Sermon notes from 8/27/17 – “How To Be an Overcomer”

“HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER”  1 John 5:1-5

 INTRO – “Overcomer” video – Mandisa

Parable of an overcomer: The parable is told of an old dog that fell into a farmer’s well. After assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the dog but decided that neither the dog nor the well were worth the trouble of saving. Instead he planned to bury the old dog in the well and put him out of his misery.

When the farmer began shoveling, initially the old dog was hysterical. But as the farmer continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back he should shake it off and step up. This he did blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows or how distressing the situation seemed, the old dog fought panic and just kept shaking it off and stepping up! It was not long before the dog, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. What seemed as though it would bury him actually benefited him—all because of the way he handled his adversity. (

This morning, we are going to talk about what it takes to be an overcomer. All of us will face situations in our lives that will require us to reach down deep inside & find the faith that we need to be an overcomer. Some of us are facing those situations right now. So let’s jump in & look at 5 discoveries of overcomers:


THE TARGET OF OVERCOMERS – “the world” – What is it that you & I must overcome? There may be something that is pressing in on us in a big way right now:

  • Medical/health situation
  • Family situation/friend situation
  • Financial situation
  • Work/school situation
  • Besetting sin/Addiction situation


All of these things are situations that have come into our lives in some way or another due to the fact that we live in a sinful, broken world. Look over at v. 19. Right now, we are living in a world that “lies in the power of the evil one.” Yes, God is God & He is ultimately sovereign over all creation. But Satan – “the evil one” – is the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). There’s only one King & His name is Jesus. But Satan is called a prince because he is a ruler and possesses power to manifest evil in the world through influencing people and commanding demons. ( And you & I live in this world where Satan is influencing people, rulers, governments, corporations, educators, professors, celebrities, our neighbors, even some of our family members. John MacArthur: “…the whole world—its politics, economics, education, entertainment, and, above all, its religion—lies in the power of the evil one. The evil world system is hostile to God and believers… as John noted earlier in this epistle. It takes its cue from its ruler, Satan…the archenemy of God and His people. Because the world is completely under Satan’s influence, believers must avoid being contaminated by it.” (MacArthur NT Commentary) This world is the target of our overcoming. No matter what specific situation, circumstance, or problem we are facing, it has, in some way, been touched, impacted, & influenced by the world.


THE TEST OF OVERCOMERS – Have you been “born of God?” This question will make or break you as an overcomer. Your answer will determine whether or not you will truly be an overcomer. Sure, there are ways that you can make it through some of the difficulties of life, even if you’re not born of God.

  • Modern medical advances can help w/ your illnesses
  • Savvy financial experts can assist w/ money problems
  • Intelligent educators can help answer some questions
  • Powerful political maneuvering & posturing can change laws
  • Highly trained counselors can assist w/ your problems

All of these can assist folks in overcoming specific problems or difficulties in this life, your earthly life.

But, ultimately, none of them can give you what you need to be an overcomer in that which really matters – your eternal life! Only those who have been “born of God” will overcome death, hell, & an eternity of suffering, misery, & torment. If you’re not born of God, YOU ARE NOT AN OVERCOMER!

What does it mean to be “born of God”? It means to believe that Jesus is the Christ (v. 1). Jesus said in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” When you are one of God’s children who has been born of Him, who truly believes that Jesus is the Only Way to heaven & eternal life, that there is no other Savior other than Jesus, then you immediately become an overcomer in that moment of belief & trust. The Lord Jesus gives you everything you need to overcome in this life, & guarantees that you will overcome death & the grave & live w/ Him for all eternity! Have you been “born of God”???


THE TRUTH OF OVERCOMERS – “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.”

Where is your faith today? Is your faith in your abilities, your successes, your earthly victories in the business world, in your family relationships, in your educational achievements, in your financial & material wealth, your physical fitness & health? All of those things can be taken away in an instant. One unexpected doctor’s report, one bad financial decision, one moment of moral compromise, & it’s all gone. Just ask Jason Morrow how quickly life can change. He is burying his 4 yr-old daughter this afternoon after she dies suddenly following a seizure this past week.

To be an overcomer, we have to build our lives on the truth of who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, & what Jesus is doing & will do in our lives, no matter what happens. It’s the parable of the builders in Matt. 7:24-27.

“Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armor & artillery by which we overcome” (Matthew Henry).


THE TEAM OF OVERCOMERS – “EVERYONE who believes…OUR faith” –

Your trust in the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior, your belief in Him as the Christ is YOUR faith. No one can do that for you. You don’t get to heaven on anyone else’s faith other than your own faith. Not your parents’ faith, not your spouse’s faith, not your church’s faith or your denomination’s faith. It’s YOUR faith, YOUR trust in Christ alone for your salvation that saves you & makes you an overcomer.

But, your faith places you smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of other folks who are overcomers – THE CHURCH. You’re w/ “everyone who believes!” YOUR faith is “OUR faith!” Everyone who believes becomes your TEAM, or, as we like to emphasize here at CWBC, your FAMILY! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Friday night, some boys down in Brookhaven at Vicki’s alma mater, BA, took the field to play a football game. Came into the game w/ a 24-game losing streak. Ended the game w/ a 1-point victory. One player couldn’t do that. It took the entire team to overcome the adversity they faced.

My brothers & sisters in Christ, we are a TEAM, a FAMILY! I know that you can’t overcome my struggles for me, & I can’t overcome yours for you. But what great comfort it is to know that there are others around us who are encouraging us, helping us, holding us up, walking w/ us!


