Sermon notes from 5/20/18 – “Ladies: What Does the Bible Say About YOU?”

“LADIES: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT YOU?”

CWBC – 5/20/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning! I’m so glad we are together today to worship the Lord Jesus!

 Read a story of a little girl who came home & told her mother what she had learned at Sunday School concerning the creation of Adam and Eve: “The teacher told us how God made the first man & the first woman. He made the man first. But the man was very lonely with nobody to talk to him. So God put the man to sleep. And while the man was asleep, God took out his brains, & made a woman of them.”

That’s not quite right, but we are going to think about what the Bible says about women.

Women have always been greatly used by the Lord in His work. Let me briefly tell you about 3 of them:

Lottie Moon – Born Charlotte Digges Moon, December 12, 1840, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Lottie rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia. She then spent 40 years sharing the Gospel in China. Died at the age of 72 from illnesses due to the demands of her missionary work.

Bertha Smith – A little less than 5 years after Lottie Moon died in 1912, Bertha Smith – or “Miss Bertha” – was appointed to serve as a missionary in China. She spent 42 years serving in China & Taiwan as missionary. Known as the “Woman of Revival,” she was right in the middle of a great revival that broke out among the people there as she fervently sought the Lord. She was a called a “soul-winning machine!”

Elisabeth Elliot – Born in Belgium to missionary parents. Moved to US where she went to Wheaton College. While there, Elliot met her future first husband, Jim Elliot. After graduation, and for five years before their engagement, Jim and Elisabeth served in different parts of Ecuador.

In 1953, Jim and Elisabeth married in Quito, Ecuador and continued their work in that nation. Jim had wanted to enter the territory of an unreached tribe and so chose the Aucas, a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After discovering the location of the tribe, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death.

After the death of her husband, and now alone with her 10-month-old daughter, Elisabeth continued to live among and minister to the Quichua tribe. During that time she met two Auca women who lived with her and taught her the tribe’s language. She then went as a missionary to serve the tribe that killed her husband.

Open your Bible or your Bible app to Proverbs 31:29-31.

29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

EXPLANATION –  

How does the world view women? How does the Bible view women?

The first thing we must do as we look at this issue is to establish our standard for our beliefs. What is going to be your standard? The world’s ever-changing, ever-evolving philosophy? Or the never-changing, eternal, perfect Word of God? Are we going to believe what the world says about women, or are we going to believe what God says about women? You’ve got to decide for yourself who you are going to believe, where you are going to get your beliefs, & how you’re going to live your life based on those beliefs.

Everywhere we look in our world, we see how women are used & abused in more ways now than at any time in history. We also see how many women are choosing to listen to the voices of the world & are ruining their lives, destroying the lives of their families, & unraveling the moral fiber of our society.

  • The porn industry has victimized women & turned them into nothing more than objects to be leered over by perverse, lustful eyes.
  • Sex trafficking is a huge problem in our nation & in the world w/ women being bought & traded as slaves.
  • The abortion industry, which touts itself as being a champion of women’s rights, has “freed” women to murder their unborn children at a horrifying rate of 3,000 per day in the USA.
  • Spousal abuse & domestic violence is a huge crime problem in our nation w/ 1 out of every 4 women experiencing domestic violence at some point in her life. A woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds in our nation.

In contrast to these sickening things that women experience in our society, we find the shining truth of God’s Word breaking through. Biblical womanhood is a powerful, truth-filled, grace-filled concept that each of you ladies needs to grab onto. Drop your anchor deep into what the Word of God says about you. As Christine Caine said at a Women of Faith Conference, “You’re still here. You’re still alive. You’re still fighting. There’s still hope. There’s still a destiny. There’s still a future. Do. Not. Give. Up! – which leads to our application point for this message:

APPLICATION – 

God wants you to KNOW the truth of who you are, & LIVE the truth of who you are.

Ladies, there are many wonderful truths that the Word of God says about you. Today, I want to focus on 4 of them:

You are BEAUTIFUL in the eyes of God! – So many people, both women & men, are caught up in their physical appearance. Their whole lives are dominated by their looks, their bodies, their outward appearance to others.

  • In 2004, Dove commissioned a study that interviewed women around the globe asking them what they thought about beauty. Only 2% of the women described themselves as beautiful.
  • TV commercials & infomercials that tout diet plans, meals plans, fitness equipment, & skincare products dominate advertising.
  • Fitness centers are everywhere providing you w/ any kind of exercise you want to do.
  • Children & teenagers – & even some adults – are bullied & ridiculed b/c of physical appearance issues.

There’s certainly nothing wrong w/ trying to take care of yourself physically. In fact, it’s something that we ought to do as children of God. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 – 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

But, TRUE beauty is not external beauty, but the inward work of God within you. Prov. 31:30 in NLT says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 – Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Are you spending so much time, money, & energy on the external things that you are neglecting the internal things that are truly precious & beautiful to God?

 

You are COMPASSIONATE w/ the love of God! – Speaking of external things, women usually like clothes. Like to shop for clothes. Outlet malls are considered heaven on earth for many women, & hell on earth for many men!

Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong w/ wearing nice clothes as long as you are living within your means, able to tithe & give to your church, & your clothes are modest & honoring to God. Please try not to be a stumbling block to your Christian brothers!

But, there are some other clothes that you need to be wearing – the garments of grace that are found in Colossians 3:12-14 – 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion…” As a chosen woman of God, who is holy [set apart by God to live a life of purity & be used by God] & dearly loved [loved by God w/ His unconditional agape’ love], you are called & commanded to clothe & cover yourself w/ the compassion of the Lord Jesus. This blouse of compassion that you’re wearing is more precious & worth more than anything that Gucci or Kate Spade will ever sell.

So what is this compassion that you possess & are to wear? The biblical word for “compassion” means “to have mercy, to feel sympathy & have pity.” Our church would be so much less caring & compassionate if it weren’t for the Godly women in this body of believers who live out the compassionate heart of God all the time.

 

You are BOLD in the things of God! – While it’s true that sometimes, women are needed to express the softer side of Christianity within the church, that’s not to say that women are not to be bold in the things of God. When we look at some of the women in the Bible, we see a strong, fierce boldness that comes from a deep faith in the Lord.

  • In the OT:
    • The bravery of Esther as she rescued her people from being destroyed
    • The faithfulness & hard work of Ruth
    • The leadership of Deborah, Israel’s only female judge
  • In the NT:
    • The righteousness of Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother)
    • The encouragement, hospitality, & disciple-making of Priscilla, & the obedience & salvation of Lydia in the early Church
    • The commitment of Mary, the mother of Jesus – “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

All of these women, each at different places & points in biblical history lived a bold life of faith in God.

I’m astounded at the boldness that I see in many Godly women in our church & in the Body of Christ around the world. Here’s one right here – Tillie Burgin – Exec. Dir. of Mission Arlington for past 32 years.

