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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

October 8th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

Philip, the Dynamic deacon
Acts 8:26-40

Giants in the sight of God are not always those we call Ministers. God is not afraid to use the most unlikely of people to bring others to Him and reveal His glory. For example, Dwight L Moody was an untrained shoe salesman, who became recognized worldwide as a Biblical scholar and teacher. His work shook two continents. Billy Sunday, a professional baseball player, turned into an influential evangelist. And there was Philip, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. We are introduced to him in Acts 6 when the Disciples were establishing the first Christian Church. They knew they would need people to manage the business of the Church while they taught about Jesus and God. In verse 5 of chapter 6 we see that the people chose seven men to take on this job of what we call today, Deacons of the Church. Phillip was one of the eight and he was an excellent choice. Philip was noted for his part in organizing food distribution in the early church. Acts chapter 8 shows us that Philip was a great soul winner at this especially important time. Let’s take a look and see what Philip did and how it can help us today.


We learn in verses 5 and 6 that he was s successful preacher of Jesus in Samaria. Verse 29 shows us that Philip allowed the Holy Spirit to guide his life and give him direction. Here we find that Philip came upon an Ethiopian man reading about Isaiah the prophet. Taking advantage of this opportunity to explain the Gospel, Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading. Philip followed the Holy Spirit’s lead and began the discussion from where the man was studying the prophecies of Isaiah. The man then begged Philip to explain a passage that he didn’t understand. Philip was able to explain what the prophecy was about but also how Jesus Christ fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecies.


Some people think the Old Testament is not relevant today, but Philip let this man to faith in Jesus Christ by using the Old Testament. Jesus is found in both the Old and New testaments. God’s entire Word is applicable to all people in all ages. Don’t avoid or neglect the use of the Old Testament because it too is God’s Word. Many of the stories and prophecies point to Jesus, and every prophecy about Jesus either was fulfilled during his life or will be fulfilled when He returns.


We learn in verse 36 that as they traveled, they came upon some water and the man asked to be baptized which Philip did. It was after that the Holy Spirit suddenly took Philip away, never to be seen again by the man who went on his own way rejoicing in his newfound knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He had done for him. As for Philip, he appeared at a town called Azotus and traveled about, preaching the Gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. Why was Philip suddenly transported to a different city? This miraculous sign confirmed the power of the Holy Spirit to the Ethiopian man and also showed the urgency of bringing the Gentiles to belief in Jesus. Azotus is Ashdod, one of the ancient Philistine capitals. Eventually Philip settled in Caesaria and lived there for the next 20 years.
What Philip’s story tells us is that God is definitely interested in results. When we are studying the Bible, we should not let our insecurity or pride get in the way of asking others to help us. Just as the Holy Spirit helps us when we share the Gospel, others can help us sort out the things we are having difficulty understanding. God sends us, His servants, to prepare people to receive Him so we must make sure that we are listening if God is sending us to win someone. Remember that it’s easy to put up our spiritual umbrellas and miss the opportunity to carry out God’s will. When we share the Gospel, a good place to start is where the person’s concerns are focused. Don’t be afraid that you may not be able to answer all their questions. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to help them. Philip’s target is the same as ours should be: Salvation through Jesus Christ the Son of God. Finally, listening to the Holy Spirit will allow us to use the Word of God, focus on Jesus Christ, and witness to win souls to Him.


Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

October 1st, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

All You Need to Grow
1 Corinthians 3:1-10

God has always had a wonderful plan for the life of all His children. It includes a period of birth, growth, and maturity. What is sad though, is that more people than not will choose to ignore the plan He has so lovingly laid out for them. And even though He loves us, He will never force anyone to take Him up on His offer. There are many in this world who believe in a God, or a higher power of some sort, but sadly they never seem to find a way to develop a real relationship with that power. Too many churches today are filled with spiritual babies who won’t make the full commitment and do the work to grow and mature in their spiritual relationship with God. But this isn’t a new problem for the modern world. Paul experienced it in the early days of Christianity. With so many today lacking in important spiritual growth, I thought we should take a look at what is needed in order to ensure growth in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.


Our text this morning is from 1 Corinthians 3:1-5 where Paul writes: “(1) And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. (2) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. (3) For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? (4) For a while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos, are you not carnal? (5) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (6) I have planted, but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he who plants anything, neither he who waters; but God Who gives the increase. (8) Now he who plants, and he who waters are one; and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. (9) For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. (10) According to the Grace of God, which is given unto me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds there upon.”


First to be ‘carnal’ means to be of the ‘world and not of the spirit.’ And even though Paul speaks of bothers and brethren, a relationship God is not limited to men. God wants a relationship with women as much as He does with men. His plan is for all mankind. Paul called the Corinthians infants in Christ because they were not yet spiritually healthy and mature. Many people today are still infant Christians. What are the indications of spiritual infancy? They can include complaining instead of gratefulness, being argumentative instead of acting, and following people instead of Jesus. We see in verses 1-3 of our text that Paul is telling the people that because they were arguing like children and allowing divisions to distract them, they were showing the immaturity of their relationship with Jesus. Immature Christians are often still controlled by their own desires, whereas mature believes are more in tune with God’s desires. We all need to ask ourselves how much influence our own desires have on our spiritual life and make sure our desires align with God’s. Being controlled by our own desires will only stunt and hold back our ability to grow our spiritual relationship with God.


A spiritual relationship begins with being born again for without this we will never become mature. When we accept Jesus into our lives as our personal Savior and believe by faith that He is the Son of God who died to take away our sins, we have taken the first step. Too many try to imitate Christian maturity without taking this step. Remember Nicodemus who came to visit Jesus in the dark of night? This religious ruler of the Jews was surprised by his conversation with Jesus in John 3:1-21; especially when Jesus told him that he may be religious, but he is also lost. Religion doesn’t save anyone. Jesus said in John 3:16 only being born again and having faith in Jesus Christ will assure eternal life.


Once we make this decision, it is important that we nourish our relationship with the proper food to allow it to grow. Paul planted the seeds of the gospel in the hearts of the people. Apollos watered the seed with his ministering to help the believers grow stronger in their faith. Paul founded the Church in Corinth and Apollos built on that foundation. Unfortunately, at the time of Paul’s letter, the believers had split into factions, pledging loyalty to different preachers and teachers. While preachers and teachers may proclaim the gospel and faithfully share important biblical knowledge, God is the only one who makes Christians grow. Pastors and teachers should certainly be respected, but they should never be placed on pedestals that create buffers between the people and God; or more importantly, look at them as substitutes for Christ. They are not. They are sinners saved by grace just like every Christian.


There is so much around us that can interfere with our growing relationship with our Lord. The news is filled with violence and corruption, entertainment has questionable plots and presentations of what appears to be glamorous living and a departure from what we know to be true, and content is often designed to make us question God’s intentions for us. All this makes it more important that we work hard to properly feed our spiritual life to ensure that it will grow and prosper for God. The most important thing that allows us to grow and mature is to study God’s Word. In 1 Peter 2:2, Peter compares God’s Word to the milk that is required in order for newborn babies to grow strong. The Bible is the milk that will give us all we need to develop a mature relationship with our Lord. In addition to studying the Bible, we must develop a daily devotional routine. When you make it a point to set aside time each day to pray and study God’s word, you will be amazed at the difference it makes as you deal with the tasks that you have to accomplish and, in your attitude, as you deal with people and circumstances. We must never forget to thank God for all the blessings we receive. when we allow devotional time to become routine in our daily life, we will experience growth in our relationship with God.


Another vital component to becoming a mature Christian is to attend church. We all need to be fed by the fellowship and learning that can only come from attending Church. What we receive encourages us in the days between services. The Church provides structure to our faith that is found in our Bible, and it gives us opportunities to serve that will enable us to grow strong. We should also read faith-building books, watch faith-based movies and television programs, listen to good music, and expect the Holy Spirit to speak to us through others. Seeing Christ in the lives of other brothers and sisters in Christ will serve to confirm our beliefs and encourage us to keep up the fight against the forces that are actively working to take us away from God.


All of this doesn’t happen immediately. Each and every one of us must learn to walk in the Spirit. How do we do this? Ephesians 4:30-32 tells us that because the Holy Spirit is in us, we have a guarantee that we belong to God. It is the Holy Spirit that allows us to let go of bitterness, anger, and malice toward others and instead be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to others. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word of God as we study the Bible. Living this way is what Paul calls walking in the newness of Life in Romans 6:4, walking by faith in 2 Corinthians 5:7, walking worthy of the Lord in Colossians 1:10, walking circumspectly in Ephesians 5:15 and walking as children of light in Ephesians 5:8. When we adopt this way of living then we will be able to bring others into the family of God. We become examples of how our lives have changed as we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, we will make mistakes along the way. But our God is a Father who may discipline us but never stop loving us. And we can always lean on Jesus to be our guide and our friend as He shows us how we must live our lives to please God.


Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

September 17th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

I Am the True Vine
9-17-2023
John 15:1-8

Over these last weeks with the study of the “I AM” statements our goal is learn more of who Jesus is. Through these statements we see how He lovingly shows His true character and purpose for coming to this world to His Disciples and to all Christians since then who have chosen Him as their personal Savior. So far, these statements have taught us that He is the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. He is the Door to Heaven and the Good Shepherd. He is the Resurrection and the Life, and the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Today, we will learn what Jesus means when He said I AM the True Vine.


Our text is found in John 15:1-8 where Jesus said:  “(15:1) I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman.  (2) Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (3) You are already clean because of the words which I have spoken to you. (4) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (5) I am the Vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (6) If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch that is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (7) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (8) By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My Disciples.”
Jesus began by calling Himself the ‘True Vine.’ The descriptive word ‘true’ has been applied to Him other places in the Bible. In John 1:9 we see Jesus was being compared to John the Baptist, but John’s purpose was to prepare the world for the coming of the True Light which is only found in Jesus. In John 6:32 Jesus is compared to manna that God gave to the Israelites in the dessert for temporary subsistence. But Jesus gives us permanent subsistence when He gives us eternal life. The vine provides life to the branches. In Jesus’ example He is the Vine, and we are the branches. We all know that branches receive life from the vines, or roots of the plant. As we learned previously in John 14:6, Jesus is our source of life. Only He can give us abundant life as shown in John 10:10.


We also learn from this statement that Jesus is working closely with God our Father. In verse 3 of our text Jesus calls God the Husbandman. Other meanings for this word are vinedresser, gardener, or farmer. Farmers expect fruit from their crops so they carefully plant and care for them to ensure that they will be healthy and produce as much fruit as possible. Part of the farming process is pruning plants to ensure maximum health of the plant. Jesus makes a distinction between two types of pruning: One kind is where the farmer cuts off unhealthy or dead branches, and in the other type of pruning, the farmer cuts back branches. Unhealthy or dead branches provide nothing to the plant, so they are removed. Healthy branches are cut back to promote growth. Jesus is telling us that God must sometimes discipline His people to strengthen our character and faith. But branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off at the trunk not only because they are worthless, but because they can infect the rest of the plant. People who don’t bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from the life-giving power of Jesus. The truth is, our God expects fruit from His people.


Many people try to be good and honest. But Jesus says that to live a genuinely good life we must stay close to Him like a branch that is attached to the vine. In the same way that plants receive nutrients from their roots, faith and trust in Jesus allows us to receive life-giving water from the Holy Spirit and food from God’s Word. Both of which provide God’s people with spiritually regenerated power. Jesus is telling us that we can ask Him for anything that will increase our ability to bear fruit for God. But apart from Jesus, we lose this connection, and our efforts are unfruitful.


Jesus speaks of abiding in Him in verse 5. He is telling us that remaining in Him requires us to be fully connected to Him moment by moment. It means we believe that Jesus is God’s Son. 1 John 4:15 tells us that when we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in us, and we live in God. Abiding in Jesus means following Him as our Savior and Lord. John 1:12 tells us that all who believe in Jesus and receive Him as their Savior are able to become children of God. We are told in 1 John 3:24 that abiding in Jesus means we do what God wants us to do. And 1 John 2:24 that abiding in Jesus means we must believe in God’s Word. Then, when we abide in Jesus, we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us, which we find in John 15:12.


It is especially important that we work to win people to Jesus. But fruit isn’t limited to that. Answered prayers, living joyfully, spreading joy, and loving others are also considered fruit. Inwardly, this includes characteristics of love, joy, and peace. Outwardly, the characteristics are patient endurance (or long suffering), goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics grow in newly transformed people and allow them to do special things for God with their lives. Proverbs 11:30 tells us that the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and those who win souls are wise. The example we set as Godly people will help others want to know Jesus.
Jesus is the True Vine - or root, and we as believers in Him are the branches. The purpose of the branches is to let the life of the vine flow to the fruit. To be fruitful for God, we must abide in Christ. We must communicate with Him, love Him, praise Him, and be faithful to Him. But He will not force Himself on anyone. It only happens when an individual asks Him to come into their life to forgive their sins and allow Him, through the Holy Spirit, to show them what they need to know in order to live a life that is pleasing and fruitful to God our Father and Creator.


None of this can be accomplished without Jesus Christ. He is the one who gave up His life to pay the price for our sin that prevents us from returning to God. By accepting Jesus into our life as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit teaches us the love the Father has for each one of us. That then leads us to bear fruit and glorify God. Let Jesus be your True Vine today and always.


Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday

September 10th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 

 

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
John 14:1-6

Today we will look at the sixth I AM statement of Jesus. In John chapter 13 we can see how Jesus prepared His Disciples for His departure. It was at this point in His ministry where the Disciples worried about the safety of Jesus and tried to discourage Him from going to Jerusalem because of the threats from the religious leaders. We see Him sharing the last Passover meal with them, He showed humility when He washed their feet, He warned them that He would be betrayed by one sitting at the table with them, and He instituted the first communion service. Jesus also gave them encouragement about where He was going when He said in our text from John 14:1-6: “(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.” Thomas’ confusion led to the sixth I AM statement in verse 6 where: (6) Jesus said unto Him, I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.” Thomas’ question is a good one even for people today. Do you know where Jesus is and how He can bring you to be with Him?


His answer to Thomas and all mankind wasn’t ‘I will show you the way,’ or ‘here is the way.’ Too many think that there are certain things that can be done to assure their place in Heaven such as baptism, prayer, and loving people. Jesus was baptized but the truth is, those who are baptized can still be lost. He loves people, but those who love people can still be lost. He was a man of prayer, but even those who pray can still be lost.


Why? Because salvation comes only through complete faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. He tells us in John 3:16 that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. Luke tells us in Acts 16:31 if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and not because of anything we can ever do because it is the gift from God. Paul also tells us in Romans 5:1 our faith in Jesus Christ makes us justified – or absolved of our sin – so that we can have peace with God. This confirms that the only way to Heaven is by having a faithful and true relationship with Jesus.


He alone is the source of all the truth about Heaven. Many have misconceptions about Heaven. Some believe it is here on earth until it’s time to die, then there is nothing more. Some believe only 144,000 will get to go to Heaven. Still others believe that Heaven is nothing more than a state of mind while we live out our lives until death. Well, the good news is that they are all wrong. Jesus confirms in verse 2 of our text that Heaven is a real place, and there a home is waiting for us. Verse 3 is the first reference of the Rapture telling us that Christians will go there when they die, and that Jesus will them who are still alive when the Tribulation begins. We can depend on this because Jesus told us about where we we will go.


Jesus is the source of life that begins when we accept Him and continues in Heaven. John wrote in 1:4 “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” As our source of life, Jesus brings light to all who believe in Him. So, without Him in our life, there is only darkness in the present and the future. Jesus tells us in John 6:35 that He is the Bread of Life that sustains us until it is time for us to leave this life for the next. He confirms this next life when He tells us in John 11:25 that He alone is the Resurrection and the Life.


Throughout the Bible we are shown how every life is precious in the God’s eyes. He created us but when Satan introduced sin through Adam and Eve, mankind was separated from God. But God didn’t give up on us. Instead, He arranged for His son to give up His life so we could return to God forever redeemed from the stain of sin.


However, today all we need to do is look around and see how little regard there is for the sanctity of life. This world has lost the concept of how important life is. We have abortion on demand, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. The violence depicted in all forms of entertainment also reflects how life is meaningless. So many people are senselessly killed on the streets or in their homes. There is no thought given to taking the life from people who are known or are strangers. Our present laws remove the consequences of taking another’s life. But in God’s eyes, every life is precious and priceless, and only Jesus can provide us with life that will last forever.


When Jesus said, I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He is telling us that knowing Him personally is the only way to Heaven. Knowing Him reveals to us the complete and full truth about Heaven. When life here on earth is over, He will continue that life in Heaven. This is available to all who choose to who put their faith and trust in Jesus and allow Him to be their Lord, their Guide, and their Savior.


Only a few verses in the Bible describe eternal life in detail. The verses of today’s text are rich in promises of what we have to look forward to in the future. Jesus left this world and is now preparing a place for us. But He will come back and take us to where He is. We can look forward to eternal life because He promised it to all who believe in Him. Even with the unknowns about eternity, believers have no need to be afraid.


Jesus’ answer to Thomas opens the door for doubters to come to Jesus. He Himself tells us that He is the only way to God and eternal life. Some will say this is too narrow and restrictive but in reality, it is open to the entire world if they accept Jesus as their personal Savior. For this we should be thanking God for providing a sure path to get to Him.


If you haven’t yet given Him your heart, do it now so you can be assured of your place with Him for all eternity. All that is required is to confess to God that you are a sinner and that you believe Jesus is His son who died to redeem you of your sins; then allow Jesus to work in your life to change you as only He can. The only Way to the Father is through Jesus. The only Truth to all of the promises of God is Jesus. The only way to Life is to allow Jesus to join His divine life to yours today and for eternity.


Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday

September 3rd, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 

I Am the Resurrection and the Life
John 11:25-26

We study the I AM statements of Jesus Christ so we can learn who Jesus Christ is by looking at His own words. So far, we have learned that He alone is the source of our sustenance (Bread of life), our holiness (Light of the World), our path to salvation (Door), and the protector who gave His life for us (Good Shepherd). Today we will look at the fifth I AM statement and how it applies to our lives today. He said in John 11:25-26: (25)…I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; (26) and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”


Jesus is the greatest person who ever walked this earth. No one past, present, or future can ever live up to the life He led while here. As perfect as He it doesn’t prevent us from a relationship with Him. And, when He speaks, we should always listen and learn because He is showing us things that we need to know to live for Him.


Let’s take a look at what led Him to call Himself the Resurrection and the Life. In John 10:29 He declared His deity when He said: I and my Father are One. That statement set His enemies – the Jewish religious leaders – on their path to kill Him. At this point, Jesus was ministering beyond Jordan, resulting in many converts. The more who chose His message and converted, the more He threatened the power of the religious leaders. John 11:1 tells us that Jesus received a message informing Him that His dear friend Lazarus was extremely sick. Instead of immediately going to his side, Jesus waited two days before leaving for Bethany to see him. While on the way there the Disciples learned that Lazarus had died.


When Jesus arrived, He encountered a grieving Martha, Lazarus’ sister. She was quick to tell Him if He had been there, Lazarus would still be alive. Jesus’ response to her in John 11:13 was: Your brother will rise again. Now, Martha was a faithful woman and knew that God’s people would eventually be resurrected in the new Kingdom. No doubt this was what she was thinking Jesus meant. But we know what was about to happen was beyond her wildest imagination. Because Martha didn’t take what Jesus told her literally, she was placing limits on Him and His powers. Today, we are guilty of doing exactly what Martha did. When we put our trust in Jesus, miracles can and will happen because He holds the greatest of all powers as is described in verse 25 of our text. But instead, too often we ask for and expect things from Him using our inferior human construct based only on where we are in the moment, what we can or can’t do, and what we have seen others do. But Jesus has far greater powers than any human. He will always answer our prayers, but we must also understand that sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He makes us wait because He knows the entire spectrum of our lives so His answer will always be what is best for us forever and not just in the moment. Yet even when we do put limits on Him as Martha did, He still listens to us and will fulfill our requests in accordance with God’s will for our lives.
Yes, there will come a time when Lazarus rises in the Resurrection as we learned in our study of Revelation; and, as we are told in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the Church will be taken in the Rapture. But at this point in His earthly ministry, Jesus had another message to share so He used His power to raise Lazarus from the dead, and soon God will use His power to raise His Son Jesus to defeat death for all mankind.


By telling us that He is the Resurrection and the Life, Jesus is promising that through Him we can have everlasting life. The psalmist speaks of a 70-80 year average life span. But now, Jesus is promising us longer than that even if we surpass the average and live for 90 years or more. And what He is promising us is so much better than the years the psalmist speaks about. Only Jesus can give this to us, and it can only come through a deep and personal faith in Jesus Christ. He alone made this possible because He was willing to take the pain, suffering, and humiliation of being crucified on the Cross. When He rose, He became the victor over death for all who do trust in Him.
Jesus has power over life and death as well as the power to forgive sins. Because He created life, He can certainly restore it. Whoever believes in Him has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way. When we realize the power and the wonder of His offer to us, how can we not commit our lives to Him? To all who believe, it’s a wonderful assurance and certainty that we have. He tells us in John 14:19: Because I live, you also will live.


This morning, as we prepare to remember His death with the communion service, it’s important that we all look within ourselves to determine that we personally know the greatest Person that ever walked this earth and search our hearts to ensure that we are sincerely trusting and resting in His great power that gives us peace and eternal life. Are you trusting His promise and know that you will be with Him for eternity in His new kingdom? If you have any doubts about this, don’t wait any longer. Make the decision that you will fully and completely trust Him. Ask Him to come into your life and change you for the better, today and for eternity.


Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

September 27th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

I Am the Good Shepherd
John 10:3-13, Ezekiel 40:11-16

In our study of the eight I AM statements of Jesus, so far, we have learned that as the Bread of Life He satisfies our hunger. As the Light of the World, He sanctifies – meaning makes us holy. And as the Door, He saves us. Today we are going to learn about the most loving of all the I AM statements when He says in John 10:11: “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Those who were hired to tend sheep did it for the money. In contrast, a shepherd loves his sheep and is completely devoted to them. Jesus isn’t merely doing a job or performing a duty; He loves us (His sheep) and has laid down His life for us. By calling Himself the Good Shepherd, Jesus is revealing exactly who He is and why He gave up the glory of Heaven to come into this world in human form – He came to die for us because He loves us.


The prophets of the Old Testament knew Jesus as the Good Shepherd. David opens the 23rd Psalm by stating: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” He is telling us that as his shepherd -- his Lord will provide for all his needs. Isaiah writes in chapter 40:11: “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom and shall gently lead those who are with young.” As the powerful Son of God, Jesus is careful and gentle with His flock from the strongest to the most vulnerable among them. And Ezekiel tells is in 34:11-16:(11) …Behold I…will both search My sheep and seek them out. (12) As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (13) And I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers and in all the inhabited places of the country. (14) I will feed them in a good pasture and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. (15) I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down saith the Lord God. (16) I will seek that which was lost and bring again that which was driven away and will bind up that which was broken and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgement.” This tells us that we can expect our Good Shepherd Jesus to provide for us, guide us and protect us. Leaders in every aspect of our life will fail us but Jesus will never fail us. All we need to do is trust Him and know that He will return one day and forever care for His people the right way. Until then we can always turn to Him for help.. Nahum tells us in chapter 1:7 He is a strong Good Shepherd and will always be there for us in times of trouble and believe that because He controls the future, He can turn any tragic situation into good for us and all those bound for His new Kingdom.


There are three New Testament titles given to Christ as Shepherd: In John 10:11 He is the Good Shepherd because He will die for His sheep. Hebrews 13:20 calls Him the Great Shepherd of the sheep because He has risen from the dead. And in 1 Peter 5:4 He is called the Chief Shepherd who will return for His sheep to give them crowns of glory that will never fade away.
As the Good shepherd, Jesus shows us how much He cares for us. John writes in 10:3-5 the sheep of Jesus recognize His voice that provides warmth, comfort, encouragement, and sometimes warnings. His sheep don’t follow strangers because they only know the voice of their Good Shepherd. Verses 12 and 13 show us that the Good Shepherd protects His sheep and stays with them in times of trouble. And as the Good Shepherd, Jesus gives eternal life to all who know His name. No one can take His sheep away from Him because they have been given to Him by God the Father as John shows us in 10:27-29.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus reveals the cross to us. We read in John 10:15 that He will lay down His life for His sheep by volunteering to suffer and die on the Cross. It is through this act that His sheep will be afforded salvation. All people need salvation and Paul tells us in Romans10:12-13 that all people includes both Jews and Gentiles or non-Jews. Accepting the Good Shepherd guarantees forgiveness from sin and eternal life in His new kingdom.


We must all look within ourselves to see if we know Jesus as the Good Shepherd of our life. If you do, then you are already receiving His love, comfort, and guidance every day. If you don’t and are resisting Him because you think He could never really love you, consider what He did on the Cross for you and let go of the doubt that He could love you. Instead, come to Him in faith, put you trust Him, and let Him change your life for the better. Living for Jesus is this world is a lifelong struggle, but He will always be there to help you. Take Him up on His offer and your life will be enriched in ways you never could have imagined.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

August 20th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 

I Am the Door
John 10:7-10


This morning we continue our study of the eight I AM statements made by Jesus. It is important that we look at them because we learn how Jesus clearly explains the deep things of God and what His plan of salvation is for all who trust, believe, and love Him. By looking at them we see how He teaches us important spiritual truths in a simple manner. So far, we have learned why Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. Today we will look at what Jesus meant when He said, “I AM the Door.” Our text is found in John 10:7-10 which says: “ (7) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I AM the Door of the Sheep. (8) All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I AM the Door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (10) The thief comes not, but for to steal and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”


Jesus is making it very clear that He is the only door – or path – to forgiveness and eternal life. I AM means He is exclusive of all others, that there is only one way, and it is Him. He also reminds us that there was and always will be thieves and robbers meaning those who claim that there are ways to salvation without Christ. But true believers – the sheep who did not and will not hear them – will not be deceived by the false teachers.


A door is a means of exit and entrance. When we make the choice to allow Jesus into our life and change us as only He can, we exit condemnation and enter the door of forgiveness of our sins. Jesus said in John 3:17 that God sent Him, His son, into the world not to condemn it, but that through Him the world will be saved. Because we haven’t had the benefit of being born when Jesus walked this earth, we accept Jesus by faith. In doing so we become justified. This means we are declared by God to be free of the guilt and penalty of our sin. Paul tells us in Romans 5:1 that because we are now justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


When we allow Jesus to come into our life, we exit spiritual death. Faith and trust in Jesus mean we are longer destined for Hell. Instead, we will be able to enter the door to eternal life. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1: “And you has He quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins. Because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all of their descendants – the entire human race -- became guilty of sin. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “…if any man be in Christ (saved by the Blood); he is a new creature (a new creation): old things (what we were before salvation) are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” By accepting Jesus as your personal Savior, the person you were no longer exists because after everything Jesus has given you, you are now a new person.


Jesus is the door to Heaven and accepting Him into our life allows us to exit the road to Hell. We see in John 3:36 that John the Baptist taught: “He who believes on the Son has Everlasting Life, and he who believes not the Son shall not see life.” Nonbelievers will not see eternal life. Jesus said in John 5:25, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now, is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they who hear shall live.” He is telling us two things: first being saved by Jesus brings us from spiritual death into spiritual life. Second, it is a direct reference to the time when all the saints will be resurrected. We learn in 1 John 5:12-13 that eternal life is a present possession because once we accept Jesus and what He did on the Cross, we are assured that we will have eternal life.