THE TRIUMPH OF OVERCOMERS – We WILL overcome! The Greek word for “overcome” means “triumph.” It means that we will prevail, as we’ve already seen in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world!” For the Christ-follower, we can confidently & boldly proclaim, “WE WIN!” Why? B/c Christ has already won for us! The One who has won the victory over Satan is the One who lives in us! WE WIN b/c CHRIST HAS WON!

CONCLUSION: John Henry Yates – born in Batavia, NY in 1847. Had some scary moments as a child:

  • Fell down stone steps of a hotel into cellar, fracturing skull. Unconscious for several days.
  • Family traveling on a ship. Storm struck. Hurled young John across deck, broke his leg.
  • Age 16, accidentally fell on a double-edged knife in a school play & punctured right lung. Hung on for his life for 3 weeks.

Survived childhood. Began writing poetry & hymns. Started working for a newspaper. Got married. Lay preacher. Shared Christ in churches all over western NY state.

Feb. 1878, lost wife & 2 sons in span of one week during an outbreak of diphtheria.

His most famous hymn says this: “Faith is the victory, faith is the victory. Oh, glorious victory that overcomes the world.” Died in 1900 w/ those words carved into his tombstone.

“victory” – Greek word – nike’ – Let’s “Just do it!” Let’s commit our lives to Christ today & be the overcomer that He has called us to be!

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Sermon notes from 8/20/17 – “It’s All About Love”

“IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE!”          1 John 4:7-21

 INTRO – WOW. This has been a crazy week in our nation & in our world. From Charlottesville to Barcelona to Fortification Street, we continue to see the ongoing fruit of evil & sin proliferating across the world. And there are 2 words that we are hearing a lot these days: love & hate. Who would have thought last year when I was praying & thinking about what I needed to preach on at this time in this year that our nation would be in the turmoil that it’s in right now. God is sovereign & omniscient – meaning He knows everything. He knew then that we would need to focus now on His love more than ever. I told you a couple of weeks ago when I preached from 1 John 3:11-24 with the sermon entitled, “Love Requires Action,” that we would be revisiting the subject of love again, & here we are again. We just didn’t know even 2 weeks ago that this would be exactly what we need to focus on once again in our lives as Christ-followers. While people of every color, every political party, & every cultural viewpoint in our society vomit out their venom & scream at each other in anger, hatred, bitterness, & hostility, the Church MUST clearly, confidently, & committedly speak love into this melee & live love in front of a watching world. We simply do not have a choice as to whether or not we are going to do this. It is a clear command from the Lord, & to not do it shows that we do not truly know Christ. When the confrontations come to us – & they are going to come, whether on the street, at work, at school, or on social media – our response as Christians is clearly mandated for us in the Word of God, guidebook for life: LOVE ONE ANOTHER – PERIOD. The Church – the people of God – must stand against racism in every way, shape, & form. We have to lead the way & loving all people, regardless of anything in their lives that is different from us, or that we find offensive. For the committed Christ-follower, it’s not a matter of statues, monuments, flags, protests, marches, & in-your-face screaming. It’s a matter of Christ-honoring, Christ-exalting, Christ-imitating love.

As we look at this passage, we find that the word “love” is used 27 times! IT IS SO IMPORTANT! Can’t overemphasize it enough! So, using this passage & 2 others, we find these 4 elements of love:


THE DESCRIPTION OF LOVE – 1 Cor. 13:4-7 – There’s no better place in Scripture to get a perfect description of love than Paul’s hymn of love in 1 Cor. 13. In this well-known, well-loved passage, he gives some wonderful words to help us understand what agape love is all about.

  • agape – God’s love. Only comes from him. Can’t be shown & practiced by a human unless we’ve first experienced it through His transformative work in our lives. Only as He is in us & works through us can we know & practice agape love.

There are 3 other Greek words that are used to describe different types of love:

  • phileo – Only other type of love mentioned in Bible. Brotherly love. Shown in close friendships. Jonathan & David – great example of this kind of love. 1 Sam. 18:1, 3 – “…Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. . . . And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.”
  • eros – not mentioned in Bible – sexual love. Wonderful when expressed within marriage relationship between a man & a woman. Distorted & sinful when expressed outside of marriage.
  • storge – natural love shown among families – parent to a child.

Back to 1 Cor. 13. Verses 4-7 give a great description of what agape love should look like in the life of a Christ-follower. EVERY Christ-follower should strive to live their lives in such a way that the word “love” could be replaced w/ your name & it would be a true statement about you. Then & only then could it be said of you that you were living a life of Christlike love. The description of love would then be a description of YOU, & God would be pleased & glorified.


The Deterioration of Love – 2 Tim. 3 – When we look around us & we see violence & all sorts of different forms of sexual immorality & racism & prejudice & abuse & on & on the list goes – we begin to realize that we may be in the last days that Paul was talking about in 2 Tim. 3. Billy Graham has…said he believes there are Biblical signs of the end times visible in the world today. Nearly 10 years ago, he wrote, “We see the storm clouds gathering and events taking place that herald the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

Of all the things that Paul listed in 2 Tim. 3, the thing that is most disturbing, alarming, & telling is the deterioration of love. Oh, love is still around & evident in these days. It’s just that that love is directed toward so many other things other than toward God.

  • “lovers of self” – philautos
  • “lovers of money” – philargyros
  • “lovers of
    ” – “not lovers of good” – aphilagathos
  • “lovers of pleasure” – philedonos

As we look at each of those words, we see something in common. The root of each of those is connected back to one of the 2 biblical words for “love” – phileo – the word for brotherly love, or the love between close friends.