 

You are CREATED to do the work of God! – From the very beginning of time, God has made it clear that women are equal to men in every way. While there are clear Biblical distinctions when it comes to the places of service & leadership for men & women in the home & in the church, women are created to do the work of God just as men are. Listen! The Great Commission is not just for men! The Commandment is not just for men! Acts 1:8 is not just for men!

  • Women are called & commanded to share the Gospel!
  • Women are called & commanded to make disciples!
  • Women are called & commanded to love God & love others!
  • Women are called & commanded to be on mission for the Lord in our world!

 

CONCLUSION – Let me remind you again of our application point for today:

God wants you to KNOW the truth of who you are, & LIVE the truth of who you are.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 5/13/18 – “Strength & Courage for Today”

“STRENGTH & COURAGE FOR TODAY”

CWBC – 5/13/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO –  Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad that we can be together today to worship our Lord Jesus Christ!

Continuing sermon series for the women of our church FAMILY today. I still want to remind you that I am certainly not claiming to be an expert in this area. Women are unique, complicated beings w/ their own set of issues & struggles. Heard about one woman who was struggling with the reality of her age, asked a friend, “I don’t think I look 40-years-old, do you?” Her friend answered, “No, but you used to!”

I am truly astounded at the strength & determination & influence of women in our world. Of course, today is the day set aside to celebrate the influence of mothers in our lives. Forbes article: “Think you can put a price on motherhood?” A yearly survey by Salary.com called the annual Mom Salary Survey attempts to put a salary on the work of American mothers. First, they broke down motherly duties into the following 10 categories: Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor, & Van Driver. Then they studied how many hours moms work in those categories & what the family would have to pay for outsourcing that duty. According to the 2012 survey, they determined the following:

  • The average stay-at-home mom should make an annual salary of $112,962 (based on a 40-hour per week base pay plus 54.7 hours a week of overtime);
  • The average working mom should make an annual salary (just for her “mom” role) of $66,969 (based on 40-hours of mothering duties & 17.9 overtime hours per week).

But it’s not just mothers. It’s women. You are amazing. The Church would be so weak & so ineffective without your commitment & your participation. We are so thankful for you today. And today, I want to help you find more of the strength & courage you need (& that men need, too) to face the challenges of our day.

Open your Bibles or open your Bible app & turn to Joshua 1:1-9 (p. 178).

 

“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

EXPLANATION – The Book of Joshua continues the story of the Israelites after they came out of bondage in Egypt. The book chronicles the approximately 20 years of Joshua’s leadership of the people after Moses anointed him at the end of Deuteronomy.  So let’s talk about this man, Joshua, for a moment. He’s one of the most significant people in the OT, & there are several things that he is noted for:

Second in command to Moses – He is best known as Moses’ second in command who takes over and leads the Israelites into the Promised Land after Moses’ death. Moses had been the powerful prophet & leader of the children of Israel. The book of Deuteronomy ends w/ these words in 34:10-12 – “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deut 34:10–12).

Many times, there is a downturn when a great leader passes from the scene. But, in God’s sovereign plan, He had Joshua waiting, ready to move into his place of leadership. And he stepped up to the plate to carry out what God had for him to do. Deut. 34:9 – “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

Strong leader – Joshua had already proven himself as a strong leader while Moses was still alive. Numbers 13-14, God commanded Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan & bring back a report. 10 spies said the land was beautiful & bountiful, but that there were giants in the land & that the children of Israel should not move forward. Only Joshua & Caleb said that the people should go in & possess the land. Only these 2 men believed that God was truly able to protect His people & deliver the land into their hands.

Strategic military commander – The first few chapters of Joshua tell of his preparation for the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6. He worked hard as the military commander of the armies of Israel, building them up, inspiring them, & preparing them to do battle against their enemies.

Solid faith – But the only reason that Joshua was such an effective leader of the people & such a effective commander of the armies is b/c of his deep belief that God was on their side. He listened to God. He obeyed God. He followed God. He led as God told him to lead. It was his solid faith that set him apart as the strong leader & man of God that he was. He wasn’t perfect. But his faith shows us that, when we trust the Lord & follow His leadership, He will take us into the Promised Land of His salvation, blessing, & rest.

Joshua 1:1-9 sets the stage for Joshua’s leadership among the people.

APPLICATION – 

The Lord Himself is on your side no matter what you are facing.

The Problem – v. 1-2a – Moses is dead. That’s a problem. He’s been the powerful & effective leader of the people for a long time & led them out of Egypt. He brought the 10 Commandments down from Mt. Sinai. He faced down Pharaoh on behalf of the people of God. He parted the Red Sea. He heard from God & told the people what He had said. And now he’s gone. It’s time for Joshua to step up.

Death brings its own unique set of problems into our lives. Some of you are having a problem today b/c death has taken your mama away from you, & Mother’s Day is an annual reminder of that fact in your life. Your mother’s death has left a big void in your life that no one else can fill. The problem of grief is weighing heavy on your heart today.

Or maybe Mother’s Day is a reminder to you the difficult relationship that you had or maybe still have w/ your earthly mother. We are all sinners & are all imperfect in many ways. But maybe your mama made your life hard in some ways that were truly unfair & hurtful. Maybe there were unrealistic expectations or comparisons. Or maybe she was involved in some outright immoral behavior. Or maybe she abandoned you, or left your father for another man, putting a scar on your heart that is still there.

Based on the text messages that I received from you as I prepared to preach this series, many of you women have faced & are facing a myriad of problems in your lives. These problems come in all sorts of shapes & forms, & affect many different people in your lives.

  • Worry is a problem for many of you
  • Feeling overwhelmed w/ life
  • Trying to have a perfect life for your family
  • Feeling like a failure at times
  • Heartbreak of a struggling child
  • Dealing w/ drama in our lives & in our kids’ lives
  • Struggling w/ all the changes that go on in your life & your family’s life
  • Brokenness due to sin & betrayal in your family
  • Rejection & insecurity are both issues
  • How to realize that you can’t be SuperWoman

Some of these problems have been coming for a long time; some have come upon you suddenly. Some of these problems are caused by other people or by some of the societal issues we are dealing w/ in our day & age; some of these problems are your own doing.

The simple, sobering reality of life is that problems come to all of our lives. Some of these problems are unique to women, some unique to men. But all of us will face problems in our lives.

But b/c He loves you SO much, God has given you EVERYTHING you need to face those problems. Here are 3 specifics to face your problems that God gives you right here in these verses:

The Promises of God – What did God promise to Joshua after the death of Moses?

  • He would give them the land – v. 2-4
  • He would be w/ them always – v. 5a, 9b
  • He would never leave them nor forsake them – v. 5b

Aren’t those same promises true for us today as God’s people? He may not give us land or territory like He gave Joshua & the children of Israel, but hasn’t He promised us that He will give us whatever we need & meet whatever need we have (Phil. 4:13)? Hasn’t He promised us that He will be w/ us always (Matt. 28:20)? Hasn’t He promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5)?

