RSS

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #3- Sin!)

Do you ever get STUCK in SIN?  Me  neither.  But this post might help you and me help others who get stuck in sin.

This new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church (available on their website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) is looking at ten areas where we Christians get bogged down.

Let’s tell the truth — all of us get bogged down by SIN!  We might call it by other names, but our choices, habits, and thoughts are often quite different than what God wants for our lives.

Part of the problem is we aren’t sure what qualifies as a SIN anymore!  When our culture is our dictionary, defining sin becomes a moving target.  However, God’s declarations of what is sin and what isn’t must be the believer’s standard.  I love the following cartoon which illustrates the need to call things by name:

We need God’s Word to “clear up a few things around here,” don’t we?  Our tendency is either to redefine sin or to grade some sins as worse than others.  Of course, murdering someone is worse that thinking about doing them in, and actually committing adultery is worse than lusting after another person in one’s heart.  BUT, Jesus was getting at the heart of the matter in Matthew 5.  SINS are not just outward actions, but expressions of the inner man, one’s heart.

The main text we want to look at in regard to SIN is I John 1:5-10 which reads:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Just one point today from this text:  God is not the source of our SIN.  He is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.  In a world that would rather compromise the character of God than confess its transgressions, we must insist that the true God is holy, holy, holy.  And we aren’t.  (to be continued)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 19, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , , , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #2- The Scriptures) (con’t)

This new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church (available on their website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) is examining ten areas in which the Jesus-follower is prone to get STUCK!

Ever get STUCK in the Scriptures?  I don’t mean that you’re reading and forget where you are.  I’m referring to the whole concept of the believer and his or her Bible.

Some of us view the Bible incorrectly.  We might think of it as a holy horoscope or as a religious rabbit’s foot or as a fundamentalist fortune cookie.  We use it like a magic charm or a book of witty sayings.

But how does God’s Word present itself?  First of all, it is a hidden treasure.  The Psalmist says, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches” (Ps. 119:14).  He also says, ““The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Ps. 119:72).

Second, the Word of God is the believer’s food.  Job 23:12 tells us that he “treasured the words of [God’s] mouth more than [his] daily food.”  Jeremiah says, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Jer. 15:16).  Hebrews 5:12-14 has much to say to us about moving from milk to meat in our spiritual diet!

Third, the Bible is a collection of case studies!  Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  Wise is the Christian who studies … Joseph on the sovereignty of God (Gen. 45, 50), David on the steps leading to great sin (2 Sam. 11), Nathan on the steps in restoring a fallen believer (2 Sam. 12), Balaam on his matter-of-fact discussion with his donkey on doing the will of God (Num. 22), Three Jewish young men (Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego) on not committing idolatry no matter how many times the pagan king strikes up the band (Dan. 3), King Saul on God’s definition of true obedience (“Goats? I don’t hear any goats!” I Sam. 15), Isaiah on God’s hatred of empty ritual (Is. 1), Habakkuk on the absurdity of idolatry (Hab. 2), Solomon on the emptiness of life without God (the book of Ecc.), etc.

Fourth, the Word of God is the autobiography of God!  We don’t mean that everything about God is told us in the Bible (the Bible’s truth about God is sufficient, but not comprehensive). God does not “mature” or “age” or even “learn.”  We do mean that — a. The Bible discloses the mind and heart of God.  b. We learn of His passion for lost people (Mt. 23:37).  c. We learn of His care for His creation (Ps. 145; Acts 14).  d. We learn of His joy and delight in those He has redeemed (Ps. 147; Is. 62).

Fifth, the Bible is the divine agenda for the believer!  We are to become like Christ!  Jesus prays in John 17: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” We are to become useful to His Kingdom!  And this leads us to look once again at our main text:

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3)

Notice that God wants His children to be useful!  Each believer needs (at times) to be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness!   The writer Herrick Johnson asks, “If God is a reality, and the soul is a reality, and you are an immortal being, what are you doing with your Bible shut?”  Now go dive into His Word!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 18, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #2- The Scriptures

I sometimes get STUCK!  How about you?

We are beginning a new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church and want to look at a second area that buries the believer — the SCRIPTURES!

How do Jesus-followers get buried by the Bible?  For some, it is an awfully big book.  For others, their life experience doesn’t include the habit of careful reading.  Some only carry their Bible to church — or have it as an app on their phone.

The sixty-six books of the Bible ought to be a joyful resource for the believer.  Here’s our major text to prove this point:

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3)

Please notice Timothy’s heritage:  he had learned and become convinced of the truth of the Scriptures from his childhood.  His mother and his grandmother had invested in his life to teach him the Word of God and he had personalized that knowledge.  What he had learned had persuaded him of its truth.  What a fortunate and godly upbringing!