  • We’ve become best friends w/ our “self” & what we want & desire rather than what God wants & desires for our lives.
  • We’ve become best friends w/ our money & our material possessions & the pursuit of the Almighty Dollar. Instead of thinking about how to use our financial resources to further the work of God, we are consumed w/ how to use our money to further our fun & our selfish pursuits.
  • We’ve become best friends w/ the wrong stuff, & enemies of the good stuff.
  • We’ve become best friends w/ pleasure. Root word is the word from which we get “hedonism” – the belief that the pursuit of pleasure is the purpose of life.

Our world & even some Christians are consumed w/ loving so many other things other than loving God. The agape love that John is teaching about in 1 John 4 has been replaced by the different loves that Paul warns us about here. We see it everywhere!

  • We love our skin color more than we love God.
  • We love our way of life more than we love God.
  • We love our heritage more than we love God.
  • We love our human heroes more than we love God.

While the love for the things of the world accelerates, our love for God deteriorates.

Friends, we’ve got to stop this deterioration in our lives. Can’t do anything about the world. But we can & we MUST do something about the deterioration of love w/in the Body of Christ. We need to get back to the foundation & realize the depth of God’s love & how that translates into the duties of God’s love in our lives. Let’s finish by looking at those 2 elements of love:


THE DEPTH OF LOVE – v. 9-10 – C.R.A. – Cleveland Recreation Association – swimming pool. Had separate baby pools. Then 2 ft., 3 ft., 4 ft., then a wall (remember peering over that wall – “One day…”). Go around the wall – 5 ft., 6 ft., then a rope. Past the rope 10 ft. to 12 ft. Progress from baby pool all the way to the 12 ft. Finally able to climb the high dive & bail off into the deep end. What a rush!

Great picture of the Christian life! Baby pool – swimming lessons – steady progression into deeper & deeper water. Spiritually speaking, there are way too many folks who are stuck in the baby pool or the 2 ft. & are missing out on the joy & the rush of getting into the depths of God’s love! He sent His Son into the world that we might “live through Him!”


The Duties of Love – v. 7-8, 11-12 – Out of the depths of love flow our duties of love – to love others & show others what God’s love looks like.

It our everyday perspective – v. 7a

…changes our eternal destination – v. 7b

…our expressions of worship – v. 13 – Spirit is in us

…our explanation of why we do what we do – v. 14 – Jesus is our Savior.

…our established confession of faith – v 15-16 – our doctrine flows out of God’s agape

…our exhibition of courage – v. 18 – We don’t have to be afraid of God’s wrath & judgment

…our essential foundation of our lives – v. 19 – His love forms the foundation for everything we do in our lives.

…our experiences in human relationships w/ people who are like us & those who are not like us – v. 20-21 – To hate someone means that we simply have not had our lives transformed by the love of God.

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Sermon notes from 8/13/17 – “True or False”

“TRUE OR FALSE”                      1 John 4:1-6

 INTRO – TESTS IN SCHOOL: How many of you like True/False questions on tests when you were in school? Had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. Some folks like T/F questions, some don’t. I always hated it when our teachers would make us make the false questions true. Couldn’t just take a chance & guess at answer.

I had a prof at MC, Dr. “Smoking” Joe Cooper – philosophy class. Every time we walked into his classroom, he handed us a “blue book” – small notebook that many profs used for their discussion questions on exams. We had to be ready for a “pop” major exam that was based on our reading assignment for that day every time we walked into class.

So, today, all the kids are getting back in school, & we are going to be back in school here today. Here’s a True/False quiz for everyone today. So, class, get out your paper & pen & number 1-6 down your page.


  1. There are only a few false prophets in the world. (FALSE)
  2. Knowing that Jesus has come in the flesh is not all that important. (FALSE)
  3. The spirit of the antichrist is already at work in the world. (TRUE)
  4. The Spirit of God in the Christ-follower is greater than the power of Satan in the world. (TRUE)
  5. People who are in the world (lost people) are very likely to listen to the world’s voices (false teachings). (TRUE)
  6. As Christ-followers, we are not from God, but are from the world. (FALSE)


  1. v. 1 – John addresses readers as “Beloved,” or “Dear friends.” Cared deeply for his readers, their churches, & was seriously concerned about the possibility of false teachings infecting their minds & souls. John knew that, in his day of house churches where there w/ no formal creeds to inform their doctrine [Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, BF&M] & no written NT for each person to have [we all have MANY Bibles – have Bible on our phone, etc.], there were many (question #1) false prophets & teachers spreading a false gospel, & he was willing to step into the fight. He knew that false teachers could be very convincing & persuasive [& still are!], emphasizing good things in their evil doctrines. They may teach things that sound very close to orthodox, biblical doctrine – mention Jesus, emphasize morality, justice, serving, helping, fulfillment, destiny. But I remind you of the definition of a heresy: Every heresy is the overemphasis or perversion of some great truth.


  1. v. 2 – John told his readers to “test the spirits,” (v. 1) the teachings coming out of the mouths of the teachers to see if they are of God.
  • “test” – dokimazo – examine, try it out, analyze


So, what was the test? What do you say about Jesus? What a person believes about Jesus makes his/her teaching true or false. Why? If the person is truly saved, then the Holy Spirit is in that person, & the Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus. He cannot do otherwise. So, if the teacher does not confess true, foundational truth about Jesus, then that teacher fails the test & is a false teacher.