His promises are one of our most formidable weapons to use against the problems & fears that we face in our lives. Bianca Olthoff, creative director for women’s Propel Conferences, wrote this in a devotional: “What are God’s promises to you? God isn’t speaking in Morse code, communicating in confusing ways you have to work hard to discern. His Word is right there before you. It is ‘alive and powerful’ (Hebrews 4:12) and God will speak through the pages of Scripture. You can fully embrace and rely on the truth you find there.” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/devotions/2016/refining-fire/trust-gods-promises.html)

Get into God’s Word. Find His promises. Write them down. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Believe them!

Here are 5 to get you started. Jot these down & begin memorizing & meditating on 1 of these this week:

  • Joshua 1:9
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • Galatians 6:9
  • Proverbs 31:30
  • Isaiah 66:13

Bianca Olthoff concluded her devotional w/ these thoughts: “On your desert journey, you will be tempted to forget or question God’s promises. In those moments, trust this reality: The Lord may delay fulfilling his promises, but he will never deny them.”

The Precepts of God – If the promises of God are what give us our inspiration, the precepts of God are what give us our instruction. Look at v. 7-8. The Lord makes it abundantly clear to Joshua that the ONLY way that he would be able to lead the people rightly & honor the Lord consistently was to live a life of obedience to the Word of God. Look at the intensity of God’s instructions to Joshua. He is SERIOUS about Joshua’s obedience. And He is serious about OUR obedience, too! Beth Moore: “We must remember that bending the knee is ultimately a matter of pure obedience,” stresses Moore. “You may never feel like giving your circumstance, hurt, or loss to Him; but you can choose to submit to His authority out of belief and obedience rather than emotion. Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority.” (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelist-beth-moore-says-true-peace-comes-in-situations-that-are-completely-surrendered-to-christ/87492.htm)

Priscilla Shirer shared her story of the balance beam in her gymnastic class.  Before her coach would give her any further instructions, such as twists, turns, leaps, he made sure her alignment was correct on the balance beam.  She waited for his okay to continue. He would stand at the end of the beam and check her posture, making sure her whole body was aligned correctly so no injuries would occur.  When it was correctly aligned, he would then give her further instructions, the next move.

Think about this imagery: Listening, obeying, waiting for the next bit of instructions.  Obedience is where it starts, Priscilla said. Aligning ourselves to the voice of God and then moving on His instructions, His commands.  The question is this, “do we really want to hear from God?  Have we postured our heart in a state to say yes Lord?”

Priscilla asks these questions:

  • Are we off balance in any way in our life?
  • Do we need to be realigned?
  • Is there an area of fear, pride, ego, intimidation in our life?
  • Is there an area we need to loosen our grip on?
  • What keeps us from being fully engaged in obedience?

(http://faithgirlsconnect.blogspot.com/2017/09/revised-edition-discerning-voice-of-god.html)

The Presence of God – Joshua 1:9 concludes w/ a wonderful statement that will go w/ us all the way through our lives – “the Lord your God is w/ you wherever you go.” Joshua needed to know this b/c he had many battles & many difficulties ahead of him. He may not have known all that he would face, but the Lord did.

And the same is true for you today.

  • For those of you who are moms, God knows what is ahead of you & He says to you today, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
  • For those of you who are not moms but will be one day, He says to you, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
  • For those of you women who are facing some difficult situations in your life right now, He says to you, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
  • For ALL of us, as we walk through life, He says to us, “I will be w/ you wherever you do.”

The Lord Himself is on your side no matter what you are facing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 5/6/18 – “And We KNOW…”

“AND WE KNOW…”          

CWBC – 5/6/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad that we can be together today to worship our Lord Jesus Christ!

Wanted to begin series for women today. Probably ought to entitle series, “I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About!” But I was drawn this week to this verse, my favorite verse in the Bible, Rom. 8:28. Applies to ALL of us, both men & women. And when I read back through the many responses I got to my text several weeks ago to the women of church, asking them what they would like to hear in a sermon series directed to them, I realized that we ought to start w/ this foundational verse, b/c it will undergird EVERY need that you women have in EVERY area of your life that you put in those texts – self-image, marriage, kids, security, future plans, dealing w/ worry & anxiety, the comparison battle, priorities, crazy schedules, etc. So, ladies, we begin this series today for you by laying this foundation for your faith found in Romans 8:28. I know some of the things facing the 3 main ladies in my life, & Rom. 8:28 speaks to everything they’re facing. I know some of the things that some of you other ladies are facing, & Rom. 8:28 speaks to everything YOU are facing. There are some of you that I have NO idea what you are facing. But I can PROMISE you that Rom. 8:28 speaks to everything YOU are facing, too.

How many of you have ever been in a place or a situation in your life where you couldn’t see any way out of it? You may be in that kind of place right now.

  • A bad job situation
  • NO job situation
  • A scary health situation
  • A difficult family situation (REFRESH prayer needs this past Wednesday night were HEAVY w/ family issues!)
  • An anxious financial situation
  • A life-altering decision situation
  • A situation caused by your sin
  • An uncomfortable friendship situation 

We’ve all been there at different times in our lives, &, if we live much longer, we will be in some of those situations again.

Craig Reid story – Died in car wreck. Horrible tragedy for that family, for our church, & for that community. But since that day, March 1, 2007, the Lord has allowed me to tell Craig’s story many times, calling God’s people to a deeper walk w/ Him, & calling lost people to faith in Christ.

Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Romans 8:28. I’m going to read it from a few different translations.

  • ESV – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
  • NASB – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His
  • AMP – “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
  • PHILLIPS – “Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”

EXPLANATION – You probably know that the book of Romans is where we get the majority of our doctrine & theology in the NT. Martin Luther said, “This letter is truly the most important piece in the NT. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well.”

This book was written by the Apostle Paul at the end of his 3rd missionary tour. He stopped on the outskirts of the city of Corinth to take a much-needed break from his work & travels. Spent 3 months in the villa of a friend named Gaius. Sometime around AD 56, he wrote the book of Romans. His purpose in writing this book was to outline & compose a written systematic presentation of the doctrine of justification by faith. He did this so that, in case his enemies caught up to him & killed him, there would be a written explanation of the Gospel that could be spread around to the first century churches where it could be preached & preserved for ages to come.

Smack dab in the middle of this book towers this life-changing, life-altering, faith-emboldening verse, Romans 8:28. As Robert Morgan wrote, “Romans 8:28 is the basis for true optimism.” (The Promise, p. 29). Why? He writes this:

“When you look behind the curtain of Rom. 8:28, you see the machinery of Trinitarian involvement. The whole Godhead is involved in this – Father, Son, & Holy Ghost. It is a promise signed & sealed by each member of the Trinity.

