Sincere Milk Overcomes Sinful Minds
1 Peter 2:1-3
Sins to Avoid (1)
We must lay aside these sins if we are going to grow in Christ. Again, referencing Paul as he writes, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).
Sincere Milk to Desire (2-3)
The greatest way to stay out of sin is to stay in the Word. Beloved, do you desire the sincere milk of the Word of God? Without it, you will never thrive as a Christian.
Announcements for April 30, 2020
Do you remember Jonah? Have you ever wondered what happened to the Ninevites? Nahum records that story for us. In fact, Nahum was a large part of that story. Nahum prophesied to Nineveh, but this time without the plea for repentance. Nineveh had gone too far.
We can learn a few things from Nahum. First, we learn about the mercy of God (1:3). Second, we learn about the goodness of God (1:7). Third, we learn about God’s restorative power. Finally, Nineveh crossed a line. We should realize that God wants to restore and redeem us, but the possibility exists that we can cross a line ourselves. A person can harden his or her heart and cross a line bringing him/herself to a place where God will no longer call us or restore us (c.f. 1 John 5:16). Do not cross that line. Repent today. If you are not saved, be saved today. If you are a Christian who has fallen away, repent and be restored today. Do not waste the call God is extending to you. This time may be the last.
Take some time over the next day or two and read the short book of Nahum (A.K.A. Jonah’s Sequel).
Announcements for Tuesday April 28, 2020
The Value of Knowing Christ
Paul wrote that he counted everything as loss when compared to knowing Christ as Lord. Paul uses this passage as another way to point to the priority of Christ. Our relationship with Christ should come before anything, everything, and everyone. The value, he wrote, of knowing Christ as Lord surpasses everything. What value do you place in your relationship with Christ? Some people try to value Jesus only as Savior but not as Lord. However, this valuation is improper. Jesus is either Lord of all or he is not Lord at all in your life. You must receive him as Lord to claim the benefits he offers as Savior.
Paul then gave us a way to keep the mindset of valuing the knowledge of Christ as Lord above all. Paul said he did one thing. Forget the past and press forward. We must forget past guilt. If indeed we have submitted our lives to the Lord, he has forgiven us of our past sin. We must forget the guilt of yesterday. We must forget the grief of yesterday as well. We have all experienced shattered dreams and losses of the past. Paul said to forget those things. Lastly, we must past glory. A lot of people want to live in the glory of yesteryear. However, we should praise God for what he has done in the past and move on. God wants to do more great things in us and around us for his glory, but we cannot move forward if we are living in the past.
In verses 15-16, Paul told us that if we have anything in our lives contrary to this, we should allow God to reveal it to us. Repent of those things which decrease the value of knowing Christ as Lord. Do you put things like work, friends, or even family above Christ? Nothing compares to the value of knowing Christ as Lord.
Announcements for Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- Mark 12:31 Challenge
- Tornado relief items are being collected at the parsonage to be delivered to Hurricane Creek. Items needed include:
- Thursday Devotion at 7 PM
- Drive-in Church Sunday at 9 AM. Please remain in your cars and remember that the building will remain closed.
- The monthly periodicals such as Journey and Home Life have arrived for May. If you would like a copy of any of the monthly literature, please let me know.
- Youth Zoom Meeting Wednesday at 6:30 PM
- DVD Ministry
The Difference IT Makes
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Have you ever been asked, “What difference does it make?” Sure, you have. I have, too. My favorite saying related to this question is, “That don’t make a heal of beans!”
In thinking through the sweet salvation we have through Jesus, I thought one day, “What difference does it make?” Let me ask the question a little differently. When a person comes to faith in Jesus, what difference does it make?
The person’s eternal destiny is changed. Yes! Hallelujah! When we get saved, our citizenship changes. Our names are written down in Heaven. We are no long bound for Hell. Heaven is our home. However, is that the only thing that changes?
When we get saved, the control of our lives changes. Jesus died for us, so that we may live for Him.
When we get saved, our character changes. We become an entirely new creature. We are no longer the same as we were before God saved us. When our character changes, we are the same person in public that we are in private.
When we get saved, our conduct changes. We act differently. We don’t merely get a new hobby like church-going. We act like a completely different person!
Remember, we represent Christ. Therefore, at the moment of salvation, Jesus changes us and makes a real difference in our life.
Do you love Jesus enough to let him have complete control over your life?
Announcements for Thursday, April 16, 2020
Church, I love each one of you very much. Please let me know how I can help. Also, I’m excited about the possibility of seeing you on Sunday! I am praying for each of you!