  • The true teacher confesses “Jesus” – Name means “Savior” – the ONLY Savior.
  • The true teacher confesses “Christ” – the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, the promised Messiah of Scripture who fulfilled all the prophecies.
  • The true teacher confesses that Jesus “has come in the flesh” (question #2) – that He is the Son of God, sent from God to man, to “seek & save those who are lost” (Lk. 19:10).
    • Philippians 2:5-11 – “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


  1. v. 3 – Since there are so many false prophets/teachers in the world, it’s obvious that the spirit of the antichrist is already actively at work in the world today (question #3). The false teacher destroys the hope of salvation & eternal life w/ God, leaving us w/out hope. Jesus Christ is the crux of the Gospel message & our only hope is Him! To not teach the TRUTH about Him or to alter the truth about Him is to promote the spirit of the antichrist. That spirit is very actively moving & working in our world today!


  1. v. 4 – But here’s the GOOD NEWS, that awesome verse that causes us to straighten up, stiffen our back, strengthen our spiritual resolve, & set our feet firmly in place w/ our eyes firmly fixed on our conquering Savior & King, Jesus! Take heart, brothers & sisters b/c “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!” (question #4) Matthew Henry: “There is a strong preserver w/in you: b/c greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The Spirit of God dwells in you, & that Spirit is more mighty than the men of devils. It is a great happiness to be under the influence of the Holy Ghost.”


  1. v. 5 – B/c Satan is such a deceitful foe & had so many false prophets/teachers at work for him in John’s world, & has so many at work in our world today, the lost who are all around us – those who are of “the world” [there are 57,000 people in 15-min driving radius of CW], are listening to them & being influenced by them & are headed to hell unless they turn to Jesus Christ alone for their salvation [Anyone here today need to trust Christ for your salvation?] (question #5).


  1. v. 6 – “We are from God.” (question #6) John makes this foundational statement of truth & triumph, clearly delineating & clarifying that which sets us apart from the false teachers & their followers. When someone asks you, “Where are you from?,” your answer tells them where you live, where your home is, where your family is, where your roots are. “We are from God” – We live in Him; our home is w/ Him; we are a part of His family; our roots are sunk deeply in Him, His truth, His Word, His plans & purposes for our lives.


So, how did you do on the T/F test? There’s a more important test that we all have to pass, & that’s the test of how we are going to live our lives as Christ-followers in the face of the abundance of false teaching that is prevalent in our day & age.

3 quick things you need to know if you are going to pass that all-important test:

Don’t be gullible. Someone who is gullible is easily deceived, easily misled, easily taken in. P.T. Barnum known for his statement, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” In other words, there is always somebody somewhere who is foolish enough & gullible enough to be tricked into some scam or some deception. That’s true in every area of life, but it’s especially true in the spiritual realm. Mormons ride their bikes everywhere. JW’s show up at your door all the time. So-called Christian churches & denominations are watering down biblical truth in every arena of life. Don’t be that gullible person, that spiritual sucker taken in by false teachers. Deception is likely where growth is lacking.

Discern the Gospel. The way to NOT be that gullible spiritual sucker is to discern the Gospel – study it, strive to understand it, to comprehend it, to grasp it, & let it grasp YOU! Some folks want you to believe that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something. What a crock! You can climb up the steeple of our church & believe that you can jump off, flap your arms, & fly around the parking lot. You & others will find out real quick just how faulty that belief system is.

Listening to Adrian Rogers sermon this week – When reading Scripture:

  • Read it through – maybe multiple translations
  • Think it out – Renew your mind (Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Pray it in – Turn Scripture into prayer – PERSONALIZE IT!
  • Write it down – spiritual journals
  • Live it out – “I will live by this truth today!”
  • Pass it on – Share w/ spouse, family, friends, strangers

Depend on God. I know that sounds simplistic, but I want to end on this absolutely crucial, absolutely critical, absolutely Christian statement: Depend on God!

  • He is in you – The “Spirit of truth” (v. 6) who is in you & is greater than he that is in the world.
  • He is w/ you – Ps. 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death, Thou art w/ me…”
  • He is for you – Rom. 8:31 – What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
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Sermon notes from 8/6/17 – “Love Requires Action”

“LOVE REQUIRES ACTION”      1 John 3:11-24

INTRO – Quick review 1 John:

  • Author: Apostle John
  • Date: Probably AD 85-90
  • Audience: Does not name specific audience, but may have intended for the letter to go to the churches mentioned in the opening chapters of Revelation (which he also wrote): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, & Laodicea.
  • Reasons for writing book: Part of reason was to address growing problem of false teachers & false doctrines that were creeping into the church. Also, wanted to challenge readers to deepen their theological & doctrinal foundations, strengthen the practical living out of their doctrine, & intensify their love for God & their fellow man.
  • Main themes: I see 2 broad themes – Knowing who Jesus is, & knowing how to live our lives b/c of Him.

One of the main things we see over & over again in 1 John is the subject of love. When Jesus says something is the most important commandment, then I don’t think we can’t study it enough. It’s one of the most important tests of our Christianity. William Barclay: “Into the human heart there are bound to come doubts. Any man w/ a sensitive mind & heart must sometimes wonder if he really is in any way a Christian at all. John’s test is quite simple & very far-reaching. His test is love. If we feel love for our fellow man welling up within our hearts, then we can be sure that the heart of Christ is in us. We may be conscious of many sins, but if we are conscious of love, then we are not far from Christ. John would have said that a so-called heretic, whose heart was overflowing w/ love, & whose life was beautiful w/ service, is far nearer Christ than someone who is impeccably orthodox, yet coldly correct, & remote from the needs of men” (The Letters of John & Jude, p. 102).


