“Gaining The Glory” (II Thessalonians 2:14 sermon)

Samuel Rutherford was a Puritan who pastored in Scotland in the 1600’s. He was persecuted by the government for his Biblical beliefs, and was banished from his church. Rutherford is noted for many things, including his famous “Letters” he wrote to a number of his congregants while he was in exile — and also for the last words he uttered on his death bed. Just before he died, Rutherford was heard to whisper: “Glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land!” What was this “glory” that Samuel Rutherford looked forward to in his last moments here on earth, and how can we know that we have it ourselves? Our verse for today talks about that glory: 

“It was for this he called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Thessalonians 2:14)  Continue reading

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“The People of God” (Joshua sermon)

This week we will be celebrating the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of our nation. Most of us are very proud to be Americans, and are grateful to God for the blessings that He has given us through our country.  And yet, the greatest privilege we have, is NOT being the people called “Americans.” Our greatest standing is found in being The People of GOD. 

Usually on Sunday mornings we focus on ONE particular scripture which we read the previous week in our Bible readings. This morning we are going to deviate from that just a little bit, by looking at several passages across the great Book of Joshua which we have been reading, which together give us a picture of what we are supposed to be as the people of God.  Continue reading

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“The Children of God” (Deut.33:3 sermon)

Not everyone pictures a relationship with a Heavenly Father as being good. I just finished reading a biography of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. We aren’t as familiar with him today, but he was the most famous man in the world after he made that crossing in 1927. But despite his accomplishments, Lindbergh, by all accounts, was not the best father to his kids. He was a very accomplished man, so he expected much out of his children. He was always lecturing them, and setting very lofty goals for them. One son in particular rebelled against this, and for much of his adult life, he was totally estranged from his father. 

Because of earthly relationships like this, some of us here today may have less-than-good pictures in our minds of our Heavenly Father. Maybe you think of Him as a stern lecturer, or as a heavy taskmaster. But if that’s the picture you have, we need to correct it with the word of God. One of the verses we read last Monday in Deuteronomy gives us a Biblical picture of the relationship between God and His people: 

Deuteronomy 33:3 says: “Indeed, He LOVES the people, all Your holy ones are in Your hand, and they followed in Your steps and everyone receives of Your words.”

Here we find an amazing picture of the relationship between God and His people: Continue reading

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“The Misplaced Passion of Spectator Religion” (Jonah 4 sermon)

On this Father’s Day, many of us are remembering our dads — whether they are still with us, or like my dad, have gone on to be with the Lord. I can remember my father sitting in his recliner, watching tv or reading a book. The recliner is almost a recognized symbol of a Dad in the home. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing: especially for a man who works hard outside his home. Home can and should be a place where a man can put up his feet and rest from his labors, and be “at home.” 

But one thing the recliner should NOT symbolize, is our walk with the Lord. Christianity was never intended to be a “spectator sport” — the “La-z-boy” should not be the defining symbol of our faith — although unfortunately it has become that for way too many of us. 

In our daily Bible  reading in the Book of Jonah last week we find a picture of such a man; whose passions were misplaced, because he let his walk with the Lord deteriorate into a “spectator religion”. And unfortunately, this misguided man looks uncomfortably similar to us in too many ways!  Continue reading

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“Little By Little” (Deuteronomy 7:22 sermon)

I have a friend whose dad recently passed away, and now he has to deal with all his dad’s “stuff”: here’s a photo he posted on Facebook of just ONE of the storage buildings of his dad’s stuff. Someone might say: “HOW did he accumulate all that stuff?” Well, you know how he did it, don’t you? He didn’t just go out there one day with a semi truck and get a bunch of stuff and fill that building up. Hardly anyone ever does that. It just happened “little by little,” didn’t it? Just a few things he picked up off the side of the road; just “a little bit” from this garage sale; “a little” here, and “a little” there. It’s the same way with those “hoarders” shows — “little by little,” it becomes a LOT! 

Which leads us to the Book of Deuteronomy this morning. Our readings there this week have been so rich; there is the Shema in Chapter 6: “Hear O Israel, YWHW our God, YHWH is one;” “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD,” and more. But one verse that addresses a principle that many of us need to understand about how God works, is found in Deuteronomy 7:22, where God tells the people of Israel through Moses how He will help them take the Promised Land. He says: 

“The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly; for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into confusion until they are destroyed.”

That phrase in :22 is a key one: “little by little.” How would God give them the Promised Land? Not all at once in “one fell swoop;” but “Little by little.” This reveals a spiritual principle: that God often works — not only in Israel, but in our lives too — “little by little.” Continue reading

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“The Biggest Problem You Have” (Luke 5:17-26 sermon)

What is the biggest problem you have?  Most of us probably had something just come to mind. Maybe it is a health issue you have; or a relationship that is giving you trouble; or a financial burden; or a problem at work; something right now is the biggest thing in your mind; the biggest problem you have. 

But our passage today shows us that your biggest problem may not be what you think it is. It wasn’t for the people in Luke 5 — and it may not be for you either. Let’s look at what these verses teach us about our biggest problem: Continue reading

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Are You Shifting The Blame?

“The people spoke against God and Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” (Numbers 21:5)

Numbers 21:4 says the people of Israel “became impatient because of the journey” in the wilderness. But as people often do, they vented their anger in the wrong direction. Continue reading

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