“The Scriptures: Life & Light” (Matthew 4:12-17 sermon)

My wife Cheryl & I will have been married for 35 years on May 28th. (She has already informed me that we are not going to be here that Sunday — so I am informing you! 🙂 As you can imagine, with all those years together, she has a lot of stories to tell on me. One of her favorites is the time when we were living in Tulsa, and the control pad on our garage door opener wasn’t working. So we got out the directions to the control, and we were both looking at it, and I noticed that the directions were printed in several languages. So I started reading the directions in French, which I’d had in high school. As I read, I was really pleased at how well my French pronunciation sounded, even though I didn’t know what all of the words actually meant, and didn’t know what it was telling us to do. In the mean time, while I was reading, Cheryl, having read the directions in English, FIXED the control pad! (This will save Cheryl from telling each of you this story personally — we’ll just get it out there for everyone now!).

But those directions were not for “reading pretty out loud”; they were supposed to guide our actions. Unfortunately that little episode can be a parable of how many Christians are NOT using the word of God as we should. The scriptures were given to us by God to guide and direct our lives, and to point us to His saving light in Jesus Christ — but too many of us aren’t really using it the way that God meant us to. God’s word should serve both as the model for our lives, and as the guide to the Light we need to save us. And we see both of those things in our text for today in Matthew 4:12-17: Continue reading

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Don’t Miss The Holiness In His Grace

“And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.'” (John 8:11)

Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery was an amazing display of His mercy and grace, and the story has touched the hearts of millions who have heard or read it. But we must not miss the last sentence He spoke to her: His consequent admonition that she sin no more. Continue reading

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What Are You Teaching?

“So Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.'” (John 7:16)

Jesus did not “take credit”, in a sense, for His teaching; He said it wasn’t “His” but rather that of His Father who sent Him.  If you are a preacher or teacher of God’s word today, you should be able to say the same thing: Continue reading

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“A Time To Wait, and A Time To Act” (Matthew 4:12-17 sermon)

Ecclesiastes 3 says:

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven:
A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.
… a time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

One of the most beneficial skills we can learn in life is to tell what time it is; NOT the chronological time of the clock on the wall, but understanding God’s time; what He is doing in our lives, our family, our church, and in the world in which we live. In Matthew 3 we find that Jesus, at crucial junctures in His life, knew God’s timing. He knew both when to wait, and when to act. We can learn a lot from His example: Continue reading

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Does The World Hate You?

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” (John 7:7)

Jesus told His unbelieving brothers here that the world “hated” Him. Why? Specifically, He said, because He told them that their deeds were evil. They didn’t like what He was telling them, and so they hated Him.

This gives rise to a good question: Does the world hate YOU? If not, why not? Continue reading

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A Daily Recommitment

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38)

This was Jesus’ guiding principle for His whole life on earth: He did not come here — even as One who was fully God! — to exercise His own will and to do as He pleased. He came rather to do the will of the Father, instead of His own. This should guide our own commitment as well.  Continue reading

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Be Careful Who You Praise

“Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.'” (John 6:32)

Note how Jesus was VERY particular here about who was getting credit for the work of God in the world: “It is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.” It wasn’t “MOSES” who accomplished all of that good for mankind; it was GOD. We need to preserve that same perspective. Continue reading

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