has been the heart of sin.

Enslaved by our own desires. The desires of the flesh and of the mind control the life. Flesh in the Bible and fleshly sins do not refer only to sexual sins. In Paul’s list of sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19–21, he includes with adultery and fornication other sins of idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, strife, envy, the love of money and riches, and so on. The flesh is the lower part of our nature; the flesh is that part of our nature that gives sin a point of attack.

To be lost is to be an object of wrath.

“We were by nature deserving of wrath” (Eph. 2:3 NIV). How vividly this expresses the fact that those who are lost and without Christ await the wrath of God and are objects of his wrath. God’s wrath is not a whimsical thing. In the New Testament the wrath of God refers to his settled opposition to sin.

Part of God’s wrath is revealed in the life of the lost person. Look to those whose lives have been lived in sin. They have become callous, hardened, and insensitive. God’s wrath as a natural result of their sin has caused them to lose much of that which is finest and best in life.
But God’s wrath also has a future aspect. The apostle Paul warned of our stubbornness and unrepentant hearts causing us to “[store] up wrath against [ourselves] for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5 NIV). The Bible confirms the judgment of God on our sin.

We have seen what it means to be lost, and thank God no one has to remain lost. Everyone can be saved. Ephesians 2:1–3 describes the condition of the lost. Verses 4–5, however, say, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (NIV).

Charles H. Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers, (preached Sinners in the hands of an angry God, which had the audience terrified that they would slip directly into hell), never tired of telling the story of how he was saved. He had been trying to save himself by his own works. Then one rainy Sunday morning he wandered into a little chapel and sat down with the few worshipers who were there. That morning the minister preached on the text, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” (Isa. 45:22). At the close of his sermon, he pointed his long, bony finger at Spurgeon and said, “Look! Look unto him, young man! Look unto Jesus, and you will be saved.” That morning Spurgeon looked unto Jesus and was saved. Maybe then next person you tell about Jesus will turn out to be the next Spurgeon, or Billy Graham, or even lead the drunkard to Christ. It was someone who led C.I. Scofield, a drunken lawyer to Christ who became one of the greatest theologians ever. (the notes in the study Bible I use were written by Scofield)

It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment…When I stand before Christ at the judgment seat, I want Him to say of me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

How about you???

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

December 27th, 2020

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2020


 

 

 

Title: Looking Backward and Forward

Text: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).

Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:1–11

As we come to the end of one year and approach the beginning of a new year, it would be profitable to take a look backward and count our blessings and then take a look forward and make our plans to cooperate with the Lord. The first few verses of Peter’s second epistle provide us with an opportunity to look at some of the blessings God has bestowed on us in the past. It also provides us with some words of instruction and encouragement to live a life in which we are growing spiritually and serving significantly.

Peter addressed his message “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 1:1). He wrote from the perspective of an aged pastor who was living on the edge of eternity. He spoke of his body as a tabernacle, or tent, from which he would soon depart. He referred to his approaching death as his “exodus,” or departure—the word used for the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt.

The apostle called to the attention of his readers the exceeding great and precious gifts from God to them through Jesus Christ. These two verses are a spiritual treasure chest that reveal the blessings that God has bestowed on believers through Jesus Christ. The generosity of God’s provisions for his children is magnified and emphasized.

“All things that pertain unto life and godliness.” In Christ Jesus, believers have received everything necessary for experiencing the abundant life. It is unnecessary for them to turn to any other teacher or discipline to be all God would have them to be.

“Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Through the beauty and the glory of the life and character of Jesus Christ, God calls all people to himself. The initiative belongs with God. Salvation is of the Lord. The human response to the gospel is a voluntary commitment of faith that makes possible the bestowal of these divine gifts.

“The exceeding great and precious promises.” The Bible is a record of God’s promises to his people. The Old Testament contains a continuing series of promises concerning the Messiah who was to come. Peter had witnessed the fulfillment of these exceeding great and precious promises in the person and life of Jesus Christ.