Jesus is the only door to forgiveness. There is no other door that will lead us to new life on earth, or to Heaven when we die, or to eternal life in the new kingdom. Many will try to find a door to these things without Jesus, but they will discover that no other door exists. Baptism, communion, or church membership will not get you through that door. Giving to churches or charities, good works, or honesty won’t get you through the door to Heaven.


We must constantly be watchful for false teachers described as thieves and robbers by Jesus in verse 8 of our text. They will try to convince us that Jesus is not the only way to Heaven. Acts 4:12 tells us that no other name under Heaven given among men can save us. Jesus confirms in verse 9 of our text that He will open the door in order for those who chose to accept Him to enter in. He will accept all sinners, and all races who want to be saved through Him.


Jesus is the only way for us. We all must come to Christ as the sinners that we are. If you haven’t yet asked Him into your life, don’t wait any longer. We are living in the last days. Look around and you see the world is spiraling out of control. Jesus is waiting with open arms to accept you as one of His own.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

August 13th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

I Am the Light of the World
 

John 8:1-12


Last week we began a study of the eight “I AM” statement made by Jesus. By looking closely at them we can see how Jesus reveals Himself as the eternal Son of God and can then better understand Him as our Savior. Last week we looked at what Jesus meant when He said, “I AM the Bread of Life.” Our text this morning comes from John 8:1-12 which says: “ (1) Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. (2) And early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them. (3) And the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, (4) They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act [when you study the Greek translation of this passage, it says that the woman was dragged into the temple and placed before Him. I always wondered why not the man as well?]. (5) Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such should be stoned; but what do You say? (6) This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down , and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. (7) So, when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (8) And again, He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. (9) And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you?” (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more. (12) Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.” No doubt many of you have heard this passage before, but just what did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the Light of the World…” and more importantly, how does it relate to us today?


First, it’s not just about committing a sin – in this case adultery. Verses 1-9 are actually shining a light on ALL of the sins that we commit and how because of them we must be condemned. Yes, this woman was taken because she committed adultery and all the eyes in the room that day were focused on her because of it. Also, the more important goal of the Pharisees was to trap Jesus between the law and grace. They had the authority to condemn this woman but because He said He had come to fulfill the law and He was also a friend to sinners they wanted to trap Him. The law demanded death for adultery so they wanted to see is He would follow the law. Jesus wrote something in the dust on the temple floor. What was written, we are not told. But while He was writing, they continued to demand an answer from Him. What Jesus did next was completely unexpected by them. He challenged them all by demanding that whoever among them that was without sin should throw a stone at her. Then Jesus continued to write in the dust. We don’t know if the Scribes and Pharisees could see what He wrote, but when they heard what He said to them, they had a crisis of conscience because the position they had taken was so spiritually and morally impossible to meet that they were forced drop the stones they held and left the temple. The light of Jesus Christ shows us all that we are sinners. But it also shows us that because of the light He brings into our life, we have hope because of who He is and what He has done for us.


What the Scribes and Pharisees did should be a wakeup call for each one of us to take an honest look at our own life. When we recognize our own sinful nature, we are better equipped to extend mercy to others who are struggling with sin in their lives. As sinners saved by grace, we must be looking for ways to help them rather than hurt them. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman but He also didn’t ignore or condone her sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. Today, He stands ready to forgive all sin in our life, but confession and repentance means that we must also make a change. With God’s help we can accept Jesus’ forgiveness and stop doing wrong in His sight. This woman was guilty and had no hope until Jesus showed her mercy. After her encounter with Him not only did she find forgiveness, now she had hope that she could change her life. The light of Jesus Christ brings hope to those who otherwise are living a hopeless life.
Jesus was speaking in the treasury which the part of the temple where the offerings were given, and candles burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness. In this context, Jesus called Himself the Light of the World. The pillar of fire was God’s presence, protection, and guidance to His people in the desert. In that same way, Jesus brings God’s presence, protection, and guidance into our life. Luke tells us in chapter 1:78-79 that God in His mercy and love for us sent Jesus to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death as well as to guide us into the way of peace. Then in Luke 2:32 we are told that Jesus also is a light to the Gentiles, meaning all people everywhere can be included in God’s plan for salvation, not just Israel. John writes in chapter 1:4-6 that the light of Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness.


Why does Jesus bring light to us? Because physical death brings eternal darkness unless the eternal light of Jesus is planted within us to keep us alive in the new kingdom for eternity. Jesus is eternally alive because He is God. He came to the world to offer the hope and light of His eternal life. We can’t buy it. We can only receive it as a gift when we choose to live the way God intended us to live. Jesus shows us God’s compassion for a lost world and wraps it all up in John 3:16 when he told Nicodemus: “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.”


When we accept Jesus, His light gives our life direction. We are to go and sin no more. We will no longer live in darkness but instead will have light from His life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-10 that we are redeemed by the gift of grace from God through faith in Jesus Christ, not of any good things we do lest we should boast. There is nothing we can ever do would be good enough to save us. Accepting and trusting Jesus Christ for our salvation is what is required to allow us to live the kind of life for which God created us. The light that Jesus brings to our life removes the darkness that exists because of sin. With His light we can now live a new life free of the guilt of sin.
It is the sinless Savior, Jesus Christ, that brings light and life to sinners who choose to accept Him into their life. Doing so takes sinners out of darkness because we now live in His light of protection and direction. Only Jesus Christ can do this. Good deeds won’t do it. Don’t let anyone convince you that Jesus is not the only way to make it to Heaven. God’s Word clearly shows us that Jesus is the only path to the light of eternal life with Him.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

August 6th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 

 

I Am the Bread of Life
John 6:35


Back when God came to Moses in the desert and spoke through a burning bush, He commissioned Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand that he free God’s people, the Israelites, from captivity in Egypt. Of course, Moses pushed back. He didn’t think he could speak eloquently as it is believed that Moses had a stutter. He also used the excuse of not knowing God’s name making it impossible to tell the people who had sent him and why. We read in Genesis 3:12-14:(13) And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the Children of Israel and shall say unto them, the God of you fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His Name? What shall I say unto them? (14) And God said unto Moses: I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus say you unto the Children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you.”


The Egyptians had many gods by many different names. Moses wanted to know God’s name so the people would know exactly who had sent him to them. God called Himself I AM, a name that describes His eternal power and unchangeable character. In a world where values, morals, and laws change constantly, we can find stability and security in our unchanging God. The God who appeared to Moses is the same God who can live in us today. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that God is the same yesterday and today and forever. Because God’s nature is stable and trustworthy, we are fee to follow, trust, and enjoy Him. We can count on Him to guide us no matter how much our culture or circumstances change. The divine name Yahwe, which is often translated as “the Lord,” comes from the Hebrew word for “I AM.”


So, let’s fast forward to the ministry of Jesus. During His ministry Jesus gave us gave us eight “I AM” statements – seven can be found in the Gospel of John and one in the Book of Revelation. Beginning this week, I will cover each of these eight statements to allow us to better understand who Jesus is and how we can apply what He said then to our lives today. We learn in John 8:58 how Jesus shocked His listeners when He said to them “Before Abraham was, I AM.” This statement is one of the most powerful ever made by Jesus. Why? Because He said that He existed before Abraham was born, and He was undeniably proclaiming His divinity. Not only did He say that He existed before Abraham, He also applied God’s holy name, I AM, to Himself. When He made this statement, the Jewish leaders were so upset that we learn in verse 59 how they tried to stone Jesus for blasphemy because He claimed equality with God, which was forbidden by their law.


This morning we will start with Jesus’ I AM statement found in John 6:35. While teaching in Capernaum Jesus said: “…I AM the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger; and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.” We know that we all must eat bread, or food, to satisfy our physical hunger and to sustain our physical life. Jesus is telling us that we can satisfy our spiritual hunger and sustain our spiritual life only when we have a right relationship with Him. This is why He said “…I AM the Bread of Life.” But the key is, bread has to be taken in or eaten to satisfy our physical hunger and sustain our physical life. Along that line, Jesus must be invited into our hearts and become part of our daily lives to satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain our hungry souls.


This statement tells us that Jesus is the Source of life. John writes in 1:3-4 that ‘all things were made by Him and in Him is life.’ We know from the Bible that God places a high value on life. But the world today doesn’t hold that same value. Abortion on demand ends life before God’s time for birth and euthanasia or assisted suicide ends life before God’s time for death. Look at the increase in murder rates and, more disturbing, lack of appropriate consequences. Life comes only from God our Creator, and it must remain sacred. As Christians, we must share the same regard for the sacredness of life which is given only by God. When we allow Jesus into our lives, we change and work to live as He did while on this earth in human form.


Jesus is also the Sustainer of Life. Bread, or food, is vital to sustaining life. No one is strong enough to live long without food. When the food runs out, life soon ends. Anorexic victims die because they refuse to eat. God provides food for life. He provided manna in the desert as the Israelites wandered before entering the Promised Land. The Prophet Elijah was sustained with food provided to him by a widow during a famine. And God provides Jesus to us in order to sustain our spiritual life on earth as long as we accept Him as our personal Savior and do our best to live like Him. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which can be translated as the “place of bread.” The communion bread that we partake of each month symbolizes His broken body on the Cross which allows us to receive forgiveness for our sins.
Jesus Gives us Satisfaction in our life. All who come to Him shall never hunger. This means when we accept Him fully and honestly into our lives, He alone will satisfy our inner desires. Earthly things such as wealth, fame, and success all fail to give full and complete satisfaction. How do we know this? Look at the number of people who attain these earthly goals yet have problems such as depression, substance addictions, and lots of stress and strain trying to maintain what they have. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus, we don’t need the things that the world needs to satisfy us. With Him as our Savior, our Guide, and our Teacher, we will not be hungry or thirsty for the worldly things that those who do not know Jesus work for, yet are never completely satisfied with when they attain them. Does this mean that God doesn’t want Christians to become wealthy, famous, or successful? No. It means that these things should never be our goals. Then when or if we attain them, we can't let them replace a strong and faithful relationship with Jesus. There will be many ups in downs in everyone’s life. But true satisfaction in the life we live while on this earth can only come from Jesus. He alone gives us help through the ups and downs and gives us the promise of eternity when we leave our earthly life.


It’s not difficult to go to Him. It doesn’t require a complicated religious ceremony to accept Him into your life. If you haven’t already done so, all you need to do is pray to God and admit you are a sinner. Tell Him that you believe that Jesus is His Son who was crucified and rose again to give you salvation. Tell Him that you want Jesus to come into your life so you can have your sins forgiven and be saved for all eternity. Then ask Jesus to forgive your sins and help you to live the kind of life that God wants you to live. Believe in Him. Go to Him. Allow Him to guide your path that is shown to you in God Word.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

July 30th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

 

 

Obstructions to Our Faith
Galatians 5:7


Our Bible tells us that living a life of faith is like running a race. We run well when our faith stays strong in spite of life’s setbacks that will occasionally cause us to get off course. From the moment we made the decision to follow Jesus, Satan made it his mission to throw obstacles in our Christian path with the goal of pulling us away from Jesus.


Paul’s letter to the Galatian church is a wonderful lesson in how not only churches, but specifically Christians can fall away from their faith. Our text is from Galatians 5:7 which says: “You did run well, who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?” Through Paul’s ministry, the Galatians began their church and their Christian walk on the right path. But as you study the letter, false teachers were now attempting to pull them away from the Cross to other beliefs. Paul’s words ‘you did run well’ are sad because they speak of past blessings the church received from their strong faith but with the passage of time their faith was now failing.


What was causing them to fail? They had begun to listen to teachers who told them that they needed to conform to the Jewish laws. The Bible calls these kinds of people false teachers that Satan uses as a tool – then and even today – to pull them away from Jesus and His work on the Cross for their salvation. We see in chapter 3:1 where, in order to get their attention Paul called them foolish. In chapter 4:13-15 we learn when Paul first preached the Gospel to them, he was suffering from an illness, but instead of treating him with contempt and scorn because of his sickness, they welcomed him and his message of salvation through Jesus as if he were an angel sent from God, or even Jesus Himself. Yet now they had lost their early love and compassion for others and the joy of their salvation because of legalism (in this case the need for strict conformance to Jewish law) that had crept into their church.


When legalism in any form creeps into our faith, it poisons us. Today it comes in the form of those who try to tell us things like Jesus is not the only way to get into Heaven, or that because God loves us He won’t be sending anyone to Hell. When we listen to these kinds of false teachings, it can make us feel guilty instead of feeling loved. It produces within us self-condemnation rather than humility because it stresses performance over our relationship with God, and it points out how far short we fall rather than how far we have come because of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross. If you find yourself feeling guilty over past or present sins or over things you are being told that aren’t taught in the Bible, you need to check your focus. Ask yourself if you are taking your rightful claim to the freedom that faith in Jesus brings or if you are trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others who are perverting the teaching in the Bible which is the Word of God.


Paul told the Galatians, and us today, that they are perverting the Gospel and anyone who does that will eventually be cursed by God. The false teachers throw enough of the Gospel into their teachings to make people think their message is legitimately from God. Today they tell us that God is love so He won’t punish us for doing things that the Bible specifically tells us are wrong such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and denying the facts of basic biology.


Another issue Paul brought to the attention of the Church was fighting among Christians. He instructed them that Christians are to show love and not hate to one another. Jesus tells us in John 13:35 that we are to love one another as He loves us. That means we are to care about them, help them, and we shouldn’t let petty differences come between us and others. We are also required to practice this behavior outside the church with family, friends, coworkers and even strangers so that they will see Jesus through us. In Paul’s day this problem wasn’t specific to the Galatian church. He admonished the church at Corinth for the same issue. Pettines and divisions are marks of Satan and is an indication that we are following Satan instead of Jesus. James tells us in chapter 3 that bitterness and conflict are from Satan, but he goes on to add that peace among believers comes only from the Lord.


Another issue that obstructs our faith is the constant battle between our human sinful self, encouraged by Satan, and the victory we can enjoy by walking closely with Jesus. Living in this sinful world means that we are constantly surrounded and bombarded by things designed to pull us away from Jesus. All we need to do is look at the entertainment that is offered to us, the headlines in the news, and even the actions of our leaders because of their lust for power. As Christians, we must always have our guard up, so we won’t be led away from our Christian path and what the Bible tells us is true.


Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23 that through the help of the Holy Spirit, Christians produce something special with their lives. He calls the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit spontaneously and creatively produces this kind of fruit, or results, in all who choose to follow Jesus. The Spirit generates Christ-like character traits in us because we are becoming more like Jesus who perfectly modeled them. When Christ is at the center of our lives, these traits grow and flow from us naturally. We get them without the help of the Holy Spirit. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must live in close union with Jesus. We must submit to Him, know Him, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him This will allow us to fulfill the intended purpose of God’s law for our lives: to love God and our neighbors. This is how we honor God and what He has done for us through Jesus and the Cross


So, I encourage all of you to examine your live to determine if you are continuing to serve Jesus. Are you serving Him better today than you did when you first accepted Jesus and chose to become a Christian? If not, look within yourself and at your life to determine what it is that is obstructing your faith and keeping you from Him. Then do the necessary work to remove the obstruction so you can return to the place of being fully committed to Jesus so your life can be an example to others of how Jesus can transform them, bring them love and a peace that passes all understanding. This is hard work and will not end until we leave this life. But the rewards will far surpass anything that this world through Satan will ever give you.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

July 23rd, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

A Woman to Remember in the Last Days
Luke 17:32


Through our study of the Book of Revelation, something that is made perfectly clear is that the world is going to be destroyed so it can be made new again. The Bible tells us that we are living in the last days. Because of this, it is critical that we live a Christian life so we will be ready when we either pass from this life through death or are taken in the Rapture of the Church.


The Bible gives us some examples of what happens when people aren’t ready when the end comes. For example, what happened when God sent the great flood? Noah was ready because he listened to God and built the Ark. However, the people made mocked him and died because of their unbelief. What happened in Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham and Lot is another example of what can happen when people aren’t properly prepared in the last days. God had decided to destroy the cities because they had become so wicked. Abraham prayed that God spare Lot and his family from the destruction that was to come, and God agreed. The family was instructed to leave the city and not look back. However, Lot’s wife never made it to safety because she disobeyed God’s instructions. She looked back at the burning city she loved which caused her to die because God turned her into a ‘pillar of salt.’ Our text from Luke 17:32 is short. Jesus is saying, “Remember Lot’s wife.”


What is it about this woman that almost 2,000 years later, Jesus tells His disciples to remember her?
This was a woman who had a lifetime of exposure to her religion and God as she shared in the experience of Abraham when God told him to pack up and leave his homeland and head to the place that God would show him. She knew all about Abraham’s altar and his prayer life, and she and her family certainly benefited from his generosity. 2 Peter 2:7-8 tells us that her husband Lot was a righteous man, But the righteousness of her husband was not enough to save her.


We are fortunate to live in a time where there are churches everywhere. We have access to ministries through the radio, television, and the internet. It’s easy to own a Bible of our own, and there is so much Biblical literature that we can turn to in order to better understand the Bible. All of this is important to our Christian live, but in spite of all that is available to us, the truth is that exposure to all this information will not save us. Think about Gehazi who, was the servant of the prophet Elisha; or Demas who was the associate of the apostle Paul; or even Judas who was a disciple of Jesus. With all of their exposure to the righteousness shown to them every day, none of them were saved. Today, thankfully we live in a world where we can learn about God, His love for us, and His plans for our life. Exposure to this knowledge is not enough to save us. There is only one path to salvation: You have to ask Jesus to come into your life as your Lord and Savior and to forgive your sins. Then you can use what you can learn through the resources available to live a righteousness life using Him as your example.


Like Lot back in his day, many people today are deeply disturbed by the sin and corruption all around us. But being disturbed isn’t enough. Like Lot, Christians must resist the temptation and pressure to conform to thing that are against what the Bible teaches and live a righteous life standing up for what God tells us is right and true. This is not easy, but it is critical to our eternal life. What we don’t have to worry about are those who are sinful and corrupt escaping judgment. Revelation makes it perfectly clear that the righteous and unrighteous will be judged and rewarded or punished accordingly.


Abraham undoubtedly prayed for all of Lot and his family many times. Many parents today pray for their children to come to God. A spouse will pray for their unsaved partner to be saved and there are churches and prayer groups all over this world praying for sinners to be saved. Prayer for the lost is one of our obligations as a Christian. Every sinner has the potential to be delivered from the hands of Satan. All they need do is turn to God and ask forgiveness through the saving love of Jesus on the cross. We can help them by being an example of Jesus to everyone we meet. We can tell them how Jesus can help them when they are suffering, pray with them, answer questions they may have, and tell them how God can change their lives so they can have His grace, peace, and eternal life.
It’s a fact that we are all living in a doomed place. This world as we know it will pass away. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:11 “Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all Holy conversation and Godliness.” Peter is telling us that if we have a right relationship with God, we will be ready and won’t be surprised by the increase of sin and corruption all around us. We can learn from Lot’s wife that our focus should not be on things of this world that are temporary and will pass away, we are to be more concerned with eternal things and how we can get ourselves ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Living a Christian is not easy and for sure it will get harder as time goes by. There will come a point when God loses His patience with this world and put His plan for the end of the age into action. The question we all must ask ourselves is do we want to be on God’s side or Satan’s when the final battle of good versus evil begins? Your answer will tell you what you need to do in order to be ready for the future that we will all face. I can point you in God’s direction, but it is up to each one of us to make that personal choice.
So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 





 

 

Sunday

July 16th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

A Great Purpose Statement for Life
John 3:30


This morning I would like to share a lesson with you from John the Baptist about how we should live our lives. Luke 1:5-25 tells us he was born to the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth who was also a descendent of the first Jewish priest Aaron. Elizabeth conceived this child late in life and because Zacharias doubted it was going to happen, God took away his voice until the baby’s birth as punishment for his doubt.


God had a very specific plan for John’s life. He was to preach to the people about the coming of Jesus. John did this so well that he became very popular among the people. When Jesus began His own ministry and became more widely known among the people, many of John’s followers became confused and jealous of Jesus. Our text, which is found in John 3:30, is how John the Baptist responded the confusion and jealousy of his followers. He said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”


What John said is a wonderful life-purpose statement for his followers and for all Christians today. John’s willingness to decrease his importance shows an extraordinary level of humility. All Christians, including pastors, leaders of all kinds, and congregants need to pay attention to this short verse. It’s often easy for Christians to focus on the social aspect of churches rather than focusing on Jesus Christ. When we put more emphasis on that rather then on Jesus and preparing ourselves and others for God’s kingdom, we will run into trouble fast.


In addition to a purpose statement for life, our text is also a statement of worship. “He must increase” are three words that declare exactly who deserves first place in our lives and it calls us to fully surrender ourselves to Jesus. These three words also reveal the common context of life. Everyday we have to make decisions about many things from the simple to the complex. But we should never make any decision without considering what Jesus would have us do and asking Him to help us do the right thing. “He must increase” is saying Christ deserves our dedication and worship. John the Baptist is declaring to those that followed him that his life’s purpose was to exalt – meaning to honor, praise and elevate -- Jesus Christ. As believing Christians, we are required to do the same.


The second statement from our text, “I must decease” speaks of John’s humility and reminds Christians that we must also be humble. John had no desire for the exaltation lavished on him by his followers. He didn’t want praise for carrying out his mission to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus. Because he came from a family of faith and the fact that his birth itself was the result of a miracle from God, shows us that he had the qualifications that would lead to popularity and praise. Yet he wanted none of that. Even so, crowds gathered to listen to him preach. Still, he never forgot his position and place in God’s plan and kept it all in the proper perspective. He knew his mission was to honor Jesus.


This short verse is a challenge to us to look closely at our own lives to see if we are living as John did. Must we give up our home and live in the wilderness? No. Instead, we are to ensure that Jesus is first in all that we do, and that our dedication to Him increases every day. We accomplish this through prayers and studying our Bible. We must pray for the courage to share what we learn from God’s Word so people will see Jesus through us and want to receive Him into their lives so they too can have the salvation and eternal life that He offers and in turn, have a peace that the world will never understand.

We must also check where humility ranks in the purpose of our life. Ask yourself how important it is that others praise you for what you do. Do you work only to be recognized for what you accomplish? If recognition is more important to you than Jesus, you need a course correction. Then ask what you see as the greatest challenge in your life. If Jesus isn’t part of meeting or overcoming that challenge, then once again, you need a course correction. Finally, think about what Heavenly rewards might be given to you for your purpose in living. One day, we will all be judged before Jesus for how we lived our life as a Christian. Our names may be in the Book of Life, but we will still be judged on how we conducted our lives, and we will be rewarded accordingly.


John the Baptist’s commitment to telling the world about Jesus ultimately cost him his life. He was arrested, thrown in prison, and beheaded by the order of Herod the King. While it is unlikely that we will meet the same fate as John – although with the way things are going in the world today, it may happen that we will be punished somehow for our display of faith. Should that happen, it will mean that our purpose for living truly honors Jesus and we will receive our just reward. That my friends, is the position you will want to be in, and the position that every Christian should work toward. Live your life in a way that honors the One who gave His life for you so your sins could be forgiven, forgotten, and live eternally with Him.


So, until we meet again, may God bless and keep you, may He shine His light on you, show you grace and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

July 9th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

Revive Us Again
Psalm 85:6-8, 2 Chronicles 7:13-14


What do you think of when you hear the word “revival?” In terms of religion, it’s a nearly forgotten word. There have been many great revivals in the past. Wesleyan revival had an enormous effect on the Methodist Church of England in the 18th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there were many traveling ministers who were able to change the communities that they visited and force local churches to concentrate on their own spiritual revivals. The results included extended prayer meetings to bring about revival. Dwight L Moody once said, “Every great work of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” In other words, if we want results we must pray. There is some evidence today that points to a return of such community-changing efforts today. For example, this past spring there were revival meetings that lasted for weeks at a few universities with a lot of students and non-students participating. This give us reason to hope that our young people are turning to God.


Let’s look at Psalm 85:6-8 which says: “ (6) Will you not revive us again: that Your people may rejoice in You? (7) Show us Your mercy, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. (8) I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people and to His Saints; but let them not turn again to folly.” The psalmist knew that his nation was in trouble and also saw that God was the source for the needed revival. He was asking God to revive his people and allow them to be brought back to a refreshing spiritual life. He was making a plea to God that looked back to better days for which he wanted to see a repeat of the blessings that he remembered from that time. He was tired of the pitiful conditions in his land and trusted that God could bring about a much needed revival. The psalmist was looking beyond the remorse of the present conditions to being able to rejoice over the return of the blessings and favor of God upon his country. Again, he was trusting that God would do what he was asking of Him. The English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon once wrote that this psalm is the “prayer of a patriot for his afflicted nation.” We need more such prayer warriors today.


Like the psalmist in our text, there are many people that long for the times of the past when people believed and practiced their religion openly and joyfully, when you were allowed to speak about God and His goodness without fear of consequences. The word folly found in verse 8 of our text is an interesting word that means the state or quality of being foolish, a lack of understanding or sense. When we look around at things that are happening in the country today, folly is an excellent description of what is happening in our present society.


I believe that God wants to revive both churches, individuals and even nations. I have no doubt that He is ready to pour out His love on us if we renew our love for him. When we need a revival of faith, prayer, or power in our country, our church, our family, or our personal spiritual life, the only way to ensure that it will happen if for people of faith to ask God to give us a fresh touch of His love. There aren’t a lot of traveling preachers these days that will visit towns and churches to help bring about revivals. The only way it will happen is if God’s people believe that God can and will bless us again with revival.
There is something all Christian believers can do to make the change that is desperately needed in this country. We can find it in 2 Chronicles. Second Chronicles 6 shows us that King Solomon asked God to make provision for the people when they sinned. God’s answer to Solomon is found in chapter 7:13-14 where God said: “(13) When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, (14) 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Those same four conditions -- humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, turn from our wicked ways -- apply to all Christians today.


If we truly want a change in this country and an end to all the folly that is happening, God’s people – us – can make that happen by following the conditions set out in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We must humble ourselves by admitting our sins; pray, asking for forgiveness; seek God continually in order that we may know His will for our lives; and turn away from sinful behavior. True repentance means more than talk. It requires that we change our attitudes and our behavior. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, following these steps will lead to forgiveness and revival. Remember, God will always answer every heartfelt prayer.


We can’t just sit back hoping that those responsible for the craziness in our land today will suddenly stop. That isn’t going to happen because those that are leading it have a personal stake in doing what they are doing. And make no mistake, Satan is behind it. The fact is, Christians have an especially important part to play if God is to revives us again. We can’t sit around complaining about the conditions around us hoping God will eventually take the action to revive this country. We have got to pray and pray continually knowing that God will answer us. We should never feel that our individual prayers to God won’t be heard or acted upon. If we genuinely want change in this land, we must start by praying for what we want and believing that God will answer our prayers. Then we must live happily looking forward to the time when He will. Charles Spurgeon also wrote regarding the results of revival: “A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or dawn without light.” The key is that we have to believe that God will hear our prayers and bring about the changes that we are asking of Him. When believers pray, God listens. Never think that He doesn’t. Trust in Him and understand that He hears us. Pray earnestly and pray often. Our challenge is to to dare to expect that God will hear our prayers and revive this nation.


Leave here today without the expectation that our leaders or those participating in the craziness all around us will decide to stop. That will not happen. Understand that it is up to Christians to bring about the needed change by doing what God instructs us to do: humble ourselves, seek Him, turn from sinful behavior, and most of all, pray. Then and only then will He hear us, and He will heal our land.