Serving Christ by Serving You,
Getting the Most Out of “Those” Passages of the Bible
Sometimes, when reading through Scripture, certain passages are tough to read and to make it through them. Sometimes, we may find it difficult to get a blessing out of a passage. Maybe our time in the Word seems dry. Maybe we find ourselves in the middle of a passage that is totally confusing or seemingly irrelevant to our current lives. I confess! Some are harder than others. So, what do we do? How do we navigate those Scriptures? I have found that the best thing to do when reading through those areas of Scripture is to look for golden nuggets.
That is not to say that some passages are more useful than others. Remember that ALL of Scripture is useful (2 Timothy 3:16). However, some truths may be more readily relevant to our current situations. At the same time, other passages require a little more digging to uncover the golden nugget. Take for example the instructions for the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16-17. What did Jesus do for us on the cross? He atoned for our sin. Look at the scapegoat in Lev. 16:22. Aaron, the high priest, imputed the sin of the nation of Israel onto the scapegoat. The scapegoat bore the sins of the entire nation, then was led into the wilderness. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us? Yes, God laid on Him our sin. Jesus bore our sin on the cross. Jesus atoned for our sin. Ah! Did you see it? There’s a golden nugget.
Announcements for Tuesday, April 14, 2020
I miss you all. I am praying for you! I miss you. Let me know how I can help you! Keep on being the church without the walls! I am proud to be a part of SCBC and what God is doing through you!
Serving God by Serving You,
Anticipating the Lord’s Supper
Examine Self (Matthew 26:20-25)
Remember the Savior (Matthew 26:26-28)
Anticipate the Supper (Matthew 26:29)
Fresh Donkeys and Fresh Figs! (Part 2)
Mark 11:11-14, 20-26, 27-33; 12:1-12
Sunday, we looked at the original Palm Sunday. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus chose to ride a fresh colt into Jerusalem. We looked at what Jesus could have been wanting to communicate by this action. Simply, Jesus completely controlled that animal and the animal completely submitted to the lordship of Christ. In the next passage, Jesus teaches another lesson using a fig tree. We cannot understand the full breadth of the cursing of the fig tree unless we see it contrasted against the backdrop of this submitted creature – the fresh donkey.
Jesus was entering Jerusalem again on Monday. He was hungry, saw a fig tree, but found no figs. No surprise here, because fig season was not for another four or five months. The surprise came when Jesus cursed the fig tree! Why would Jesus curse a tree for not having figs when it was not even fig season? Could Jesus have caused figs to grow? Of course! The day prior he caused a fresh donkey to submit. He is sovereign over all of creation! However, he did not cause figs to grow. Why? He wanted to teach the apostles and us an important lesson.
Yes. The fig tree represents Israel. God’s chosen people should have borne fruit by now. One may look at it as March/April is too early for figs, but what about last year or the year before that one? They should have received the Messiah and submitted to His lordship. Instead, Israel rejected their promised Messiah. This truth is huge, but Jesus was teaching his apostles a more important truth for the days ahead.
The next paragraph detailed Jesus cleansing the temple. Time and again throughout Jesus’s ministry, He confronted the religious elite. Jesus called them out on their vain religiosity as if to say, “You are dressing the part, but you are worshipping in vain.” Jesus repeatedly confronted the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees because of their empty ceremonies – their worship without fruit. (By the way, people today can be the same way. People today can seem to have religion, even look like and talk like Christians, and still they lack fruit in their lives.)
After Jesus cleansed the temple, He and the apostles left the city. Then on Tuesday, heading back to Jerusalem, Peter notices the fig tree had withered up from the roots. Peter drew everyone’s attention to the fig tree. Jesus then teaches the important lesson to which He had been leading. He said, “Have faith in God.” He continued to speak about having faith, and if we have faith we can say to this mountain to be moved to the ocean, to which the mountain will obey.
What does faith have to do with a fig tree withering? Jesus was getting ready to confront the most elite and most religious people in Jerusalem. However, these people worshipped in vain. Jesus submitted Himself to the Father, even to the point of death. Jesus was faithful. He was teaching a lesson and getting ready to model that same lesson. Soon after Jesus’s death, the apostles would too face these elitist groups who worship God in vain. They would need faith. They needed to remain faithful to God. Jesus was preparing his apostles and us for the battle ahead. For Him, the cross waited. For the apostles and for us, our own cross and the mortification of our fleshly nature. We must die daily. And, that takes faith. In remaining faithful to God, we will bear fruit – just as the apostles bore fruit.