Jesus made many promises to his disciples. We will greatly enrich our spiritual life and deepen our faith if we will discover these promises, claim them for our own, and move forward depending on the Lord to keep his promises as people of faith have done in the past.

“That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” Faith in the promises of God makes possible the new birth. The new birth does not produce a divinity in people, but it does mean that the divine character, the divine nature. This new nature provides the believer with the possibility of experiencing and demonstrating the holiness, the tenderness, the gentleness, and the power of God.

By every means at our command, we should cooperate with the Holy Spirit as he seeks to develop the new nature we received in the miracle of the new birth.

“Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Through their experience with Jesus Christ, believers receive the potential for complete deliverance from the powerful evil forces that work in the world. Christ has granted forgiveness from sin. He provides spiritual power to overcome the contaminating presence of evil in the world. Through faith in him and through obedience to him, we can be victorious over the assaults of the devil.

The gift of new life has been given to those who had put faith in the promises of God. This new life is like a divine seed that needs to be developed by earnest care. Spiritual growth will not take place automatically or accidentally. Peter encouraged his readers to hasten with all diligence to cooperate with the Spirit of God in developing the beautiful graces that are associated with spiritual maturity.

As we enter a new year, we should give careful consideration to these words of encouragement from the apostle Peter.

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith.” Faith is the human response to God’s grace that makes possible the gift of new life. Faith is the basic foundation for all spiritual growth and service.

Peter challenged his readers to supplement their faith with the Christian graces that are needed for fruitful Christian living. Seemingly, each of the graces mentioned grows out of the preceding grace. The word translated “add” probably would be more correctly translated by the word “supply.” This word was used by the Greeks to describe the actions of those who provided financial resources for the production of the great plays and dramas. It was also used for the action of furnishing the provisions and supplies for an army. Peter declared that Christians are to supplement their faith with these virtues, which are actually the pieces of equipment needed for the living of a genuine Christian life.

The apostle gave us a blueprint for spiritual progress.

In your faith, supply virtue. Faith makes possible the power by which virtue is to be developed. The word virtue means courage, moral excellence, a noble character. It is not tame and passive; it is active, aggressive, and on the march.

To virtue, supply knowledge. In the practice of virtue an effort is put forth to gain knowledge, which is practical skill in choosing the right and refusing the wrong. To secure this knowledge, one must make a diligent study of God’s Word.

To knowledge supply temperance or self-control. Self-restraint enables a person to curb his evil impulses and resist the lures of sin in the world that surrounds him. Each person must be in command of his own moods and impulses, or his life will end in ruin.

To temperance supply patience. The grace needed is endurance, steadfastness, fortitude, perseverance. Patience is that attitude of determination that enables a person to stay under the load until the victory is won.

And to patience add godliness. Godliness is that trait that characterizes the life of a person who lives continually “as seeing him who is invisible.” Perhaps this grace refers to the growth of the divine nature received in the new birth.

To godliness supply brotherly kindness. The life of reverence for God is issued in brotherly kindness. The genuine worship of God will affect one’s attitude toward fellow human beings (1 John 4:20).

To brotherly kindness supply love. The crown of Christian graces is love. Paul affirmed that love is the chief gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13:13). It was concerning Peter’s love that the Lord had inquired ( John 21:15–17). Peter recognized and commended the believer’s love for Christ (1 Peter 1:8) and encouraged love within the Christian brotherhood (1 Peter 1:22).

The apostle Peter was concerned that his readers experience the benefits that flow from spiritual maturity. He was eager that they escape the tragic results of persistent immaturity (1 Peter 2:8–9).

The story is told of a church program where little Johnny was to present the 23rd Psalm. He was having problems remembering his lines. When it was his turn, he stood up, was scared and then began…”The Lord is my shepherd…..and that’s all I need to know.!”

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

December 20th, 2020

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2020


 

 

*Title: Good News of Great Joy

Text: “The angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’”

(Luke 2:10 RSV).

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8–14

On this Lord’s Day morning immediately before Christmas, many of us are experiencing the joy, peace, and happiness that come during this festive season. On the other hand, many others are experiencing the agony of what is known as the “Christmas blues.”