So, once again, we find ourselves examining what love is all about in our lives as Christ-followers. It is such an important component of our faith. In fact, our faith is a dead system of beliefs if it is not characterized & energized by love.



  • Say it & show it
  • Declare it & do it
  • Announce it & act on it
  • Talk about it & take it to the streets

As we look at this passage, we can find these 3 divisions:


The Foundation – v. 11-15 – “…this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

  • Matthew Henry – This message of loving one another is that which “came among the principal parts of practical Christianity.”
  • In other words, it is at the very core of practical, everyday Christian life. It is an essential, fundamental core element.
  • Simply put: You can’t truly say that you are living a committed Christian life w/out love. It’s the only way that the world can tell if we are followers of Jesus.

But we can’t just talk about it…


The Demonstration – v. 16-18 – “…let us now love in word or talk, but in deed & in truth.”

  • AMP – “…let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].”
  • Oliver Greene, founder of The Gospel Hour: “There are occasions when a minister visits widows where there are children in need, & after a pastoral call the minister bows in prayer & asks God to supply the need of that family, when at that time there are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of dollars of God’s money in the bank to the credit of the big church w/ the tall steeple! The parishioners in that church sing, ‘O, how I love Jesus!’ but they love Him in word only – not in deed & in truth. The Bible admonition is, ‘Be ye doers of the Word, & not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.’”


The Confirmation – v. 19-24 – “By this [by the demonstration of Christ’s love] we shall KNOW that we are of the truth & REASSURE our heart before Him…”

  • Living a life of love toward others brings a strong sense of confirmation & confidence to the Christ-follower.
  • “reassure” – peitho – to persuade; to have confidence
  • v. 19 in NLT – “Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”




  • Cain took.
  • World hates/murders – v. 15 (James 4:1-4)
    • James 4:1-4 – “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God” (NLT).
  • But we aren’t a friend of the world; we are a friend of God. We aren’t takers; we are givers.
  • 1 Peter 1:22 – “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart” (NLT).
    • And how do we do that? By giving! The world takes, takes, takes.  Love gives, gives, gives!



  • 1 Cor. 13:5b – “…[love] does not insist on its own way…”
  • God commands that we believe – v. 23. And He commands that we love.
  • When we are loving Him, we are obeying Him. When we are obeying Him, we are abiding in Him. Obedience = Abiding – v. 24


CONCLUSION – So, what do you need to do today to put your love into action?

  • The most loving thing you can do today is to come to give your life to Christ.
  • Maybe you need to get plugged into Mission Byram, or Country Oaks, or Lunch 4 Christ.
  • Maybe you need to get plugged into a Life Group, or maybe you need to help your Life Group be more active in living out the love of Christ.
  • Maybe you need to make a phone call or a visit today or this week & reconcile w/ a brother or sister in Christ that you are out of fellowship with.
    • Been gossiping about them
    • Been holding a grudge against them
    • Been building a wall between you & them
  • Maybe you need to go visit a shut-in, the nursing home, the hospital, someone who is sick, someone who needs prayer, someone who just needs someone to listen.
  • Maybe you need to go share the Gospel with someone.


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Sermon notes from 7/30/17 – “The Evidence of Our Salvation”

“THE EVIDENCE OF OUR SALVATION”                 1 John 3:1-10

 INTRO – Vicki & I sort of go through phases in our TV viewing habits & preferences.

  • “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives”, “Chopped,” & “Beat Bobby Flay”
  • “King of Queens”
  • “Fixer-Upper”
  • “Family Feud”
  • Used to be the “Tonight Show,” but Jimmy Fallon has gotten way too political for our liking.

Several years ago, it was this show: (“Law & Order” video) Would watch it almost every night. In each episode, you would see the interaction between the different components of law enforcement in solving crimes & bringing the criminals to justice. There would be the police work of the detectives & members of the NYPD, & work of the attorneys on both sides, along w/ the judge & the jury.

One of the most important aspects of each case was the gathering of evidence. Definition of “evidence”:

  1. That which tends to prove or disprove something; grounds for belief; proof.
  2. Something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign
  3. LAW: Data presented to a court or jury in proof of the fact in issue, & which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.


Today, I want us to look at the evidence of our salvation. Look at definition of “evidence” again:

  • What are those things that will prove that we truly know Christ as our Savior & Lord?
  • What will we find in our lives that will make it plain or clear that Jesus is living in us & we are living for Him?
  • What kind of data could be presented from our lives that would give proof that we belong to Christ?


Evangelist Greg Laurie said this: “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By “evidence,” I don’t mean how many Bibles you own, or how many bumper stickers you might have on your car with Christian sayings on them. I mean hard evidence. If your family members, neighbors, and coworkers were interviewed and asked the question, “Is (your name here), in your opinion, a real Christian?” we might not be happy with the response.”

We have to be careful not to let this dissolve into a performance-based relationship. I’m not talking about doing these things in order to HAVE a relationship w/ the Lord – I’m talking about the things we do BECAUSE we have a relationship w/ the Lord. Sometimes we feel like we have to “do the dance to get the hug,” as Dave Busby used to say. If we aren’t careful, we can move into a place in our walk w/ God where we begin to believe that the only way we will receive His approval is if we act a certain way & behave a certain way. Truth is that, when we are in Christ – when we have trusted Him alone for our salvation, we are already completely accepted by Him – PERIOD! No performance is going to enhance that, & the no lack of performance is going to diminish that. Nail that down, Christ-follower! YOU ARE ACCEPTED BY GOD!!! Live out of who you are – totally, completely, unconditionally loved & accepted by God!