  • God the Son guarantees Rom. 8:28 by His blood purchase of justification. It’s part of His glorious redemption. Precisely as He redeems our souls from death, He redeems our sin, mistakes, situations, & sufferings for our good.
  • God the Spirit guarantees Rom. 8:28 by His earnest prayers on our behalf as He fervently intercedes for us w/ omniscient wisdom & according to the Father’s will.
  • God the Father guarantees Rom. 8:28 by His omnipotent providence that rules & overrules every situation in our lives. Responding to the blood of Jesus & the prayers of the Spirit, He providentially works all things for our benefit & His glory.

And THAT’S why Rom. 8:28 is the basis for true optimism.”

APPLICATION – 

The truth of Romans 8:28 will carry you through anything & everything you will ever face in your life – PERIOD!

“In Christ, we have an ironclad, unfailing, all-encompassing, God-given guarantee that every single circumstance in life will sooner or later turn out well for those committed to Him.” (Rob Morgan)

There’s that one word there in this verse that bring such a sense of peace, comfort, & assurance, & that’s the word “All.” “All means all, & all that all means!”

  • No exceptions

This one verse will radically transform the way you view ALL of the circumstances of your life!

Let’s take the word “all” & apply it to the truths of this verse:

A.L.L.

A – ABSOLUTE: IT’S AN ABSOLUTE

 In a world that shuns & ridicules those of us who believe in the absolutes of God’s Word, this verse is a refreshing breeze blowing through our hearts.

  • Not some magical formula
  • Not a spiritual panacea that makes all of our problems disappear
  • Not a religious rabbit’s foot we rub for good luck

The truth is that you ARE going to have problems in this world – LOTS of them. Going to come in every imaginable & unimaginable way.

  • Families getting ripped apart
  • Death invades all of our lives
  • Financial struggles & anxieties affect all of us
  • World is going crazy in every place
  • No one immune
  • Want to go somewhere & disappear sometimes & make it all go away. But that ain’t going to happen.

Hate to bust your bubble about something: Folks say, “Well, God is not going to put more on you than you can stand.” WRONG! The verse that they pull that from is 1 Cor. 10:13. That verse doesn’t mean that we won’t be overwhelmed with trouble. It means that God won’t allow us to get into tempting situations where there is no way out. He will always provide us with the power to withstand temptation.

“With temptation, we have a choice, but with suffering we often don’t have a choice.” (www.relevantmagazine.com/god/yes-god-will-give-you-more-you-can-handle#oQYVGZbwmH2ZWzGi.99)

But when it comes to the tough times in life, He will absolutely let us get in way over our heads so that we will realize that we cannot make it & we must rely on Him!

That’s when the absolute truth of Rom 8:28 erupts from the pages of Scripture & crashes into our circumstances! It’s true no matter what we are facing, or what we are dealing with RIGHT NOW & ALWAYS! It is an absolute that will not change no matter what. Nail it down into the center of your soul & go to it every time you need it.

B/c it’s an absolute, the Scriptures that say, “Do not worry” & “Don’t be anxious” & “Fret not” & “Fear not” & “Rejoice always” & “Consider it joy when you encounter trials of various kinds” are all true! Why? Because of the absolute truth that ALL things work together for good to those who love God & are called according to His purpose.

L – LIFE: IT TOUCHES OUR ENTIRE LIFE

Think of the most joyful thing you’ve ever experienced in your life – What comes to mind?

Think of the most difficult thing you’ve ever experienced in your life – What comes to mind?

Rom. 8:28 touches every one of those things that you named. As Rob Morgan wrote, “Rom. 8:28 is all-inclusive, all-powerful, & always available…It isn’t a mere platitude but a divine promise.” (p. 3-4)

  • Don Bozeman – Southside Baptist Church – diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension in his late 40’s & passed away at 50 yrs. of age. At his funeral, Bro. Don’s best friend, Gary Bowlin preached the funeral message. At Bro Don’s request, Gary preached a Gospel message & gave an invitation. Bro. Don’s niece gave her life to Christ. Interestingly, she then passed away shortly thereafter in her late 20’s.

You will never wear it out no matter how many times you quote it & apply it & stand on it in your life. In fact, that’s EXACTLY what God wants us to do with it.

L – LOVE: IT’S B/C GOD LOVES US & WANTS THE VERY BEST FOR US

Rom. 8:28 isn’t some cheap promise. In order for it to be true, Jesus had to suffer & die & rise again. He showed us the truth of Rom. 8:28 in the most amazingly loving way ever. He suffered immensely & died to redeem us & set us free from our sins. And that redemption spills over into every corner of our lives.

God showed us how much He loved us by sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins. He wants to have a relationship with everyone & proved that by giving His only Son. In fact, Rom. 8 is the chapter that teaches us the truth of the victory that is ours through Jesus by the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us. If our God loves us that much, then He certainly can be trusted to continue showing His love to us through Rom. 8:28.

Let’s break this verse down as we close:

It’s the knowledge this verse gives us – “We know” – We don’t have to doubt or wonder or be uncertain. We KNOW!

It’s the God this verse talks about – “that God causes” – He is the Sovereign God over all the universe. He is in control of everything.

It’s the circumstances this verse touches – “all things” – Back to ALL MEANS ALL! Take it to bank! THIS VERSE APPLIES TO WHATEVER IS WEIGHING HEAVIEST ON YOUR HEART RIGHT NOW!

It’s the process this verse shows us – “work together” – We many not be able to see how the different pieces of the puzzle are coming together, but when God is the one at work, we can trust that they will be in the right place in the right time according to His perfect will & purpose.

It’s the end result this verse assures us – “for good” – Puritan Thomas Watson wrote: “To know that nothing hurts the godly is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that ALL things which fall out shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings…this may fill their hearts with joy until they run over.”

It’s the people this verse applies to – “to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Robert Morgan said this about these 2 phrases:

  • “Loving God is the ultimate purpose of the soul.”
  • “All things DO work together for good – that’s God’s promise. But why & to what end? Not merely for our happiness but for His honor – that Christ might be seen & glorified in us.”

CONCLUSION – What thing falls under “ALL THINGS” in your life? What’s most pressing in your life right now?

  • Keeps you awake at night
  • Causes a knot in your stomach, maybe even right now
  • Brings you to the point of tears sometimes

Let’s take that thing to Him today! Come to this altar right now w/ that thing & take it to Him!

The truth of Romans 8:28 will carry you through anything & everything you will ever face in your life – PERIOD!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 4/29/18 – “What If God Wrote US a Letter?”

“WHAT IF GOD WROTE US A LETTER?”

CWBC – 4/29/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO –  Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are together to worship the Lord Jesus this morning!

We are getting close to end of school year. Graduation coming for many students, which means that many of them will be writing thank-you notes for graduation gifts they’ve gotten. Here’s how many of those notes are going to go:

“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Smith,

Thanks so much for the gift you gave me. I really appreciate it. Thanks again for the gift.

Sincerely,

High School Graduate”

Some of you sitting here thinking, “That sounds pretty good!” NO!!!

