Archive for the 'Hope' Category

13
Mar
09

God’s Word brings Life

Obeying God’s Word brings life to a dead world.
A pattern arises…
Disobedience brings death.
Obedience brings life.

Adam’s disobedient life – brought eternal death.

Romans 5:12-15 (ESV)
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Christ’s obedient life – brought eternal life.

Hebrews 5:7-9 (ESV)
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

The pattern arises from Genesis.
Genesis 6:22
Noah – obeyed God’s word and brought life. (To a physically dead world)
Noah was saved by faith in God’s word.
Genesis 12:4
Abram – obeyed God’s word and God brought him life.
Abram was saved by faith in God’s word… what saves us today?

In Abram we see God grant righteousness and faith to an undeserving man.
Through this gift from God we see a miracle nation (Isaac’s birth) brought forth by this man’s obedience. This nation “Israel” was set apart by God to proclaim to the world and “fill” it with the good news and testify to God’s grace and glory.

Israel was set apart first in the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision Gen. 17:9-11 this was a physical mark on their bodies to set them apart but it represented a spiritual separation an unseen-inward mark.

Later Israel was given outward marks to distinguish it from the world – the Law of Moses. These Laws and rites distinguished Israel from the Gentile world causing them to stand out or to be “an outstanding example to the world”.

Ultimately through Abram a Savior would come.
Jesus Christ would bring eternal life to all those who believe as Abraham did by “faith alone” in God’s word.

Romans 4:9-16 (ESV)
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all, who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

We too are called to live separated lives from this world not by works of the law but by faith in the One who fulfilled the Law perfectly. The Lord Jesus Christ imputed His righteousness to our lives through His substitutionary life and death on the Cross and transforms us inwardly and outwardly by grace.

1. Inwardly (circumcised hearts)
Colossians 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

2. Outwardly (distinct from the world – “sanctified, set apart for holy use”)
Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

v.13 -“waiting for” – this is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ.
v. 14 -This looking forward to Christ coming does something in us just as it did in Noah and Abraham. It produces zealous, pure workers that eagerly long for God’s glory to be revealed.

What kind of workers are we today?
Are we set apart from the world?
Are we obedient even in the face of persecution?

Like Noah and Abraham we are called out from this world to declare who our God is and share this knowledge with others.

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We must live in this world in such a way that our lives can testify to who our God is and then we in our obedience can bring others to see the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ and His gift of eternal life.

In Genesis we are commanded to fill the earth.
(Both physically and spiritually with the news of who our God is.)
1. Adam was commanded to – multiply and fill the earth…with children who would pass the knowledge of the true God on to others.
2. Noah was commanded to do the same.
3. Abraham was commanded to declare who God was by being separated from the world and to raise a nation who was set apart from the world around them
(A lighthouse to shine God’s truth in the dark world).

What does all this mean to us today?
How do we fill the earth with the knowledge of God today?

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We have been given a command to go into the world today.
We must live out this message in obedience to Christ command.
Go to into the world but do not be conformed to the world.

We share this message with individuals.
Make disciples – evangelize and follow through.

We teach this message to the Church corporately.
Teach the Word. This is how we are to fulfill the command.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

06
Mar
09

Declare His Glory!

Psalms 96:1-13 (ESV)
1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

10
Feb
09

Raising Children with Hope in God!

Helpful words about ministering to children from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The church and the home provide an environment where God often does His saving work in the heart. Our obedience to God and our faithfulness as parents does not ultimately save our children from wrath, but it is very often the means by which God saves our children.

Similarly, our disobedience and unfaithfulness as parents does not necessarily condemn our children, but is often the means by which our children are led to destruction. God has ordained that parents bear the responsibility of acquainting their children with the Word of God and the life of faith.

Our success in this endeavor matters more to Him than it does to us, and He has made all the resources of heaven available to us. Therefore, we as parents and as a congregation must be faithful to teach our children to fear the Lord and to keep all His statutes and commandments and to love the Lord with all [our] heart . Statutes and commandments can easily be taught so that a child can remember them and repeat them back. We can also train our children to conduct themselves in certain ways and to maintain behavior which portrays godliness.

However, teaching them to fear and to love God in the fullest sense of those words is our greatest challenge. We want our children to not only know the truth but to embrace it with all their hearts lest it be said of them:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, or give thanks to Him. (Romans 1:21) or
They profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16)

Our children can know all about God. They can know endless Bible stories, and even have vast portions of Scripture memorized and yet not honor God or have fellowship with Him. They can live their lives knowing who God is and yet never meet Him until they meet him at the judgment seat and hear Him say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.”