Why is it that some people feel blue at Christmas? There are a number of contributing factors.

Some experience depression at Christmastime because they have exaggerated expectations of themselves and others. They hope that Christmas will solve their problems, and when it doesn’t, they go into despondency.

Christmas brings out our need for dependence on others. At times others fail us, and this can be very depressing.

In the United States, Christmas is a family-oriented experience that often causes memories to come to the fore. Some of these blight rather than bless, hurt rather than help.

Does the message of Christmas, which is supposed to produce great joy, have anything relevant to say to people who are depressed? Christianity, which begins with the promise of good news that will bring great joy, should be more than just a strategy that enables us to cope with the pressures of life. Through the Christ who came at the first Christmas, God provides us with the ability to cope with life in a manner that will bring joy to us and will reflect his glory. The gospel, which is not good advice but good news, can produce great joy in living every day.

The angels who announced the birth of the Christ to the shepherds were bringing good news that continues to be good news for all who will listen and respond.

There is good news about God in the gospel.

The message of Christmas is that the God behind and above it all is a living God. The Bible does not seek to tell us when and how our universe came into being. Its major concern is with the who and the why. The writer of the book of Hebrews declared, “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God” (Heb. 11:3 RSV). The message of Christmas speaks to us of a living God who is above and behind the world. He is the God who comes into this world. He wants to dissipate our fears and encourage us to live a life of faith.

The message of Christmas proclaims the good news about the living God who loves. In Jesus Christ, the living God declares to us that he cares and that he wants to help us. In Jesus Christ, God came into this world bringing great and precious gifts to humankind.

The good news of Christmas is for all people.

The good news of Christmas is universal in its application, for it meets the deepest needs of people of all colors, cultures, and countries.

God in Jesus Christ comes with good news regarding the forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness does not appear in the glossary of a psychiatric dictionary. The psychiatrist does not have a basis for offering the gift of forgiveness to those who are experiencing depression because they have broken God’s law or violated their own conscience. Jesus Christ came that he might bear the penalty of our sin and offer to us the priceless gift of forgiveness.

Jesus Christ brings good news regarding life. Around the world in every age people have stood in terror before the grim specter of death. Christ came to bring life to those who were in spiritual death because of sin (cf. John 1:4; 10:10; Rom. 6:23). The assurance of a life that endures beyond the curtain that people call death can do much to dispel the gloom that threatens the souls of humans.

Jesus Christ brings good news about belonging to God and to the family of God. The church is spoken of as the family of God and the house- hold of faith. A warm, wonderful Sunday worship can provide tremendous support for one who is experiencing stress. A genuine Christian friend can be of tremendous value in a time of crisis. In this Christmas season, let us extend hands of Christian love and fellowship to those who are experiencing loneliness and discouragement.

Jesus Christ brings good news regarding help. Every one of us will stand in need of the help of God and others as time goes by. Paul said, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13 RSV). The psalmists bore testimony, saying, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:2 RSV), and “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1 RSV).

The Christ brings to us the good news concerning a precious home at the end of the road (John 14:1–3). Many home owners consider their home to be their best investment. But there are others who never have the joy of owning a house they can call their own. Through the grace of God and the provisions of his Son, Jesus Christ, all believers can look forward to having a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, when this life is over.

In a world in which much bad news is delivered to us each day by the internet, newspapers, radio, and television, let us listen to the good news that comes from God in and through Jesus Christ. Let us individually respond to the full implications of the good news the angels sang about on that first Christmas. Let us trust in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah who came to meet the deepest needs of our lives. Let us trust in his death for the forgiveness of our sin and in his resurrected and living presence for the gift of eternal life. Let us face life with the resources he promises.

*This message based on a sermon written by TT Crabtree

 





 

 

 

Sunday

December 13th, 2020

Sermon Prepared By: Pastor Donald Magaw

@copyright 2020


 

 

Title: And on Earth Peace

Text: “Suddenly there was with th