Father, we ask You to help us to humble ourselves before you, admitting our sin and asking Your forgiveness. Help us to look for You in every aspect of our lives in order that we may have the strength and courage to turn from sinful behavior. We know that this nation we love is in trouble and that Her problems will not be solved without Your help. Even thou we are a small group we trust that as long as we pray earnestly, You will hear us and heal our land. We ask that You stir the hearts of every believer in this nation in order that they may do the same. Help us to pray knowing that You will hear us and answer us. Until we meet again, we pray that you will continue to bless us, keep us safe, shine Your light on us, show us grace and give us peace through the turmoil we may experience in the days ahead. We pray all these things in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

July 2nd, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

 

The Lord Is Good – Tell It Wherever You Go!
Nahum 1:7

Today we are going to take a look at the Prophet Nahum. He is the author of the Old Testament Book bearing his name which was initially intended for the people of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and the southern kingdom of Judah who had been under Assyrian domination. Nahum was a native of Galilee. The name of the town Capernaum means village of Nahum” and the name Nahum means comforter. Nahum prophesied that Judah would no longer be forced to pay tribute as insurance against invasions. He wanted the people of Judah to be comforted knowing that God was still in control. Nineveh was an example of all leaders of all nations then and even today. God was, is, and will always be sovereign over all -- even those who are seemingly invincible. We can be confident that God’s power and justice will one day conquer all evil.


About 150 years before Nahum’s prophesy, there was another prophet names Jonah who after a little side trip into the belly of a big fish, also went to Nineveh to warn of its destruction if the people didn’t repent. They listened then and there was a revival but as time went on, they slid back into wickedness. Now Nahum was warning that God was going to judge the city of Nineveh for its idolatry, arrogance, and oppression. Even though Assyria was the leading military power in the world at the time, God would completely destroy this seemingly invincible nation. God allows no person or power to usurp or scoff at His authority. Even today, those who remain arrogant and resist God’s authority will face His anger. No person, leader or nation will be able to hide from His judgment. Only those who keep trusting Him will be kept safe forever.


Our text comes from Nahum 1:7 which says: “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knows them who trust in Him.” Given all that is happening in our country and around the world these days, we should remember that we are not to be afraid. Instead, we can take comfort even when we see the erosion of the rule of law, the denial of the laws of human biology, and the chaos that seems to be everywhere, we can see in our text that God can give us tranquility in times of trouble, He will comfort us in times of chaos, and He will bring us peace in times of turmoil.


Our text reveals the personality of our Lord. He isn’t a divine dictator who wants to punish us, nor is He a triune tyrant waiting to pounce on us. The child’s simple prayer says God is great, God is good. And He is! His creation declares it as we read in Genesis 1:1-25. Every part of His creation speaks of His goodness. Even people, the pinnacle of His creation, is good despite falling into sin through the cunning evil of Satan. But rather than give up on us, God again demonstrated His goodness by showing us His mercy and love through the Cross. He gave up His son so that all who believe in Him can be free of sin have everlasting life with Him.


In Nahum’s time Assyria, the world power that controlled what we know to be the “fertile crescent’ around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, seemed unstoppable. Its ruthless and savage warriors had already conquered Israel, the northern kingdom and were causing suffering in the southern kingdom of Judah. Nahum proclaimed that God’s anger would bring Assyria’s evil to an end in a few decades when the mighty empire would be toppled by Babylon. This tells us even today that no person, family, or nation on earth can defy God, the almighty creator of all the universe and escape punishment. Our God who controls the sun, the galaxies, and the vast stretches beyond also controls the rise and fall of nations. All who defy Him will be destroyed by Him.


We also know that trouble comes into every life at some point. It’s the human condition because of Satan’s deceit in the Garden of Eden. John 3:33 says: “He who has received His testimony has set to His seal that God is true.” Here John the Baptist is telling people that all who believe Jesus is the Son who has come to show that God His Father loves us and is true to His word, will be able to have a full relationship with Him and have His protection in times of trouble. He will come to us in times of sickness, emotional distress, depression, financial struggles or whatever may be causing us turmoil. We have been given the privilege of being known personally by an all-powerful God because of Jesus Christ and the Cross. He knows us and we can know Him. He protects us and is worthy of our faith in Him. He has made us equal heirs to all He has created through our acceptance of Jesus as our Savior. So you see, Nahum was right -- our God is indeed good.


We can take comfort knowing that despite these crazy times in which we are living today, God is good and will always prevail. Never doubt that He is in control. His patience is long but there will come a time when it will be exhausted, and all the world will know who He is and that He is in control. Until that time, we must trust Him and take His message of salvation through Jesus to the world. We are to always pray, to serve Him and others just as Jesus did, and be an example of His love to all we meet. Our greatest accomplishment would be to allow others to see Jesus in us so that they will become curious and want to know more about Him. Leave here today knowing that no matter what happens, we are the children of the one true and all powerful God. No matter what happens in our lives or all around us in this world, all we need do is look to Him for comfort, guidance, and protection. He will give us the strength to resist the temptation to conform to this world and the courage to be a transforming force to those that are lost and looking for guidance and comfort in their lives.
This morning we will once again partake of the memorial reminding us of how Jesus carried out God’s plan on the Cross. As we do so, remember the grace that was shown to each one of us on the Cross and then make a conscious effort to live our life in a way that reflects gratitude for what we have been given because of it.

Let’s pray. Father, as we gather around the table to remember what Jesus did for us on the Cross, help us to approach it with humility and thankfulness for what was done for us. Until we meet again, we pray that you will continue to bless us, keep us safe, shine Your light on us, show us grace and give us peace through the turmoil we may experience in the days ahead. We pray all these things in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 25th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

The Transfiguration
Luke 9:27-36

This morning I would like to talk to you about the Transfiguration of Jesus and its importance to our Christian lives today. Our text comes from Luke 9:27-36 which reads: “(27) But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Kingdom of God. (28) And it came to pass, about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. (29) And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. (30) And behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah (31) who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. (32) But Peter and they who were with Him were heavy with sleep; and when they were awake, they saw His Glory, and the two men that stood with Him. [this shows us how the child of God will die: simply going to sleep in Jesus and awakening in Heaven in His presence] (33) And it came to pass, as they [Moses and Elijah] departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus: Master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make three tabernacles; one for You and one for Moses, and one for Elijah; not knowing what He said. (34) While he thus spoke, there came a cloud and overshadowed them; and they feared as they entered into the cloud. (35) And there came a voice out of the cloud saying, “This is My Beloved Son; hear Him. (36) And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.”


This is the second time that Jesus had taken only Peter, James, and John with Him. The first was when He took them into the home Jairus to bring his daughter back to life. Even though the three were quiet about their experience on the mountain top, Peter confirmed what they saw later in his ministry and when he wrote in 2 Peter 1:16-18: (16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables [referring to the teachings of false prophets or anything that leads away from Christ and the Cross], when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (17) For He received from God the Father honor and glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.’ (18) And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount.” Peter related something he personally witnessed, not a secondhand story that he heard.


We see in verse 27 of our text where Jesus said there will be some that will not taste death. At this time, He may have been referring to Peter, James and John witnessing the Transfiguration, or all who would witness His resurrection and ascension, or all who would take part in the spread of the church after the coming Pentecost or perhaps He meant those who will be raptured with the Church. Whether it was one or all of these conditions, what was also true is that there would be no waiting for a future Messiah. He is the Messiah and His kingdom would be made up of those who believe in Him and that one day, His kingdom would come to power on this earth. Also, it’s important to take note that in verse 27 Jesus did not say: all would see the Kingdom, only that some will not taste death until that time.


In the days following this statement, Jesus went to the mountain to pray and while He was praying His appearance changed -- He was transfigured, meaning His outward appearance had changed to shining white clothes, giving the Disciples a glimpse of His glorified form. He was joined by two men – Moses and Elijah who also appeared in a glorified form. But there was a difference in the glory of Jesus and that of Moses and Elijah. The glory of Jesus came from within Him because He is God – the second person of the Trinity, whereas the glory of Moses and Elijah was given to them by God. Moses had been dead for about 1,500 years but Elijah had been translated, meaning he was taken up to Heaven without having experienced death and by this point had been in Heaven for about 900 years.


There are many who call themselves Christians that believe in the doctrine of “soul sleep” which means when we die our souls sleep until Jesus returns at the Second Coming to establish His earthly Kingdom. The appearance of Moses and Elijah confirms that the doctrine of “soul sleep” is not Biblical. The souls of all those who die will be taken immediately to Heaven and will be glorified just as Moses and Elijah were. No Christian should fear death because Jesus will raise us to eternal life just as He promised.


Moses and Elijah represent two groups in the Bible. Moses represents the Law as shown to us in John 1:17, and Elijah represents the Church as he was ‘caught up’ just as the Church will be caught up in the Rapture. The conversation between the three was about the upcoming death of Jesus and Cross. This is an important conversation topic for Christians today because all of Heaven is focused on the Cross. It was always part of God’s plan. Failure to keep the Cross in focus was why the seven churches were admonished by Jesus in the Book of Revelation.


The three disciples made some mistakes while on the mountain with Jesus. They fell asleep causing them to miss the full conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Had they heard the entire conversation perhaps they would have expected the upcoming death of Jesus on the Cross. We also learn in verse 33 that Peter wanted build tabernacles to Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Peter was placing these two on the same par with Christ, which was not looked at favorably by God. Also, it was easier to build tabernacles then to execute their primary mission to minister to those needing the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The message for us today is if we just sit and listen rather than share what we know about Jesus and the grace of salvation afforded to all though the Cross, we become stagnant. Like the Disciples, we are to go and share the love of Christ through the Cross.


Before leaving the mountain, the Disciples heard directly from God when He descended from Heaven in a cloud. This was the same cloud that brought Israel through the desert for 40 years and that covered the mountain when Moses received the Ten Commandments. This time we see God confirming His love for His son Jesus and instructing the Disciples to Hear Him. Those instructions apply to all Christians. Just as Peter, James and John were instructed, we also must hear Him when He calls us to salvation. We must hear Him when He calls us to service. We must hear Him when He calls us to baptism. And we must hear Him when He calls us to soul winning.


The Transfiguration is an amazing confirmation of what Christians have to look forward to when they leave this life. But while on earth, it is a teaching event. God Himself outlined for us what is expected in return for the gift of eternal salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. The question we all need to ask ourselves is do we hear what the Lord is telling us? If not, why not? Have you truly given your life to Him? Do you need to reevaluate your relationship with Jesus? If you do hear what He is telling you, are you doing what He has called you to do, or have you allowed yourself to become stagnant? How we answer these questions will impact not only our life here on earth, but also on our eternal life. Like the Disciples, we are to use our lives on earth not to please ourselves, but to serve God and others. This is what ensures that we will see the Kingdom.


Let’s pray. Father as we leave this place today, we ask that you take all resistance to Your will from us and give us the fullness of Your life and the sufficiency of your practical daily help; that You will bring us together even when we are apart so we can be supportive of one another in our prayers and our service to Him. May you bless us and keep us all in hollow of His hand today and always. In Jesus name we pray, Amen

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 18th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

Meet Jairus – A Great Father


Luke 8:40-56


Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the special men who have had influence in the lives of their children and give them unconditional love. The world would have us celebrate great Kings and world leaders who have led countries, generals who oversaw battles or even athletes who have thrilled spectators with their amazing accomplishments. But God has a difference perspective. He values men who have faith in Christ, who have been faithful to their wives, and who have been Christian examples to their children. This morning let’s look at one such father. His story is found in Luke 8:40-56: “(40) And it came to pass that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him for they were all waiting for Him. (41) And behold, there came a man named Jairus and he was a ruler of the Synagogue, and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought Him that He would come to his house. (42) For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as He [meaning Jesus] went, the people thronged Him. (43) And a woman having an issue of bleeding twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any; (44) came behind Him and touched the boarder of His garment; and immediately her issue of blood stanched. (45) And Jesus said, Who touched Me? When all denied, Peter and they who were with him said, Master, the multitude throng You and press You and You say, Who Touched Me? (46) And Jesus said, somebody has touched Me for I perceive that virtue [meaning power] is gone out of me. (47) And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling and falling down before Him, she declared unto Him before all the people for what cause she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. (48) And He said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort; your faith has made you whole. Go in peace. (49) While He yet spoke, there came one from the ruler of the Synagogue’s house, saying to him, your daughter is dead, trouble not the Master. (50) But when Jesus heard it, He answered him saying, fear not, believe only and she shall be made whole. (51) And when He came into the house, He suffered no man to go in save Peter, and James and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. (52) And all wept, and bewailed her but He said weep not, she is not dead, but asleep. (53) And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. (54) And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. (55) And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway, and He commanded to give her meat. (56) And her parents were astonished but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”


The synagogue was the local center of worship, and its leader was responsible for administration, building maintenance, and worship supervision. It would have been quite unusual for a respected synagogue leader to fall at the feet of an itinerant preacher and beg him to heal his daughter. But Jairus, while a ruler in the synagogue and a leader among his people, was also a father. He had heard Jesus returned to Capernaum so he did the greatest thing any father could do, as we are shown in verse 44: He went to Jesus and fell down at His feet pleading with Jesus to come to his home because his only child, a 12 year old daughter was sick and dying. Here was this great Jewish leader humbling himself before Jesus and all those in the crowd that had gathered to ask for help with a problem, he knew he couldn’t fix. His entire household was upset, and his own heart was breaking. What did Jesus do? He honored this man’s humble faith went with Jairus. As He did, the crowd surrounded and pressed against Him because there were so many people there.


Among those who had gathered in this crowd to see and hear Jesus was a woman who was living with constant bleeding for 12 years. She has been to many doctors, costing her all the money she had, but none had been able to help her. She made her way through the crowd until she was close enough to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. That one touch caused her bleeding to immediately stop. Jesus felt it and asked in verse 45: “Who touched me?” Everyone denied the touch and His disciples tried to dismiss it by telling Him it was likely just the size of the crowd that caused someone to press into Him. But Jesus told them that wasn’t the case because at that touch He felt power leave Him.


Hearing Jesus ask who in the crowd touched him, gave the woman the courage go to Him. Even though she was shaking with nervousness as she fell down before Him, she also was astounded that Jesus felt the touch causing him to call for her. She told him in front of everyone what her problem was and how she was healed immediately upon touching His robe. Jesus’ response to her in verse 48 was Daughter, be of good comfort, your faith has made you whole; go in peace. Keep in mind that Jesus didn’t touch her, she touched Him. This exchange is important because it tells all of us that even if the Lord doesn’t touch us, we can still touch Him and receive whatever we may need!


While Jesus was speaking with the woman, someone from the home of Jairus came and told him that his daughter had died so there was no need to trouble Jesus any longer. But Jesus also heard what was said to Jairus as we see in verse 50, He told Jairus “Fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole.” He was telling Jairus that despite what he was told, he shouldn’t be afraid because everything was going to be all right; the only requirement was for him to believe. That same message applies to all fathers today. No matter what problems there may be with their children, don’t be afraid. Instead, pray, believe, have faith, and all will be made whole.


When they arrived at the home, there were a lot of people there crying and wailing. Jesus insisted that the only people who would be allowed in the house would be the girl’s parents, Peter, James, and John. Everyone else had to go outside. When Jesus told them in verse 52: “Weep not; she is not dead, but asleep,” They laughed and mocked Jesus because they knew the girl was dead. Verse 54 tells us that their reaction, prompted Jesus to throw them out of the house. He then went to girl, took her by the hand and as shown in verse 54, He said: “Maid, arise.” Then in verse 55 we see in response to His authority, her spirit returned to her body, and she immediately rose. Then Jesus told those still in the house to give her food. Her parents stood by astonished, barely able to speak or move. It was at this time that Jesus told them they were to tell no man what was done. He was not looking for publicity or admiration for the miracle He just performed. He also knew that when others saw the living child walking around, it would be the proof that was needed to silence all who would try to discount what Jesus had done.


There are many examples throughout the Bible of good fathers who prayed for their children: Noah, Abraham, Job, Joshua. Jairus faced the greatest test of a father’s faith. He did the only thing that could have helped his situation. He trusted Jesus. Children who have fathers who pray for them and have faith that their prayers will be answered are the most privileged children in the world as their names are often before the throne of God. Sadly, children who are the most underprivileged are those who grow up in godless homes and have parents who never pray for them. Dads everywhere should always be praying for their children, no matter how old they get to be and always ask for wisdom to help them sort out the problems that will show up in their lives. When you pray, do so expecting answers. Just as Jesus did with Jairus, He will take away your fears if you only believe. Jesus can and will work out the problems in accordance with God’s will because of your faith.


Jesus prepared Jairus to trust Him when He healed the woman who had touched His robe. He knows us all so nothing can take Jesus by surprise. All we need to do is trust Him and believe. When you walk with Jesus throughout our lives, I can guarantee that you will always experience things that will improve your lives strengthen your faith. It’s important that we pass that along to our children from childhood through adulthood so they too can experience the power and peace that only He can give.


As you leave this place today, may God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

June 11th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

The Book for All Seasons
Psalm 119:103-105


Let’s talk about the Bible this morning. Throughout time, it has been referred to as God’s Word, the Law, the Scriptures, and as we know it today, the Bible. Psalm 119:103-105 says: “(103) How sweet are Your Words unto my tastes. Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (104) Through Your precepts I get understanding. Therefore, I hate every false way. (105) Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The psalmist is speaking about the importance of God’s Word to his life. He had come to love its teachings and used it as a lamp to light his path in life. The Apostle Paul declared the Bible to be a book for all seasons, meaning that no matter how old he is or whatever circumstance he may find himself in, God’s Word would always provide him comfort, guidance, and wisdom. It showed him what he should do, what he should say, and how he should behave. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [meaning God himself gave the writers the words to put on paper] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; (17) that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul is telling us that because Scripture is from God, we know it can be trusted. We must read it daily and always apply it to our actions and decisions. The Bible safeguards us against false teaching and guides us in how we should live. It is our only source of knowledge about how we can be saved. God wants to show us the truth and equip us to live for Him. It is so important that we develop the discipline of reading the Bible regularly to discover God’s truth which will enable us to become confident in our lives and our faith. So, how can we apply Paul’s confidence in God’s word to daily life?


As Christians we are called to share the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ with others. But fear of speaking to others often prevents us from doing that. We worry if we will I the right thing or if we are asked questions we can’t answer. Well, when we are afraid to speak to others about God and His message of love and salvation, we need to read the Bible to take away those fears. Exodus 4:1-12 tells us of God’s call to Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to release the Israelites from bondage. Of course, Moses’ was that he was not an eloquent speaker because he was slow of speech and of tongue (meaning he had a speech impediment, which some scholars say was a studder). God’s response was ‘Who has made man’s mouth and makes the dumb speak, the deaf hear and the blind to see Have not I the Lord?’ God knows us including each and every one of our fears and shortcomings. Nothing is about us is impossible for Him to overcome. Just as He enabled Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of His people, He will enable each one of us to overcome every fear we have in order to share His message. We don’t have to be eloquent speakers. Even if we are, that eloquence will never save anyone. People use eloquent speech often to deceive others. How many politicians have you heard speak very eloquently but never follow through on what they said they would do to help their constituents; or worse yet they use their eloquent speech to flat out lie to the voters? When God called the prophet Jeremiah to service, Jeremiah tells us in 1:9: “Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth, and the Lord said unto me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” This verse clearly explains the meaning of inspiration. The words we speak will be God’s words because if God asks us to do something, we can be assured that He will give us all the tools needed to get the job done, including the right words, the right message, and the courage to share that message because He made our mouth as well as our eyes, ears and, minds; and He will be right there with us when we work for His purposes.


It’s important to read the Bible when we are feeling weak. Isaiah tells us in chapter 40:28-31 that even the strongest of people get tired and weak at times. But God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to listen and help us. His strength is our source of strength. So, when we feel that life is crushing us and we can’t go another step, all we need do is call on God to renew our strength. Psalm 46:1 tells us God is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in troubled times. and Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Strength comes to us by keeping our eyes on Jesus, remembering that we are just passing through this world and will eventually be in a better place where peace and happiness will be the only way of life. Don’t lose hope or give up no matter what you are facing. God promises to give us strength to continue. With the Holy Spirit’s help and with the help of fellow believers, we can stand firm and strong in the Lord.


There will be times in our lives when we will be filled with fear. Perhaps a loved one is seriously ill, family, or financial problems may be looming, or employment issues are overwhelming. So, what should we do? Read the Bible. Isaiah 41:10-13 tell us that we should not be afraid because God is with us. We should not be dismayed because He is our God and will hold our hand and will help us. The Bible is the source of all our faith so lean on it and trust it. Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Faith doesn’t come by hearing just anything, but by hearing God’s Word, and believing that it is true. There are 150 instances in throughout the Bible where we are told to not to fear. That’s 125 times in the Old Testament and 25 times in the New Testament. God is telling to trust Him and not be afraid. Have the courage to believe it!


There will be many times in our Christian lives where Satan steps in to tempt us in order to get us to doubt our faith. When that happens, read the Bible. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “There has no temptation taken you but such as in common to man, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able.” Paul is assuring us that God has placed limitations on Satan regarding what he can and can’t do to us. We have God’s promise that all temptations are overcome by our faith remaining constant in Jesus and the Cross, which gives the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. Everyone faces temptation regardless of faith so we shouldn’t feel we have been singled out. Others have resisted temptation, and we can as well. Every temptation can be successfully resisted because God will show us the way. God will help us recognize the people and situations that give us trouble, He will give us the strength to run from anything we know is wrong and help us to choose only what is right for our lives. All we need do is pray for God’s help and surround ourselves with people who love God and can offer help when we are tempted. Most importantly, we must lean on the Word of God to help us. And we can use Jesus as our example. Matthew 4 tells us that when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus quoted Scripture which caused Satan to turn tail and run. We can do the same!


God loves us and He will always meet us where we are. If we are troubled, fearful, tired, or confused, God will provide exactly what we need to get us out of any situation we face. Reading and studying our Bible imprints in our hearts and minds how much God loves and how He will always help us. True wisdom goes beyond possessing knowledge. True wisdom comes when we apply what we learn in a life-changing way. It corrects us, leads us in the right direction, and teaches us to make holy choices. Intelligent or experienced people are not necessarily wise. True wisdom comes from allowing God’s Word to guide us and make a difference in our lives. To walk safely at night, we need a light, so we don’t trip or fall. In this life we must walk through a dark forest of evil. The Bible is the light that shows us the way ahead, so we won’t stumble and fall. It reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies. We need its light to show us the path to our desired destination. We need to study the Bible so we will be able to see our way clearly enough to stay on the right path. The Bible will change us from what we are to what we should be if we choose to read it daily and apply it to every aspect of our life.


Until we meet again, I pray that God our Father will bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

June 4th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

Sir, We Would See Jesus
John 12:20-21


There is a sign above the doors of our Sanctuary with the words “Sir, we would see Jesus.” It’s a very profound statement so this morning I would like to talk to you about its context and more important its meaning for us as Christians. We find it in John 12:20-21 which say: “(20) And there were certain Greeks among them who came up to worship at the Feast. (21) The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired Him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”


This conversation took place shortly after the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem when the city was crowded with thousands of Jews who had come for the Passover celebration which is the feast referenced in our text. There was also a large group of Greeks, who were Gentiles that had come as well. Why would Gentiles come to a Jewish celebration? Because they longed to know about God. It’s likely they had become disillusioned with Grecian philosophy because they found it didn’t satisfy their needs and failed them in other ways. This caused them to look for God through Judaism. They had heard about Jesus and were particularly intrigued by what they heard about the miracles He performed. And they wanted to know more about what it was that allowed Him to speak with such authority. The truth is, seeing Jesus was and is the heartfelt desire for so many regardless of their race, culture, citizenship, or religious beliefs. How do I know this? Think about all the primitive, isolated cultures where people believe in a higher power or great creator. No missionary visited them to tell them about God or Jesus, yet they still knew there was something greater than themselves. The native American Indians believed in the great spirit long before the colonists arrived on the continent. There is something innate to all human beings that was put there by God our creator. There are those who chose to explore it further and those who chose to reject it completely, but it is there. Perhaps this is why many atheists who chose to believe that God doesn’t exist are so adamant about erasing everything concerning Him. They feel threatened and perhaps don’t want to be reminded that they might be wrong.


Our Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 ‘...all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.’ But it doesn’t end there. Romans 10:9,10,13 tell us “(9) …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. (10) For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto Salvation. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Eternal salvation is really as simple as telling God you believe Jesus is His Son and acceptance of Him as your Savior will erase your sins. Anyone, anywhere can be saved when through faith, and believes in who Jesus is and what He did on the cross. Salvation will not come from any religious ritual. It’s a conversation between God and the one seeking salvation through Jesus.


Too many people believe that all they need to do is participate in religious ceremonies and attend church regularly to be saved. This is a dangerously false assumption. The truth is there are too many who have joined churches all over the world who have been baptized, take communion, and attend services regularly but they are still lost. Eternal life is not given to anyone through church attendance and participating in religious rituals. John writes in 1:12 and 13: “ (12) But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name. (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This tells us that all who welcome Jesus as Lord into their hearts and allow Him to be Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually and receive a new life from God. Through faith in Jesus, this new birth changes us from the inside out – rearranging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes you physically alive and places you in your parents’ family. Being born again of God makes you spiritually alive and puts you in God family. That comes from allowing Jesus to make you a new person which gives you a fresh start with God and it is available to all who choose to believe in Him as their Savior.


This is what that group of Greeks were looking for when they asked to see Jesus. They came to Philip with a reasonable request that must be asked by all who have the desire to be a Christian. Those who “see” Jesus are given the responsibility to change the world. All who call themselves Christian must face up to this responsibility. We can’t just say we believe and hang around living the same life we did before until we die. We now have a job to do.


Jesus will return one day to establish His Kingdom here on earth. Until that time, His kingdom will grow in the hearts and minds of all who believe in Him as the Son of God and know Him as the one who paid the price for their sins. Every person who makes that commitment to Him now has a responsibility to share His message of love and forgiveness which will increase the members of the kingdom. Matthew 5:14-16 says “(14) You are the Light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it give light unto all who are in the house. (16) Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.” A city that is sitting on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Its light can be seen for miles at night. If we live for Jesus, we will glow like lights, shining brightly with His love. Many who are living in spiritual darkness will be attracted by our light and want to step into it. The light given to us by the love and sacrifice of Jesus will always reveal the truth. We hide our light by: (1) being quiet when we should speak, (2) going along with the crowd instead of standing apart from it, (3) denying God’s truth, (4) letting unconfessed sin dim our light, (5) not explaining our light to others, or (6) ignoring the needs of others. We must be a beacon of truth and light for others to see. Don’t shut your light off from the rest of the world.


I have two questions for this this morning. One: do you see Jesus in your life? He is revealed to everyone in the Bible. Study it often and look for Him in every word, verse, and chapter. The Bible is God’s love story for the world. In it you will see that He is inviting you to trust Him, accept Jesus into your life, have your sins forgiven, and receive eternal life. The second question is: would anyone seeking Jesus want to come to you? If you are living as Jesus lived, you will be the light that others see and want to know more about how they can have your light in their lives. Shine the light that only He can give you so that you will spark the curiosity of those who are searching. Allow yourself to see Jesus and let Him shine His light in you and through you.
Until we meet again, I pray that God our Father will bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

May 28th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

Remembering Sacrifices of Love
5-28-2023
1 Chronicles 11:15-19


Tomorrow is Memorial Day where we will remember those who have sacrificed their lives to keep us free. Growing up it was a special day in our family as my Dad’s older brother was killed in World War II. We could never pass by Washington DC as we traveled without visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I remember watching many parades. To commemorate this day my junior high school always had a Memorial Day program showing special honor to Corporal Horace Thorne who died in World War II at the age of 26. Corporal Thorne was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which led to naming Thorne School in honor of his sacrifice.
So many sacrificed their lives in the past and continue to do so today in order that we may remain free and safe. Every single person who has given their lives did it out of love for others, our country, and the freedoms it affords us to this day. These sacrifices must never be forgotten. This is why we have Memorial Day.