 Letter-writing is a lost art. When is last time YOU actually wrote a letter to someone? I mean an actual hand-written letter. Not an email. Not a text. Not a quick thank-you note. Not a letter you wrote on the computer & printed it out. I would venture to say that some of the younger folks in here today have never written a letter to anyone, or gotten an actual, hand-written letter from anyone. Don’t know the anticipation of going to mailbox every day hoping that there will be a letter in there. Don’t know the excitement of finding that letter, opening it, & reading it over & over again.

I read an article entitled, “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” – “My suspicion is that in a world where we are constantly chatting and [tweeting], very little is actually being said. We substitute human emotions with punctuations :> :< and emoticons, hoping somehow they could substitute our sensibility and taste and convey the nuances of our lives.

‘The majority of students are leaving high school without the necessary reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college and a career,’ noted the Alliance for Excellence in Education. And according to the [National Assessment of Educational Progress], more than 60% of middle and high school students scored below the ‘proficient’ level in reading achievement. So with speed and easy access, the first few casualties may be depth and style. But I fear the last might be literacy itself…

Indeed, these days I find the only people who write good letters are the old or those living in refugee camps or in prison. A refugee picks up his pen and begins to bleed himself into words. And the prisoner, too, who lives intimately with the knowledge of his own solitude, and who longs for the insularities of the world he left behind, finds his voice true and clear.

For the rest of us in this age of mobility and information, there simply isn’t any time for such a thing as a long, flowing, hand-written letter. I am no exception. Reading the passage L. sent me, I was overwhelmed by the desire to possess those letters I had sent away so freely so long ago.

Or rather, I longed to know him again, the lonely writer of those letters who never heard of such things as e-mails, twitter and who lived in an age not so long ago, but that might as well belong to another era. It is one where the mailman still played the troubadour of sorts for star-crossed lovers, and not what he is now: The carrier of bills and junk mail.” (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-lam/the-lost-art-of-letter-wr_b_1543386.html)

Open your Bibles or your Bible app to the last book of the Bible, Revelation. Go to chapter 2 (pg. 1028) & look at these verses with me:

  • 2:1 – “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.”
  • 2:8 – “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.”
  • 2:12 – “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.”
  • 2:18 – “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”
  • 3:1 – “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.”
  • 3:7 – “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
  • 3:14 – “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.”

 

EXPLANATION

These 2 chapters, Revelation 2 & 3, contain 7 letters to 7 actual churches that existed in the first century when the Apostle John wrote the book of the Revelation in about A.D. 95-96. As the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus has the authority & the right to inspect every church body that claims to represent Him & proclaim His message of salvation. And this is exactly what He did to these 7 churches. To all 7 of them, He said, “I know” this about you – the good stuff & the bad stuff – the stuff that brought His words of affirmation & words of indignation, words of “Well done” & words of warning, words of strong confirmation & words of stern correction.

  • Ephesus (2:1-7) – The distracted church – had forsaken their first love
  • Smyrna (2:8-11) – The triumphant church – suffered & endured persecution
  • Pergamum (2:12-17) – The entangled church – needed to repent from their acceptance of false teaching & immoral behavior
  • Thyatira (2:18-29) – The contaminated church – tolerated evil, depraved teachings of Jezebel that led to sexual immorality
  • Sardis (3:1-6) – The weakened church – had fallen asleep spiritually
  • Philadelphia (3:7-13) – The devout church – had patiently endured in the midst of trouble
  • Laodicea (3:14-22) – The absurd church – had a nauseating lukewarm faith

Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God’s truth. We can definitely see how there is application from each of these churches to our own personal lives today & the church of the 21st century. So let’s make application to our lives right now here at CWBC.

APPLICATION – 

God knows everything about us, which means that we need to strive to live for Him every moment of every day. He sent these letters to these churches to communicate His truth & His direction to them. And He has done that same thing to us through His Word & through the Holy Spirit who reveals & teaches His truth to us. Jesus said in John 16:13, “When the Spirit comes, He will guide you into all the truth…”

So we know that this book that you hold in your hand right now IS God’s letter to us, His love letter to us. He has already written us His letter & there’s no need for Him to write any more letters. This letter that He has given to us is credible, complete, comprehensive, & commanding, & is the perfect guide for our lives. As our own Baptist Faith & Message states: [The Bible] is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.

But let’s just suppose that the Lord Jesus does write us a letter, a personalized letter for the Church at Country Woods. How awesome would it be to go to the mailbox & pull out an envelope addressed to us w/ a heavenly return address like this one right here (show envelope)!

While there are many things that He may say to us, I want to think about the parts of a personal letter & consider how these may apply to us here today if we were to get a letter from the Lord Jesus:

HEADING – The heading contains the address of the recipient & the date. Sometimes the heading simply contains the date.

Let’s think about our address & the date of our letter from the Lord. God, in His divine plan, knew that there needed to be a church planted right here on the corner of Big Creek Road & Siwell Road in 1990. He knew that, on this date, there would be 56,000 people within a 15-minute driving radius of this address, people who need to hear the life-changing Good News about Jesus Christ – some living in nice homes in nice places – even mansions, some in run-down houses, apartments, & housing projects, some on the streets & under the overpasses. He knew that some of those 56K would belong to Him, but that the vast majority of them are lost without Christ. He knew that some would be in strong marriages, some in horrible marriages, some divorced, some widowed. Some would be straight, some gay, some clean, some addicted, some rich, some poor, some white, some black, some Hispanic, some Asian, some Middle Eastern. Some would be law-abiding citizens, some law-breaking criminals. He knew that there would be some young, some old, some Trump-supporters, some Trump-haters, some in church today, some not – but ALL loved by Him & ALL in need of Him!

He knew that this building would be a testimony to the Gospel to every person that drives by here every day, that the steeple that rises from the top of this building would point to Him, & that the light in that steeple would represent the One who said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

GREETING – Usually starts w/ the word, “Dear” followed by the person’s name.

If it’s addressed to the Church, then it only goes to those who belong to Christ, who are a part of His Body, His FAMILY.

So, while this may be a very short portion of the letter, it has HUGE eternal consequences. The question for you to consider is this: Would YOUR name be in the greeting of this letter? It will ONLY if you’re a born-again child of God. In other words, what God would say to YOU today is – GET IN THE CHURCH! GET SAVED! GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS!

BODY – This is where the main text of the letter goes. While there are many specific things that we might think of that the Lord may say in this section, here are 4 things that I believe He would address in the body of this letter to us:

GOOD JOB! – Just like He did w/ the churches in Rev. 2 & 3, He may tell us, “I know” this about you – how you’re walking in faith – how you’re loving each other – how you’re sharing the Gospel & leading folks to Him. While we don’t work FOR our salvation, we do work BECAUSE of our salvation! He knows what we are doing for Him, for His glory.