Now, don’t let the enemy twist that truth into a lie by leading you to think that you can act & live any way you want to since you are already accepted by God. That’s definitely not what we are talking about. We have an abundance of Scriptures that teach us & show us who we are to live as a result of being totally accepted by God. So we are NOT talking about being accepted by God. We are talking about the ongoing practices in our lives that give evidence of our ongoing relationship w/ Jesus.

  • These are things we are going to do BECAUSE we dedicated our lives to Jesus.
  • These are ways we are going to act BECAUSE we are accepted by God.
  • These are principles we are going to live by BECAUSE we are loved by the Father.
  • These are directions we are going to go BECAUSE we gave our hearts to the Lord.
  • These are evidences of an everlasting relationship w/ Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord!


We are going to strive for purity – v. 1-3 – Look at what John says in v. 1 & in v.2 – In those back to back verses, he repeats this foundational truth: WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD! This is our position now & it dictates how we are to live. That fact ought to dominate our thoughts & our lives at all times, & lead us to live lives of holiness & purity. Look at these verses:

  • 2 Cor. 7:1 – “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
  • Hebrews 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone & to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
  • 1 Peter 1:15-16 – “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
  • 2 Tim. 1:9 – “He has saved us & called us to a holy life…”
  • Romans 12:1 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy & acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
  • Psalm 24:3-4 – “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands &a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false & does not swear deceitfully.”

In our nation’s Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared that one of the inherent & unalienable rights of men is the “pursuit of happiness.” As children of God, we must realize that the preeminent desire of God & His demand on our lives is that we not necessarily pursue happiness, but pursue holiness. Our lives must reject worldliness, must remind others of His goodness, & must reflect His holiness.

In his book, The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges wrote, “To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible & in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.” This means we will continually strive for purity in our lives.

  • Purity in the things we allow our eyes to see.
  • Purity in the things we allow our ears to hear.
  • Purity in the things we allow to come out of our mouths.
  • Purity in the things we allow our minds to dwell on.

Which leads to the next point:


We are going to stop practicing sin & lawlessness – v. 4-6, 8-9 – Doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to sin. Already seen that provision has been made for us when do sin:

  • 1 John 2:1-2
  • 1 John 1:9

But it does mean that we aren’t going to make a constant practice of sin.

  • Matthew Henry: “He cannot continue in the course or practice of sin. He cannot so sin as to dominate him a sinner in opposition to a saint or servant of God. Again, he cannot sin comparatively, as he did before he was born of God, & as others do that are not so.”
  • Someone once said, “Christians aren’t sinless, but they should sin less.”

It is no longer going to be dominant focus of our lives. It is not going to be our lifestyle. Our mind is not consumed w/ thoughts of the temporary pleasures of sin, thoughts of how to sin & when to sin. We aren’t constantly making intentional plans to sin. John makes it abundantly clear in these verses that the person who continues to “practice” sinning & lawlessness doesn’t truly know Jesus. In fact, he gets even stronger in v. 8 when he says that the person who “makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” That’s serious business right there! When we sin, we are following in Satan’s footsteps, as if we are his offspring.

Listen to the way that the Amplified Bible translates v. 9: “No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.”

We just can’t keep on sinning after the “seed” of God – the nature of God through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in us has been implanted in us.

  • Yes, you can & still will sin, but you’ll be miserable.
  • Yes, you can & still will sin, but you’ll find that the fleeting pleasures of sin will leave you in a terrible, desperate condition.
  • Yes, you can & still will sin, but when you do, as Proverbs 26:11 says, you’ll be like a dog returning to its vomit.
  • Yes, you can & still will sin, but sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, & cost you more than you want to pay.

So, instead of practicing sin & lawlessness…


We are going to start practicing righteousness & love – v. 7, 10 – Here’s the progression:

  • Jesus is perfectly righteous.
  • He lived a perfectly righteous life.
  • He imputes His righteousness to you when you accept Him as Savior.
  • You begin to live a righteous life w/ Him as your perfect example.

Remember – We don’t start practicing righteousness so we will be accepted by God. There’s no way that that would happen. We simply cannot do that. We would have to live an absolutely perfect life for that to happen. No, we practice righteousness b/c we are already accepted by God. The righteousness of Christ is credited to us – imputed to us – so that, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but He sees the perfect righteousness of His Son. Our living out that righteousness in a practical, everyday way is the evidence that we have been changed & that we are the children of God. When we practice love toward others, we are giving evidence that we belong to Christ!


CONLUSION – Billy Bray – little, wiry coalminer in Cornwell, England. Lived a horrible, vile life before he came to know Christ in Nov. 1832. After that, though, was a flaming evangelist for the Lord.

Cluster of unsaved families lived on a mountain near his home. Billy would work underground all day, then come out of mines & head to that mountain where he would go door-to-door sharing the Gospel. Soon, every person on that mountain was saved, & a church house built.

Church of England sent Rev. W. Haslam to pastor those people. When Billy heard the new preacher preach, he was upset b/c he believed that the preacher himself wasn’t truly saved. Billy told him how he felt.

Haslam was shaken. Next Sunday, stood to preach, & announced his text, Matt. 22:42 – “What think ye of Christ?” As he began to preach, he came under conviction during his own sermon, & gave his life to Christ as he preached.

Billy heard about it & came to see the pastor. When Haslam answered the door, Billy asked, “Converted, kind sir?” Haslam: “Yes, thank God, I am.” Billy so happy, grabbed Haslam, picked him up & carried him around the room shouting, “Glory, glory, the parson’s converted! Glory be to God!” Haslam’s wife heard noise, came into room. Billy asked, “Be the missis converted?” She said, “Yes, thank God!” He didn’t pick her up, but grinned ear to ear & said, “Oh, I be so happy, I can hardly live. Glory! Glory be to God!”