Our text for this morning’s message is from the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 11:15-19 which sa: “(15) Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim [known as the valley of the Giants]. (16) And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem. (17) And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! (18) And the three broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate and took it, and brought it to David; but David would not drink of it but poured it out to the Lord. (19) And said My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives, they brought it. Therefore, he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.”


David was in hiding from King Saul. Samuel had anointed David King of Israel, but Saul usurped his position, taking on the kingship and was very jealous of David. In fear of his life David was forced into hiding. During this time, he was protected from Saul by mighty fighting men who were willing to give their lives for him. Three of the captains of this force visited David while he was hiding in a cave. During their visit, David spoke of his hometown of Bethlehem where he tended sheep and was anointed king by Samuel. His time in hiding no doubt made him homesick and brought back many happy memories. One of which was being able to drink water from the well at the Bethlehem gate. Memories were powerful motivators for David just as they are for us today. Just like David, they cause us to long for times we wish we could have back again. Very often these memories of simple or mundane things or times we could have back with those we have lost.


The men that were protecting David heard his lament and made it their mission to make his wish come true. In order to do this, the three men had to go through the enemy lines of the Philistines twice -- to get to the well and to get back to David with the water. The Captains risked their lives to serve and please David. David recognized that their loyalty to him and was inspired by their devotion to God, so he poured out the water as an offering, demonstrating that only God is worthy of such devotion.


Jesus also broke through the enemy lines of Satan to bring us living water. His death and resurrection provide the water of life for all who believe in Him as their Savior and Lord. As David’s men gave of themselves to serve David, we are to put aside our own interests to serve others. Just as men and women have given their lives in service to this country. We are in debt to all who have made these sacrifices of love. When we serve others, we are serving God and we are also making sacrifices of love.


Can you recall times in your life that the memories of those who have made sacrifices of love for you have moved you? Sacrifices your parents made to give you food and clothes, perhaps paid for trips or your education? Do those things have an effect on you? Does the knowledge of the sacrifice of Jesus affect you? Any sacrifice made out of love is supposed to effect and change us for the better. Otherwise, the sacrifices made out of love were made in vain, and we dishonor those who have made them.


We must never forget. That’s why we must always take the time to remember them and how our lives are better because of what they did. Then we should make it a point to live lives that reflect what has been given up for us because of love. When we are willing to make sacrifices for others in the name of love, then we are truly changed people and living how Jesus lived.


On this Memorial Day, let us all take time to reflect on our lives and remember all of those who have made sacrifices so we could have a better life. Let those memories inspire you to help others whenever and wherever you can. That is the example Jesus left us. Let’s not waste opportunities to live for Hm and show other the love He has shown to us.


Until we meet again, I pray that God our Father will bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

May 21th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

 

 

The Ascension of Jesus Christ
Acts 1:2-12


This past Thursday was forty days since we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and as Scripture tell us, He ascended to Heaven. How the Bible uses numbers is very interesting. The number 40 is used 149 times to show us times of testing, trial, and triumph. Here’s a few examples: it rained 40 days and 40 nights causing the Great Flood, Moses lived in the desert for 40 years before answering God’s call to lead his people out of Egypt, he was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights receiving God’s law, Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before God allowed them to enter the Promised Land, Jonah warned Nineveh for 40 days that God would destroy the city, our Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days before being tempted by Satan, and we have the ascension of Jesus to Heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead.


Our text this morning is found in the book of Acts of the Apostles 1:1-12 where Luke writes: “ (1) The former treatise have I made [referring to his writings in the Gospels of Luke], O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach (2) until the day in which He was taken up. After that He, through the Holy Spirit, had given commandments unto the Apostles whom He had chosen. (3) To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them 40 days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (4) And being assembled together with them, commanded they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, 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 too 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 time or the season 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 unto Me 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 take up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven. (12) They returned unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which from Jerusalem is a Sabbath day’s journey [a little over half a mile].” Here we are shown another mountain experience the Disciples had with Jesus. There was the Sermon on the Mount, the Mount of Transfiguration, the Olivet discourses, the beginning of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and now the Ascension.
Our passage today is a bridge between the events recorded in the Gospels and those marking the start of the Christian Church and the beginning of the Church Age. Jesus spent His last 40 days on earth teaching His Disciples, which dramatically changed their lives. Before His resurrection, they had often argued with each other and even deserted Him. Peter lied about knowing Jesus. Yet, as a result of these final meetings with their risen Lord, the Disciples had many of their questions answered. They became convinced of His resurrection, they learned about the Kingdom of God, and discovered their own power source, which is the Holy Spirit.


We see in John 14:2-3 how Jesus told them He was going to be leaving them. He said He was going to prepare a place for them and would come again to take them back to Him. The time had arrived for Him to do just that. Jesus had to leave this world in order to make the necessary preparations for God’s eternal Kingdom. And you know what? That same promise is given to all who believe in Jesus. All who believe and accept Jesus as the risen Son of God who died for their sins will look forward to eternal life with Him.


Verses 4-8 of our text show us His ascension to Heaven was necessary in order to prepare the Disciples and all who come to believe in Him, for His return. Until that happens, believers – past, present, and future – can receive the Holy Spirit and allow it to work in their lives to show the world who Jesus is and what He can do. Jesus spoke of this in John 14:15, 17, and 26 when He assured the Disciples that the Holy Spirit would provide comfort, counsel, and encouragement, as well as be a reminder of the life and teachings of Jesus allowing them to plant this knowledge firmly in new believers’ heart and minds so they also can share it with others. The Holy Spirit lives within all who accept Jesus to give them comfort, teach them, and remind them of how Jesus would have them live. The Holy Spirit cannot work in anyone who has not accepted Christ. It is only available to true believers. It is what gives them the power to witness, the ability to provide peace to those who are suffering, and the courage to live a Christ-like life.

Jesus is also preparing for His return as we are shown in verses 6-11. The Disciples always had question about Jesus becoming King and freeing them from Roman rule. On this day, He again reminded them as He had in Matthew 24:35 that only God the Father knows when He will return to establish His eternal Kingdom. While no one knows the when, we do know what Jesus teaches about the Kingdom.
First, it will be a spiritual kingdom established in the hearts and minds of people who choose to believe in Jesus. God’s presence and power will dwell in believers in the person of the Holy Spirit. The power believers receive from the Holy Spirit includes courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus instructed His Disciples to witness to people of all nations about Him. All believers today have that same charge. It isn’t necessary to travel worldwide, we can do this in our little corners of the world. So, what is Jesus doing until He returns? He is preparing a place for us, He is interceding for us as told in Hebrews 7:25, and He is moving people and nations in accordance with God’s plan for His eternal Kingdom. Then, when God the Father tell Him, it will be time for Jesus to resurrect those who have died in order to bring them and all living believers to Himself.


Prior to ascending to Heaven, Jesus further instructed them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. God has important work for each one of us to do for Him, but we can only accomplish it through the Holy Spirit working within us. We need God’s spirit, power, and timing to be truly effective. We have to resist the need to take matters into our own hands and run ahead of Him. Waiting is sometimes part of God’s plan so instead of running ahead of His plan, we should wait, listen, and learn where He is leading us.
Finally, in verses 10 and 11 we see two angels appeared to the Disciples asking why they were gazing into Heaven telling them that Jesus would return the same way He left. What they were telling them was to stop wasting time staring into the heavens and get themselves back to Jerusalem as they were told so that they could get to work. The day of His return will happen and the whole world will see it. It is up to all believers to prepare for that day. This is a personal choice we all must make. We can choose whether we want to be with Him for all eternity or suffer the consequences that we are being shown in our study of the Book of Revelation.


Studying our Bible allows us to sit in the presence of the resurrected Jesus to learn from His school of discipleship. Believing in Him allows us to receive His power through the Holy Spirit and become new people. By joining with other Christians, we take part in doing His work on earth until He returns. It is time for all Christians to get moving and do the work He has asked us to do!
So, until we meet again, I pray that God our Father will bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

May 14th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

A Mother’s Contagious Faith
2 Timothy 1:5


On this Mother’s Day, it’s easy to find many examples of Godly mothers in the Bible. There’s the mother of Moses who gave up her son in order that he might live, the mother of Samuel dedicated her son to the Lord before she gave birth to him; and of course, we cannot forget Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus whose heart was broken as she watched her son on the cross fulfilling God’s plan for our salvation. In modern history there was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, two men who gave birth to a Christian revival!
This morning our text is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy chapter 1 and verse 5 where he writes: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in you.” As he is writing, Paul is thinking back to when he first met Timothy and invited him to join his evangelistic team. We learn of this in Act 16:1-3 where Paul says the tremendous level of faith, he finds in Timothy comes from his heritage which refers to the faith of his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.


Growing up, my sister Lois reminded me several times that her name and not mine was in the Bible. But the truth is, these Biblical names are not familiar to most people. Sure, we all know about faithful mothers like Mary the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth who gave birth to John the Baptist; but who are these two women that Paul speaks so highly of? They were early Christian converts, likely from Lystra where, in Acts 16:1 we first learn of Timothy and his mother Eunice, who was a Jewess believer who married a Greek. It was Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, who passed her faith to her daughter who then passed it to her son, allowing him to become a blessing to the apostle Paul. This act of passing of the faith along gives is a wonderful example of how the faith of mothers can cause a chain reaction in their children that spreads the message of Jesus throughout the world.


While we don’t know when Lois first came to faith in Christ, it is clear that at some point she understood she was a sinner, she was able to grasp the concept of grace, and that she responded in faith to God’s love by trusting Jesus as her Savior because Paul tells us this in our text when he uses the word unfeigned, meaning genuine and sincere, when speaking of Timothy’s faith that came from his mother and grandmother. Eunice saw Christ in her mother and also believed. She, in turn, passed her belief on to her son. This is a responsibility all mothers have when it comes to faith and their children.


Paul is showing us how faith passes through generations. When her daughter gave birth to her son, Lois no doubt was optimistic for her grandchild Timothy. We know his mother felt the same. Why? Because the name she gave her son means “honoring God.” These two women surely demonstrated a strong, genuine faith throughout their lives serving as an example to Timothy. They did this the same way mothers do it today: by engaging in an active prayer life, studying the Bible, teaching their children about salvation through Jesus, and living their lives as an example of how Jesus would have us live. Grandmothers hold a special place in the hearts of their grandchildren, so the actions of a faithful grandmother have a powerful effect on their grandchildren. How they live and act will cause their grandchildren to learn from their example then hopefully emulate them their own lives and make them curious to want to learn more from the Bible.
The faith of mothers that takes hold in their children will have an effect in the generations to come. Timothy became Paul’s companion in his ministry preaching at Berea, Corinth, Macedonia, Ephesus, and Rome to spread the message of Jesus. The letters that Paul wrote to Timothy are still working today to spread faith in Jesus. All these years later, because of the life and work of Timothy, the faith of his mother and grandmother was and continues to be shared throughout the world today. There is no telling how many people came to Christ because of the faith Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him. What a legacy those two women have left us!


All this underscores how important a mother’s faith is to the faith of their children. It provides a solid foundation on which to stand as well as an important example of how we are to live a Christian life. The role of Christian mothers can’t be discounted when it comes to the sharing of the message of Jesus. Mothers plant the seed and then nurture its growth in their children. I think it’s safe to say that the lack of faithful Christian mothers today is not serving our children well. Too many feel there is no room for faith or the church in their life. This is so wrong, and we see the evidence all around us of what happens in a world without faith.


I had the privilege of being raised by a Christian mother. She taught me through her words and how she lived her life. Many times, she would ask me if I had taken a problem or worry to Jesus, or she would tell me to think about what Jesus do when I told her I needed some direction. She was telling me that I have to rely on my faith in Jesus in order to take away my worries and have success in my life – and she was right! She showed me what it means to be a Christian and how to rely on Jesus to show me what to do.


If you had the privilege to be raised by a Christian mother, make it a point to share the faith she instilled in you so that others can know the joy it brings to your life. It’s true that there are many who didn’t have a faithful Christian mother but thankfully that doesn’t mean they can’t come to faith and have Jesus in their lives. All they need is have someone plant that seed so they can come to know Jesus and live a life that will show others that He is real, He is alive, and He has so much to offer that cannot be found in this world today. That someone can be you and me.


So, on this Mother’s Day, take some time to reflect on how important the role of mothers can be in passing faith to future generations. At the same time, we all need to commit to sharing the love of Jesus and the promises and blessings He gives to those who are lost and need direction.
So, until we meet again, I pray that God our Father bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

May 7th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

WHAT TO LEAVE AT THE COMMUNION TABLE
 

1 Corinthians 11:23-34


Today is the first Sunday of the month and the time when our Church celebrates what the apostle Paul called the Lord’s Supper. When we repeat things, it’s easy to take the meaning for granted. So, on this Communion Sunday I want to take some time to remind us of what it means to participate in this ceremony look at what we can leave at the communion table.


Our text is from 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 where Paul shared the instructions for observing this ceremony as he received from the Lord. He writes in verses 23-26 how Jesus introduced the first communion ceremony following the Passover meal with His Disciples before He was betrayed and arrested. Through this ceremony, we see the visible representation of the death of Christ for our sins with the bread symbolizing His body and the wine the symbolizing of His blood. This serves as a reminder not only of His death, but also of His promise to return to lead God’s kingdom on earth. Our participation in this ceremony and Christ’s presence as we do this each month strengthens us spiritually. Paul writes in verse 25 how Jesus spoke of the new testament in His blood. Some translations call it the new covenant. Have you ever thought about what that testament or covenant actually is?


Prior to the death of Jesus, the only way people could approach God was through the priests and the sacrificial system. Jesus’ death on the cross ushered in the new testament/covenant or agreement between God and mankind. Now everyone can personally approach God and communicate with Him directly. The people of Israel entered into the old testament/covenant after their exodus from Egypt and it was designed to point to the day when Christ the Messiah would come. So, the new testament/covenant completes, rather than replaces the old covenant, fulfilling everything the old testament/covenant looked forward to.


Eating the bread and drinking the cup allows us to remember how Christ died for us and allows us to renew our commitment to serve Him. We are told in verse 26 that we are to “For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come.” Thinking about what Jesus did and why He did it is both a backward and forward look. We remember Jesus’ death and resurrection, and we also remember that He is coming again. But our remembrance has to go deeper than merely recalling or reflecting. When we take communion, we participate in a memorial feast in a holy place at a holy time. If we aren’t careful, it becomes just a ritual or pious habit and loses its significance. Only when we take the time to appreciate what Christ has done and anticipate what He will do when He returns, then the communion ceremony takes on a profound sense of purpose. Every time we participate, we must take time to prepare ourselves spiritually, and gratefully recall Jesus’ loving sacrifice for us.


In verses 27-35 Paul gives specific instructions about how we should observe the communion ceremony. We participate thoughtfully because we are affirming that Christ died for our sins; we are to take it worthily with the appropriate reverence and respect; and we are to examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitudes. We are to properly prepare ourselves based on our belief in and our love for Jesus and we should be considerate of others, waiting until everyone has been served so we can all participate in an orderly and unified manner. Paul explained this because he observed church members who were participating taking time to understand what the Lord’s Supper actually means. To participate without the necessary reverence and respect puts us at risk of being as guilty as those who had Him crucified. Every one of us are sinners saved by grace and that’s why it’s so important to prepare ourselves for communion. The communion ceremony will not save anyone from their sins, but that doesn’t make it a meaningless ceremony that we do because we have to, or just because we have always done it.


The communion table is a good place for us to leave some of the useless stuff we carry around that can hinder our relationship with Jesus. Even though the ceremony will not save the participants, the Lord’s Table provides other benefits. It’s a place where we can leave all of our guilt. Why there? Because it’s evangelistic in that it’s a way to convert sinners who have not yet accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. The symbols of communion speak of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, and it is a good place to come in faith the Him. It also provides a place for us to search our hearts and ask forgiveness for unconfessed sins, as John tells us in 1 John 1:9: it’s a time to judge ourselves. Paul also tells us this in verse 31 of our text. Confessing our sins to Jesus at this time allows us to become free from sin’s guilt that can separate us from our Lord Jesus.


Celebrating the ceremony also allows us to leave behind any grudges we may be carrying. We’re celebrating because Jesus’ death purchased the forgiveness that we receive through faith in Him and what He did for us. Because we are forgiven, we must also forgive those who have wronged us. Remember what Jesus said on that cross recorded by Luke in chapter 23:34: “…Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” If He could forgive what they did to Him how can we not forgive those who hurt us and treat us badly? Anything that others may do to us or say about us can never compare to what was done to Jesus at the cross.
We can also leave our bitterness about life at the communion table because the message of the cross gives us a powerful reason to let go of our bitterness. There was never any bitterness in Christ despite His suffering. How can we be bitter about anything when Jesus endured such pain for us as Peter writes about 1 Peter 2:19-25. When we focus on what Jesus did, including the promise of eternal life and peace, so many things in our lives that we allow to bother us become meaningless. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, He cares enough to keep us day by day. This allows us to leave behind all of the things that cause us stress and anxiety. The cross proves this for each and every one who will believe in Him. All who accept Him through faith can have their stress and anxiety taken away. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us we can cast all our care upon Him for He cares for us.


Making our monthly communion service meaningful is something that we have to do individually. I can share what the Bible says about the communion ceremony but it’s up to each of us to personally prepare ourselves to participate. There was an evangelist and prolific writer George C. Needham who died in 1902 and was a friend of Dwight L Moody who founded the Moody Bible Institute once wrote “The Lord’s Table is like a great bridge spanning the entire interval of the Church’s history on earth. One end of it rests on the shame of the cross, while the other is planted firmly in the glory of the Kingdom. This communion service sustains a threefold relationship for all Christians: It is a reminder of our past justification [meaning God frees us from the guilt and penalty of our sins when we accept Jesus as our Savior; it is a reminder of our present sustenance in the new life; and it is the pledge of our future blessedness and glory.”
Before we leave here today, we will once again celebrate communion. Let’s make it a time where we look within ourselves to make sure we are living the kind of life that Jesus would have us live especially given what He has done for us. Ask forgiveness for any unconfessed sins, leave any grudges behind then forgive those who have hurt you, let go of any bitterness you are holding on to about life’s circumstances, and leave your worries with Jesus and trust Him to relieve whatever stress and anxiety you are needlessly carrying.


And until we meet again, I pray that God our Father bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

April 30th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

Burning Hearts
Luke 24:13-35


This morning I’d like us to look at one of the several meetings with Jesus following the Resurrection. Our text is found in Luke 24:13-34. Luke was a doctor, a Greek Christian, the only Gentile author of the New Testament, a close friend and companion of the apostle Paul, and the author of the Book of Acts. He wrote in 24:13-14 of our text: “(13) And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs [about 7 miles]. (14) And they talked together of all these things which had happened.” This occurred on the day of the resurrection and these men were followers of Jesus. One was Cleopas, who was Jesus’ uncle as he was married to the other Mary who was the sister of Jesus’ mother and went to the tomb that morning with Mary Magdalene. We aren’t told who the second man was, but many scholars believe it was Luke, who likely didn’t mention himself by name because he was the author of this Gospel.


Their conversation was about their broken hearts and the sadness and disappointment they felt now that Jesus was gone because they truly believed in Him and His message. But their lives were about to be changed forever because while they were walking and lamenting with one another, we learn in verses 15 and 16 that Jesus came along and began to walk with them. Like Mary Magdalene at the tomb, they didn’t recognize Him, even when He spoke. Verse 17 tells us Jesus said: “What manner of communications are these that you have one to another as you walk and are sad?” Cleopas’ response in Verse 18 was a sarcastic comment: “Are You only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known these things which are come to pass therein these days?” Jesus went on to ask: “What things?” He said this because He wanted them to tell Him exactly how they felt. Cleopas continued in verses 19 to 24: (19)…Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. (20) And how the Chief Priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death and have crucified. (21) But we trusted that it had been He, which should have redeemed Israel and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. (22) Yea and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher (23), and they found not His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of Angels, which said that He was alive. (24) And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher [referring to Peter and John] and found it as the women had said: but Him they saw not.”


Notice that Cleopas never once referred to Jesus as the Messiah or the Son of God but made it clear that he expected Him to rescue them from Rome. Cleopas’ tone and words are a clear indication his sadness was because his expectations of Jesus were not to happen. His reference to the three days past indicates that he was aware that Jesus had talked about His resurrection, but because of his focus on Jesus as a political liberator, he was disappointed that it was not to be. Well, Jesus’ responded in verses 25-27 by giving them a Bible lesson where He said: (25) O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken. (26) Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and enter into His glory? (27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”


Jesus was reminding them that the Scriptures predicted His suffering and death which should have been obvious to His followers. He also makes two declarations about Scripture: First, it is the supreme authority as to faith and doctrine because it is inspired by God; and second, its theme centers on the suffering and glory of Christ: His suffering as our Sin-bearer, and His glory as our Sin-purger. Jesus Christ went into death with the Bible in hand, and He came out from among the dead with the Bible in hand. He instructed His companions that it predicted His death and resurrection in relation to sin and its judgment – not politics as so many wanted. Oh, to have been there when our Lord gave that Bible lesson! I imagine that at this point their heads were spinning.


When they got closer to the village, Jesus acted as though He was going to go further on the journey, but we see in verse 29 how the men insisted that He stay with them because it was the end of the day. Then as they were about to eat a meal, their eyes were suddenly opened they became aware of just who their companion was. Luke wrote in verses 30-32: (30) And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and break, and gave to them. (31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. (32) And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” What Jesus did with the bread is symbolic of what He does with us today: He takes us and then blesses us, and then breaks us for the spirit must ultimately be broken in order for Him to accept us as one of His own. After this He allowed the men [as well as us today] to truly see who He is, and their hearts immediately changed from sadness to joy because they saw for themselves that Jesus is indeed alive! They understood this as Jesus was opening the Scriptures to them, and their hearts burned for more.


Then verses 33 and 34 tell us: (33) And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them who were with them (34) saying: The Lord Is risen indeed, and He appeared to Simon, (35) and they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Realizing what just happened, they were so happy and excited with burning hearts they returned to Jerusalem and found the remaining eleven Disciples who were gathered with others who had followed Jesus to share the joy that they had experienced for having seen the risen Christ. Cleopas speaks of Simon Peter seeing the risen Lord. We don’t know how they had known of this, but Paul also mentions that Jesus appeared to Peter alone in 1 Corinthians 15:5. No other Gospel speaks of this meeting. When you think about it, it would be strange for Jesus not to have shown individual concern for Peter because Jesus knew Peter felt completely unworthy after denying his Lord. But Peter repented and Jesus forgave him paving the way for God to use Peter in building Christ’s church until He returns.


The two men heading to Emmaus that day shared that they finally understood all that had occurred because Jesus had shown them using the Scriptures and also with the breaking of the bread. But they could have missed the significance of history’s greatest event because they were too focused on their own disappointments and problems. To compound the situation, they were walking in the wrong direction: away from the fellowship of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. This is happening today. We are likely to miss Jesus and lose the strength to be found in the comfort of studying our Bible and fellowship with other believers when we become preoccupied with own own dashed hopes, frustrated plans, and worries. When we look for Jesus at these times, we will experience the power and strength that only He can bring us. That’s why we become part of the Church.


Today the Resurrection still catches people by surprise. Despite 2,000 years of evidence and eyewitness accounts, many refuse to believe that it happened. For the disciples of the day, it took seeing the living Jesus in their presence. For many today, it takes meeting Christians who take the time to show them the transforming love of the Jesus Christ through the cross and resurrection. Too many today think they don’t have to go to church to believe in God. On its own the statement may be true, but there are so many other important reasons to attend church. Fellowship with like-minded believers helps to strengthen our faith and allows us to support and learn from one another. That then gives us courage to look within ourselves to see our weaknesses, see what Jesus has done for us, which then encourages us to tell others that what He has done for us He can also do for them.


Even though the two men on the road to Emmaus knew the old prophecies well, they, like so many today, failed to understand that Jesus suffering was His path to glory. They couldn’t understand why God didn’t intervened to save Jesus from the Cross. They were so caught up in the world’s obsession with political power and military might that they were blind to God’s values and His purpose. Jesus turned worldly values and aspirations upside down: in His kingdom leaders must serve, and a happy life comes from sacrifice. The world has not changed its values. The suffering servant Jesus is no more popular today then He was 2,000 years ago. But we not only have the teaching of the Old Testament prophets; we also have the ministry, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the eyewitness accounts of the New Testament apostles, and the history of the Christian church to testify to Jesus’ victory over death. It’s now up to us to confront the values of our culture and put our faith in Jesus on full display; otherwise, we also ignore the Good News of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus. We must let Jesus and all He did for us burn in our hearts and share it with others.


So, until we meet again, may God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

April 23rd, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

Great Guarantees in Christ’s Resurrection
 

I Corinthians 15:3-28

So here we are almost 2000 years since the resurrection of Jesus. Today we accept it by faith. But the times that we are living in sometimes make it hard to keep that faith strong. To bolster our faith, I thought we should take look at the guarantees Christians have because of the Jesus resurrection.
Jesus knew that His suffering and death was to be a substitute for the death of sinners, and more important: it was the ultimate example of the love that God has for us. Romans 5:8 tells us: “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” There was no guarantee that any human walking this earth would come to believe that Jesus is the substitute for their sins, yet He did it anyway. There is no greater example of unconditional love. But God’s redemptive plan didn’t stop with the death of His Son Jesus. It also includes the resurrection.


Our text this morning comes from Paul’s writings in I Corinthians15:3-28. He starts by telling us in verses 3-4(3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Remember, Paul was a Pharisee and studied the Scriptures, or what we today call the Old Testament, throughout his life. All of the Old Testament prophets told how the Messiah would die for mankind’s sins and be resurrected. Yet it was met with disbelief by so many of the people then, including Paul; and still is today. Despite his Scriptural knowledge, Paul was on a mission to kill those who believed Christ is the Messiah until he was stopped in his tracks by Jesus Himself. This meeting took place after Jesus ascended to Heaven. And it accomplished what was intended because Paul became one of the greatest apostles of the New Testament and an ardent spokesman for Jesus Christ: the Messiah, and the resurrected Son of the living God. As we see in I Corinthians 15:5-9, the resurrected Jesus met with Peter, all of His disciples together, a group of 500 believers, and His brother James who did not believe in Him during His earthly ministry. Those who encountered Him, saw Him in the flesh, spoke with Him, and ate with Him. How could that many witnesses be wrong?


The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives three great guarantees to all who choose to believe in Him and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection.


First, is the Guarantee of our Savior Himself. Romans 1:4 states that Jesus is “…declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Throughout time, all conquerors have been conquered by death. All kings that have ruled have died or will die. Even religious leaders have or will die. Samson was strong, but not strong enough to escape death. Solomon, with all his wisdom didn’t escape death. Methuselah lived 969 years but even he died. Hebrews 9:27 says: “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the only one who has conquered death. This is proof of His deity, meaning He is God. In John 2:19, He told the Jews who asked for a sign from Him, “…destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 : “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.” He also said in John 10:17-18: “(17) Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. (18) No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received from My Father.”