Read through the remainder of the chapter through chapter 12 verse 12. Notice what Jesus quoted? This is the Lord’s work, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Only God’s work in our heart can bring about the faithfulness that bears fruit. Are you submitted to him today? Pray, God increase my faith.
Remember, I love you! I miss you! I’m here for you! Let me know how I can help and how I can pray.
Serving Christ by Serving You,
Fresh Donkeys and Fresh Figs! (Part 1)
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” What a beautiful scene! Jesus riding into Jerusalem triumphantly on the back of a young colt. People laid down their coats and palm branches as Jesus passed. Everyone shouted praises to Him. I imagine most people thought that everything seemed perfect that day. However, what was Jesus thinking?
Let’s consider a few things. First, Jesus asked for a young colt that had never been ridden. One person described this colt as a “fresh” donkey. This colt had not been broken. Normally, if someone tried to ride an unbroken colt, it would try to buck off its rider and run away. However, Jesus is sovereign over creation. Jesus miraculously calmed the colt, so he could use it for His purposes. When we trust the Lord with all our circumstances and all our life, he gives us peace and calms us. Only with his peace and calm, can we fulfill his complete purpose for our lives.
Second, Jesus told his two disciples that if anyone asked about why they were taking the colt, simply say, “The Lord has need of it.” As these two disciples untied the colt, someone standing by asked, “What are you doing untying the colt?” We need to ask ourselves this question – Are we willing to sacrifice our projects and our possessions to the Lord’s purposes? Think about this colt a little more. Those men put in a lot of work to tie up that unbroken colt. No wonder they asked, “What are you doing?” when the disciples untied it! Just like that project, are we willing to sacrifice our projects for the purposes of Christ? When God asks as certain service of us, do we freely give it? Maybe, God is asking you to confess something publicly or give up something you’ve worked hard on. You should be obedient without reservation. The same goes for our possessions. Do you have anything that God is asking you to give up for His purposes? Be willing to sacrifice your projects and possessions to the Lord as soon as He asks.
Lastly, Hosanna literally means, “Save us, I pray.” Through the years of Jewish tradition, it became a term of praise. The Jewish people assumed that Jesus was entering Jerusalem to restore the Kingdom at that time. Not only did they miss the point of what was getting ready to happen (crucifixion), but the same people who cried our “Hosanna” on Sunday were the same people who cried out “crucify Him” on Friday. Do you remember 9/11? I remember on that day people were huddled together in prayer. Many thought God was using that tragedy to turn our nation back to Him. Our churches were full the Sunday after 9/11. However, they did not stay full long. A few short weeks later, as things returned to normal, people again stopped coming to church.
My prayer is that God will use this time to bring a lasting revival. May God use our present circumstances to honestly bring back to Himself a great number of people. If this revival is truly from God, it will last the test of time. Do not allow the promises you make to follow God fail when things go back to normal. Use these next few weeks to solidify your commitment to God. How? Determine now, in your heart, to attend the assembly of the church when we can once again gather. Determine in your heart to get involved and serve God through the local church. Make the commitment, now, to not turn back on the promises you are making to God today.
Lord willing, on Tuesday night, we will consider the Fresh Figs portion of this message!
I am praying for all of you! Please let me know how I can pray and how I can help.
April 2, 2020
Boxers, Go to Your Corners!
Jesus often retreated to a place where he could spend time alone with the Father. I don’t know about your house and your family, but for me and many others, life has been turned upside down these past two weeks. Then, I consider at least four more weeks! Wow! Is there an end in sight?
Jesus pulled away after a very trying time. People were fussing and “raging” (Luke 6:11). Instead of seeing the pharisees as evil bad guys here, consider viewing the scenario like this: the very people Jesus came to save were the people fussing and raging over him picking grain and healing on the Sabbath. Frequently, Jesus withdrew from even those he loved. He found a quiet place to get alone and pray. He spent time with the Father and drew His strength from God during those times alone. Also notice, when Jesus came back down from the mountain, He went right back to work. Our job is not finished! We have a mission, and that mission begins at home.
When tensions rise, find a place to “go to your corner.” Practice this separation periodically, yet in addition to your normal quiet time. We are made to be together, but we also are made for periodic rejuvenation by spending a special and extended time alone with God. You can survive this quarantine with your family! Draw your strength from God!
Remember, I love each of you. I am praying for you. I am here for you. Please, reach out if I can do anything for you. I am also working on better means of communication through the week. I hope to have something in place by the first of next week.
Serving Him by Serving You,