Trusting Providence In A Fallen World (Matt. 2:13-23 sermon)

I hope that you are among those who had a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year — but I know that not everyone did. Our lives are often very difficult, and if you’ve never noticed, problems don’t usually take off for the holidays! I think of my mom & step father. He has just finished his treatments for a kind of bone cancer, and is doing ok with it right now — but his son is struggling with cancer as well — and over the holiday they discovered that his daughter now has a serious brain tumor. My Mom told my sister that if she came up for the holiday, she was going to have to bring Christmas with her, because there wasn’t much Christmas at their house.

And that is the world we live in, isn’t it? There is pain, there are hardships, and sickness, and death — even for the Christian. We are not exempt from suffering just because we follow the Lord — in fact, to be honest, sometimes we have MORE of those difficulties because we are His. But it is important for us as we face these things, to keep our eyes on the Lord, and to trust & obey Him. Our passage for today is very fitting for this time of year; it is a followup from scriptures that we often associate with the Christmas season: the visit of the magi to the young Christ, and the gifts they brought Him. We find here in the aftermath of that sweet visit a tragedy the likes of which many of us may never see — but we also find that even in these tragic times, God is still working in His Providence. And we need to learn here that we can trust God as we walk through our fallen world. Continue reading

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What Is Love?

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (I John 3:16)

Everyone has some idea of what love is: songs and poems have been written about it, and movies have attempted to portray it. But how can a Christian person know what love really is? John gives us the answer to that here in I John 3:16: Continue reading

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Walking As He Walked?

“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (I John 2:5b-6)

Many people in America today claim to be Christians, but this verse offers a searching challenge to everyone who does: Continue reading

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A Balanced Perspective On Sin

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1)

Here in the first verse of chapter 2, John teaches Christians to have a balanced attitude regarding sin: Continue reading

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Dear God’s People: Do Not Sin

“My lttle children, I am writing these things to you, so that you may not sin.” (I John 2:1)

The Apostle John was good about telling his readers his purpose for writing. In the Gospel of John he specifically stated that the purpose of his writing was that they might believe and have life in Jesus name (20:31). Here in his first epistle John says that the purpose of writing this letter is: “SO THAT (the purpose) you may not sin.” The whole purpose of this letter is to encourage God’s people to purify themselves from sin. The need for a letter like this has not changed in our day. Continue reading

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Newer Isn’t Better In Religion

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (I John 2:24)

Our culture is always looking for something new: the newest phone, the newest computer, a newer car, etc. But unfortunately this mindset has subconsciously trained many of us to look for “something new” in religion too, which is not healthy. Continue reading

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“NO Darkness AT ALL”

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)

John could not be more clear in what he asserts here, and we Christians — and some who just claim to be — need to hear what he is saying.  He “announces” that “God is light, and in Him there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL.” John makes it clear in the next verses that “light” refers to holiness, and “darkness” refers to sin.  Understanding this, John proclaims that there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL in God.  He pure, perfect, holy. There is no sin in Him. He is not the source of evil — which has implications for our theology. And he says that there is no darkness in Him — which has implications for our lives if we claim to follow Him. Continue reading

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