Second, we have the Guarantee of our Salvation. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:17-20:(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. (18) Then they also which are fallen asleep [meaning have died] in Christ are perished. (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (20) But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them who slept.” Jesus’ death and resurrection as part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world were under God’s full control. No one could kill Jesus without His consent. If Jesus was merely a ordinary man, His claims to be God would have shown Him to be insane. But His miracles proved His words true: He really is God. The Jewish leaders couldn’t see beyond their own preconceived ideas and desire for power and control, so they looked at Jesus only from a human perspective and confined Him to a human box. But Jesus was not and is not limited by their restricted vision. The resurrection of Christ is the very center of Christian faith. Because He rose as He promised, we know that what He said is true and that He is God. The resurrection affirms the truthfulness of Jesus’ life and words and confirms His unique authority to say “I am the resurrection and the life” found in John 11:25. Because He is risen, we have certainty that our sins are forgiven, Because He is risen, He lives and represents us before God. Because He is risen and has defeated death, we also will be raised. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees both His promise to us and His authority to make that promise. When we believe, by faith we take Him at His word. Paul calls believer miserable because faith in Christ often brings persecution, ostracism from family, friends, and society; and sometimes poverty. It happened in his time, and it surely happens today. In the ancient Roman empire, being a Christian had few tangible benefits. Many were killed for their faith. It wasn’t a step up the social or career ladder. Sadly, today when we hear of our so called Justice Department working with the FBI to put spies in churches to look for so called ‘religious extremists,’ we may be returning to those times. The most important take away is that if Christ had not risen, Christians would not be forgiven and their sins would not be wiped away, and there would be no promise of eternal life. If what Christians believe is not true, we would be pitiful and miserable because we would be suffering for no purpose.


Fortunately for us, this isn’t the case! Just as the first part of the harvest, the first fruits, was brought to the temple as an offering (as shown in Leviticus 23:10-44), Christ was the first to rise from the dead to never die again. He is our forerunner, the proof of our eventual resurrection to eternal life. If we remain sinners, we are eternally guilty, the dead will have already perished forever, every terminal illness is eternally terminal, and there is no joy to live for or to look forward to.


But we have the third guarantee which is the Guarantee of a Similar Resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:21-28 says: “(21) For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming. (24) Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] shall be delivered up to the Kingdom of God, even the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power [refers to the end of Satan power over the earth at the conclusion of the Millennial Reign which we will learn more about in our study of Revelation] (25) For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For He has put all things under His feet. But when He said all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him Who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all [meaning there will be no trace of evil anywhere].” This passage isn’t a chronological sequence of events, and no specific time is given here. This style of writing which we first saw in our study of Daniel and now in Revelation, is found throughout the Bible. Paul’s point here is that the resurrected Christ will conquers all evil and death. Although God the Father and God the Son are equal, each is a distinct individual with special work to do. One of the roles of Christ the Son involves defeating the evil in the world He created. First, He defeated sin and death on the cross, and in the final days, He will defeat Satan even when world events seem out of control and justice will be scarce.


We must always remember that God is in control and works in His time. He will allow evil to remain until Jesus Christ returns to earth to usher in His new creation. Should we die before the Rapture, we are assured in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that death is not an end because of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus came back to life, so will we. When circumstances in our own lives and the world turn tragic, we can take comfort in the fact that God will turn every tragedy to triumph, poverty to riches, pain to glory, and defeat to victory. All believers past, present, and future will ultimately stand reunited in God’s presence, safe and secure. We can comfort and reassure others with the promises given to believers by the resurrection of Jesus so that when He returns, all believers – dead and alive – will be reunited never to suffer or die again. This is the promise and the hope given to all believers because of the resurrection of Jesus. He had to die so He could be resurrected. It’s now up to all who believe to share this with all who are lost and searching. This isn’t a choice, it’s a command we have been given to go and tell others what Jesus has done for us. At first its hard but it does get easier. Don’t be afraid. Jesus will give you the courage and words that you need.


So, until we meet again, may God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

April 16th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

 

Tears On Easter Morning
John 20:11-18

It’s a beautiful spring day, our Lord Jesus is alive, and He will return to earth one day. Romans1:4 confirms He is risen and is Lord. 1 Cor 15:17-23 assures us that our faith is not in vain, our salvation is sure because He is risen, and we too have defeated death because of the cross. The new beginning that comes with spring is surely a time to rejoice.


This morning I would like us to take a closer look at Mary Magdalene and her experience at the tomb on resurrection morning. Our text is from John 20:11-18 where John writes: “(11) But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping; and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher. (12) And saw two Angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (13) And they said unto her, ‘Woman, why do you weep?’ She said unto them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.’ (14) When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. (15) Jesus said unto her, ‘Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?’ She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said unto Him, ‘Sir, if you have borne Him hence, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ (16) Jesus said unto her, ‘Mary.’ She turned herself [meaning she recognized Him] and said unto Him, ‘Rabboni;’ which to say, Master. (17) Jesus said unto her, ‘Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father but go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and Your God.’ (18) Mary Magdalene came and told the Disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her.”


Remember, Mary went to the tomb to embalm the body of Jesus but found that He was not there. She began to cry after looking into the tomb a second time and seeing two Angles who asked her why she was crying. Mary arrived at the tomb already suffering from grief over Jesus’ horrendous death intending to perform a very difficult task but found there was no body, so she turned away from the tomb. Despite her emotional turmoil, at this point Mary doubted the Lord’s promise and power when He had told His followers several times that He even though He must die, He would live again. As she turned away from the tomb, there was Jesus. He asked her why she was crying. Her response tells us that her tears, fear, doubts, and grief didn’t allow her to recognize Him – she thought He was the gardener. Then He spoke her name. At that point she instantly recognized Him, and she called Him Master. Remember, Mary had lived a life under the spell of seven demons until Jesus found her and removed them. Because He set her free, her life was immediately transformed. Perhaps she felt His death more than the others because of the way He has changed her life. And perhaps it’s why He appears to her first as we find in Mark 16:9. She believed they had taken away her Lord. If this had happened, her tears would be perfectly justified. But the truth is, no one can take Him from us. Jesus tells us in John 10:27-30: (27) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. (29) My Father, which gave them to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. (30) I and My Father are One.” Then Jesus gives Mary a mission to carry out: ‘Go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God , and Your God.’ Take note that this is the first time He addressed them as His brethren. This is important because it reinforces the promise that all who believe in, accept, and trust in Jesus His brothers and sisters and are equal heirs of God.


Mary came to the tomb that morning doubting the Lord’s promises, power, and presence. I would submit that we are all often guilty of those same doubts. Are you experiencing or have you experienced a dark period in your life causing you anxiety? Do you worry about the current state of the world? Do you, like Mary, believe in Jesus but doubt His promises, His power, and His presence in your life? Anyone who has these doubts will feel as though there is a cloud hanging over their life causing depression and anxiety. All of us will feel anxiety and worry when our faith weakens or if it is nonexistent. Too often we believe in Him but doubt His power and His presence in our lives. It’s time we stop worrying and really trust in His promises, His power, and His presence. Many things we find ourselves worrying about may never happen. When we need a path out of a difficult problem, we must trade our doubts and fears for faith and take refuge in the risen Christ. When we do that, it’s amazing how all the problems in our life will work themselves out and the direction we need to take will become perfectly clear. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “(5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. (6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” This passage is a personal favorite of mine and while I admit I sometimes forget to do what it says, when I come to my senses and put it into action, I have never been steered wrong.


When Jesus spoke about the need to ascend to His Father in verse 17 of our text, we are being shown the special relationship between believers and the Heavenly Father which is the very purpose of the Cross and the Resurrection: we can now have the same relationship as Jesus with the one true God and be redeemed of all sins when we accept Jesus and what He did at Calvary. The moment we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we spiritually ascend to God and He becomes not only our almighty God but also our spiritual Father . We become equal heirs to all of Heaven just as Jesus is.


John records four appearances of the Lord after His resurrection. Each one of them banished four great enemies of the human heart: sorrow because we will be united with loved ones who have gone before us; fear because we no longer see death as an end but a transition; doubt because He keeps His promises, and His word is true; and worry because He will guide and take care of us all the days of our life. Mary happily carried out the mission Jesus gave her to go and tell His disciples that He is alive. We have that same mission. Our lives are much better when we trust in the promises, power and presence of Jesus and give ourselves over to the work He began when He walked this earth. While it is critical that we believe who He is, trust in Him, and what He has done on the cross; it doesn’t stop there. We are called to share His message and bring as many as possible into the family of God. There are so many lost and confused people out there. We can show them how our living Savior can take away their fear and doubt. We must have the courage to continue His mission until He comes again.


Until we meet again, may God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Easter Sunday

April 7th, 2023

 

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

Go Tell the Good News
Matthew 28:1-7

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow! How exciting and uplifting those words are. Indeed, our Lord and Savior has risen, and because of that, our future is secured. Our text this Easter morning comes from Matthew 28:1-7 which reads: “ (1) In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. (2) And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the Angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it. (3) His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow; (4) And for fear of Him, the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (5) And the Angel answered and said unto the women, Do not fear for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. (6) He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly and tell His Disciples that He is risen from the dead, behold He goes before you into Galilee; there shall you see Him: Lo, I have told you.”


The greatest event in the history of the world --past, present, and future -- has just occurred. It started with an earthquake early in the morning as two women were arriving to embalm the body of Jesus. We’re familiar with Mary Magdalene, but the ‘other Mary’ was not the mother of Jesus. She was likely the wife of Cleophas who was the Aunt of Jesus and was at the cross with His mother and Mary Magdalene as we are told in John 19:38. Also, the stone wasn’t rolled away so that thieves could remove the body of Jesus. It was rolled away by God’s Angel so the women -- and the world -- could see Jesus was no longer there, This demonstrates His victory over death and the grave. We have no evidence that the women saw the Angel’s arrival, but we do know, from verses 3 and 4, the Roman guards did. The Angel’s arrival caused an earthquake and the guards saw someone who’s countenance (or appearance) was like lightening, wearing clothes that were white as snow. This likely happened before sunrise causing them to shake from fear and become as dead men. Remember, the guards were placed there at the request of the Jewish leaders to prevent thieves from stealing Jesus’ dead body. If a Roman guard failed to carry out orders, it certainly would mean severe punishment and perhaps even death. No wonder they were scared and ran away.


The Angel spoke to the women telling them he knew they had come to see Jesus. He went on to tell them ‘He is not here for He is risen, as He said.’ They were then invited into the tomb to see where their Lord had lain. Jesus had told his disciples and even the Jewish leaders that this would happen. But they all failed to believe or understand His message.


No doubt these ladies were scared and confused. Experiencing an earthquake would certainly scare me. If I saw a dazzling Angel dressed in white, I might even pass out. Also, they were grieving after witnessing the horrible death of their beloved friend. They saw his condition following the savage beating He received at the hands of the Roman soldiers. They heard Him being mocked by their own Jewish leaders at the cross and now they see His tomb is empty. They were likely thinking what could possibly happen next.


God’s Angel, who was sent to announce the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, had four messages for the women. First, he told them ‘Do not Fear’. Then he confirmed that the reason He was not in the tomb is because ‘He is risen just as He said.’ Next, he invited them in to see the empty tomb for themselves. And finally, he tells them to ‘Go quickly and tell His Disciples.’ The messages of this Angel are just as relevant for us today as they were to these two women so many years ago.


The resurrection should never be something to fear. It should only bring joy knowing we don’t have fear death any longer. The tomb was empty then and it is empty today. Just as the tomb of Jesus is empty, so too will our graves be empty because we can be part of His victory over the grave. They were tasked to spread the joy of the Resurrection to His disciples. Today. we also are tasked to spread the joy of being a Christian.


The resurrection proves the divine nature of Jesus of Christ. The Angel called Him Lord in verse 6. During His ministry, Jesus spoke several times about His death and resurrection. For example, John records in 10:17-18: Jesus telling His Disciples that He will die but will live again. He said: “(17) Therefore does My Father love Me because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. (18) No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This Commandment I have received of My Father.” John 2:19 shows Jesus telling the Jewish leaders “…destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” While they didn’t believe what Jesus was saying, it got their attention causing them to request the guards at His tomb.


We must all understand that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to our Christian faith. Jesus rose just as He promised so we can be completely confident that He will accomplish everything else He promised for those living a Christ-centered life. His bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ is ruler of God’s eternal kingdom, not a false prophet, impostor, or an empty statue. We can be certain of our own resurrection because He was resurrected. Death is not an end. It’s a transition to an eternal future with Jesus. The same power that brought Jesus back to life is available to every person who allows Him to bring their spiritually dead souls back to life. Finally, the resurrection is the basis for the Church’s witness to the world. Jesus is more than just a flawed, imperfect, human leader. He is the Son of the Living God.


Just as Jesus commissioned His Disciples to spread His message to the world, so to must we share the Good News of Jesus with those that we meet. His message is vitally important to everyone. All we need do is look around and realize that time is running out. God is going to lose patience with this world and when that happens, it will be too late for those who have chosen to ignore God’s sovereignty over the world He created. It’s time for all believers to get serious about bringing people to Christ. Think on these things and then take action.


Until we meet again, may God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 

 





 

 

Good Friday

April 7th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

No Fault Found in Jesus
John 18:38

Tonight, is the night we reflect on how and why our Lord Jesus was crucified for our sins. We know that after the Passover supper where He instituted what we today call our Communion Service, our Lord went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed by Judas, and that one of His most trusted disciples, Peter, would deny Him three times before the night was over. While praying in the garden, He asked His Father if He could stop what was about to happen. Jesus was so anxious about what He was facing that He sweat drops of blood. Modern doctors tell us that this can happen to people is severe emotional distress. Yet in spite of His fears of what lay ahead, He said to His father, ‘nevertheless not my will by yours.’ Then He was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Roman guards, taken to the Jewish leaders to be integrated and then brought to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilot, for trial and pronouncement of His fate. He was also savagely beaten His bones were visible, then He was forced to wear a crown of thorns. This Man was the only sinless person to ever walk the earth, yet He willingly went through this, taking our sin upon Himself. Why? Because He loves us.


Let’s look closer at Pilate, Jesus’ judge. After Pilate’s interrogation he knew Jesus wasn’t guilty of treason against Rome or any other of infraction. We are told in
John 18:38: “he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in Him no fault at all.” Pilate offered to release Jesus as was Rome’s custom to release a prisoner at Passover. The Jews rejected this offer and instead asked that Barabbas, a convicted thief, be let go and that Jesus be crucified for crimes He never committed. Think about it, Jesus went from the adoration of the masses on Sunday to Pilate’s judgment hall where He was sentenced to crucifixion by Friday.


Pilate personally examined the accused and found no fault in Him. He repeated his decision three times, as recorded in
John 18:38, 19:4, and 19:6. Peter confirms for us in his first epistle chapter 2:22 that Jesus “..did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” In Hebrews 7:26, the apostle Paul calls Jesus “…holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin.” Still, Pilate folded to the pressure from the Jewish leaders.


Pilate was in trouble with Rome because the Jews kept reporting complaints about him to the Rome. He was sent to Jerusalem to keep peace among the Jews, and he certainly didn’t want any revolts from them. So even though he knew Jesus was innocent, it was more important to him and his position with Rome to do what the Jewish leaders wanted. He left the answer to the question of what was to be done with Jesus to others. Matthew 27:22 says: “Pilate said unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all said unto him, let him be crucified.” They specified crucifixion because they believed such a death would cause all the people to turn against Jesus. This was based on s the Law of Moses condemned anyone hanged upon a tree as being cursed by God as we are told in
Deuteronomy 21:23. Matthew 27:24-26 goes on to tell us: “ (24) Then Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see you to it. (25) Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (26) Then released he Barabbas unto them and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” It’s interesting to note in verse 25 how the Jews cursed themselves and their children for their actions. They still bear that curse for the appalling horror and suffering of Jesus.


Keep in mind all of this happened exactly as God had planned at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. The time had come for God to set His plan in motion so that mankind could be free from sin. None of us have earned such a gift. It is available freely to all who will accept Jesus as their Savior because of the grace of God our Father.


So basically, Pilate decided to not decide. But every person walking this earth must make the decision to accept, deny, or to decide not to decide about Jesus. Only one choice will provide you eternity with Jesus. Don’t make Pilate’s mistake. If you haven’t yet received this perfect Savior by faith, do it now so that you can be saved from eternal damnation and spend eternity with the sinless One who willingly took on your sin. Believe and trust in Him through faith and be saved.


May God our Father bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.
 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Sunday

April 2th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

ON TO JERUSALEM


Luke 19:28-44

Today is the day that has come to be known as Palm Sunday. It is when we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Our Lord knew that he had reached the end of His ministry here on earth. But prior heading to Jerusalem, and because of His love and concern for His disciples, He shared a parable with them. Parables were His way of teaching them how to deal with real life experiences. This parable was about 10 pounds (or $5,000 in today’s valuation) and is recorded in Luke 12:12-27. Jesus speaks of a nobleman who became a king. The of this kingdom rejected their new ruler. The king had to leave for a time but gave money to 10 of his servants with instructions to care for it until he returned. Some did as they were instructed others didn’t. All were judged upon the king’s return and were then rewarded or disciplined as to how they managed the money. Did they lose it, increase it, or maintain it? Jesus’ purpose in telling this parable was to prepare His disciples for what was ahead. Jesus Himself is the king in this parable and the money is actually people who need to come to Him for salvation.


Jesus knew that he would be received in Jerusalem by an excited crowd praising and worshiping Him, but He also knew they would soon reject Him and He would ultimately have to endure the cross.


Our main text this morning is found in Luke 19:28-44. As we see in verses 28-35, it was time for Jesus and the disciples to go to Jerusalem. Jesus knew His time had arrived and He knew exactly what He would be facing when He arrived in the city. And Daniel’s prophesy in 9:25 finally would be fulfilled and the Messiah will face crucifixion. Verses 29-33 tell us how Jesus instructed His disciples to go into a village and find an unbroken colt tied up. They were to untie him and bring him to Jesus. Yet another ancient prophesy found in Zechariah 9:9 was to be fulfilled. It says: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion about, O daughter of Jerusalem behold your king comes unto you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.” When they were questioned by the colt’s owner, they were to tell him ‘the Lord has need of him.” This is confirmation that God’s plan of redemption was being carried out exactly as He intended and according to His schedule.


Verses 35-38 of Luke 19 tell us His disciples brought the colt to Jesus, spread their clothes on the animal as a sort of saddle, then Jesus sat on it and rode into the city of Jerusalem. The disciples didn’t want to go to Jerusalem at this time because the Jewish leaders had begun to plot against Him so they were afraid for Him. But, Jesus chose this time because it was a time when all Israel would be gathered in the city for the Passover celebration. When they saw Jesus, they spread their clothes in the streets for Him to ride over and waved palm branches. They rejoiced and offered praise God saying: “Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord; peace in Heaven, and glory to the Highest,” which is shown in verse 38. But those who were praising God for giving them a king had the wrong idea about Jesus. They expected Him to become a national leader who would restore their nation to its former glory. Because of this misconception, they became deaf to the words of their prophets and blind to the real mission of Jesus the Messiah. Even today, people become blinded by Satan and the ways of the world, and they think Jesus isn’t not going to fulfil the hopes they have, they quickly turn against Him as did the Jews did when He walked this earth.


Verses 39-40 show us how the Pharisees thought the crowd’s praises were sacrilegious (meaning a violation of that which is sacred) and blasphemous (meaning speaking irreverently about God). Also, they felt Jesus was challenging their power and authority over the Jews and they didn’t want the people to revolt which would have brought the Roman army to remove them from power. So, they asked Jesus in verse 39 to “rebuke your disciples.” His reply in verse 40 was “…I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”


Then in verses 41-42 we see how as He entered the city Jesus lamented and cried because again, he knew what was going to happen not only to Him, but also to the Jewish people. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees is recorded in verses 43-44(43) If you had known, even you at least in this your day, the things which belong unto your peace but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you that your enemies shall cast a trench about you (this was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Jews revolted and Rome took over the city) and compass you around and keep you in on every side (they weren’t able to escape because they were surrounded). (44) and shall lay you even with the ground, and our children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another because you knew not the time of your visitation.” They refused to accept Jesus and the message of His ministry).” The Jewish leaders had refused God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ even after they were visited by God Himself, and as a result, their nation would suffer. God didn’t turn away from the Jewish people who obeyed Him. And He continues to offer salvation to the people He loves, both Jews and Gentiles, even to this very day.


As for the parable I told you about earlier, Jesus taught His disciples that all who accept His gift of salvation and trust Him as their Savior, have a responsibility to increase God’s kingdom by sharing God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ and the cross. Our God is patient and longsuffering, but as we are learning in our study of Revelation, there will come a day when God’s patience will be exhausted and He will pour His wrath on this earth, finally destroying Satan and his evil ambitions. Remember how the triumph of this day so many years ago quickly turned to calls for crucifixion. Don’t let yourself fall into the traps set by Satan. Many today want to erase everything that is even remotely related to God. Don’t be a part of what they are trying to do. Stand firm in your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior.


We all know what happened after the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus was arrested, crucified, and buried. And He rose from the dead to give anyone who accepts Him, salvation and eternal life. All the scriptures concerning His birth, rejection, death, and resurrection have been fulfilled. The only thing left if for people to look at Him, understand exactly who He is, and why He walked this earth. Don’t be like those ancient Jews and miss your opportunity for salvation and eternal life. This world is surely spiraling down to Satan’s depths of evil. Come to Jesus while there is still time.


Before we leave this morning, we will take time to remember the price that Jesus paid for our salvation. We must never forget what He endured for each one of us so we could be with Him for all eternity.

 


Until we meet again, I pray that God our Father will bless and keep you, that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.


 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 26th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

 

YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
John 3:1-18

All of us want to go to Heaven, but the question is are we doing what’s necessary to ensure that we’ll get there? There are a lot of people that have religion but no spiritual reality. They think if they attend church regularly and participate in the ceremonies services, and rituals of the church, they will get into Heaven. Well, according to our Bible, that’s not enough to get anyone into Heaven. How many times have you heard someone say they are spiritual but not religious? Well, being spiritual won’t get them into Heaven either. The only way to get into Heaven and that is to be born again. To some this might be a confusing concept so, today I thought it would be helpful to share what the Bible tells us about being born again because getting into Heaven requires one to be born again.


We learn about this requirement from Jesus Himself in John chapter 3:1-18 when He was visited by a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the ruling council of Israel called the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were a group of religious leaders whom Jesus and John the Baptist often criticized for being hypocrites. Most Pharisees were intensely jealous of Jesus because he undermined their authority and challenged their views and how they ruled the Jews. By this point in His ministry, there the relationship between Jesus and the Sanhedrin was very tense. Pharisees also believed in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah. So as a Pharisee, Nicodemus was very knowledgeable of the scriptures and was no doubt well educated. He was a teacher himself, but little did he know, he was about to get the lesson of his live when he went to meet with Jesus. Nicodemus was searching, and he believed that Jesus had some answers. This is a stark reminder that no matter how intelligent and well educated we think we are, we must all come to Jesus humbly with an open mind and heart so He can teach us the truth about God.


We see that verse 2 of chapter 3 that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. He was likely afraid that others would see him and thus might lose credibility among his peers. But he had heard of the miracles Jesus had performed and sincerely believed that He was a man of God. He didn’t need religious instruction from Jesus because as a Pharisee, they were very strict about observing the rites and ceremonies required by his Jewish faith. But even this wise teacher needed something which he didn’t recognize until he was with Jesus. He learned that he needed to be born again.


Jesus starts by telling him in verse 3: “…except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus knew about the kingdom and that it would be ruled by God, be restored on earth, and it would be occupied by God’s people. As one of God’s Chosen People, no doubt he thought it would be occupied only by Jewish people. Verse 4 shows the confusion Nicodemus experienced when he specifically asked how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Then in verse 5 we see how Jesus told him about what was to him a revolutionary concept. Jesus said, “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Jesus continues in verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus was saying that every person is born of water and the flesh which refers to the natural human birth process . Only those who accept Jesus as the Messiah and Savior are born of the Spirit.


Verses 7-10 show Jesus’ reaction to the confusion that Nicodemus showed when He said “ (7) Marvel not that I said this 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?” Jesus explains the born again experience by comparing it to the wind which comes and goes but it’s impossible to tell exactly how. In other words, a spiritual birth, like the wind, cannot be explained intellectually. As a Pharisee Nicodemus was undoubtedly familiar with God’s promise to give a new heart and new spirit to the faithful. Afterall he was well versed in the ancient scriptures. For example, Ezekiel 36:25-27 says: “(25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues and you shall keep My judgments and do them.” This prophesy refers both to the regeneration as carried out by the Holy Spirit at the time of one being born again, and also to the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which was first evidenced on the Day of Pentecost. The ability for mankind to receive the Holy Spirit is made possible solely by the cross. God promised to restore Israel not only physically but also spiritually. To accomplish this, He would give them a new heart for following Him and put His spirit in them.


Jesus goes on to tell Nicodemus in verses 11-15 that the things He and his disciples have been able to do come directly from God. If he couldn’t believe the things of Heaven, then he couldn’t believe earthly things. He tells Nicodemus of His upcoming crucifixion and why it must happen in verses 14 and 15 when He says: “(14)…so must the Son of Man be lifted up (15) that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”


And then Jesus makes it all so perfectly clear in verses 16-18 when He tells Nicodemus: “(16) For God so loves 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 name of the only begotten son of God.” Jesus walked this earth to teach about God’s love and to die to save mankind from their sins. He is the only source of salvation for this sinful world and anyone that does not accept Him will be condemned for all eternity. Salvation doesn’t come from the good works that we do it is only because of God’s grace through our faith with the cross being the object of our faith.


By this point Nicodemus’ head was probably spinning. He came to learn, and he got the lesson of a lifetime. He learned that God’s new kingdom will be personal – not national or ethnic—and the entrance requirements are repentance of sin and spiritual rebirth. Also, he learned that God’s kingdom will not contain just Jews. Jesus was available to this man in the dark of night. Even today, Jesus is available to all of us everywhere, anytime, day or night. Our Lord is never too busy for those who come to Him. He never leaves our side.
God offers a fresh start anyone who accepts the work of Jesus through the cross. By accepting His promises and acting on them, anyone can have their sins washed away, receive a new heart for God, and have His spirit live within them. Look within yourselves this morning. Have you stubbornly resisted His love and leading? Have you stonewalled His plans for you? The Holy Spirit can make you tender and receptive to Jesus. Don’t try to patch up your old life when you can have a brand new one with Jesus. If you have fully accepted Jesus and what He has done for you on the cross, tell others about it so they to can know the depth of God’s loves for them. There is no other way to enter the Kingdom of God. All who will occupy God’s Kingdom will have been born again because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
 

As you leave this place today, I pray that God our Father bless and keep you, that He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 19th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:9-15

Every service we hold here, following the opening prayer, together we say what has come to be called the Lord’s Prayer. It’s often spoken by congregations together, at important ceremonies, and also when people are alone privately talking with God. Ever wonder why we have what we know as the Lord’s Prayer? It is Jesus’ response to His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus taught them this pattern of pray when He said in Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray you.” And what follows next through to verse 13 are probably the 66 most familiar words in the entire Bible.


This morning let’s look at what is this pattern of prayer all about. The opening words, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name” speaks about the relationship we have with God. He is our spiritual Father. It may invoke memories of our own fathers. It reminds us that God is the father to the fatherless as David wrote in Psalm 68:5. David also writes in Psalm 103:13 that God, like human fathers, pities His children; meaning that He has compassion for the suffering, distress and misfortune that we experience and wants to give us help, relief and show us mercy in times of distress. Isaiah tells us in 9:6 that our God is the Everlasting Father. Pagan deities who real so they can’t personally care for their worshipers nor do they last forever. Only believers can call God “Father.” Jesus left Heaven to bring people into the family of God.