But notice Paul’s emphasis on the power of the Scriptures!  These books have the ability to make one wise for salvation.  I’m presently trying to witness to a fellow chess-player in New Zealand who clearly rejects the gospel.  He is not interested in salvation.  One must get lost before one can get saved.  I pray that he may realize his lostness!  The Word of God is able to impact a wisdom that results in salvation!  (to be continued)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #3- SIN!)

The believers at Crossroads Fellowship Church (crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) are receiving a series of sermons from me on the areas in which Jesus-followers often get STUCK!

This third area is easy.  We frequently get stuck in SIN!  Sometimes we euphemize it (use words like “My mistake!” or “My bad!”), instead of calling it what it is.  Our culture’s categories of sins seem to always be changing.  We rate some sins as worse than others and forget, as one writer put it, “there are no small sins before a holy God!”

Certain truths about SIN are undeniable in the Bible:
1. WE don’t define what a sin is — GOD does!
2. All sins (except rejecting Jesus Christ) are forgiveable!
3. Jesus-followers aren’t sinless, but are saints who sometimes sin!
4. God doesn’t want His children to languish in unconfessed, un-dealt-with sin!
5. We need to learn to confess our sins to one another!

Let’s think about I John 1:5-10 for a few moments:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Just a few preliminary thoughts on these verses:  Notice that God is not to be blamed for our sins (v. 5- He is absolute light with no darkness at all!).  Walking in fellowship with Him means we must turn away from the darkness of sin and live out the truth (v. 6)!  Such a life allows us to have true fellowship with one another, which includes the need for His purifying blood with regard to our sin (v. 7).  (to be continued)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , , , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #1- Salvation, continued)

Sometimes Christians get STUCK on the issue of SALVATION.  Really.  Getting saved in the Bible seems pretty straightforward.  Living out one’s salvation (“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling“, Phil. 2:12) is another matter.

In this series of messages for Crossroads Fellowship Church I am focusing on ten areas which bog down the believer.  Let’s look at our text on salvation one more time:

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3)

As a result of His saving work in our lives, we have become HEIRS and ought to DEVOTE OURSELVES to doing what is good (v. 8).  So often the Christian’s life is a bunch of words!  In the Broadway play “My Fair Lady,” the main character sings the following:  “Words, words, words!
  I’m so sick of words.  
I get words all day through
.  First from him, now from you
!  Is that all you blighters can do?”  Then she sings, “Sing me no song, read me no rhyme
, Don’t waste my time, show me!
  Don’t talk of June, don’t talk of fall
, Don’t talk at all!
 Show me!”  [There is one more stanza which reads:  “Haven’t your arms, hungered for mine?  Please don’t ‘explain,’ show me, show me!  Don’t wait until wrinkles and lines, Pop our all over my brow, show me now!”]!  We must SHOW our salvation by the DEEDS that we do!


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 16, 2017 in christian life

 

Tags: , , , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #1- Salvation, continued)

This new series of sermons at Crossroads Fellowship Church where I serve as part-time interim preaching pastor will focus on ten themes that are critical to the Christian life.

The first area, SALVATION, often raises questions such as: How do I know I am saved?  Can I lose my salvation?  What is the role of my works in salvation?  Let’s look once more at our main text in Titus 3:

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3)

We’ve seen our BC (“Before Christ”) condition (verse 3) which Paul describes using awful adjectives and words about our abominable actions.  Our IN CHRIST reality (“He saved us”) was brought into existence by His mercy, kindness, and love (not our righteous works) (verses 4-5).  Our salvation is described as “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  What powerful words!  WASHED! REBORN! RENEWED!  (to be continued)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 15, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , , , ,

STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #1: Salvation)

We are beginning a new series of sermons at Crossroads Fellowship Church where I am serving as part-time interim preaching pastor.  These posts (probably about ten or so in number) will allow me to think through the subjects that often seem to slow down or even halt the Jesus-follower in his or her life of faith.

The first area that sometimes sinks the believer is that of SALVATION.  One would think that “being saved” is a simple concept readily understandable.

However, I’m convinced that many Jesus-followers are actually trying to “pay God back” for their salvation, instead of living in the joy of having their sins forgiven.  Here’s the main passage I will be preaching on this Sunday:

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3)

Please notice —

First, our BC (“Before Christ”) condition:  We were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures (v. 3).  I call these the awful adjectives describing our spiritual state before conversion.  We then see our abominable actions also in verse 3:  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  Wow!  We did not merit God’s love or forgiveness.  (to be continued)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 14, 2017 in christian growth

 

Tags: , , ,