GET THIS STUFF OUT!When He addressed the churches in Rev. 2 & 3, He pointed out the places where they were falling down. He made sure that THEY knew that HE knew when they were tolerating false teaching, or giving in to sinful temptations & behaviors, or when they had become nonchalant in their walk w/ Him, just going through the motions.

You & I need to realize that the Lord sees & knows everything we do, every word we say, every thought we think. He knows about that secret sin that you are involved in that no one else knows about. He knows about the sinful habits you have that you continue to indulge in. He knows about your nonexistent quiet times & prayer life. He knows about your lack of tithing & giving, your laziness, your unwillingness to reconcile with that person in your life. He knows about the bitterness that you’re harboring within you, the anger that is seething within you, the lust that is burning within you. He knows ALL of this about you & me. And He demands that we address it. He’s not going to turn a blind eye to it, or give you a pass just because you’re in church today.

His plan for you to get that stuff out of your life is to come before Him in complete confession (1 John 1:9) & repentance. And His plan is for you to do that today!

GUARD YOUR HEART & LIFE!He follows up His intense words about the shortcomings in your life w/ a powerful word of encouragement to guard your heart & life. He may remind you of that verse in Proverbs 4:23 that says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

GO HARD TO THE END!And then, He may issue you this inspiring challenge to stay faithful all the way to the end. Just like Paul told Timothy in his letter to him, the Lord wants us to “fight the good fight, finish the race, & keep the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7) all the way to the end when we take our final breath. And His promise is that He will be with us, “to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

CLOSING – Usually, just one word. If it’s a more formal letter or someone you don’t know well, may use the word, “Sincerely.”

But, when it’s someone who is dear to your heart, someone you’re close to, what’s the word we use? “LOVE.” I’m pretty sure that’s the word that the Lord would use to close His letter to us.

  • John 3:16
  • John 15:13 – “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
  • 1 John 3:1 – “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; & that is what we are.”
  • 1 John 4:10 – “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us & sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (NLT)

SIGNATURE – “Jesus” – Even His name is an important word to us & part of His message to us. His name means, “Yahweh saves.” And it’s the ONLY name that one day will cause EVERY knee to bow & EVERY tongue to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

CONCLUSION – (open up envelope) – Inside this envelope today is a blank piece of paper. This represents your life right now today. Today, the message that the Lord wants you to know is that HE KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU, He loves you, & that you have the opportunity today to decide what’s going to be written on the pages of your life starting right now. Sure, there are some things that you can’t control. But there are some things that you CAN decide to change today.

  • You can decide today to give your life to Christ.
  • You can decide today to get rid of the sin that is weighing you down.
  • You can decide today to start walking w/ the Lord again.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 4/8/18 – “He Arose – We Will Arise!”

“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” SERIES

Message #7 – “He Arose – We Will Arise”

CWBC – 4/8/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we can be together to worship the Lord this morning here at Country Woods!

Campbell Doty – clumsy, goofy, lovable kid in my youth group at FBC, B’haven. He was a typical 15 yr-old kid when I moved to B’haven in Feb. of 1991. Fell in love w/ him. His dad was the Minister of Music there.

April 5, 1995 – 23 years ago, this past Thursday. Getting ready for our Wednesday night youth worship service, “ROCK Solid.” Vicki came in & told me Campbell had been in a wreck & that no one could get in touch w/ his parents…Campbell died that evening at Methodist Hospital in Jackson.

 

How many of you have a favorite cousin? You know, that cousin that’s more like a brother or sister than a cousin. Ray was that cousin for me on my daddy’s side of the family.

Diagnosed on Oct. 20, 2006. Died exactly 3 months later on Jan. 20, 2007.

 

Don’t mean to start this sermon on a sad note, but all of us here have had some kind of experience like we had w/ Campbell’s death or w/ my cousin, Ray’s, death. All of us have lost a friend or a family member in some kind of untimely manner. And there is no question more fundamental to the human race than, “What happens to us when we die?”

 GOD HAS PROVIDED AN INCREDIBLE ANSWER FOR HIS CHILDREN, & we are going to think about that today. Grab your Bible, a pew Bible, or open up your Bible app to 1 Cor. 15:50-58 (page 962). Stand as we read God’s Word.

EXPLANATION – 

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 English Standard Version (ESV)

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

What we can’t do – v. 50

One of the first heresies that crept into the early Church was the denial of the believer’s bodily resurrection. There were a few different false teachings that were pervasive that denied any resurrection after death, or said that there simply was no existence after death. But Paul made it very clear that there will be a resurrection of our bodies after death. Look at v. 42-44 in the NLT (slide).

It’s pretty obvious that, right now, you & I are living in “flesh & blood” bodies that cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Our bodies are physical, not spiritual. They’re made of physical & earthly substances & materials. In our present physical state, we are made to live in this physical world. John Gill: “…the body, as it now is, is not capable of possessing the heavenly glory; was it to be introduced into heaven, in the condition it is now, it would break in pieces, and crumble into dust; it would not be able to bear the glory of that state and place…” (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/1-corinthians-15-50.html)

In order for us to be able to live in the eternal Kingdom of God, our bodies must be completely changed from mortal, destructible bodies, into immortal, eternal bodies. In our present state, these bodies of ours that are failing right now, wearing out & wearing down right now, & moving toward an ending point, cannot take possession of the Kingdom of God, the heavenly glory that God has prepared for us.

 

What we will do – v. 51b-57 – Since what we CAN’T do is inherit God’s Kingdom in these decaying earthly bodies, what we WILL do is we will be changed! God has provided a way for us to inherit His Kingdom. For those who know Christ, God is going to wonderfully & miraculously change us “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (v. 52). Paul said that this is a “mystery,” which means that the only way we can know this truth is for God to reveal it to us. It’s not one of those things that we can just figure out on our own, or that scientists can explain. It’s not one of those things that most modern people are going to think about or agree with. God has revealed it to us through the resurrection of His own Son & through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in us today. Ray Stedman: “The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the most remarkable, the most revolutionary act that ever took place on this earth. The result of it, as Paul says, is that there is a change coming to us.”

What a moment that will be! It will be a moment when we will:

  • Clothe ourselves with new clothes! – v. 53
  • Conquer death & sin! – v. 54b-55
  • Cry out in thanks to God! – v. 56-57

 

What we should do – v. 58 – 3 things:

  • “Be steadfast” – immovable
  • Be busy – “always abounding in the work of the Lord”
  • Be confident – “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

 

APPLICATION – 

The resurrection of our bodies is a promise that we as Christians can truly look forward to.

So here’s how we apply this truth to our lives today: BELIEVE! That’s it! A lot of times, we pastors feel a pressure to come up with the “how-to” points, ways to make the Scriptures more practical & make our lives better.

  • How to be a better husband/wife
  • How to be a better parent…son/daughter
  • How to be a better citizen
  • How to be a better friend

But sometimes, like today, the application isn’t necessarily found in a “how to” sermon, but in a simple “BELIEVE THIS” sermon, like today. The application for this passage of Scripture is to BELIEVE. Don’t have to understand it completely. Don’t have to be able to explain it completely. Don’t have to have seen it to believe it, b/c none of us have seen this YET!