The opening of the prayer also calls for reverence toward God. The phrase “hallowed be thy name” means that God is to be regarded as majestic, holy, sacred, and venerated or treated with reverence which means an attitude of deep respect and awe. It also means that our God is personal and loving. So, as we approach Him, we do so with an attitude of worship, adoration, and thankfulness. Reverence toward God recognizes His holiness and power. It’s also an acknowledgement of our personal sin and our faith in Him as our loving God. Showing Him reverence is also done when we live our lives in a way that shows others that God is at the center of our lives. We must also show thankfulness for all that He does for us – past, present and future.


Verse 10 of this prayer also calls for a return of and a return to God which says: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven.” Praying this recognizes His spiritual reign and Christ’s return. The disciples expected the kingdom to come during Jesus’ time on earth because they thought the world was ready. Today, we see that the world is more ready now than in their time. But until His return, Jesus reigns in believer’s hearts. As followers of Christ, it is our job to share His message and bring other know Him as we do. Then, when evil has run its course, God will send Jesus to establish His earthly kingdom. This will happen when God tells Him the time is right. Then there will be peace that will last forever. The entire world will be filled with the knowledge and love of God. All hostility, hatred, ill will, animosity, and antagonism will be gone. No more clashes over skin color, rich versus poor, red versus blue, conservative verses progressive, republican versus democrat. There won’t be any supply chain issues and people will actually get along. The desert will blossom like a rose, and the earth will produce abundant crops to sustain all people.


Until that time, verse 11 tells us to ask God to “give us this day our daily bread.” We are to look to the Lord as the provider for our sustenance, both physical and spiritual. God gives us physical strength, wisdom, courage, and spiritually He provides the Holy Spirit to lead us each and every day. Praying this prayer acknowledges we didn’t create ourselves and that we are not self-sufficient. We must trust God daily to provide what He knows we need.


Verse 12 says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This is a critical reminder of the importance of forgiveness. It has us asking God to forgive us our trespasses or debts, depending on what Bible translation you use. And here’s the kicker: as we forgive those who trespass or have debts against us. Jesus teaches that we are to live a life of forgiveness. Remember He forgave those who crucified Him. This is often an overlooked portion in this pattern of prayer. By refusing to forgive others, we deny our common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and we break the family relationship God wants us to have will all people. Whenever we ask God to forgive us of our sin, we should first ask ourselves if we have forgiven the people who have wronged us. The forgiveness we get from God requires us to forgive those who have hurt or done wrong things to us. Never forget how God planned for Jesus to take the shame of our sins on Himself at the cross allowing us to be forgiven! Jesus reminds us in verse 14 and 15 of Matthew chapter 6 that if we can’t forgive others than God won’t forgive us. We must put our pride and ego aside to forgive and forgive often. If we don’t, we are at risk of losing our very soul.


Verse 13 is the closing statement of this payer. It starts with “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” We’re asking God to give us enough confidence and strength through our faith so we won’t be led astray. We are also acknowledging that only God can take away the evil traps that Satan constantly puts in our path, and recognize that we cannot do it alone. We only succeed by depending on God’s love and care to help us live a life true to our faith when so many around us want to destroy our belief. Only God can protect us from those who want to see us fail or want to harm us. Finally, when we pray, ‘for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen,” we are affirming that this world does indeed belong to God and not Satan. We are acknowledging that God is all powerful, will defeat Satan, and will forgive us of all our sin because of what Jesus did on the cross. We are saying that we will always give God glory and praise for what He does for us, and that we will do this forever. And when we say ‘amen’ which means ‘it is so’ or ‘so be it,’ we are confirming that all that we have prayed will happen in a way that follows the will and power of God our Father and that it will always be to our benefit. “Amen” is a statement that expresses solemn ratification of or agreement with all that God has done and will continue to do for us and for this world.


John R. Rice, a Texas Baptist evangelist who passed away in 1980 at the age of 85, once wrote that ‘our position as born again children with a loving Father should make us confident and bold in our praying.’ By calling on our Heavenly Father, we can do so with confidence that He will not only hear us, but He will answer us. So, the next time you pray The Lord’s Prayer and each and every time you pray, I hope you will have better understanding of what Jesus was teaching us when He answered His disciples’ call to teach them. He is also teaching us today. We are to use this pattern of prayer every time we pray to our Father. Acknowledge His power and majesty, thank Him for watching over you and helping you in every area of your life. Make your requests known to Him with confidence that He will answer you in accordance with His will and in the exact way that will benefit you the most. Be patient, know that sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no, sometimes He says, not that but this instead, and sometimes He smiles and says, you’ve got to be kidding me.


As you leave this place today, God our Father bless and keep you. May He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 12th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

HOW JESUS WALKED
1 John 2:6; John 4:1-26

I’ve have told you many times to use Jesus as your example for how you live your life. He is also the example to look to for how to witness to others. So, let’s close the lessons about witnessing by looking at how Jesus witnessed. First John 2:6 tells us that whoever claims to live in Him [meaning Jesus] must live as He did. In today’s world hoping to win others to their causes, people sometimes invoke the name of Jesus in their environmental and social justice activism. This is not witnessing. And quite honestly, I don’t believe if Jesus were here today that He would champion driving electric cars to save the planet or if He would support not holding criminals responsible for breaking laws in order to bring about social justice. What I do believe is that He wouldn’t much care about that. Why? When He was asked about Roman money and the requirement to pay taxes, His response was to give Caesar what was Caesar’s. In today’s circumstances, the Government is the Government and if they need taxes to run it and you want the benefits it offers, pay your taxes. Jesus’ purpose on earth was to save the souls of people. It wasn’t to protect the environment or to reform government laws and policies. And He surely didn’t engage in virtue-signaling to satisfy His ego. I will tell you this: when you love God, it’s natural to be good stewards of His creation, doing the best you can and do it without being full of pride by looking for credit from those around you.


We do know Jesus walked wherever He went. He didn’t amass a herd of horses so He and His disciples could ride from place to place preaching. He rode an unbroken donkey into Jerusalem, and He will be riding a white horse when He returns to earth to set up His Kingdom. His concern when He was here and continues to be until He returns, is the spiritual salvation of all the people of this world.
Today our primary text comes from John 4:1-26. Verses 1-6 show us that the walk of Jesus, or how He lived, was a walk of caring. Through the Holy Spirit at this particular time, He needed a get to a city called Sychar in Samaria, which today is known as the ancient city of Shechem. Normally Jews would avoid Samaria because they weren’t on good terms with the Samaritans and had little to no dealings with them. Jews would bypass Samaria when they traveled. Nevertheless, Jesus was called to go there and when He arrived, He was tired and rested by a well. We go on to learn in verse 7 that He went out of His way to meet a woman that He knew was troubled. We see that He cared about her life. Ever notice that when people realize that we care about them, they tend to see that we’re different. 1 Corinthians 13:1 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity (or love), I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” Exercising care and compassion for others is important for us as Christians. It’s often what sets us apart from those who don’t know Christ. So, approaching people in a loving and compassionate manner gives us better opportunities to witness to those whom God places in our path. He does this when He knows we care.


In verses 7-15 of John 4 we learn that Jesus’ walk was a burden-bearing walk. What does that mean? He was sensitive to and took on the burdens of those with whom He came in contact so that He could take away those burdens. When a woman from Samaria approached the well to draw water, Jesus asked her for a drink. The woman was taken aback by this request and asked Him why a Jew would ask her for a drink. His response in verse 10: “…If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you Living Water.” This was the conversation opener that would lead to her salvation.
Like Jesus, we need to find a conversation opener when we witness to others. With the woman at the well, He met her on common ground. She came to draw water. He asked for water to satisfy His physical thirst while He, in turn, offered her the living water of salvation that will forever satisfy her spiritual thirst. Water was a means to tell her of God’s living water. Reminding her of thirst enabled Jesus to help her see her need. He went on to explain to her that while the water from the well would satisfy physical thirst for a short time, the water that He was offering will cause her to never thirst again. He’s speaking of eternal salvation and everlasting life. She listened to what Jesus was telling her because she asked Him for this water in verse 15 so she would never have to draw from the well again. So just like Jesus, start by meeting people in their comfort zone and talk about something you have in common.


In verses 16-19 we go on to learn about her domestic and spiritual life when He asked her to call her husband and she tells Him she has no husband. Next, we see Jesus taking the time to kindly point out her problem and then gives her a solution. Jesus tells her He knows she has had five husbands and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. This surely shocked her, considering that they were strangers. We learn in verse 19 that she knows about God and thinks Jesus must be a prophet. The Samaritans of this day also worshiped five pagan gods which Jesus pointed out contributed to her problems. Many people think they are too lost for the grace of God and the salvation offered through Jesus Christ. But we can show them that it’s not true.


We see how Jesus did this in verses 20-26. The women told Jesus that she believed that the Messiah was coming and spoke about how the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem but Samaritans couldn’t do that even if they wanted to. Here is what Jesus said to her: “ (21)…Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know [meaning their pagan gods]; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (23) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in sprit and truth.” Finally, in verse 26 we see Jesus tell her that He is in fact the Messiah that she has been waiting for and told her that she could have eternal life. The Jews are God’s chosen people, but as Jesus confirms here, God’s love and salvation are available to everyone who chooses to trust Him.


We can show people that they can have their sins forgiven and have peace and eternal life through what Jesus did at the cross. Just love them, find common ground, relate how circumstances of their life can change, and how they can be forgiven through faith, belief, and trust in Jesus. Share your own experiences of how, where, and why your faith has been confirmed and perhaps how you made it through the most difficult of times in your own life. Tell them how you may have been blown away from answers to prayers.


We don’t have to get all religious on them. Tell them all that’s required is to take a leap of faith and open their heart to allow Jesus to come in and change them. Isn’t that what you did when you accepted Jesus as your Savior? By taking that same leap everyone can experience the peace that passes all understanding. Jesus still wants thirsty people to come to Him and have their thirst satisfied as only He can do. We can help them. It all begins with courage, faith, and the willingness to love people enough to show them how their life can be enriched by following a God who loves them so much that He prepared a way through Jesus Christ for them to have eternal life. Don’t be afraid. Let the Holy Spirit and your own personal experiences guide you as you meet those in desperate need of salvation. The words will come when you need them. Trust Jesus, follow His example, and lean on Him to help you in your efforts.


As you leave this place, may the Lord bless and keep you. May He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace in the days ahead.

 

 





 

 

Sunday

March 5th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

GETTING PEACE ABOUT WITNESSING
Philippians 4:6-9

Last week I shared ways we can reduce our fear of witnessing, mainly focusing on how to use and depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us.
This morning I would like to share more about how we can reduce our fear of witnessing by relying on the inner peace we can get from God and then use that peace to be faithful and effective witnesses. Fear is real and it’s an enemy to us all. It’s what keeps a lot of people from salvation because they’re afraid that they’re not good enough for God to love them, perhaps believing their sins are too serious to be forgiven. And many are afraid of how the public will perceive them if they were to become a Christian. Fear also keeps many believers from witnessing because they’re afraid to tell others about Jesus and how He changed their lives. And as I told you last week, many shy away from witnessing because of a lack of in depth Bible knowledge. Many are also afraid to invite others to church. But, not only is it possible, it’s also critical that we replace our fears with faith in order to become effective witnesses for Christ.


This morning our text is from Philippians 4:6-9 where Paul writes:
(6) Be careful [in other words don’t worry] for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (9) Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the peace of God shall be with you.”


The place to begin to reduce fear when preparing how to witness is to first pray about it. We have no problem praying about health and financial problems, family issues, church needs and even our country and local government leaders. Have you personally prayed about being an effective witness for Jesus? It’s so important that we do include our task of witnessing in our prayers. We must pray that God will lead us to those who need His message. Have you ever asked Him to do that? If not, you must. Then ask Him to give you, through the Holy Spirit, the right words to show them how much God loves them and wants a relationship with them. Pray that those to whom you are called to witness to will be saved by the work of Jesus on the cross.


The effectiveness of our witnessing begins with a plan. Verses 6 and 7 of our text lay out a great plan. Paul says be anxious for nothing, pray about everything, and thank God for His blessings. It’s OK and even necessary to have a plan for how to witness. By all appearances, I think it’s safe to say that God is one who is organized and plans. Consider creation of both the earth and man. His greatest plan of all is how sinners can have eternal salvation. If planning is good for God, it’s good for us, especially as we exercise our mandate to witness. By the way, this plan isn’t only great for witnessing, but also for living our lives every single day.


So where do we start? First we pray for God’s guidance. Then we call on the Holy Spirit to help us to be to alert to the needs of those we meet so that when we sense that someone is hurting or lost and needs guidance to help them, we can confidently approach them with care and compassion using the right words to offer help and guidance. Share your own testimony how God helped you out of the same or similar circumstances. Point them to the Bible and how you found comfort in the words found there and tell them to let their heart be open to what God has to offer to them. Share what you personally experienced by opening your heart to God and how your life has changed since you let Jesus come into your heart.


Paul says in verse 8 to ‘think on these things.’ He doesn’t tell us to worry. Imagine never being anxious (or worrying) about anything. It seems impossible, doesn’t it? Everyone worries about work, things at home, and kids I’m sure you worry about tests, teachers, even and friendships school. Parents worry about the kids: are they instilling the right values in them, how they will pay for college. But Paul tells us to turn our worries into prayers. If you want to worry less, the only answer is to pray more. Whenever you find yourself starting to worry, stop and pray about it. Then, when you have turned your worry over to God in prayer, do not continue to worry. Leave it with Him, trust Him to take care of it, and take time to listen to what God has to say to you. And don’t forget to thank Him for all the good work He has already done for you.


When we learn to stop worrying and pray instead, we become more positive in our witnessing work. We become confident that we can expect results from God especially when we realize that people need us to witness to them. God helps us because He knows more than we will ever understand that lost and hurting people need to know Jesus, that there are a lot of people that need the peace that only He can give them, and that there are backsliders who for so many reasons, have lost their faith and need to return to it.


Good intentions aren’t enough. We need to act. Studying the Bible is important and necessary, but we also must share it. Paul tells us in verse 9 that we must put what God is teaching us through His Word into practice. It’s easy to listen to a sermon and easier still to forget what the preacher has said. It’s easy to read the Bible and not think about how to use it to live differently. It’s easy to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning for the world to see. That’s what a lazy Christian does. We have to stop being lazy. We must listen to God’s Word with our hearts and our minds, then put it into action in every aspect of our lives. When we do that, witnessing becomes easy.


Remember that Paul started out killing Christians. He met Jesus one day and went on to become one of the greatest messengers for Christ the world has known. The more we witness, the more confident we become, and we find the fears we have will fade away. Seeing God’s hand in you efforts, and seeing your confidence increase, your fear will fade away. Living the plan you make for witnessing will bring results that will glorify God. And witnessing will ultimately bring you peace that only God can provide.


So, pray for guidance, listen for God’s response, be alert to those in need around you, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in work, , trust that God will give you results, be confident, and don’t be afraid, Think on the things that you learn from God, Jesus, and your Bible, then confidently and boldly go out and tell others what Jesus has done for you and how He can do the same for them.
As you leave this place today, may the Lord bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace that passes all understanding today and in the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

February 26th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

QUESTIONS TO QUELL THE FEAR OF WITNESSING
Acts 1:4-11

As Christians, one of our most important tasks is to witness to others about Jesus. What does that mean? Simply that we are to tell others what Jesus has done for us and offer them the opportunity to know Him personally as their Savior. Sounds like it should be easy but the truth is it’s probably the thing that many of us are very afraid to do. Today and in the weeks ahead, I would like to share things to help remove your fears and give you confidence to carry out the important task of witnessing in the name of Jesus Christ.


Our text this morning is from Acts. To set the stage, this is the last conversation Jesus had with His disciples before He returned to Heaven. Luke writes in chapter 1:4-11: “ (4) And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, 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 unto Me 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.”


This event was the last time the disciples were with Jesus before He ascended to Heaven. Before His departure He told them that they were to witness to the world about Him. This work was to take place after they received the Promise of the Father which would give them the courage to witness and perform miracles just as Jesus did. This promise was the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here’s the thing that many of today’s Christians don’t fully understand: We have that same charge – to witness to others about Jesus. Attending church regularly is important to strengthen our faith and to fellowship with other believers. But it doesn’t end there. We have to take our faith outside of the church. And if we’re honest, that scares the daylights out of most of us. Why? Because we’re afraid of rejection, being thought of as crazy, and our lack of knowledge should we be asked questions.


Remember the disciples were eyewitnesses to all that happened to Jesus: His ministry and miracles, His crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension. While they knew the scriptures well, He taught them more about the kingdom of God than they ever thought possible. Even so, His death caused them to scatter out of fear that they would be next. But when you consider the changes made in their lives after the resurrection and ascension, they became fearless and risked everything to spread the good news about Jesus around the world. Yes, they faced prison, beatings, rejection, and martyrdom yet they never compromised their mission to spread His message. It begs the question why would they risk their lives for something that was a fraud? They knew Jesus was alive. Their message to the world was so strong that it still survives 2,000 years and counting. Throughout history there have been many attempts to discredit Jesus, but none have succeeded. This should give us confidence in our faith and testimony and give us courage to tell others what Jesus can do for them even though so many people still doubt what we know to be true about Him.


In Jesus’ last moments on earth, we see in verse 6 that His disciples were still asking Him when Israel would be restored. His response in verse 7 was it was not for them to know the time or seasons the Father has put in His Own Power. He also promised them in verse 8 that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit which we find happened in Acts 2.


Jesus coming in human form inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth. While here He taught about the love of the Father, and He died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who chose to accept and believe in Him. He rose from the dead, and when He returned to Heaven 40 days later, it allowed God’s kingdom to take root in the hearts of all believers through the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us to ability to witness to others about things we have not personally seen. It’s what gives us courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. We should never attempt to witness without calling on the Holy Spirit to help and guide us as we tell someone about the love of Jesus. If asked when Jesus will return, tell them that no man, angel, or Jesus Himself know the time of His return. That is why those who have tried to predict the date have failed. What we do know is that it is time to witness and try to win souls to Christ and that each day that passes brings us closer to His return.


The Holy Spirit spoken of in verse 8 came to each of the disciples and many others on the day of Pentecost, and that same Spirit is still here today for each of us. Every Sunday we open our service singing about the Holy Spirit. That’s not an accident. It’s to remind us that we’re to rely on the Holy Spirit to get us through every day of our life, help us live for Jesus, and give us the courage to share His message through witnessing. There is a lot of evidence today that people are searching for God. There was the two-week revival service in Tennessee and though ended, has since spread to other universities. People are hungry all over for the message of Jesus. We are to share it. Let the Holy Spirit prepare you hearts for witnessing, and I promise He will provide the words for you to use. As long as we rely on the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear!


Why do we have to do this? Because the One who endured the cross for us, rose from the grave for us, cried tears for us, has unending compassion for us, and is coming again for us, told us we are to do this. It’s more important than ever as evidence that we are approaching the end of times is piling up around us. People are afraid for their lives because of the lawlessness of officials in charge who allow criminals to run free without fear of consequences. The norms of life are being overtaken with ideas that make no sense to the normal person. Evil is growing unchecked. Because of this and what we know about Jesus, we should be more afraid if we don’t witness than how we will be received if we do.


God has important work for us to do for Him, but we can only do it with the power of the Holy Spirit. We need God’s timing and power to be effective in this work. We tend to take matters into our own hands and run ahead of God. But waiting is sometimes part of God’s plan. So, instead of running ahead of God and His plans, wait and listen for His instructions through the Holy Spirit.


It’s time we exchanged our fear for faith. Use the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Jesus’ command to His followers to tell others that there is a better way. It’s not going to be easy at first but each time you share the good news of Jesus, it will get easier. Trust the Savior to guide you and help you through the Holy Spirit. Let others know the inner peace that only can be found with trust in Jesus through the grace of God. Jesus will return to this earth one day and by using the gifts given to us to spread the gospel so that others will be able to share His love, will ensure that we will be ready to partake in the glorious return of our Savior.


As you leave this place today, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you; that He will shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace that passes all understanding in the days ahead.

 

 





 

Sunday

February 5th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

GETTING PEACE ABOUT WITNESSINGG
Philippians 4:6-9

Last week I shared ways we can reduce our fear of witnessing, mainly focusing on how to use and depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us.
This morning I would like to share more about how we can reduce our fear of witnessing by relying on the inner peace we can get from God and then use that peace to be faithful and effective witnesses. Fear is real and it’s an enemy to us all. It’s what keeps a lot of people from salvation because they’re afraid that they’re not good enough for God to love them, perhaps believing their sins are too serious to be forgiven. And many are afraid of how the public will perceive them if they were to become a Christian. Fear also keeps many believers from witnessing because they’re afraid to tell others about Jesus and how He changed their lives. And as I told you last week, many shy away from witnessing because of a lack of in depth Bible knowledge. Many are also afraid to invite others to church. But, not only is it possible, it’s also critical that we replace our fears with faith in order to become effective witnesses for Christ.


This morning our text is from Philippians 4:6-9 where Paul writes:
(6) Be careful [in other words don’t worry] for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (9) Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the peace of God shall be with you.”


The place to begin to reduce fear when preparing how to witness is to first pray about it. We have no problem praying about health and financial problems, family issues, church needs and even our country and local government leaders. Have you personally prayed about being an effective witness for Jesus? It’s so important that we do include our task of witnessing in our prayers. We must pray that God will lead us to those who need His message. Have you ever asked Him to do that? If not, you must. Then ask Him to give you, through the Holy Spirit, the right words to show them how much God loves them and wants a relationship with them. Pray that those to whom you are called to witness to will be saved by the work of Jesus on the cross.


The effectiveness of our witnessing begins with a plan. Verses 6 and 7 of our text lay out a great plan. Paul says be anxious for nothing, pray about everything, and thank God for His blessings. It’s OK and even necessary to have a plan for how to witness. By all appearances, I think it’s safe to say that God is one who is organized and plans. Consider creation of both the earth and man. His greatest plan of all is how sinners can have eternal salvation. If planning is good for God, it’s good for us, especially as we exercise our mandate to witness. By the way, this plan isn’t only great for witnessing, but also for living our lives every single day.


So where do we start? First we pray for God’s guidance. Then we call on the Holy Spirit to help us to be to alert to the needs of those we meet so that when we sense that someone is hurting or lost and needs guidance to help them, we can confidently approach them with care and compassion using the right words to offer help and guidance. Share your own testimony how God helped you out of the same or similar circumstances. Point them to the Bible and how you found comfort in the words found there and tell them to let their heart be open to what God has to offer to them. Share what you personally experienced by opening your heart to God and how your life has changed since you let Jesus come into your heart.


Paul says in verse 8 to ‘think on these things.’ He doesn’t tell us to worry. Imagine never being anxious (or worrying) about anything. It seems impossible, doesn’t it? Everyone worries about work, things at home, and kids I’m sure you worry about tests, teachers, even and friendships school. Parents worry about the kids: are they instilling the right values in them, how they will pay for college. But Paul tells us to turn our worries into prayers. If you want to worry less, the only answer is to pray more. Whenever you find yourself starting to worry, stop and pray about it. Then, when you have turned your worry over to God in prayer, do not continue to worry. Leave it with Him, trust Him to take care of it, and take time to listen to what God has to say to you. And don’t forget to thank Him for all the good work He has already done for you.


When we learn to stop worrying and pray instead, we become more positive in our witnessing work. We become confident that we can expect results from God especially when we realize that people need us to witness to them. God helps us because He knows more than we will ever understand that lost and hurting people need to know Jesus, that there are a lot of people that need the peace that only He can give them, and that there are backsliders who for so many reasons, have lost their faith and need to return to it.
Good intentions aren’t enough. We need to act. Studying the Bible is important and necessary, but we also must share it. Paul tells us in verse 9 that we must put what God is teaching us through His Word into practice. It’s easy to listen to a sermon and easier still to forget what the preacher has said. It’s easy to read the Bible and not think about how to use it to live differently. It’s easy to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning for the world to see. That’s what a lazy Christian does. We have to stop being lazy. We must listen to God’s Word with our hearts and our minds, then put it into action in every aspect of our lives. When we do that, witnessing becomes easy.


Remember that Paul started out killing Christians. He met Jesus one day and went on to become one of the greatest messengers for Christ the world has known. The more we witness, the more confident we become, and we find the fears we have will fade away. Seeing God’s hand in you efforts, and seeing your confidence increase, your fear will fade away. Living the plan you make for witnessing will bring results that will glorify God. And witnessing will ultimately bring you peace that only God can provide.
So, pray for guidance, listen for God’s response, be alert to those in need around you, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in you work, , trust that God will give you results, be confident, and don’t be afraid, Think on the things that you learn from God, Jesus, and your Bible, then confidently and boldly go out and tell others what Jesus has done for you and how He can do the same for them.
 

As you leave this place today, may the Lord bless and keep you; may He shine His light on you, show you grace, and give you peace that passes all understanding today and in the days ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

February 19th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

How to Thrive…Not Just Survive
Philippians 4:4-8; Colossians 3:12-17

Even though we have faith, sometimes we get to a point where we lose hope and feel as though we’re struggling and fighting to just survive each day. It’s safe to say the pandemic and the issues related to that have caused financial and emotional problems for many people and it’s hard for many to see a way past it all. Well, the good news is there is always a way out and we can prepare ourselves so the difficulties of life don’t prevent us from thriving instead of just surviving. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came so that we could not only have life but have it more abundantly. What does He mean by an abundant life? He specifically contrasted the life He wants to give us with the thief who comes to steal and kill. He wants us to have a life with Him that’s rich and satisfying because it’s eternal, and it’s more meaningful than life without Him because of His overflowing forgiveness, love, and guidance. Yes, we will have storms that may drag us down and perhaps even cause us to question our faith. But our Paul shows us five ways in which we can discipline ourselves to behave in ways that will allow us to thrive and not just survive, especially when we find ourselves stuck at a dead end with no clear pathway out.


The first three come from Philippians 4:4-8 where Paul writes: “(4) Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”


Verse 4 tells us we are to rejoice in the Lord always. But he doesn’t mean for all things. Instead, we are to rejoice in all things. In other words, no matter what circumstance you may find yourself in, always be thankful. Keep in mind this is coming from a man who was writing from prison. Even though he was locked up, Paul was able to take delight in the fact that he is a child of God and that he has salvation because of Jesus Christ. As Christians, so do we! We should not let our outward circumstances dictate our inner attitude. So, the first discipline we must develop and grow is to be thankful. Thank God for everything, and particularly the things that are normally taken for granted such as waking up each day day, having a place to live and food to eat, the salvation given salvation through Jesus Christ, and the privilege of prayer that helps to overcome anger and allows the ability forgive others. When you allow yourself to forgive others, no matter what they may have done, it lifts a tremendous weight off of you and takes away all the power the transgressor had over you. It’s not our job to take revenge on those who hurt us or treat us unfairly. It’s God’s. Let Him do His work. It’s a proven fact that people who live a thankful life are much happier.


The second discipline is found in verses 6 and 7 where Paul says we are to pray expectantly, with thanksgiving, and without worry. We used to sing a song in Sunday school that says “why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus, He’ll be your stay. Don’t be a doubting Thomas, rest fully on His promise, why worry when you can pray.” We all have things that can cause us to worry. But Paul says we must turn our worries into prayers. Never forget that God always answers our prayers. Jeremiah tells us in 33:3, all we need do is call on the Lord and He will answer and show us great and mighty things. James tells us in in 1:6-8 that we have a choice to believe and receive; or doubt and go without. Which do you think is the better way? When you pray, listen to what God has to say and always thank Him for all the good work He has done in your life, in the Church, and in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to see God in the world but He is there and He is in control. When we train ourselves to pray this way, we’re promised the peace of God that passes all understanding. When you have God’s peace, you can survive anything this world throws at you.