CONCLUSION – So, question for you & me today: “Converted, kind sir?” “Be the missis converted?” If so, is there true & strong evidence in our lives?

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Sermon notes from 7/23/17 – “YOU Have an Anointing!”

YOU HAVE AN ANOINTING!”  1 John 2:18-27

 INTRO – When you think of anointing something, what comes to mind? If you’ve been around CWBC, you probably think about us anointing w/ oil when we are praying for someone who is sick. Why do this? We simply do it b/c the Bible instructs us in James 5:14 to do so. Don’t do it every time. Don’t have to. Nothing magical or mysterious about the oil. It may represent the healing power of God. Or it may refer to the medicinal qualities found in the oil. That’s not the point. The power is not in the oil, but in the obedience & in the prayer offered in faith, trusting God to do whatever glorifies Him the most in the sick person’s life, whether that’s physical healing in this life, or everlasting healing in heaven.

John says that WE have an anointing. What does he mean by that? Why is that important? What difference does it make in our lives today?


THE PEOPLE THAT OPPOSE US – v. 18-19 – I read about a reporter who was interviewing an elderly man on his 100th birthday. “What are you most proud of?” he asked. “Well, ” said the man, “I don’t have an enemy in the world.” “What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!” said the reporter. “Yep,” added the old man, “outlived every last one of them.” 

All of us are going to encounter some enemies throughout our life, some people who oppose us, especially if we are truly striving to live for the Lord. Chuck Swindoll: “When you enter the Christian life, you enter a battleground, not a playground.” There are a couple of things we know about opposition:

First, the Bible makes it clear that there will be opposition to Jesus Christ, the Gospel, & the followers of Christ. It’s always been that way, & will continue until Christ returns. Shouldn’t surprise us. In fact, it ought to encourage us & embolden us b/c the increase in opposition to the Gospel is just more indication that we are getting closer & closer to the triumphant return of Christ!

  • 2 Tim. 3:1-5 – “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.For people will love only themselves & their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, & ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving & unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel & hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, & love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (NLT)
  • 2 Tim. 4:3-4 – “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires & will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (NLT)


Another thing that we know about opposition is that the root of the opposition does not come from the actual people who are opposing us, but from our true enemy, Satan. We know that he uses people & we have to deal w/ those people, but our real struggle is not against them, but against him.

  • Eph. 6:12 – “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers & authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, & against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (NLT)


But John gives us the face of the opposition in these verses in ch. 2. It’s the face of the “antichrists” – antichristos. Real people who really oppose Christ & all who are His followers. There will be one who will be THE Antichrist as John says there in v. 18 that “Antichrist is coming.” Several translations say, “THE Antichrist,” & some capitalize “Antichrist” b/c it refers to a specific person who is talked about in biblical prophecy. Paul said in 2 Thess. 2:3-4 – “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” This is the false prophet & evil being who will arise & set himself up against Christ & the people of God in the last days before the Second Coming.

But John also said that there would also be “many antichrists,” false teachers who deny the deity & humanity of Christ. They were active back then & they are active in our day, forerunners to the supreme Antichrist who will come. They’re kind of like the artillery bombardments of an army that softens up the enemy forces in preparation for the main attack that will come.

“But, Jon, do we really have false teachers in our day?” Absolutely! Tim Challies wrote an article about modern-day false teachers in which he delineated 7 examples of modern false teachers (

  1. The Heretic – Blatantly teaches what is contrary to Word – Mormons, JW’s, Oneness Pentecostals, liberal scholars who deny Virgin Birth or the resurrection of Jesus.
  2. The Charlatan – Uses Christianity as a means for personal gain & profit. Many televangelists like Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, & Creflo Dollar.
  3. The Prophet – Espouses views & ideas that are outside the finished canon of Scripture – claim to have a “fresh revelation from the Lord.”
  4. The Abuser – Uses place of power & authority to take advantage of others. Many times, the abuser will use his position of authority to fulfill his/her sexual lust.
  5. The Divider – Uses false doctrine to divide & split churches. Had a man pridefully tell me once, “I split one church. I can split this one wide open.”
  6. The Ear-Tickler – Doesn’t care what God wants, but is only motivated by what man wants. A man-pleaser rather than a God-pleaser. Preaches a partial Gospel – lots of preaching about heaven, but little hell. Lots of happiness, but little of sin & suffering.
  7. The Speculator – Caught up in wild predictions, forecasting, & speculations. Heb. 13:9 – “Don’t be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” Lots of prophetic forecasting & date-setting.


How do we deal w/ these enemies of our faith, these antichrists who oppose us?


THE POWER THAT IS IN US – v. 20-21, 27 – I’ve told you before that Daddy used to always say to us boys, “Son, remember who you are.” Today, I want you to remember who you are, & also to remember what you have! And what do we have? WE HAVE AN ANOINTING! And that is the power that is in us!

God has promised that He will provide everything we need to be able to stand strong against the attacks that come against us, no matter where or who they come from. He provides for us by anointing us. And this anointing is the Holy Spirit who comes into us at the very moment we give our lives to Christ. This anointing confirms that we have been consecrated & dedicated to the Lord. Just as the OT priests were anointed to consecrate them & set them aside to serve the Lord, so you & I have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to consecrate us to the Lord.

3 things that this Holy Spirit anointing does for EVERY Christ-follower:

  1. Envelops you w/ protection – We receive the armor of God.
  2. Empowers you w/ strength – Eph. 6:10 – “Be strong in the Lord & in His mighty power.” That strength & power comes from the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Emboldens you w/ faith – Rom. 10:17 – “Faith comes by hearing & hearing by the word of God.”

If you are a Christ-follower, this is YOUR anointing! This is what YOU already have! This isn’t some special thing for the “super Christians” who have discovered some mysterious thing that us “normal” Christians don’t know about. This is what you have & who you are RIGHT NOW as a child of God! Victory over our enemies is won when we know who we are in Christ, when we stand on His truth, & when we walk & live in His anointing on our lives!



  • Abiding in the Son & the Father – Has a present-day application
  • Eternal life – Has a future orientation
  • W. B. Hinson, a great Baptist preacher in the early 1900’s. Just before he died, he said, “I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, ‘You have an illness from which you won’t recover.’ I walked out to where I live 5 miles from Portland, Oregon, and I looked across at that mountain that I love. I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God’s own poetry to my soul. Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting His lamps, and I said, ‘ I may not see you many more times, but Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great down pulling of the material universe!'”


CONCLUSION – Your anointing from God is the Holy Spirit. He makes it possible for you to stand in the face of your enemies. He reveals the truth of God to you. He gives you everything you need to live a God-honoring life. He gives you eternal life. Do you KNOW that YOU are anointed? Are you living IN your anointing today?

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Sermon notes from Monday night revival service at Union Church Baptist Church – “Why Revival?”

“WHY REVIVAL?”              Rev. 2:1-5

 INTRO – When I was a kid, if Daddy told me to do something, asking “Why?” was not a good idea!

But the question, “WHY?” is a good one to ask from time to time, particularly in relation to the things we do in church.

Sometimes we get caught in the, “Well, we’ve always done it this way” trap.

  • Nothing wrong w/ having traditions – A LOT wrong w/ traditionalism
  • Nothing wrong w/ doing the same thing repeatedly. Some things are commanded by God to do repeatedly in the church:
    • Lord’s Supper
    • Baptism

There are other things that most of us do in our Southern Baptist churches on an ongoing, repeated basis:

  • Lottie Moon & Annie Armstrong offerings

There are other things that individual churches may do repeatedly:

  • VBS
  • Christmas cantatas
  • Easter programs/sunrise services
  • Youth camp
  • Mission trips


I specifically said revival SERVICES b/c sometimes we can have a series of services w/out ever having revival.  That’s not my desire for this week, & I KNOW it’s certainly not your desire.

So we ought to ask, “WHY REVIVAL?” Why do these services? Why set this time aside?

  • It costs $ to do it.
  • It costs times to do it.
  • It costs energy to do it.


So, WHY REVIVAL? Take the word WHY & see 3 reasons:



The 7 churches in Rev. 2-3 that Jesus was speaking to very directly. 5 out of 7 needed to repent & turn back to the Lord. 2 received no correction or reprimand or reproof from the Lord: Smyrna & Philadelphia. All 5 of the others were reprimanded.

  • Ephesus – Had forsaken its first love
  • Pergamum – Holding on to false teachings
  • Thyatira – Tolerated Jezebel’s teachings – Giving it to sexual immorality
  • Sardis – Spiritually dead & asleep
  • Laodicea – Lukewarm faith


I believe it all boils down to the critical need in the church at Ephesus – FORSAKING OUR FIRST LOVE – Our primary love – Our priority love – OUR LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST!

  • Very vulnerable to false teachings if you abandon Jesus
  • Very vulnerable to immorality of all types if you abandon Jesus
  • Very vulnerable to falling asleep in your spiritual life if you abandon Jesus
  • Very vulnerable to a faith that is cooling off if you abandon Jesus

ALL of us are vulnerable to ALL of these things if we allow our love for Christ to falter.

  • Greek word for “abandoned” or “forsaken” means “dismiss, depart from, leave behind, let go, divorce.”



Our God is a giving God! I’m not talking about a health & wealth prosperity gospel mentality.

Our God gives to His children when we RECOGNIZE our spiritual condition & REPENT.

To everyone of these 7 churches in Revelation, Jesus promises some wonderful blessings to those who repent. They will be conquerors – one who prevails & endures & overcomes.

  • These were not perfect people. But they were humble, broken, repentant, obedient people.

2 Chron. 7:14 – Classic verse on revival. Tells us what our giving God will give to us when we will humble ourselves & pray, & seek His face, & turn from our wicked ways:

  • He will give us His attention – “hear from heaven”
  • He will give us His forgiveness – “will forgive their sins”
  • He will give us His healing – “heal their land”

In other words, He will give us REVIVAL!



Back to Rev. 2 – We see Jesus’ instructions to us to have the restoration & revival in our hearts that we so desperately need:

  • RECOGNIZE our true condition – v. 4
  • REMEMBER how it used to be – v. 5a
  • REPENT – v. 5b
  • REPEAT the things you used to do – v. 5b – Interesting that Jesus didn’t give a comprehensive list of the things we need to do. But He did tell us one time that the greatest commandment is:
    • Love God
    • Love others
    • If we get these right, we are going to experience His work in our lives.


DRAW A CIRCLE – Take a piece of chalk. Go outside into the parking lot, the sidewalks, the front porch of the church building. Kneel down & draw a circle around yourself. Then cry out to God to let the revival begin within that circle.

  • Not a gimmick
  • Just a broken, contrite child of God crying out to the Father for Him to revive their love for Jesus, forgive their sins, & restore their first love for Jesus! God will answer that sin! He will not ignore a broken, contrite heart!
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