So, as we like to sing here at CWBC, we BELIEVE!

Believe in the God who is the Author of this truth

  • He’s HUGE & He’s HERE
  • He’s POWERFUL & He’s PERSONAL
  • He’s IMMENSE & He’s INTIMATE
  • He’s UNKNOWABLE & yet we KNOW HIM

Believe in the Bible that contains this truth

The 3rd question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “What do the Scriptures principally teach?” “The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe about God, & what duty God requires of man.”

Believe in the reality that YOU will experience this truth…IF you know Christ.

IF you know Christ as your personal Savior & Lord, then believe:

  • You WILL be changed
  • You WILL be raised imperishable
  • You WILL put on immortality
  • You WILL rise victorious over death & sin
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 4/1/18 – “On the Third Day”

“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” SERIES

Message #6 – “On the Third Day” (EASTER)

CWBC – 4/1/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO – Art Linkletter, radio & TV personality of the 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s. Had a segment on his show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” where he would ask kids a question & get their answers. Kids would normally be 3-8 years old & would say some kind of cute thing.

Like my granddaughter, Selah. Several weeks ago, struggling to get into her car seat. Finally she cried out, “Oh, everything is a fail! I’m sorry, Jesus. I just can’t make this day right. Just color the pages of my soul with chopped tomatoes!”

 Vicki’s story – 3 yr old little girls coloring. Vicki sitting w/ them watching them color & talking about Easter w/ them. Sad that He died, but that we are happy that Jesus is in heaven, & that JESUS IS ALIVE!

“My mama said my granddaddy’s in heaven, & he doesn’t hurt, & he’s not sad, & doesn’t cry, & one day we will be here with him & we will live there forever! Nobody’s sad…everybody’s happy…” And when she starting talking about that, a little Mormon girl, said up w/ wide eyes, & said, “What???” Little girl repeated herself & told the little Mormon girl that in heaven, we are going to live forever! The curiosity of the little Mormon girl was so powerful, as he facial expressions said, “Tell me more!” So, she told her the TRUTH of the Gospel & the resurrection again, planting the seeds of the TRUTH in the heart of this little Mormon girl.

 Joe McKeever’s story – My friend Cathy (who is now an MD) was babysitting little Will, who was maybe 4 years old. At one point she was humming a hymn. “What’s that song?” Will asked. “It’s about Jesus,” Cathy answered.  She asked Will, “Do you know about Jesus?” “Um huh,” Will answered. “He died.” Cathy said, “Yes, he did.  Then what happened?” Will said, “He git up.” Which, incidentally, is almost literally the meaning of ANASTASIA, the Greek word for resurrection.  STASIA means “to stand” and ANA means “again.” Little Will stated a profound biblical truth when he said, “He git up!” Say that w/ me – “HE GIT UP!”

Whether you are 3 or 4 years old, 33 or 34 years old, 73 or 74 years old, or 103 or 104 years old, the truth of the resurrection should still stir our hearts & rock our worlds! The fact that, b/c of the resurrection, granddaddies who are Christ-followers & die will certainly be in a place where there’s no pain, or sadness, & where all of us who are Christ-followers will go one day & be reunited w/ them. And that’s the truth for ALL of us who are Christ-followers, no matter how old we are.

It’s also true that the FACT that Jesus came out of that tomb – or as Will said, “He git up!” – sets us as Christ-followers apart from every other religion in the world. B/c “He git up,” you & I have the possibility that we will “git up” one day, too!

 Grab your Bibles or open up your Bible app on your phone or iPad to 1 Cor. 15, & let’s read verses 3 & 4. Page 961 in pew Bible. Would you stand please as I read these verses?

 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)

“3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

This passage in 1 Cor. 15 is so important in our belief in the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus Christ! These 2 little verses are pregnant w/ profound meaning & profound truth for us. It’s what we must proclaim with our lips & live out w/ our lives. We must BELIEVE this – REALLY believe this!

  • Believe it to the point that it affects our career choices
  • Believe it to the point that it affects our marriage & our families
  • Believe it to the point that it affects how we spend our money, how we spend our time, how we spend our energy
  • Believe it to the point that if affects how we treat strangers, how we treat folks who are different from us, how we

APPLICATION – The resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely THE most important Biblical truth we have!

Or to put it another way: It just don’t get no better than this!

Not the best grammar, but definitely gets the point across!

What does the resurrection mean for us today?

It means that there is HELP for us.

My daddy died Dec. 20, 2016. As much we loved him & as much as he loved us, he can’t help us anymore. Can’t give advice anymore. Can’t fix stuff for Mama. Can’t be the “Good Neighbor” State Farm agent any more. Can’t give us any more money when we are in a financial pinch.

Vicki’s daddy died Jan. 11 of this year. As much as we loved him & as much as he loved us, he can’t help us anymore. Can’t give wise counsel anymore. Can’t preach another sermon. Can’t pay for another meal at Jerry’s fish house any more.

But even though Jesus died, too, b/c of the resurrection, He still helps us. He promised in John 14:16 that He would send us another Helper after He was gone.  “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…” And He did that Helper! He sent the Holy Spirit. And He’s with us now to help us as Christ-followers in whatever situation we find ourselves.

What situation are you in right now where you need some help?

 

It means that there is HOPE for us.

 Anybody here today needs some hope? There are so many people in our world today who are living without hope. They don’t have any belief or assurance that things are going to get better.

  • Stephen Hawking – brilliant scientist who battled ALS for about 50 years before dying on March 14 of this year. Was also an atheist. Had this to say about heaven & the afterlife: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he told the “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” (http://time.com/5199149/stephen-hawking-death-god-atheist/)

That’s a person who has no hope. You see, hope means “confident expectation.” It means that there is something for us to look forward to. And for those who are Christ-followers, our hope is found in Jesus Christ! He lived. He died. He was buried. He rose again. He ascended back to God where He is interceding for us at the right hand of God right now. And He’s coming again!

“KEEP YOUR FORK” – There was a woman who knew that her time on earth was limited. So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. When we would sit down for a big family meal, after we were through with the main course & my grandmother would be clearing the dishes away, I always remember that she would lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.”

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled & told them the story.

For us as Christ-followers, the best is yet to come because of the hope that we have in Christ b/c of His resurrection! He’s coming again!

 

It means that there is HEAVEN for us.

 John 14:1-6 – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There had to be a resurrection so Jesus could go & prepare that place for us! If He had stayed in the grave, there would be no heaven, no eternal life, no joyful reunions at the South Central Gate.

 

CONLUSION – What does the resurrection mean for us today?

  • There is HELP for us.
  • There is HOPE for us.
  • There is HEAVEN for us.

IT JUST DON’T GET NO BETTER THAN THIS!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sermon notes from 3/25/18 – “Don’t Exclude Anyone!”

