Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

July 16, 2017
Open Doors
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Colossians 4:3-4)
 
This was Paul’s prayer request of the Colossian Christians, that God would open the door for His testimony. Paul had written earlier about “when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 2:12). The purpose of an open door is thus to preach the gospel of Christ and to speak the mystery of Christ.
 
Furthermore, these passages indicate that such doors are opened by the Lord, not by human devices. In fact, Christ Himself is “he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). Doors of testimony are opened by the Lord in answer to prayer, but He also specifies three criteria for keeping the door opened. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8).
 
These conditions mean, literally, having little strength of one’s own and thus depending only on God, jealously guarding the integrity of God’s Word, and upholding the name of Christ as Creator, Savior, and coming King.
 
Even when the door is kept open by God, there is no assurance of ease in entering it. Paul wrote that “a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9). This is the reason prayer is needed, relying on God, not man!
 
The Lord is also seeking an open door into churches that think they “have need of nothing. . . . Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:17, 20). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Sermonette


July 9, 2017
Faithful Smyrna
“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; . . . I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) . . . . Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:8-10)
 
The Lord Jesus recognized this struggling church, which is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament, as one of only two churches mentioned in the book of Revelation that did not receive any warning or condemnation.
 
He saw them very differently than our “church growth” movement might today. Many tend to envy the churches with big auditoriums or grand building programs. Most of the world praises those churches that are “emerging” from the restraints of godliness and churches that are “driven” to attract and please the ungodly.
 
Smyrna was poor, troubled by those who hated God’s message, and suffered tribulation for their works. Some were thrown into prison for their willingness to be identified with the truth. Generations have passed since anything like that has happened to churches in the Western world. Those countries that persecute Christians today seem only like scattered incidents that have little bearing on the day-to-day life of “civilized” nations. May God protect us from such attitudes.
 
But the One who walks among the “candlestick” churches of Revelation (His churches) saw Smyrna as rich and worthy of a crown of life. He praised this little church and encouraged them to remain “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). When the King gives out His rewards from the great judgment seat, these faithful, poor, persecuted, troubled, and imprisoned souls will enter eternity with great riches and joyful liberty in the “general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). HMM III

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS iii, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Sermonette


July 2, 2017
Always Rejoicing
“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
 
Most people think that John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”) is the shortest verse in the Bible, but our text is actually even shorter in the original Greek. In one sense, these two two-word verses complement each other—because Jesus wept, we can rejoice evermore. Christ died that we might live. He became poor so that we could be eternally rich. When Christ rose from the dead and met the women returning from the empty tomb, He greeted them with the words “All hail” (Matthew 28:9). The actual Greek was the same word as “rejoice,” and surely His victory over sin and death provided the greatest of all reasons for the world to rejoice.
 
The contrast between suffering and rejoicing is present throughout the New Testament, with the former typically preceding and bringing in the latter. Its first occurrence is in the closing verse of the beatitudes: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you . . . for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12). The final passage, when the sufferings of the saints are all past and Christ comes to reign, the multitude sings in heaven, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come” (Revelation 19:7). In that great day, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4), and all the redeemed will, indeed, rejoice evermore.
 
Therefore, we can live our present lives in the light of our future lives, “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The apostle Paul exhorts us to “rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4), and Peter says that, loving Christ, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). HMM

h/t:  HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sunday Sermonette


June 25, 2017
Laughing or Weeping
“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
 
People like to be made to laugh, and many professional comics make a good living telling jokes and doing slapstick comedy. Even in the realm of Christian ministry, those preachers and teachers who can keep their audiences laughing are often the most popular, especially among young people.
 
No doubt humor has a place, but it needs to be kept in perspective. Solomon had everything and tried everything, including activities promoting laughter and merriment, and was soon disillusioned. “I said in mine heart, . . . I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth: What doeth it?” (2:1-2).
 
In fact, some of it does harm, for convivial jesting all too often depends on bawdy humor, especially in today’s movies and television sitcoms. Concerning this problem, the Bible warns, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, . . . Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting” (Ephesians 5:3-4).
 
It is significant that we never read of Jesus laughing (nor Paul or any of the other apostles, for that matter), but we do read of Him weeping (Luke 19:41John 11:35). In fact, He said on one occasion, “Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:25). Similarly, the apostle James said, “Be afflicted, and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness” (James 4:9).
 