When we teach children we must aim for their hearts as well as their heads. We feel that more effort needs to be made to raise the expectations of parents and teachers of what God might do in the heart of a child in response to hearing the truth.

The prerequisite for nurturing faith in children is that parents and teachers must love God and love His word. It is almost impossible to teach something you have not experienced.

Children will not be excited about God unless those that are teaching them are excited about God. God will not be real to them if He is not real to us. If God is not real to the parent or teacher, if His word is not treasured and respected, then transferring a love for God and His Word is almost impossible.

Therefore, parents and teachers must be diligent in keeping their own hearts alive for the sake of their children.

A healthy love and fear of God is more easily cultivated in children that have a healthy love and fear of their parents. It is very difficult for children to learn to honor God if they defy their parents and resist their authority. It is very difficult to nurture a reverence for God and humility before Him when children are permitted to treat parents and adults in general with disrespect.

As a church we must be very earnest in our efforts to help our people be courageous parents. The permissiveness that is encouraged and taught in our culture, and which is rampant in the American church and evident in our own congregation, not only makes life miserable for those who have to be with our children but can lead our children to destruction.

Discipline your son while there is hope; do not set your heart on his destruction. Proverbs 19:18

We can model, teach and discipline in a way which encourages the heart to respond but only the Holy Spirit can effectually change the heart of the child. Therefore, priority must be given to intercession in any ministry to children and their parents.

Bethlehem Baptist Church

04
Feb
09

Glory in our Redeemer

I was recently talking with someone who made a trip down from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and was reminded of how the mountains throughout that state declare God’s glory and righteousness. My family loves to go to Colorado and marvel at the wonderful mountains we always look forward to our first glance and then can’t wait to climb to the peak and survey the wondrous landscape God created.

Every trip we make up to Colorado reminds me of how awesome our God is when I see the heights of those mountains and remember how and why they were created.
I am reminded that those mountains were pushed up from beneath the earth by the judgment and wrath of God against sinners during Noah’s flood and then my mind rushes to another mountain that displayed God’s mercy and grace.

I am reminded of how on another mountain God reversed the curse of sin by pouring out His holy wrath on the sinless One in our place. On that mountain called Calvary where my Savior bled and died God’s wrath was fully satisfied in the death of His Son and many sinners were rescued from the flood of God’s wrath. I am also reminded as I write this of how Jesus was buried in the earth yet He burst forth higher than the mountain peaks and ascended to His rightful place at the right hand of God to rule and reign over all creation!

One day that same Jesus the risen Lord of creation will come back and purge this world once again with fire against all who do not trust in Him. On that day He will reveal His full glory and righteousness for all the world to see and then every man and all creation will bow and cry out that “Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father!” Some people will say this because they have trusted in Jesus as Lord and they will enter into eternal peace with God and live in the light of the Lord Jesus forever. Yet others will have their knees bent though because they will not willingly acknowledge Jesus as Lord today and they will enter into God’s eternal wrath and that will be the darkest day in all human history for them. At the darkest moment in man’s future history Jesus will pierce the darkness as lighting splits the sky and declare His glory! When Christ returns from above some will marvel at His Light and others will tremble but all the earth will see the glory and righteousness of our God and Savior.

“The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.”

Ps. 97:1 The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!
2 Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 A fire goes before Him, And burns up His enemies round about.
4 His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.

Glory in our Redeemer, who came and is coming again!

Pastor Randy

04
Feb
09

He Crushed Him!

By means of encouragement and to help you enjoy fresh grace today please take some time out of your day and read the following passages of scripture. While reading this text ponder the suffering Savior who left heavens glory to suffer and serve.

Isaiah 53:1-12 (ESV)
1 Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Think about how the weightiness of your sin and how your utter hopeless condition was removed when Jesus filled with compassion left His place of honor in order to bring you the hope of heaven.

Dwell on the loving-kindness of God who sent His Son to take your place to be the payment for your sin. The holy, beloved, willing, perfectly glorious Son of God came and was despised and rejected by you and me. Our hearts were blinded by sin and we could not see His beauty and grace. But God intervened through sovereign love and opened our eyes to see our sin and through the love of His Son He changed our depraved disposition.

God the Father crushed Jesus, not you and me what kind of love is this?
“Amazing love how can it be that Thou my God shouldst die for me!”

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus bearing our sins was crushed by the Father and the crushing of the Holy One produced a sweet smelling aroma of life unto life that has now been granted to all who believe and trust in the Lamb of God who gave Himself up for us!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Pastor Randy