The third discipline found in verse 8 tells us that we should always speak kindly. This is a hard one because it involves more than speech. How we use speech is an outward reflection of what’s in our heart and mind which then comes out in our words, actions, and desires. It’s easier to speak kindly with someone when we thing positively about them, focusing on their good traits rather than their faults. Focusing on their negative qualities will make it just about impossible to speak to them kindly. As Christians, we’re to fill our hearts and minds with things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Examine what you’re absorbing from movies, books, conversations, TV, radio, video games, newspapers, magazines, music, and the internet. And, always look at the example that Jesus gave us when He walked this earth as a man. Remove everything that hurts your relationship with God, Jesus, and other people. As you strengthen this discipline, you will find that it takes less of your energy to be kind.


The next two disciplines – to forgive quickly and to live worshipfully -- are found in Colossians 3:12-17 where Paul writes: “ (12)Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (13) forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. (14) And above all these things put on charity [love] which is the bond of perfectness. (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body [the church]; and be ye thankful. (16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (17) And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Here Paul is telling Christians to live for God day by day, to imitate Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude, to let love guide our life, to let the peace of Christ rule in our heart, to always be thankful, to keep God’s word in our heart at all times, and to live as Jesus Christ’s representative.


The ability to forgive quickly begins by remembering how much God has forgiven us. If it’s difficult to forgive someone who has wronged you then focus on God’s infinite love and forgiveness you have received to help you love and forgive others. God sacrificed His Son so each one of us can be forgiven. Let God worry about the wrongs you have suffered. Don’t waste your energy in bitter fighting and holding on to grudges. Instead, live renewed in the love and joy of Jesus. Christians are told to live in peace. This doesn’t mean that suddenly all differences of opinion are eliminated, but it does require that Christians lovingly work together with others despite their differences. This kind of love isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision each must make in order to meet the needs of others. Paul opened the passage with the words ‘put on.’ He is saying we are to prepare ourselves ato live in love that leads to peace between individuals. If problems in our relationships with others result in conflicts or uncomfortable silence, consider what you can do to heal those relationships with love. Approach every aspect of life through the love of God. Don’t separate the sacred and the secular. Sure it’s easy to live these behaviors in church, but it’s often difficult when you’re out in the world. But if you do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, it will become second nature.
So to summarize, in order to thrive and not just survive no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we must discipline ourselves to live thankfully, pray expectantly, speak kindly, forgive quickly, and live worshipfully. These are life skills that can be used in every aspect of our lives. By working hard with the help of Jesus to develop, I promise that not only will you survive until you get to Heaven, you will be amazed how you will thrive. Each day of your life you will have the opportunity to grow, develop, and succeed in ways you could not have imagined. And you will experience the peace of God that passes all understanding.
 

 

 





 

Sunday

February 12th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023


 

Why Christians Have Trials
1 Peter 1:6-9

Our faith in God brings us a lot of joy and comfort. It’s what allows us to recognize and receive blessings from God. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:3 that we have a lot for which to praise God. He has given us living hope in the person of Jesus Christ, come to earth in the form of man in order that we may freely receive salvation from our sins. Because of that, Peter tells us in verses 4 and 5 that through our faith, we now have a lasting inheritance; meaning that we are equal heirs to all of heaven alongside Jesus. But no matter how strong our faith may be and because we live in a fallen world there will be times when we will be discouraged, and our faith will be tested.


Our text is from 1 Peter 1:6-9 where Peter writes: “(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 brings 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 (8) Whom, having not seen, you love; in Whom, though now 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.”


When Peter writes of ‘heaviness through manifold temptations’ in verse 6, he’s warning us that while we will experience joy and untold blessings from God, there will also be trouble in our lives that we should not only expect but prepare for it. He’s showing us that all believers face trouble and trials when they let the light of Jesus shine into the darkness of this fallen world. He shows us in verse 7 that the trouble we encounter is part of the refining process that burns away impurities and prepares us to meet Christ. When gold is heated, impurities float to the top and are skimmed off. In the same manner our trails, struggles, and persecutions refine us by burning away sinful impurities. This works to make our faith pure and stronger so that we can be more useful to God.


Instead of asking ‘why me,’ our faith allows us react to suffering with a new set of responses. Our faith gives us the ability to respond with confidence that God knows, plans, and directs our lives for our good and His glory. Our faith shows us God always proves His love and strength for us and leads us toward a better future. Our faith gives us the ability to persevere when facing grief, anger, sorrow, and pain. Our faith allows us to express our grief, but not give in to the bitterness and despair that we often see in nonbelievers. Our faith gives us courage because with Jesus as Savior and always by our side, we don’t have to be afraid of the problems we encounter. He who suffered for us will never abandon us in our time of suffering. Jesus Christ carries us through everything!


Early Christians were persecuted because they refused to worship the Roman emperor as a god so they were viewed as traitors. They wouldn’t worship at pagan temples that were also moneymaking enterprises which hurt the finances of the empire. Rome scorned the Christian ideal of self-sacrificing service and Christians exposed and rejected the immorality of the pagan culture.


While there’s no Roman empire to deal with today, we still have to deal with the evil in this world guided and directed by Satan against all people who have faith in God. As such, Christians still are being persecuted for their beliefs. We’re often looked at as strange and naïve, then mocked because we believe in something that can’t be seen. We stay away of worldly things that bring dishonor to God and Jesus. We’re often misunderstood when we live out our Christian values of love and forgiveness especially toward those who hurt us. Even attending church is a reason for mocking and tormenting.


It’s easy to have faith in something that we can see or personally experience. We have faith that the light will go on when we flip the switch not because we completely understand the electrical properties that make it happen, but because we have experienced time and time again that the light does go on. Peter is showing us that because we haven’t seen and experienced face-to-face encounters with Jesus, it’s our faith that He is indeed real and alive that gives us eternal salvation and the promise of the day when the trouble and pain we experience in the earthly life as a Christian will come to an end. That’s when our faith will be richly rewarded, and evil will be punished and removed by the perfect justice of God our Father.


Until that time we are to faithfully serve God. If that means resolving conflicts, mending hurts, working a dull job, confronting a belligerent child, rebuilding relationships, or waiting for guidance from God, we must do it all with the joy and praise to God, knowing that He will help us and return His Son Jesus to this world with all of the rewards promised to those who are faithful and especially to those who remain faithful without the benefit of having personally seen Jesus.


Sometimes new Christians think they will be immune from problems in their lives. This is not the case. Christians will have to face trouble as long as they live in this world. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace…In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We all will have sickness, relationship and financial problems. Christian parents have difficult issues with their children and Christian workers will have problems with bosses who are hard to please. The testing we endure will at times cause us to become discouraged. But, in spite of the inevitable struggles we experience, remember that we are not alone. Jesus doesn’t abandon us to struggle alone. The ultimate victory has already been won and we can claim the peace of Christ in the most troubling of times. The struggles we experience are temporary. We are promised so much more in a future that will last for all eternity. There will come a time when there will be no more tears, pain, sorrow, or struggle.
Peter writes with authority. Remember Jesus told him of His coming death on the Cross and that Peter will deny knowing Him three times. Yet, Peter overcame that the test of faith. He helped build the Christian church we know today and yet was still persecuted and ultimately killed for his faith. The great apostle Paul was persecuted, stoned, and imprisoned for his faith. Stephen and James were persecuted and killed for their faith. Throughout the centuries, Christians have experienced trials. When you find yourself suffering for your faith, you’re in good company. If you aren’t, perhaps Satan already has you under his control. Think about that and make needed changes.
All who suffer trails because of their faith in Christ are being perfected by God. The return of Jesus will reveal to us that our faith is real. Our victories through our faith bring glory and praise to Jesus. Never forget that trials on earth are temporary, and our rewards will be eternal. The Savior we have yet to see face to face has promised that as we go through earthly trials, He will never leave us or give up on us as we are told in Hebrew 13:5. And we are promised in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient for us for His strength is made perfect in weakness. As long as we depend on Him when we are suffering, we will get through it by drawing on our faith.
So, we can and should thank God for the trials we go through because through faith, they bring us close to Him and our faith will grow stronger. Lean on your faith even when it seems there’s no way out. Trust in Him and He will guide you out of the darkness you will experience.


May God continue to bless you and may you have the courage to keep your faith strong, especially through the trails you will face until we see Christ.
 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

February 5th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

Communion – Until He Comes
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Today is Communion Sunday and this means we will again commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, Messiah, and Son of God. I thought it would be a good time to take some time to talk about why we do this and why it is so important. We know that Jesus died, rose from the grave and is coming again. We know He is coming again because Jesus Himself told us in John 14:1-3. Also, in Acts 1:11 the angel of the Lord told the disciples that Jesus would return in the same manner as He went into Heaven. Then in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul tells us of the Rapture and how we will be united with Jesus. Until that time we are to live in His light. That means we can take comfort in His promises about the future and then go spread His message of God’s love, peace, and joy until that happens. But what does all this have to do with communion and remembering His death?


Let’s read our text in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: “ (23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; (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 new testament 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.” Jesus instituted this memorial at the last Passover that He shared with His disciples and instructed them to remember often until His return. As a result, throughout the centuries, Christians have continued to conduct the memorial. Some churches do it every Sunday, some monthly, some yearly. How often it’s don isn’t the key point. The point is that it is done so His death is remembered.


The communion memorial remembers the death of Jesus where His body was broken and His blood shed on the cross. It’s also a time for us to rededicate our lives to following Jesus, to take stock and forgive those who may have done us wrong, and to obey God regardless of the conditions under which we must live. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on what communions means to us personally and really think about it because it will tell whether or not partaking of communion isn’t just a faithless ritual and all we’re doing is going through the motions without any sincere thoughts, actions or meaning. Then after remembering His death, we’re to also remember and be comforted by His promise that He is coming back for us. This gives us something to look forward to.


The message of the cross will endure until He returns to earth. As believers we should never forget or take for granted the price that He paid so that we can be partakers of the promise of Jesus’ return to rule this earth. While the times in which we live will change, God’s message of salvation and eternal life is timeless. It hasn’t changed from the time that the disciples shared the first communion service, and will be the same until that day of His glorious return. Until that happens, Christians everywhere are to share this message with all sinners in the hope that they too will want to become sinners saved by grace.


Hebrews 9:11 shows us Jesus had to die because sins cannot be forgiven without the shedding of blood. Before Jesus’s death, the blood of spotless lambs was offered to forgive sins. John tells us in chapter 1 verse 29 that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. No longer must lambs be sacrificed to forgive sins and now even Gentiles can receive forgiveness for their sins by accepting Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 1:18-20 that salvation can’t be bought with money or deeds. It’s only the blood of the spotless Lamb of God that is the acceptable payment for the forgiveness of sins.


We have recently seen how John shows us in Revelation 1:5-7 that the cross is the theme of Heaven’s song so Jesus’ death was an incredibly significant event to the citizens of Heaven. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that the cross shows the power of God because it was there that the total sin debt was paid, giving the Holy Spirit, in Whom the power resides, the latitude to work mightily within our lives. Verse 26 of our text tell us that the power of the cross will change lives until Jesus’ return to earth again. This is why we have been told that we are to remember His death until He returns. Partaking of communion because it allows us to remember Christ’s death, reflect on our own spiritual walk, and take solace that He will return. Both His death and His return give us the incentive and power to live a holy life.


But remembering His death is more than taking the elements that represent His body and blood. It’s a loving act on our part that celebrates His enduring love for us. It reminds us to give thanks for His grace shown to us on the cross. It’s thanking and praising God for sacrificing His only Son so that we can have eternal life. And it rejoicing in the salvation given to each of us at the cross. So you see, it’s both a somber reminder of His sacrifice and a celebration of our eternal salvation.


Communion is for all who have been born again and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their life. It’s a time for self-examination and making things right with God and other people. It’s a time to see if we must forgive others as we have been forgiven. And it’s a time of thanksgiving for the precious gift of salvation that has been given to all who accept Jesus. As we prepare ourselves this morning, let’ take time to also prepare our hearts and minds to receive the gift that Jesus feely gave to all sinners. Never forget that our salvation was bought with the agony that Jesus suffered for our sin so that we can now have a personal relationship with God and look forward to eternal life with Him and all those who have gone before us.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 29th, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

The Lord Trains His Children
Hebrews 12:5-13

This morning I’d like to talk to you about how God trains His children. Have you heard the word ‘chasten’ or chastise’? It means to inflect suffering upon someone for the purposes of moral improvement; to discipline or correct behavior by punishment. This is how God trains us and it happens to all Christians. Typically, when someone hears the word, they immediately prepare for the sword to drop. If it gets to that point, the target of the chastening is probably expecting it. But the truth is, it’s not always a bad thing. Parents, how often do you chastise your children in order to teach them a lesson and to correct their behavior? As part of God’s family, we Christians will also be chastised by God for things we have done wrong. But it doesn’t mean we’re going to be tossed out of Heaven or have our salvation taken away. Our loving Father God is not an executioner, nor does He break the promises He has made to us. He loves us just as all earthly parents love their children, and when He finds the need to chastise us, it’s always for our own good.


Our text comes from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 12:5-13 which says: “(5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him. (6) For whom the lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? (8) But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father in spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (12) Wherefore lift up the hands which hand down, and the feeble knees; (13) and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”


If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we don’t like being corrected and disciplined, especially when it comes from God, but God’s discipline shows His deep love for us. Chastisement from God may not be pretty or fun, but we must understand that when it happens, it means God loves us. It tells us we are His children and shows us that He loves us. Here’s something to think about: God doesn’t waste His time guiding and teaching those who are already lost. They are the ones who will one day face His wrath and judgment and end up in hell. Being chastised by God puts us in pretty good company. King David was chastised for his sin with Bathsheba, Jonah was chastised for his disobedience to God. And the nation of Israel was chastised for their unbelief. There are many more examples of God’s children be chastised throughout the Bible.


Christians cannot sin and win. That said, there will be times that all Christians will slip and fall. And when that happens, God may step in and chastise us. Earthly parents who don’t chastise their children are negligent and their children will grow up unruly and undisciplined. Because God loves each and every one of us, He wants us to succeed and live a life centered on our Savior Jesus. That’s why He disciplines us just as earthly parents discipline their children. When you think about it in these terms it proves to us that we indeed are His children. If God isn’t disciplining you, perhaps you aren’t really saved because as I said earlier, God isn’t going to waste His time on those that are lost to Him.


As children of God, we receive many benefits because we are now a part of God’s family. Paul tells us in Romans 8:17 as part of God’s family, we are also joint heirs with Jesus Christ. This means everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to us through the cross. But it also means there will be times when we will suffer. Historically many believers suffered economic hardship and social persecution for their beliefs. Some were martyred for their faith. We also must pay a price for choosing to follow Jesus. In many places today, Christians face pressures and persecution just as severe as those faced by the early Christians and even in this country Christians increasingly are being attached and mocked for their faith. But Christians everywhere must not become complacent. To live as Jesus did – serving others and resisting pressure to confirm to the world – will always exact a price. Nothing we suffer, however, can compare to the price that Jesus paid to save us. Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are citizens of heaven. As such, Christians are to promote heaven’s interests on earth and lead lives worthy of our heavenly citizenship. Too many Christians have failed to take the mantle of heavenly citizenship because they still seek earthly pleasures and treasures instead of heavenly ones. Paul was telling the Philippians then -- and us today -- to remember that we are citizens of heaven where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. Failure to promote heaven’s interests could result in chastisement from God. Jesus tells us in John 5:24, as children of God we now have eternal life. This means the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior our new life begins. Then the rest of our lives on earth will be better in so many ways even though there will be hardships, because we are living in fellowship with the almighty Creator who loves us. And while we may face physical death one day, that will merely be a transition from our earthly life to our heavenly life with God forever.


Verses 9-13 of our text show us our reactions to and the results of being chastised by God. We won’t like it and we may find it temporarily painful. But remember that chastening is done for our good. Many parents have said disciplining their children hurts them more than the child. I have no doubts that God feels the same way. When we are chastised by God, we become partakers of God’s holiness. So, it’s incumbent on each of us to accept the punishment, ask for forgiveness of our sins and to learn the lesson He is teaching. God does this because He is training us for fruitful service to Him.


I encourage you to examine your life and see if you can identify instances where you have been chastened by God for things you did or perhaps didn’t do. If there was a time you hit a major bump in the road, perhaps that was God disciplining you. Ask yourself if you learned from it, if you benefited from it, and did you remember to thank God for it. If things aren’t quite right in your life right now, perhaps God is chastening you. If that’s the case, don’t let Him do it in vain. Then, as verse 13 of our text tells us, make the needed changes in your life now so you can return to serving Him as His word teaches you so that you can have a right relationship with Him.
Living a Christian life is never going to be easy. There are always going to be competing forces from Satan trying to pull us away from God. Our challenge is to remain committed to our faith, trust God, and lean on Jesus to help us get through each day and every circumstance that we encounter in order to remain true to God.


May God watch over you and may you look to Jesus to keep you on the right path as a citizen of heaven toward eternal life.




 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 22nd, 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

No Faith, No Future
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6

As Christians we put a huge emphasis on faith. But what is faith? It’s the confidence based on past experience that God’s new and fresh surprises will most certainly be ours. Our Bible tells us we must have faith. Why is faith so important? Because we are part of a fallen world that is ruled by Satan and we rely on things that happened when we weren’t around to see them. Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our anticipation for the fulfillment of God’s promises is dependent on things that we haven’t seen. The simple truth is that we can’t be a Christian without faith and without faith, we have no future. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our faith but no one on this earth today was there to see it actually happen. As Christians, we accept it because of our faith in the Word of God. Our faith includes a lot of promises from God such as eternal life and reunification with loved ones who have gone on before us. This morning I’d like to share with you how Abram’s faith affected his life in the hope we can all adopt the strength of faith that Abram showed.


The first part of our text comes from Genesis 12:1-3 which say: “(1) Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you; (2) and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. (3) And I will bless them who bless you and curse him who curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” When God called Abram to leave his home in Ur and make his way to eventually settle in Canaan, He established a covenant that allowed him to be the start of a great nation what would be blessed and that other nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s descendants. The people of Israel, the nation that would come from Abram, were to follow God and influence those with whom they came in contact. But the greatest blessing that came from this covenant is that through Abram’s family tree, Jesus Christ was born to save all of humanity. Through Christ, people can have a personal relationship with God and be blessed beyond measure. Lucky for us, Abram accepted all that was offered By God. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:16 that God promised Abram a seed and this blessed seed became Jesus Christ.


God’s covenant with Abram shows us God cares about families and that our faith affects our families. Abram was to leave his home in Ur to go where God was to send him. Abram was to be a blessing to all families of the earth. This is a reinforcement of God’s interest in families and the importance of families to believers. Recall how God called Noah and his family to the safety of the Ark in Genesis 7:1. We read in Acts 16:31 when Paul and Silas were imprisoned that the Philippian jailer was offered salvation for him and his family.
The second part of our text is found in Genesis 15:1-6 which reads: “(1) After these things the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying: Fear not Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward. (2) And Abram said, Lord God what will you give me seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (3) And Abram said: behold to me You have given no seed and lo, one born in my house is my heir? (4) And behold the Word of the Lord came unto him saying: This shall not be your heir but he who shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. (5) And He [God] brought him forth abroad, and said: Look now toward Heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them; and He [God] said unto him, so shall your seed be. (6) And he believed in the Lord; and He [God] counted it to him for righteousness.”


Remember, Abram and his wife were well beyond the childbearing years and never had children of their own so as we see in verse 3, Abram struggled with the part of the covenant about having a family. Then in verses 4-5 we’re shown how our faith affects our futures. Because he was childless Abram thought that perhaps his house stewart would be his heir because the man was born there, but God had other plans. He told Abram that his seed will be as many as the stars in the heavens and so it is. Then we see in verse 6 how Abram chose to believe God’s promises about his future and how God then counted him as righteous. And we know God kept his promise to give them a son in spite of their advanced age. They Isaac brought Isaac into this world.


This passage is an extremely important Scripture as we see that by believing and trusting in the Lord, we experience the meaning of ‘Justification by Faith.’ Abram was saved by grace through faith, not by his good works. There is no other way of Salvation anywhere in the Bible. Believing in God doesn’t get you into Heaven. God demands righteousness; however, it is the righteousness comes by faith and acceptance of Christ and Christ alone. Anything else is self-righteousness and completely unacceptable to God. Nonbelievers do good to satisfy their own egos and no other reason. When the sinner believes God’s testimony about His Beloved Son, the sinners are not only declared righteous, they are also made children and heirs of the Living God. It’s our faith that redeems us in the sight of God. Doing good or being good is not going to get anyone to Heaven. It’s only faith and trust in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross that will accomplish that.


Our faith absolutely affects our future. If Abram didn’t have faith and refused to accept what God was offering him, he wouldn’t have had the blessings from God which included being a father, being taken to the promised land in Canaan, becoming the patriarch to descendants who would be a blessing and numbered as the stars, his name would become great and remembered (which it is!). This all happened because of Abram’s faith in the promises of God. And you know what? Abram’s God is also our God.


We see in verse 6 that it was faith that brought Abram into a right relationship with God. Abram was justified before God. Because of his faith, God counted Abram as righteous allowing him to receive all of God’s promises. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we are all sinners and come short of the glory of God. But we are justified or made clean, by God’s grace through the redemption that came with Jesus’ death on the cross. All we need do is, like Abram, is accept on faith what God is offering. Once we do that and allow Jesus to rule our hearts and minds, we become an example to our families and all with whom we have contact of how faith in Jesus as our Savoir can change us which will then open a door for us to explain all that awaits forgiven sinners.


So, this morning, I ask each of you if your faith is strong enough to be an example to your families and if they can truly see Christ in you. Does your faith make you confident about your future – will you be going to Heaven or spend eternity in Hell? And finally, do you have fellowship with God through your faith in Jesus – do you follow His example as you live your life? Do you see and feel Him working in your life each and every day? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have a strong faith-based relationship with God and your future is secured. If you can’t answer yes all of these questions, it’s imperative that you examine your life and make needed changes so that you, like Abram, can be counted as righteous and partake of all the promises God offers of love, peace, protection, and eternal life. Without faith, there is no future that you will want part of.


May God bless you richly today and all the days ahead of you.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 15 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

What to Do with Our Burdens
Psalm 55:22-23

We hear a lot about burdens in the Bible but what exactly is a burden? Burdens are things we carry in our lives and on our hearts that are very difficult and includes obligations or duties that bring us a lot of concern, anxiety or responsibility. It’s a fact of life that we all have burdens. At any given time they can be related to family, finances, health, or even fear. And we all, throughout our life, have let them take a lot of energy and peace from our lives. All of us have had moments when we wanted to escape from relentless problems and pressures. While this is an overwhelming urge that we may or may not have resisted, we know we can never escape by running away. Sooner or later, the problem will catch up to us and when it does, it will likely be worse than before.


But as Christians, we aren’t supposed to let our burdens take over our life and instead, use our faith to see us through. When we find ourselves in a position where we just want to run away, we should instead take time to quiet our hearts and minds in prayer and worship, lifting ourselves spiritually to God and running to Him for His cover. Praying constantly is a way to maintain close contact with God and allow us to set priorities for each and every day of our lives. It also reinforces a great anchor of our faith which is allowing God take on our burdens for us. When we do this, we will see how He holds us steady through the difficult period and then sees us through to the end. Why can we do this? Because our tomorrows are already known to God before we experience them. God is already on the job and all we need do is allow Him to take over. We are to let go and let God take care of everything.
Our text this morning comes from Psalm 55:22-23 which say: “(22) Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (23) But You, Oh God, shall bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; and I will trust in You.” This psalm was written by David and it’s telling us that we don’t have to carry our burdens alone. God is always there to help us. This is a source of encouragement to all true believers. All we need to do is take our problem to the Lord, leave it there, and let Him work it out for us.


God is waiting to receive all our trials and temptations and we have to exercise our faith knowing that His love is stronger than any enemy we will ever face. There hasn’t been a trial that has yet to overcome a believer so we really have no need to worry or fret about it. That’s what our text is telling us.


We can trust that this will happen because God has placed a boundary of love around each and every believer and it’s through that boundary that every trial we come up against must pass. We know our God is one of unending love, compassion, and grace so we must exercise our faith and allow Him to give us His blessings and keep us safe, no matter what we must face in this fallen world. God is the only one who can cancel Satan’s power. As believers we are safe in the arms of our loving Lord, and we live in the circle of His care. And in His care, no enemy will be allowed to harm us. Take strength and comfort knowing that God has wonderful plans for all His children.
This isn’t always easy to do and there are times that our burdens will overtake us with worry and concern. But if our hearts are right with God and our faith is strong, we don’t have to worry about the outcome of any situation. Instead, all we need do is focus on the last four words in verse 23 of Psalm 55: “I will trust in You.”


There is no question that there are a lot of people in this world that are headed for destruction. Those who are wicked, evil, and unrepentant will face judgment if they continue to reject the salvation offered through Jesus Christ. Our task is not to end up in the company of the lost. But that doesn’t mean we can live as we choose thinking there will be time to repent later. This world is not getting better. All we need do is look around. The time to wait is over. If you haven’t accepted Jesus and think you have lots of time left, I urge you to rethink that decision now. Satan’s greatest weapon is deceit. His only task is to make people believe that all that is of God isn’t real and what is not of God is. He has been amazingly successful in using this weapon. But even Satan’s days are numbered in this world. So, would you rather place your faith and trust in those who are wicked and led by Satan or in the God who loves you and is ready to forgive all your sins as though they never happened? When you chose God, you are completely covered by His love and the stress and strain of daily living goes away. Join King David in declaring your faith in God and I promise that He will never fail you or leave you behind.
While we only focused on the last two verses of Psalm 55 today, I would encourage you to go home and read the entire Psalm. It will provide you a lot of encouragement and allow you to let God take on the burdens that might be wearing you down.

May God bless and keep you today and all the days ahead. Always let go and let God.

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 8th 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR: What Makes It Happy
John 3:3-5, Romans 6:4, Philippians 3:13-14

Happy New Year! How many times have you said this in the last week? Now that Christmas has passed and the lights and trees are coming down, Happy New Year is the greeting of the season. Cards that we sent and received offer the greeting, many celebrations were centered on it. But the truth is, the New Year isn’t really new. Yes, we all offer Happy New Year greetings, but the truth is we woke up to the same old burdens and problems before the clock struck midnight. Some may have awakened with a terrible hangover making January 1st a pretty miserable day. Over the years we have all learned that there is no magic midnight moment that suddenly ushers in a world where there are no problems. So the question is, what can make a New Year happy?


There is one thing I can guarantee will make your New Year happy: a new birth in Jesus Christ. We read in John 3:3-5(3) Jesus answered and said unto him ‘Verily, verily, [meaning very truly] 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 not of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” Jesus is revealing that God’s kingdom is personal not national or ethnic, and entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth. This erased Israel’s political hope of freedom from Rome. And it means that God’s kingdom is open to all people – Jews and Gentiles – who accept Him just as we are told in John 3:16.


New spiritual birth is an absolute necessity for true Christians. But it’s not baptism or reformation. It takes place upon receiving Christ by faith as we are told 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.” John also wrote in John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.” Complete faith in Christ and what He did for us at the cross is the only thing that can make a person a true child of God.


When you make the sincere decision to accept Jesus in faith, something inside you changes you. Paul tells us in Romans 6:4 “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” This means that all the sins and transgressions of or past are buried; when they put Jesus in the tomb, all our sins went into that tomb as well. Our old life died and was buried with Him, and His resurrection was our resurrection to a ‘newness of life.” We can now treat the desires and temptations of our old nature as dead. Then we are free to our wonderful new life with Jesus.
There is no one more miserable than the believer who doesn’t live right. If you believe but haven’t gone all in to make the needed changes in your life, I encourage you to examine your choices and see if you need to fully dedicate your life to Jesus. Galatians 5:16-23 provides guidelines that tell us how to walk in the newness of life. Fully transformed people produce something special within their lives which Paul calls the Spirit fruit. The Holy Spirit spontaneously and creatively produces this kind of fruit in reborn Christians. The Spirit generates these character traits because we are becoming more like Jesus who perfectly modeled them for us. When Christ is at the center of our life these traits grow and flow from us naturally. We can’t obtain them by trying to get them without His help. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must live in close union with Jesus. That means we give our life to Him, get to know Him, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him. As a result, we will fulfill the intended purpose of God’s law which is to love God and our neighbors. The God who sent the law also sends us the Spirit. A Spirit-filled life creates perfect harmony in accordance with God’s law. A person who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit fulfils God’s law far better than people who observe the religious rituals but have little love in their heart.
In Ephesians 5:1-16 Paul tells us how to live a Christian life. Just as children imitate parents, we must imitate God by modeling our lives after Jesus. His love for us led Him to sacrifice Himself so that we might live. Our love for others should be the same kind – a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. Obscenity and off color jokes are so common today that we begin to think they’re fine and normal. But crude language has no place in the Christian’s conversation because it doesn’t reflect God’s gracious presence in us. We can’t praise God and remind others of His goodness if we’re speaking crudely. Jesus taught us to befriend sinners and lead them to Him, but Paul cautions us to understand the lifestyle of people who live sinful, immoral lives encouraging it in others – whether they’re in the church or outside it. Such people quickly pollute the church and endanger its unity and purpose. When we befriend unbelievers, be wary of those who oppose all that Christianity stands for as they are more likely to influence us for evil than we are to influence them for good.
As people who have light from the Lord, our actions will reflect our faith. Jesus stressed this truth in the Sermon on the Mount. Our pasts may have dark times of cynicism, despair, shame, or self-doubt and as a result Satan will work to lead us back into that darkness. We reject Satan by intentionally living a life based on what pleases the Lord. This allows Christ’s light to shine brighter in us. Avoid any pleasure or activity that results in sin and instead expose these deeds because our silence may be interpreted as approval. God needs people who will take a stand for what is good, and Christians must lovingly speak out for what is true and holy. We have to keep our standards high, acting wisely and doing good wherever we can as outlined in God’s word.


We learn in Philippians 3:13-14 that becoming a Christian requires us to forget and leave our old life behind us. Paul had reason to forget what was behind him because he held the coats of those who had been stoned for their Christian beliefs. We’ve all done things for which we are ashamed which creates tension between what we have been and what we hope to become. Because our trust is now in Christ, we can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become. Don’t dwell on your past. Instead, grow in your knowledge of God by concentrating on your relationship with Him now. Realize that you’re forgiven and allow yourself to move on to a life of faith and obedience. Look forward to the prize of heaven later and a fuller and more meaningful life now because of your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.


Our other choice is to continue to walk in the flesh meaning we hold on to the things in our old life that are sinful in God’s sight. If we do that, we haven’t changed at all and are still ruled by Satan. Christians can’t have it both ways. It’s an either/or choice. If you’re finding there is a lot of conflict within your heart and problems in your life, I urge you to examine your heart to see if you not only believe but have truly accepted Jesus by making the choice to walk in the Spirit and work to make needed changes your life.
God will not force you to accept Jesus, but the results of neglecting God’s truth mean you are not born again, and your soul will be lost in eternity, your heavenly reward will be lost, and you will not be part of the Rapture of the Church. If you accept Jesus and set out to make real changes in your life, you will have eternal salvation, complete separation from the evil of this world, and the comfort and promises afforded you by living in the center of God’s will.


As this new year begins, it’s a good time for all of us to examine and rededicate our lives to serving God and living as Jesus lived. Doing so will give you peace that the world cannot understand even in the midst of adversity and tragedy.


May God bless you today and every day ahead, and give you the strength and courage to live a full Christian life in this crazy chaotic world.




 

 





 

 

Sunday

January 1st 2023

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2023

 

 

 

HEROD: The Enemy of Christ
Matthew 2:1-19

These past weeks we have been looking at all the people who had a part in the birth of Jesus. One of the things we learned about the birth of the Messiah is that God had a different focus than man. The Jews were expecting their Messiah to be a political leader who would take them out from under the rule of the Romans and assumed that He would be a mighty warrior or a regal king. But in God’s plan, the Messiah came to the world in a stable, not a palace. Nor did He arrive on the scene as a battle-tested warrior or regal king. Instead, His birth was announced to shepherds in the fields.


But there was a king that had a major part in the birth of our Lord -- King Herod. How often do you heard him mentioned at Christmas? He isn’t sung about in our hymns and carols nor is he depicted in our manger displays. But he also had a role at the arrival to earth of our Lord Jesus.


Our text this morning comes from Matthew 2:1-19 where we read of the Wise Men from the east who, after seeing the star, came to see and worship the One who was born King of the Jews. Herod heard of this and as we see in verse 3, he was troubled -- meaning he was quite disturbed -- along with all Jerusalem. Why should the sitting king be so upset over the birth of a little baby who was not yet ready to take the throne? Herod was not the rightful heir to the throne of and was hated by many Jews for usurping the throne of David. And if this child really was the heir, he knew there would be a lot of trouble ahead. Herod also had many enemies because he was a ruthless villain who was always suspicious that someone would try to overthrow him. And the last thing he wanted was for the Jewish people, who were a religious people, to unite around a religious figure. If these Wise Men who came to find Jesus were of Jewish descent and as some scholars believe came from Parthia which was the most powerful region next to Rome, they would have welcomed a Jewish king who could swing the balance of power away from Rome. With Israel being far from Rome, it would be easy prey for an eastern nation trying to gain more control just as Assyria and Babylon had done centuries earlier.


So you see, Matthew clearly reveals that when Jesus was born people immediately began to react. His presence didn’t soothe and comfort most people; instead, it startled and disturbed them. For some, like the Wise Men, He awakened spiritual longings, in others, His arrival brought fear and insecurity. And when you think about it, the world hasn’t changed that much in 2,000 years. Jesus still upends, stretches, and disrupts the world. Because God entered our world in person when Jesus was born, mankind could no longer sit idly by, ignoring and rationalizing our inaction. We must actively acknowledge Jesus as the rightful King of our lives, allow Him into our hearts, and join with Him to build His eternal and just kingdom.


In verses 4-6 of Matthew 2, we see how Herod gathered the Chief Priests and Scribes together and demanded they tell him where Christ would be born. This group of men knew all the Old Testament prophecies and particularly Micah 5:2 that clearly spoke of the birth of one who would rule the people of Israel would take place in Bethlehem.
This meeting then prompted Herod to call for the Wise Men to come to him. We see in verses 7-10 how he demanded that they tell him when they saw star, sent them to Bethlehem to find the child and ordered them to come back and tell him where this child was so that he too could go and worship Him.


We learn in verses 11-12 that the Wise Men didn’t go to a manger but actually found the young child in a house with his mother, Mary. It is likely that Jesus was one to two years old by the time the Wise Men arrived. It was there where they worshiped Him and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Such gifts were a worthy acknowledgement for a future king. While it is a nice tradition to depict the Wise Men in our manger scenes, it is not historically accurate. These men were then warned by God in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their own country following a different route.


In verses 13-15 we see that an angel again appeared to Joseph in a dream warning him to take Mary and the young child to Egypt and they were to remain there until the angel told him to come back because Herod was intent on finding and destroying the child Jesus.
Now back to Herod. We see in verses 16-18 that he was outraged that the Wise Men ignored his demand to tell him where to find the child king. You see, he had no intent of worshiping this child. Because of his jealousy and fear of losing his throne, Herod demanded that slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem age two years old and under. The age range likely resulted from information the Wise Men gave to Herod about when they first saw the star. This action also fulfilled the Old Testament prophesy in Jeremiah 31:13 which speaks of the widespread mourning and crying over the death of all male children. In verse 19-20 we’re told of the death of Herod which prompted the appearance of the angel to Joseph in another dream telling him it was safe for him and his family to return to Israel.


An important take way from this passage is when you reject Christ it affects others. Herod rejected the Christ child, and it affected every family in Bethlehem. Where angels once sang, now mothers were devastated with grief. Romans 14:7 says: “For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.” This means that what we do affects others. Our conduct determines if others see Jesus through us and impresses upon us the importance of bringing blessings to others by sharing the love of Jesus and God our Father.
When Herod died, he died in his sin and went from suffering on earth to suffering in hell for his sins. Jesus came to save, but Herod died lost. Jesus came to cleanse, but Herod died guilty. Jesus came to give peace, but Herod died troubled, angry, and jealous. Don’t let that happen to you. If you have problems that you struggle with, take them to Jesus and let Him help you work them out so you can have the peace that only He can give. He is there whenever you need Him.


As we prepare to partake of communion this morning, it’s a perfect time to look at your life and within your heart to see if there is anything preventing you from having a full relationship with Jesus. If there is, ask Him to take away whatever may be preventing Him from coming into your life and allowing you to live with Him at the center of all you think, say, and do. If you do that and follow through with needed changes, I guarantee you will have a life you never imagined possible.


I wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year and pray that God will always watch over you and bless you today and all the days ahead.


 

 

 





 

 

 

Sunday

December 25th 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

 

The Night of Miracles
Luke 2:1-20

This morning we read the story of the birth of Jesus – the Christmas story. It’s very familiar to us and as we study our Bible, we learn that all of history had been moving toward this night in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth where the birth occurred. Mankind had been waiting since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden for the arrival of the Messiah. Micah 5:2 tells us: “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me who is to be Ruler of Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.” This prophesy speaks directly of the birth of Jesus as told by the Isaiah in 7:14. Ephrathah is the district in which Bethlehem was located; and, where King David had been born and raised, and initially anointed king by Samuel. This ruler is the promised eternal king from the line of David and was none other than the Messiah entering this world as a man called Jesus of Nazareth.


This event had been on Heaven’s calendar for ages. Angels looked forward to their part, the words of ancient prophets awaited fulfilment and the baby Mary was carrying would soon light up the night and the entire world.
We’ve spoken in the last few weeks of miracles of Christmas and there are many. Jesus left the glory of Heaven to be born of a virgin in a smelly stable. John 1:10, “He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not.” This world belonged to Jesus, and He came to redeem it knowing His world would reject Him. Yet He came anyway, with the understanding of how His time on earth would end. He came to earth to save mankind, including you and me!


In verses 8-14 we see how God’s angels have been busy preparing for this day. Gabriel visited Zachariah and Mary, an angel visited Joseph in a dream, and a whole host of angels carried God’s message to the Bethlehem hillside. This same place is the location of the tomb of Jacob’s wife Rachel the mother of Joseph, it was where Samuel had anointed David to be king, and where Ruth had gleaned in the fields of Boaz. Now it was time for the heavenly chorus to sing of peace on earth to the shepherds in the field on this night to be remembered. God’s plan came about exactly as He intended.


Then in verses 15-20 we learn of the miracle of God’s work in the hearts of men. The Roman Empire established a taxing census. Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to pay it, which shows how God can work to move powerful empires to fulfill His will, which was told in Micah’s prophesy. Shepherds became evangelists. Wise men began their journey following a His star. With all the actors in this drama of the ages in place, Jesus Christ is born and now God is with us!

This is the greatest miracle of all.


Through all time, like shepherds, many will come to Jesus. And like wise men, many will worship Him. This question for all today is, have I become one of the miracles of Christmas, accepting Jesus as my Savior? If not, your own miracle awaits which I promise will give you peace you never knew could be possible. On this Christmas day, let us all come in faith to Jesus and fully understand the miracle of His salvation that is free to all who accept Him as Lord.


Merry Christmas everyone and may God bless you richly today and in all the days ahead.

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 18th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

When the Sunrise of Heaven Visited Earth
Luke 1:76-79


The birth of Jesus was a miracle, but it wasn’t the only one that occurred as He arrived on earth. Luke records the other and that was the birth of John the Baptist. Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin, also experienced a miracle shortly before Mary learned of her own. Elizabeth and her husband, a temple priest named Zachariah, never had children. Then in their old age, Elizabeth miraculously conceived. We see in Luke 1:11-20 that Zachariah learned of this from none other than the angel Gabriel. Gabriel told him that Elizabeth will give him a son whom he was to call John and this child would be a joy and delight to him. Also, many people will rejoice because of his birth as he will be great in the sight of the Lord. Gabriel told him that John would never partake of wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And most important of all, many of the children of Israel will turn to God because of John. This passage also tells us that because of the advanced age of he and his wife, Zachariah truly doubted what was being told to him. But the Angel said: ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto you and to show you these glad tidings…And you shall be dumb and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed because you believed not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.’ I imagine at this point Gabriel’s tone of voice may have been a lot stronger toward Zachariah. When Gabriel shows up, he’s coming directly from God so he’s one who should be taken very seriously. Even so, here we see how God used Zachariah’s doubts for good. Because this Priest was now unable to speak, it was evidence to others that something powerful had happened to him. So, this helped them believe as well. And it’s a reminder for each of us to always look for ways that God is at work in our own lives to help others believe, even in the most worst circumstances.


When Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy, Gabriel visited Mary to tell her about her own miracle. He also shared that Elizabeth, her cousin, was going to have a child in her old age, reminding Mary in Luke 2:37 that with God, nothing is impossible.
At the birth of John, Zachariah, now filled with the Holy Spirit, was again able to speak. We see in verses 67-79 of chapter 1 that his first words were to praise God for what He had brought about. He then went on to prophesy of the coming of a Savior who would redeem His people and predicted that his own son John, would prepare the Messiah’s way. As a priest well versed in the ancient scriptures, Zachariah had to be in awe because he was actually seeing all the Old Testament prophecies, he had studied his entire life are coming true, so it’s no wonder that this man praised God. The Messiah would come in his lifetime and his son had been chosen to pave the way!
In verses 76-79 of chapter 1, which is our primary text for this morning,- Luke recorded Zachariah’s summary of what was to come. It says: “ (76) And you child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest for you shall go before the Face of the Lord to prepare His ways; (77) to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, (78) through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring from on high has visited us, (79) to give light to them who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Dayspring is a poetic description of the dawn or sunrise. It’s also another name that has been given to Jesus because He brings light to all those in darkness, and He will remove darkness from the world.


Our God always brings light out of darkness, In creation, we learned in Genesis 1:3 that all God had to do was speak “Let there be light” and we have a world that is light with sunlight! Regarding salvation, Jesus tells us in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world. And in 1 John 1:7, John writes that “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanses us from all sin.” Hebrews 9:27 tells us that we all live in the shadow of death and are but a heartbeat from eternity. But the death and resurrection of Christ changed everything about death. The open tomb removed the darkness from death because the sun shining into that tomb lit the pathway of death for all who choose to belief in Him and His atoning work on the cross. Scripture shows us how Jesus overcame death throughout His ministry: there was the daughter of the synagogue leader Jairus, the son of the widow Nain, and His friend Lazarus. All these were brought back from death. And best of all, Jesus has overcome death for all of us! Not that we won’t die as the world considers death, but that death is simply a transition from life as we know it on earth to life with Him for all eternity.
Verse 79 of our text also shows us how Jesus gives light to those who need direction. He guides our feet into the way of peace by removing the fear of death and the unknown with the light of His resurrection. Without the fear of death, we have peace in our life that shows us that no matter what, everything will be OK. All we need to do is trust Him and turn everything over to Him to work out for our good. Only Jesus can give us lasting peace in our lives. If you don’t yet feel it, now is the time to turn your life completely over to Jesus and allow Him to remove the obstacles holding you back and instead, give you peace and light in your life. I promise you that this will happen in ways you never thought possible.


The events surrounding the births of John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus shows us that although God has unlimited power, He often chooses to work through frail and imperfect humans who all began as helpless babies. We see this throughout the entire Bible. Abraham was a known liar, and Moses and the apostle Paul committed murder. The point is, we must never minimize what God can do in and through those who are faithful to Him and trust Jesus as their personal Savior. He knows we are not perfect, but He wants to bring the light of Jesus into our life in order to guide us from life on earth to life in heaven. Jesus came to earth as a baby but left as the resurrected Savior for all mankind, should anyone choose to accept Him. Without the salvation part of the story, the birth part is meaningless. So yes, celebrate His coming in the manger because He is the Sunrise of Heaven that has visited the earth. But worship Him for bringing His light, the gifts of salvation, peace, and eternal life to all who truly believe that He is the Son of God. And be like John the Baptist and tell others about Jesus and what He can do in their lives.


Every person in this church and in this world can have these gifts from God. It doesn’t matter what sins you have committed in the past, nor your gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. What Jesus did on the cross was done for every human being on this earth. Last week I shared with you how important it is to ask Him to come into your life. Time is getting shorter, and I urge you to take that step if you haven’t yet done so. I’m always available to help you take it so please don’t be afraid to come talk to me. God doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. He wants all His children with Him for eternity.


As you celebrate this Christmas season, may God bless you today and all the days ahead.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 11th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

 

THE MAGNIFICAT – The Hymn of the Virgin Mary
Luke 1:46-55

Last week we talked about the virgin birth and the requirement that Christians believe this miracle occurred. We also saw how Gabriel visited Mary and explained to her that she would experience the miracle of being the mother of the Messiah. While she was worried and confused given that she was a virgin, she came to accept it after Gabriel told her not to be afraid because nothing is impossible with God.
This morning I would like to share with you the next portion of the story found in Luke 1:46-55 which reads: “ (46) And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (47) and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. (48) For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (49) For He who is mighty has done to me great things; and Holy is His name. (50) And His mercy is on them who fear Him from generation to generation; (51) He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. (52) He has put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. (53) He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent empty away. (54) He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; (55) as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.” Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done. This passage is known as the “Magnificat” because in verse 46 Mary says her ‘soul doth magnify the Lord,’ Magnificat is the Latin translation of this verse. This passage has been used as the basis for choral music and hymns through the centuries. If we go back to Samuel 2:1 we see how Hanna, the mother of Samuel also glorified God in song for His answer to her prayer for a son. Her confidence in God’s sovereignty and her thankfulness for all He had done are the themes of her prayer. Both women pictured God as a champion of the poor, the oppressed, and the humble in the tradition of Deborah as we see in Judges 5:1-31.


We see Mary say in verse 48 , “For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden; for, behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” Some would read this and say she was being proud and boastful. But that’s not true. Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done in your life. Mary was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her and acknowledging the gift of God’s grace. She is expressing humility for His gifts and for allowing her to use them to praise and serve Him. Like Mary, we are not to deny, belittle, or ignore the gifts He gives to us. Rather we are to thank God for them and use them for His glory and not to bolster our own pride and ego.


In verses 49-54 Mary sings of God’s Holiness, which is the essence of His being, and His mercy to them who respect Him, which depicts Him as our father. Shea also praises His strength and how He uses it in the world and reverses the conception of man of what it is to be great and of low estate (meaning humble). So you see, our God sent the Messiah – His Son -- down from the glory of Heaven, to be born of a woman who by all accounts was not a rich powerful person. Our Lord ignored the proud self-exultation of the religious elite of Israel and instead, showered His attention and blessing on a humble handmaiden.


In verses 54-55 Mary reminds us how God kept his promise to Abraham to be merciful to God’s people forever. The birth of Jesus fulfilled this promise, and Mary understood this. She wasn’t surprised when her special son eventually announced that He was the Messiah. She had known Jesus’ mission from before He was born. And Mary herself recognized that she was a sinner and didn’t hesitate to join those who needed a Savior.


Mary praised God for His love, His favor, His might, His mercy, His grace, and His goodness. These are the things each one of us should be praising Him for every day of our lives. If you can’t find examples in your life of how He has shown each one of these gifts to you, then I will ask you to pray for Jesus to come into your heart to set it straight. When we see how through the ages God helped Israel, showed them mercy over and over again, kept His promises to Abraham, sent a Messiah to take away the sins of the world; and kept His promises about how the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, grow to be crucified but then be resurrected, how can you not believe that God is who Mary says He is and always has been?


We have a God who loves us for who we are – warts and all. He sent His own Son into this world to allow us to see His own heart and to have our sins removed so we could return to the God who created us in His own image. When you study the Bible and see how the story of His love unfolds through the ages, it’s impossible to not believe that He can save all who come to Jesus to be participants in the eternal kingdom that will be set up at the coming of our Lord. All we need do is believe His word through faith, then live the life He intended us to live.


Yes, it’s difficult in this world and it will get harder as the days go by. Many want nothing to do with God. But they take that stand at their own peril. And I can guarantee there will be times when you will be disillusioned and pull back from your faith. But He understands that as well because He created us. It’s at those times that you need to hold on tighter to your faith and He will soon show you how you need to make changes in your life to bring you closer to Him and all He has planned for your future. It doesn’t matter that it’s been almost 2,000 years since Jesus returned to Heaven to await the fulfillment of God’s promised kingdom. God has enormous patience and is waiting for as many people to come to Him as is possible. But there will come a time when His patience ends, things will begin to happen very fast, and you don’t want to be left behind.


But salvation isn’t automatically granted to anyone. Each person must ask for it. So, if you haven’t yet asked no matter your age, I encourage you to say a pray to God, admitting that you are a sinner, that you believe Jesus is His son, that you want to change your life in order to live with Jesus at the center of all you do, and that you need His help to make that happen. When you do that and open your heart to Jesus, your life will change in so many ways. You will experience peace, contentment, and joy you never knew were possible even in the midst of others making fun of you at times because of your faith, and you will be amazed how problems suddenly work themselves out. All you need do is ask for it.


To those who have accepted Jesus but may have become complacent about salvation, I encourage you to pray for Him to bring you back and help you to live your faith so that others can see Jesus through you. This is something we all must do because the Jesus others see in us may be the only glimpse of Jesus that they get in their lives.


So, as you go through this Christmas season, remember that Jesus is the reason why we celebrate, and this is all came about because of the love that God our Father has for each one of us.


May God bless His word to your hearts.

 

 

 

 





 

 

Sunday

November 4th, 2022

 

Sermon Prepared  By: Wanda Wohlin

 Delivered By: Wanda Wohlin

@copyright 2022

 

 

THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST
 


The Christmas season has officially begun. While it is very likely Jesus was not born on December 25th, the truth is the exact date doesn’t really matter. We’re remembering the occasion of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. The birth of Christ is a piece of the central subject of the entire the Bible. The Old Testament prophecies it and the New Testament proclaims it. Yet there are many who question if the virgin birth can actually be true and is it really important that Christians accept it no matter what? The answer to both of these questions is absolutely yes. It’s true and Christians must accept it. Isaiah 7:14 tells us why: “Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; and shall call His Name Emmanuel.” Without a doubt this prophecy is the greatest in the Bible. The child who would be born is the Son of God. His name, Emmanuel means God with us. If Christians accept the Bible, they must accept the virgin birth.


In Genesis 3:15 God himself tell us: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel,” Here God is speaking to directly to Satan after he had succeeded in tempting Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. There is now animosity (enmity) between Satan and Eve and God is telling him that since he used the woman to bring down the human race, He will use the woman to bring the Redeemer into the world who will bring down Satan but not before Satan bruises the Messiah’s heal with suffering on the cross.


In Luke 1:26-38 we learn how Gabriel told Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the coming birth. When he saw that she was afraid, Gabriel reassured her that she was highly favored and blessed by God among women. This child was to be named Jesus, which in the Greek means Savior or the Salvation of Jehovah. Mary told Gabriel that it was impossible because she had never been with a man and again, he assured her that it would be the Holy Spirit that would cause her to become pregnant and her child would be the Son of God. This is the act of Incarnation, which is God becoming man. We then see Mary accepted what was told to her when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to your word.”


In today’s world people no longer blink an eye when an unmarried couple announce that they are expecting a child. This wasn’t the case in ancient Israel. We see in Matthew 1:18-24 that when Joseph learned that his fiancée was expecting a child that he knew was not his, he planned to quietly break their engagement as he loved her enough not to embarrass her publicly. Again, we see how an angel appeared to him in a dream telling him it was OK for him to marry Mary, and that the child she is carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph also was instructed to name the baby Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. The angel went on to remind Joseph of Isaiah’s prophecy 740 years before concerning the virgin birth of Emmanuel. Joseph did marry Mary and together they raised the baby born of the Holy Spirit.


In Galatians 4, Paul confirms the Genesis declaration of God that the child born of a woman would redeem humanity and defeat the sin caused by Satan. For centuries the Jews had been wondering when their Messiah would come – but remember, God’s timing is perfect. When He says He will do something, He will do it. We sometimes wonder if God will ever respond to our prayers. We must accept that He will answer all of them in His time, and never doubt Him or give up on Him. Trust His judgment, His timing, and that He has our best interests at heart. That is faith. Jesus tells us in John 3:16 that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save all who believe in Him and His purpose. By accepting Jesus, we become heirs of God and will have eternal life with Him. So, you see, as we read in Luke 1:37, ‘nothing is impossible with God.’


We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe in the Bible. It’s an all or nothing deal. That’s what faith is all about. If the Bible says it, believe it, and that settles it. Mary had difficulty understanding how she could become pregnant but accepted the miracle by faith. God made the first man from the dust of the ground, and we believe it, so why couldn’t He send Jesus to this world through a virgin birth? If you find this hard to accept, then what about Jesus feeding 5,000 with a few loves of bread and fish? Do believe that Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee or calmed the raging storm when His disciples was scared out of their minds? What about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? What about His own resurrection?


If you find you can’t accept the virgin birth, then all the other miracles of the Bible are equally unacceptable and you, my friend are not saved, and are not a Christian. Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:14-16: (14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) 1But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”


Non-Christians (natural man) can never fully understand God and they can’t grasp the concept that God’s spirit lives in believers. Don’t expect most people to approve or understand your decision to follow Christ because it all seems silly to them. Just as a tone-deaf person can’t appreciate fine music, those who reject Christ can’t understand God’s spirit. With the lines of communication broken, they won’t be able to hear what God is saying to them. But Christians can’t stay silent using the unbelief of others as an excuse. We are still channels to communicate God to unbelievers. Someone’s question may be evidence that God’s spirit is drawing that person to the point of decision. We can help them make that decision.


The guidance of the Holy Spirit gives believers insight into some of God’s plans, thoughts, and actions – which gives us the ‘mind of Christ.” That’s how we begin to know God’s thoughts, are able to talk with Him, and expect His answers to our prayers. Ask yourself, are you spending enough time with Jesus to have His very mind in you? An intimate relationship with Him only comes from spending time in His presence and in His word.


So, if you’re having difficulties trying to understand the things of the Holy Spirit, ask Jesus to come into your heart and open your mind. Receiving Him as you Savior will open your eyes and allow you to fully accept ALL of the Bible, including the virgin birth of the Son of God. You will then know that the God of Miracles loves you, will forgive all your sins, will strengthen your faith, and the miracle of new birth will take place in you. I encourage you all to have the mind of Jesus and trust Him to save you from your sins.


May God bless His word to your hearts.



 

 

 





 

 

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?