There is much in the Bible encouraging us toward joy and happiness, of course. In a world of tears, we can be “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10), knowing that “he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH
 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Sermonette


 June 18, 2017
The Father of Spirits
“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 of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9)
 
In these days when parents are urged by special interest and political groups not to discipline their children, and children’s rights are championed at the expense of parental authority, it is comforting to read in Scripture that the normal response to parental discipline is reverence. Thankfully, even most secular “experts” today recognize the child’s need for parental guidelines, reinforced by physical discipline as appropriate.
 
But this passage is primarily discussing the role of chastening father that God plays in the lives of His spiritual children. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord . . . for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. . . . But if ye be without chastisement . . . then are ye . . . not sons” (vv. 5-8). This discipline is “for our profit” (v. 10) and “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (v. 11) in our lives. The natural response should be both “reverence” and “subjection” (v. 9).
 
In our text, God is identified as the “Father of spirits,” reminding us that God is Creator. “The LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1). He who created all things, including the spiritual side of mankind (Colossians 1:16), recreated each spirit at the time of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17Ephesians 2:10; etc.). His wise and timely chastening is “for our profit” and has as its goal “that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).
 
On this day of special honor for fathers, let us not forget to honor our heavenly Father. JDM

h/t:  J D MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH
 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

June 11, 2017
The Discipline of Patience
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4)
 
Patience, or endurance, is part of the development that produces the experience that brings hope and assurance to those who are the twice-born (Romans 5:3-5). Patience is a discipline—a “work” that is necessary for our growth. Although such discipline never seems pleasant at the time, it is administered by our loving heavenly Father, who focuses His work on our spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12:5-8).
 
Our text contains several key aspects that promise victory through the process of learning patience. Wisdom is granted liberally as we ask for it during the testings that produce the “perfect work” (James 1:4) of patience. As those who love the Lord endure the testings that will surely come, the endurance practiced will produce a “crown of life” (James 1:12) as an eternal testimony to our patience.
 
Psalm 37 outlines the principles for gaining patience during this life. First, “trust in the LORD” (Psalm 37:3) and follow His leading in everything you do (Proverbs 3:5-10).
 
Second, delight in the Lord—get excited about Him (Psalm 37:4). That trait is amplified often in Psalm 119 (Psalm 119:16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 174). Then, commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5), becoming like a branch attached to the vine (John 15:4-7).
 
Finally, rest in the Lord (Psalm 37:7) and wait on Him (Psalm 37:34). That doesn’t mean just “hang around.” It means to be a fully prepared servant, waiting for his master’s orders to implement. The “profitable” servant (Luke 17:10) learns what his master wants and stands ready to respond to the needs of the Kingdom.
 
Patience is never obtained through bored indifference. HMM III

h/t:  HENRY M MORRIS III, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

June 4, 2017
The Family of a Disciple
“Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:28-30)
 
Unfortunately, this and parallel passages have been wrongly used all too often to justify the abandonment of responsibilities to family in the name of following Christ.
 
But Christ is not here advocating repudiation of family. Instead, He insists that our allegiance be to Him and to His will. Nothing must be allowed to usurp His rightful position of supremacy in our lives. While it is true that for some a life unencumbered by family duties may result in more efficient ministry (1 Corinthians 7:1-9, 25-38), family relationships and responsibilities are of great importance to Him (vv. 10-24; see also many other passages).
 
Consider the case of Elisha. God had instructed Elijah to train Elisha to take his place as prophet (1 Kings 19:16). Finding Elisha plowing in his father’s field (i.e., family duties) with 12 yoke of oxen, “Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (v. 19).
 
Elisha knew immediately that he was facing a dramatic change in his life. He did not refuse, argue with, or try to alter the call, but he did recognize a responsibility to his parents. “Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee” (v. 20). Elijah agreed. To solidify his determination to leave, Elisha immediately sacrificed a pair of oxen, using as fuel the plowing instruments he had been using. He was, in effect, making a clean break with his former life, yet honoring and respecting his parents. “Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him” (v. 21). JDM

h/t: J D MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH