Posts belonging to Category Sermons

I hit the mother lode!

I developed an appreciation for Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones after hearing so many of my long-distance mentors (Doug Wilson, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, etc.) speak highly of him. He was a great preacher but for a long time the availability of his sermons was severely limited, as in one sermon a week made available and the previous week’s sermon removed.

I recently checked again and found that all of his sermons are now online for free from the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust. This is a blessing I plan on taking advantage of.

Prayer resources

This is the list of prayer resources I spoke of yesterday in the afternoon sermon.

The Book of Common Prayer (Anglican)

Matthew Henry’s A Method of Prayer (Reformed)

John Haberman’s Morning and Evening Prayer for All Days of the Week (Lutheran)

No more murder – Matthew 5:21-22

It is with great gladness that I can say that no one in this room has ever been accused of murder. It really does bad things to one’s reputation if you’ve been accused of murdering someone.  Getting a job is hard; getting a spouse is even harder. Murder is all around us today. Local and national news stories profile murders of famous people, while the murders of lesser known people only receive a passing mention in local papers.

Having just called the people in the Sermon on the Mount to live a righteous life, Jesus begins the application of what it means for your righteousness to exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees. And He begins with an area that most people would think doesn’t apply to them at all:  murder.  No one likes murder; it’s a crime in all civilized and even uncivilized countries, yet it happens. However since most of us have never been close to committing this sin, we’re prone to think, like those who at the time heard Jesus, that this doesn’t apply to us. We mistake the fact that murder, like all sin, comes not from the outside but the inside.  (more…)

Keeping the law

If you knew someone was lying about you, what would you do about it? If you knew that a lie was causing people who knew you problems, and was causing you to lost your reputation, what would you do about it?  And what if the lie was being spread by both your enemies and your friends?  We would be upset, irritated, or downright angry. There was a lie many were telling about Jesus during His ministry.  Sadly, many of His followers still tell that same lie about Him, not on purpose but because they don’t assimilate everything He said.

That lie is that Jesus spoke against God’s law. His enemies in that day said that He was changing the law, that He was creating a division between Moses and the prophets with Himself.  They said Jesus was inventing new laws and abolishing the old ones and teaching men to do the same.  He was about to give further exposition of the law given to Moses, and He wanted it to be clear that He wasn’t changing or getting rid of anything. Instead of coming to destroy everything, He came to fulfill it.  To quote from the notes in the Geneva Bible, “Christ did not come to bring any new way of righteousness and salvation into the world, but indeed to fulfill that which was shadowed by the figures of the Law, by delivering men through grace from the curse of the Law: and moreover to teach the true use of obedience which the Law appointed, and to engrave in our hearts the power for obedience.” (more…)

The problem of evil and the hope of God

This is a sermon I gave a couple of years ago.  With the bombings in Boston, it was a reminder that we will never escape the problem of evil and that we need to face it honestly and accurately.

  • This is a time when Christians are posed with the question: why?  Why would God allow such a thing?  Or, “How could a God of love cause this?”
  • That question has been posed to me this week more than once.  Maybe it has been posed to you.
  • If someone asked, how would you respond?  It is important for a Christian to have an answer for such a time as this.
  • But many of us are struggling with the same questions.  Why would God allow such things?
  • You can’t look at the damage, the grief, and the pain of people and not be moved.  It’s not just others, we want to know.
  • What’s God up to?  He could have stopped it.  If you believe along the lines of the historic Baptists, you’d even say that God is the first cause of these things.  So what’s the answer?  It lies in the beginning.

I want to offer three conclusions about the problem of evil and three reasons why God allows it. (more…)

Battling the bully of guilt – Revelation 12:10

One of the blessings we have in living in the Kingdom of God is that the one who would accuse us before God is cast down.  He has no place before the Almighty.  When Jesus established His kingdom, He cast Satan down.

But guilt still plagues us.  It would rob us just as it did Little Faith in Pilgrim’s Progress.  We must stand up to guilt in the strength of Christ and not allow it to rob us of what we’ve been given.  Tonight I want us to see how guilt operates and how we are called to fight it.

Guilt is quite similar to condemnation.  It is determined by what we have done.  If you committed a crime, you stand guilty.  God’s word says we all stand guilty before God – Rom. 3:19.  Men know that have offended God’s holy laws.  The guilt is there and they must do something about it.  The ancients made a practice of placing the guilt on someone in society.  This is clearly documented in the books by French philosopher Rene Girard.  There would be regular sacrifices to appease the guilt of the people.

God gave Moses sacrifices as a picture of what He was doing with their guilt.  He gave a scapegoat who would bear the sins of the people.  Before the “scapegoat” in other societies was a person; now it would be an animal.  The final scapegoat would be Jesus who would bear the sins of God’s people.

Jesus is our guilt-bearer.  (more…)

The Spirit of Reformation and Revival – II Kings 22:8-13, 19-end, 23:1-4

We see here the people of Israel had fallen away from the faith, but they were restored by the discovery of the word of God.  Reading the word, humbling themselves, and submitting to the word brought revival of the people of God.

  • We can’t manufacture it alone.  We need the Holy Ghost to come upon us.

We must begin where Josiah did:  the reading of the word. (more…)

God became man

How do you explain love? What does love look like? We can see examples and displays of love but we can’t turn love into a concrete object to put on display. This was the Greek understanding of the term “Word” used in John. The term, “logos” in the Greek, is here translated “Word.” It means the reasoning, the music, the expression, the being of God.

We’ve adopted many Greek ideas about who God is. We see Him as ethereal, otherworldly, totally outside of us and, if you look at how we act and pray, we think He’s totally removed from us. That’s what’s so scandalous about John’s opening words. This idea, the logos, became flesh. He became man and is with us. How can He be God and become man? Because He is three united as one. This is in itself a miracle. He was the promise to save the world. He didn’t just extend Himself, He gave up His glory in heavenly places to join with us.

What does it mean that Jesus, very God of very God, became man? (more…)

Walking free from bitterness

What must we do in order to walk free from bitterness?  It isn’t impossible, but it does require that we submit ourselves to God.

Open yourself up to God’s conviction – Psalm 139:23-24

  • You must be willing to open yourself up to God.  It is not easy, but give Him access to every area.
  • Rest assured He will bring your sin to your mind.

Confess your bitterness to God – I John 1:9

  • It is sin to hold it in.  It’s not enough to talk about what that person has done.  You must give submit it to Him.
  • You probably have given this area to Satan for a while and it will not be easy to let it go.
  • When you think of something that someone has done to hurt you, confess it to the Lord.  You may have to do this over and over again, but submit it to Him until there is no pain associated with that memory.
  • Other memories will come to mind as well, and confess those also.

Don’t justify yourself or your anger – Matt. 18:21

  • We can think that it’s okay for us to be angry because what that person did was wrong, but Jesus said to forgive.
  • We want a reason to hold on to our hurt because we think it gives us control, but it doesn’t.  Instead it gives control to Satan.
  • We think we can protect ourselves by not forgiving but only God can truly protect us.
  • Our devotions, our prayer life, our relationships, and our worship will not be what it should be unless we confess it as sin instead of justifying it.

Forgive that person – Matthew 18:32-35

  • Our flesh again creeps here.  What we call forgiveness and what God calls forgiveness are two different things.
  • We think forgiveness is speaking the words and not demonstrating anger toward that person anymore.  We still hold onto a little bit and justify it by saying, “I’ve forgiven but I can’t forget.”
  • I challenge you to find that in Scripture.  Forgiveness means not holding something to someone’s account any longer.
  • I realize it may not be possible to immediately forget, but if you can still remember the exact thing over a period of time, you haven’t forgiven.

Confront the person if they have sinned against you – Matthew 18:15-17

  • At this point we must be careful.  First of all, our confrontation must be from a forgiving heart.
  • If you confront that person with bitterness in your heart, you will be rejected.
  • Your heart must be free from anger and bitterness.
  • Secondly, you must pre-determine what trespass has been committed.  Jesus said if your brother commit a trespass against you that you should confront him.
  • A trespass is a point at which someone has acted contrary to God’s law.  You can only confront someone about an actual sin.  In other words, you must have God’s word to show where he has sinned.
  • Many hurts are not actual trespasses but miscommunication, harsh looks, and things like that.
  • You are not allowed to hold personality conflict against someone, because love should cover it.

How do you know if you are free from bitterness? – I Corinthians 13:4-7

  • You are able to be patient without keeping a record of that person’s hurt.
  • You are glad when that person is blessed.
  • You can walk in joy toward that person.
  • You don’t get upset when remembering hurt.
  • You aren’t suspicious toward him.

Overview of Ecclesiastes

Chapter 1.  Life is a fog; we see what’s going on, it’s monotonous and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Chapter 2.  You can have all the riches of life and you will be forgotten just as easily as anyone else.  Pleasure doesn’t bring joy.

  • The point of these chapters is to get the reader to see the futility life apart from submission to God.

Chapter 3.  (more…)