During a previous sermon, a church member asked me, “saved from what?” In this podcast, I’m going to talk about getting “saved.” Most if not all of you who are likely to be hearing this have already given your lives to Jesus. You may consider this a very elementary topic, but I have found over the years that even among sincere Christians there is a lack of understanding that makes it hard for us to communicate to those who may question the importance of the Gospel message. In fact, if we do not understand what it is we were saved from and why we needed saving, we may need to reevaluate what it was that we did when we prayed that special prayer. Certainly we will have an incomplete understanding of the grace and mercy given to us by God. It is my prayer that after listening we will have a greater comprehension of what Jesus did for us and a greater depth of knowledge from which to answer the question, “saved from what?”
This is another one I hope to do over sometime. I share it now because despite the rough delivery there’s good stuff in here.
Sometimes when I ware my old clothes around the house, my wife will say to me, “It’s not Sunday, why are you wearing your holey clothes?” I think that’s what we do.” We put on our holiness when we think others might see us, but we often don’t see that our “Sunday best” is full of holes.
When God gave Moses the laws for the children of Israel, He said repeatedly, “be holy.” Leviticus 19:2 says in part, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” Peter writes, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.'” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB)
What does it mean to be holy? Is it something we can do for ourselves? Why is it important? I’ll explore these questions in this podcast.
I don’t remember exactly when it was. I don’t remember very much of what he said, but one word came through loud and clear. I was a young teenager. The preacher was my dad, and the word was “go!” Preacher’s kids the world over have probably experienced this; that frightening moment of truth when the fact that you were daydreaming during Dad’s sermon gets exposed. He turns to you and asks, “what did I preach on today?” I remember this particular day very well. I’m sorry to say I was probably no more attentive than usual, but that sermon was quite pointed. I remember the sense of relief when my one-word response was deemed sufficient, “go!”
Now let’s put the word in context. We’ll begin with some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before going back to Heaven after his resurrection.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)
We’ll talk about what He told us to do, why it is so important, and what happens when we do it. Get your shoes on, because we’re going to go!
I’ll bet that even if you usually don’t read these, you opened up this one. I would have. That word “sinful” catches our eyes and we’re intrigued, even if we don’t know what we’re in for. I hope you would have reason to believe that you’re not really going to see something sinful, but if you’re like most of us your first response was not aversion, but curiosity.
Why is that? What draws us to things we would do better to avoid? Is it the devil? Is it a “sinful nature?” Sin is one of those Christianese words, but one the world is familiar with. However, I think even most Christians don’t really understand what it is. How many commercials have we seen where something is portrayed as so good it must be sinful. Herein lies one of Satan’s tricks. By getting us to equate all pleasurable experience with sin, he hides its true nature and sucks all the joy from our lives in the bargain. So, we’re going to talk about sin. I hope you’ll gain a better understanding of what it is, why you want to avoid it, how to avoid it and the only Reason why you can.
This is the first sermon I preached after being ordained. You can tell. But as I listened to it this morning God used it to remind me of things I needed to remember. I pray that it will bless you as well. ey you get to practice even as you listen. 🙂
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” If the Lord, through Paul’s letter, is telling us to rejoice, then it must be something we can choose to do. When you’re reading the bible and find that something gets repeated, that mean’s it’s especially important. Paul obviously considered this important because he said it twice. In This podcast, we will look at what joy is, why we should rejoice, and some practical things to help us do it.
Have you ever questioned God’s love for you? I hope that this message will help put that question to rest.
I hope you’ll take the time to listen to this one. I think you will be encouraged.
We talk a lot about putting our trust in God, and we should. He is the only one who will never betray that trust. I should point out that may not mean He does what we think He should do, but that’s another topic for another time. We can trust in His character and in His love.
When I decided to frame the message this way, it felt a little awkward. After all, God knows us. He knows all of our shortcomings. How can we even ask if He can trust us? Granted, it’s not quite the same kind of relationship, but He has chosen to entrust each of us with qualities, abilities, and assets that He expects us to put to work for His kingdom. We’re going to look at two parables that Jesus used to illustrate this principle. You may be more familiar with the one in Matthew 25:14-30, but there is a similar story in Luke 19:11-27. You may want to read both of them before you listen and make your own notes about the similarities and differences in the stories. They seem like very harsh words, and in deed there is a strong warning in them, but I hope you will also see the grace and generosity of our Lord shining through by the time we are done.
This is one of my earliest messages and the delivery is pretty rough, but I think the message is sound and I hope you’ll stick with me. What follows is is excerpted from the introduction I wrote for the church web site.
I do not operate in the gift of prophecy. I’m not even that much into studying prophecy. I believe everything in the Bible was put there for our benefit. That means we should study the prophecy scriptures, but those which tell of times beyond the one we live in make up a small part of the whole. We should not focus on end times to the exclusion of the things that show us how to live in the present. Yet I feel that we are being warned. Whether this is the time for all of the future prophecies to be fulfilled I will not guess, but it seems that our nation continues to move away from God. He will not allow our wickedness to continue forever. Real persecution is on the rise in this country, and I believe it will increase dramatically as judgment falls. If we will heed the warning and repent there is still hope, but I believe that we must endure a time of tribulation in order that we may turn back to Him. This message is in part to make us aware of what is going on around the world and call us to action, but it is also to prepare us for what is coming. God tells us clearly that the faithful should expect persecution. Our faith is about to be put to the test. Are you ready?
If every word that has been written were written on the sky, would the world see the sun? Man’s attempt to build the tower of Babel was thwarted by the Almighty. Man thinks to build it again with bricks of glue, paper and bits.
If every word that man has spoken were spoken all at once, would the world be deafened by the noise? Every man caries his soap box. How often he fails to see that the contents of his platform would benefit from an application of the former contents of his platform, but it is so much easier to carry when empty.
A word is an abstract thing. When written, a mere collection of letters. When spoken, a collection of sounds. A word may be seen, heard, even felt, but of itself it has no substance. Yet our world is defined by words.
What a paradox is the word. Words in the mouth of one are priceless, while the same words in the mouth of another are worthless. They carry the power of destruction and the power of creation. They are a murderer’s knife and a surgeon’s scalpel. They are a deadly poison and a healing tonic.
Oh that we would learn to give value to our words, for the power of the word is in the speaker. How often we toss them around like refuse, taking no thought for where they may land. We expect others to except them as truth, but fail to honor them ourselves. In our anger we throw them at the ones we love, and then don’t understand why they throw them back at us. We see our own bleeding and still fail to understand that the same thing that wounded us also wounded them. We grow our thick skin, which, while it may be less easily damaged, is also less able to feel.
Where is the truth? If we construct an understanding of ourselves and our world with words, where is the foundation that would support such a structure? What an amazing thing, that the creator of the universe would choose as one way to define Himself, “The Word.” The Word brought the earth into existence. The Word created man in His own image. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Word is life to us. It is His power delivered to us through His words that provides a standard by which the value of all other words may be judged. The paradoxical word, personified, purified and glorified, is Jesus Himself.
Read James 1:26, 3:1-12; Matt 12:33-37. Explore the Word with me in this podcast.
May The Word be the master of your words from this day forward.