A Friend Indeed

Who can advise you as to how you should respond to a friend who is going through a difficult trial? Who better than the Biblical character Job, who knew something about it? In Job 6:14 he speaks a word for those of us who would be comforters to our friends: Continue reading

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What God Brags About

When Satan appeared before God in Job 1 & 2, the Lord had a word for him. Both in 1:8 and 2:3, He asked him, “Have you considered My servant Job?” This is a living example of what Psalm 147:10-11 says, “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. YHWH favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness.”

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A Friend Who Is Near

When distress is near, you need God to be nearer still. This was David’s desire in Psalm 22:11, where he prays: “Be not far from me, for trouble is near.” Notice the parallel: the “trouble” (the Hebrew word can mean “distress”) is near, so he also needs God to be near! He asks Him not to be aloof or distant.

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“He Will Save His People From Their Sins” (Matthew 1:21 Sermon)

(Preached at Mt. Home Baptist, Morganton, NC, and FBC Pauls Valley, OK, December 2014)

C.S. Lewis wrote of an interesting experience that his brother had one Christmas season. He said Warnie was riding on a big English double-decker bus one day, and they passed a church with a manger scene outside of it. Warnie overhead an English lady exclaim: “’Lor’, they’re dragging religion into everything these days: look, they’re even dragging it into Christmas now!”

Well, as you and I know, we’re not “dragging” religion into Christmas; the true meaning of Christmas is about what God did for us in Jesus Christ, that baby in the manger. What did He come to do? We get the answer to that in our passage for this morning, Matthew 1:21, where the angel told Joseph: “You shall call His name ‘Jesus’, for He will save His people from their sins.”
What is the significance of this saying? The name “Jesus” (or “Yeshua”) means “Yahweh is salvation”; so in calling the baby “Jesus” they were saying that God was saving His people through Him. But the angel specifically said that He would save His people “from their sins.” What does this mean, “He will save His people from their sins”? All of us have sinned, the Bible says (Romans 3:23). We have done things that were wrong, said things that were wrong, thought things that were wrong, and had attitudes that were wrong. Sin has numerous destructive effects in our lives. Sin makes us guilty before God for the wrongs we have committed. Sin enslaves us in its power. And sin would separate us from God and His holy heaven forever. But when Jesus came “to save His people from their sins”, these things were reversed! Let’s look at what it means that Jesus came “to save His people from their sins”:

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Are You Turning Away From Evil?

Job 1:1 says that Job “was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” That phrase “turning away from evil” is an important one, which should challenge each of us:

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Whose Birthday Is It?

In Boca Rotan, Florida, several years ago, a 6-year-old boy who was attending a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese was left at the restaurant by his parents after the party. The child went into state custody, as the parents did not discover the child was missing until the next day!

Inconceivable as it might seem that a child might be forgotten on his own birthday, pretty much the same thing happens every year at Christmas time. Ostensibly, Christmas is about the birthday of Jesus, but He often gets left out of many of our plans and celebrations. Continue reading

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Lay Down Our Lives?

I John 3:16 says: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for our brethren.” This verse should challenge those of us who claim to be Christian brothers & sisters. It commands us to “lay down our lives” for each other. This sounds like a noble idea in principle, but it actually plays itself out in the little details of life which are not nearly as glamorous.

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