Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sermon Notes from "The Important Thing" #RealJoy

Here are notes from my sermon today at Hesston MB.  It is based on Philippians 1:12-18.

The Important Thing

Philippians 1:12-18

Praise: What God has done at Philippi-As we begin this morning, let’s be reminded of the opening verses from Philippians 1 that were read during singing this morning.

·         1:3-Paul is thankful for people of Philippi. He remembers that God saved Lydia & the jailer, and how God worked miracles of casting out demons and prison doors being opened. 

·         1:6-Thankful to God who “began a good work will carry it on to completion

·         1:5,7-He is thankful for their support of his ministry

·         1:9-11-prays for their love to abound more and more & ends in verse 11, it is all to the glory and praise of God.

What God has done through Hesston MB over the years. Stories during sharing. As we celebrate 38 years, I would like to recognize the charter members who still attend. 

Persevere (vs. 12-14)

·         Is Paul’s response?  Optimistic, Pessimistic-which are you? Let’s watch two clips from Saturday Night Live characters that highlight the extremes. It seems Paul’s response is neither of these, but based on a joy & peace from the Holy Spirit.

·         Vs. 12-Paul encourages the Philippians that what has happened has advanced the gospel

o   his imprisonment which we would consider a bad thing has actually turned out for good.  How?

o   His imprisonment took Paul into contact with a select group of people, soldiers and Roman officials, who otherwise would have had no relationship to him,[1]

§  People in our world need to know “Christ died for sinners”

§  Charter members left what was comfortable and established relationships to come in contact with people in Hesston to proclaim “Christ died for sinners”

·         Vs. 13-What does it mean Paul is in chains for Christ?

o   He is in prison for sharing Christ.

o   The guard and people recognize Paul has not broken any law and has been imprisoned falsely

o   Paul recognized that all events could be redeemed for the Lord’s sake,[2]

·         Vs. 14-Because Paul is in prison, the brothers have become more courageous and fearless. 

o   Paul is not available.

o   Encouraged by how God has worked in spite of Paul’s circumstances. If the gospel can advance while Paul is in prison, then they too can point people to the gospel.

Preach (vs. 15-18)

·         Vs. 15-Some preaching Christ with bad motives (envy and rivalry) and good motives (goodwill)

o   Paul rejoiced in the message they preached, but he was grieved by the manner in which they delivered it. (David Jeremiah)

·         Vs. 16-Motive for one group was love

o   Are the things we are doing for God out of duty or delight? We DO out of gratitude and joy for what Christ has DONE. External action might be the same but the internal motivation is different.  Duty can eventually lead to pride or despair. Delight recognizes God working in us rather our works.

·         Vs. 17-Motive for other group was selfish, not sincere, stir up trouble for Paul-who is this?-Judaizers? I don't think so.

o   Paul’s aim was to glorify Christ and get people to follow Him; his critics’ aim was to promote themselves and win a following of their own.[4]

·         Vs. 18-The important thing (NIV), only in every way (NASB)

o   It mattered not that some were for him and some were against him. All that mattered was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ![5]

o   For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

o   For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

o   looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

·         Vs. 18-No matter the motive (false or true) Christ is preached!

o   Are we keeping the gospel (Christ died for sinners) as most important?

§  Or do we distract from the gospel with disagreements about Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, etc.

§  Or we focus on externals like you need to clean yourself up before you are welcome in church-we look at what they watch, listen to, what they wear and make judgments

§  We make moral issues (drinking, sexuality, abortion) more important than Christ or people. I am not saying these are not important but they are not more important than Christ being preached.

§  Is our focus on what we are doing for Christ or what He has done for us?

§  We let creation beliefs or end times or Calvinist/Arminian or Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Mennonite divide us rather than praising God for being united with Christ.

Closing: In what ways, have I become distracted from gospel message “Christ died for sinners”?

In Christ alone, you were saved. In Christ alone, you are made alive.  Because of Christ alone, you are redeemed, restored and reconciled. In Christ alone, you are holy, blameless, forgiven and righteous. In Christ alone, death, sin & Satan are defeated.  In Christ alone, you are loved.

[1] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 70). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[2] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 70). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 68). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 69). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 69). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What am I reading?

Currently, I am reading several books.  They are:
  • Life With A Captial L by Matt Heard
  • Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • Core Christianity by Michael Horton
  • On Being A Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard O. Forde
Here are some quotes from chapters I have read over the last week:
In other words, the righteousness of God revealed in his law condemns us, but the righteousness from God is a gift that we have in Christ through faith. And faith comes to us through the preaching of the gospel. (Horton)
When we rifle through the Old Testament narratives for moral examples, as if they were Aesop's fables, we miss the point...And in every narrative, God is the real hero of the story...In each instance, the purpose of the narrative is not to provide life lessons that we may apply directly to ourselves, but to see how God is fulfilling his purposes that lead history to Jesus Christ. (Horton)
The sinful heart is never transformed by conformity to the imperatives (commands) but only by relationship with the One who cleanses hearts. (Fitzpatrick)
Our sanctification is rooted in our union with Christ. (Fitzpatrick)
Worship is my active, all-of-life response to the worth of who he is and what he does. (Heard)
Our "I don't knows" can and must be a place of worship. (Heard)
The law humbles, grace exalts. The law effects fear and wrath, grace effects hope and mercy. (Forde)
It is important to see that the theologian of the cross moves to take up the question of despair only after hope in the grace of Christ has been announced. (Forde) 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What is the gospel?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have chosen the word, gospel, to think about and meditate on in 2016.  Gospel in the Greek literally means, "good news."

My best definition of gospel is the "life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ." I hope to have a deeper understanding of the word and definition at the end of 2016.

Check out previous posts on this topic.
because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.      (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:2-4)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playing on the Radio

Here is a song I heard recently on the radio.  It ties in with my post yesterday about Jesus as a friend of sinners.  Be reminded who Jesus is from this great song.