“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” SERIES

Message #5 – “Don’t Exclude Anyone”

CWBC – 3/25/18

Jon Daniels

 

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! Welcome to this Palm Sunday worship service. I’m so glad we are here together today!

 Have you ever been left out of something? Right after I graduated from high school, I went over to one of my friend’s house to see him. Didn’t call or anything. Just dropped by his house, which wasn’t unusual. We had been friends since elementary school. Knocked on the door. His mother came to door, & when I asked if my friend was home, she said, “Oh, he & Billy went to Florida on a senior trip. They left yesterday.” Billy was one of my buddies, too. It got really awkward really quickly, as she realized what had happened, & I realized what had happened, too. I quickly said goodbye to her & jumped back into my 1975 Pontiac Lemans & drove back home, mad as a wet hornet, & sad at the same time. Couldn’t believe that I had been excluded from that trip!

 I read an article written by a psychologist on the subject of being excluded. Here’s what she had to say: “Being excluded is one of the worst feelings in the world. Ask any middle schooler and they will tell you it’s the thing they fear most – it’s not getting bad grades or angering their parents – it’s being deemed an outsider at school, not worthy or altogether forgotten. When we think back to our early school years, most of us can remember the painful experience of being excluded at one time or another. It may have been not getting an invitation to a party, or being left out of a game on the playground. Or it was much worse: systematically being bullied and shunned by classmates.

You would think that being excluded would be an experience that disappears as we age. When we get older and wiser, we are more thoughtful and inclusive, right? Not always. In fact, it often continues into adulthood and has some familiar emotional pangs. It can bring up a lot of painful feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, and as adults (just like kids), it can be experienced as alienation and loneliness.” (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pat-blumenthal/being-excluded-can-be-jus_b_11281980.html)

While it may be uncomfortable to be excluded or left out in school, at work, or in some social situations, it is downright sinful for us to exclude anyone or leave anyone out when it comes to sharing the Good News about Jesus! The message of the cross is a message for anyone & everyone, anywhere & everywhere in the world! That’s what we are going to talk about for a few minutes here today.

Grab your Bible or a pew Bible or open your Bible app & find Acts 10:34-43 (page 919).

 EXPLANATION – 

Acts 10:34-43 English Standard Version (ESV)

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

QUICK BACKGROUND OF PASSAGE: Acts 10 tells a story that is one of the great turning points in the history of the Church. For the first time, a Gentile is allowed into the fellowship of the Christian Church. Cornelius was a Roman centurion stationed at Caesarea, a devout, generous, God-fearing, praying man whom God used to let Peter know that it was time for the Gospel to move out into the Gentile world. Strict Jews believed that God had no use for the Gentiles, & that God’s favor was extended to the Jews & only to the Jews. That belief was about to be blown out of the water!

 

THE IMPARTIALITY OF GOD – v. 34-35 – We are bad about not being impartial. We will let a person’s financial status or social status sway us & cause us to treat them in a more special way than others. We might be influenced by their popularity, their standing in the business community, their political affiliation, their skin color, or who their family is or what their nationality is. I once had a man tell me that I needed to check the giving records of the people in the church so I would know who I needed to be listening to. In other words, he was saying that I needed to be more partial to those who gave a lot of money to the church than those who didn’t. Apparently, he had not read James 2:1 – “My brothers & sisters, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”

But God doesn’t care about any of those things. “God shows no partiality” (v. 34b). Romans 2:11 says the same thing, as does Eph. 6:9. God simply shows no partiality. He wants to save anyone & everyone, no matter who they are, who their daddy or granddaddy is, what their skin color is, how much money they have in the bank, who they voted for for President, what their gender is, or what their religion is. He is not just the God of the Jewish people, nor is Jesus just the Jewish Messiah. The Gospel is for ALL people – PERIOD! God doesn’t look down on some people b/c of their race or ethnic background, or show favor to others b/c of their race or ethnic background. He wants all people from every walk in life, every place on earth, & every people group in every nation to come to Him & be saved.

  • He wants drug addicts, & murderers, & adulterers, & thieves to come to Him. He wants folks w/ a criminal record a mile long, & folks who’ve never even gotten a parking ticket to come to Him.
  • He wants white folks, & black folks, & Hispanic folks, & Asian folks to come to Him.
  • He wants children to come to Him, teenagers to come to Him, adults of all ages – college students to senior adults – to come to Him.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” (CSB)

That’s why Jesus came & died on the cross b/c God so loved the WORLD! That’s the impact of the cross!

 

THE IMPACT OF THE CROSS – v. 38-40 – Everything Jesus did during His earthly ministry was leading Him to the cross. From the moment that He was baptized by John the Baptist & the Holy Spirit descended on Him & God the Father spoke, to every person that He spoke to, & touched, & healed, & forgave, & restored, to His betrayal by Judas, to the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the mockery & brutality of the Roman soldiers, to the moment that the hammer came down on that first nail, everything was leading up to that moment. The impact of that hammer reverberated through history as the culmination of God’s plan for our redemption was happening. There’s no way we can overestimate or overemphasize the impact of the cross! Without it, we have no hope, no future, no story to tell to the nations. The impact of the cross is MASSIVE!

This evening, Vicki & I are going to see the Newsboys in concert at the coliseum. They released a song last year called, “The Cross Has the Final Word.” One of the writers of the song, Peter Furler, had this to say about the song:

“[This song] is all about the power of Jesus and the great work He did for us on the cross. It’s truly something Christians place our hope in. That something started on the earth in the beginning when man disobeyed and were separated from God. Doors were opened that brought in powerful things like sickness, disease, hurt, and pain. Science can’t defeat those things. Drugs can’t defeat them. Alcohol can’t defeat them. Buddha can’t. The New Age movement can’t. Muhammad can’t. The only thing that can is something more powerful than all of them…something more powerful than death. The only thing more powerful than death is Jesus Christ and the reconciliation of what He did on the cross.” (https://www.todayschristianmusic.com/media/newsboys-story-behind-cross-final-word/)

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING THE GOSPEL – v. 42-43 – That’s why we MUST share the Gospel! We are commanded to “preach” – to tell & announce publicly (no “Secret Service Christians”), & we are commanded to “testify” – to affirm & solemnly declare that Jesus is the ONLY Savior of the world, & that “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (v. 43) Did you read that? It says EVERYONE! God was clearly telling Peter that NO ONE GETS EXCLUDED! And He’s telling us the same thing today.

APPLICATION – 

When it comes to sharing the story of the cross, NO ONE GETS EXCLUDED!

Had an elderly man tell me once in a church that since you don’t see a red bird & blue bird playing together, that’s God’s way of telling us that white folks & black folks aren’t supposed to go to church together.  God help us!

CWBC – predominately white church in the middle of a community that is growing more & more racially diverse. How are we going to impact this community with the Gospel? Through the love of Christ, we will not exclude ANYONE!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment