“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

This verse reminds us that God intends for us to share the joys and pains of the members of our church family.  This is no “formal”, casual relationship we are to have there.  We are to truly be family for each other — and that takes more than an hour or two a week to build. The bottom line is, we are to DO LIFE TOGETHER with those in our church fellowship, feeling their pains, and celebrating their victories together with them.   Continue reading

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“Forgiving Each Other” (Ephesians 4:32 sermon)

The cross of Jesus is the center of Christianity. The basic message of Christianity is that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” — and He died for our sins on the cross. Paul called the gospel “the message of the cross” because the cross is so central to Christianity.

But the cross symbolizes something else as well: it also pictures the two very important kinds of relationships that Christianity impacts in the life of its followers: the vertical bar of the cross points us towards heaven, indicating that it makes us right with God, and the horizontal arm of the cross reminds us that it also impacts our relationships with other people as well.

Last week, we looked at how the word of the cross saves us and makes us right with God. This morning, we are going to follow that up by looking at how the gospel should affect our horizontal relationships with others as well. We find a great scripture that addresses this at the very end of the fourth chapter of Ephesians, verse 32. This verse is pure gold for Christians of every level; it is one of the first verses we teach our smallest children in Sunday School, and yet it challenges the maturity of the most experienced saint:

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Continue reading

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“Pursuing” Hospitality,

Following the famous command in Romans 12:1-2 to offer holy lives to God because of our salvation, the chapter begins a list of commands describing the way that followers of Jesus Christ are to live. Verse 13 is one of those: “Practicing hospitality.”  The original Bible words give us some extra insight into the command: Continue reading

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Praying For The Lost (Romans 10:1 sermon)

I was sitting in a small group lesson a few years ago, when the missionary who was leading it made what I felt like was an unusual request. She asked the students: “Can anyone name a verse in the Bible which tells us that we are supposed to pray for lost people?” No one responded, so after a few seconds I chimed in: “Well, Romans 10:1 says, ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.'” With a note of resignation she said, “Ok, that is true …”. It turned out, she wanted to make the point that the Bible tells us that we should be praying for OURSELVES as witnesses, not for the lost to be saved. And it is true that in many cases, the Bible does tell us to pray for boldness, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and for open doors to share. But Romans 10:1 also clearly demonstrates that we are indeed to pray for the lost. Paul did. He said here: “My heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”

I believe that one of our shortcomings as Christians is in this area of praying for the lost — and that our failure to pray this way is also a symptom of some other shortcomings in our lives as well. Let’s look at what this verse has to show us tonight about praying for the lost: Continue reading

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The Unavoidable Consequences of Sin

In Isaiah 1:4 God laments the sin of His people Israel — a lament which unfortunately could apply to our own nation: “Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity.”

There are actually SEVEN descriptions of the sin of God’s people in this ONE verse: Continue reading

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Giftedness & Humility

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”  (Romans 12:3)  Just before Paul encourages each believer to use their spiritual gift, he gives this word regarding the humility with which we are to use them: Continue reading

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“The Message of the Cross” (I Cor. 1:18-24 sermon)

A few weeks ago we installed a new wooden cross over our baptistry. Many people have commented that they like it — but some might ask: why would we put a cross here in our worship center? The answer is that the cross is the central element of Christianity. It is the most important symbol of our faith, because it represents the message that is at the heart of the gospel, without which there would be no Christianity at all.

The gospel in a nutshell is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. The cross is central in that message. Because of that, I want us to spend some time this morning looking at I Corinthians 1:18-25 together, as we study “The Message of the Cross.” Continue reading

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