Posts belonging to Category Sermons

Living the Simple Life to the Glory of God

Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

When we hear of the simple life, we think of something like the movie, Holiday Inn. The movie starts with Bing Crosby buying an old farmhouse and moving out from bustling city life to live simply. As with most movies things soon go awry, but the idea is a prominent one. All men want to be free from worries and cares and enjoy life, but they go about it the wrong way. They think the way out is more riches, or more worry about the plight of the poor. In this passage, Solomon is describing how we are to live because we know that God is in control. He gives five admonitions Remembering that the foundational doctrine of this book is that God is sovereign, the author teaches us how to view both oppression and riches, and in doing so teaches us the life we ought to strive for.

Don’t despair over oppression – verse 8 We’re told not to be surprised when we see the oppression of the poor and perversion of justice because God is over all. This contradicts our natural response to such things. At first it appears (more…)

Joy in the Sovereignty of God

Ecclesiates 3:1-15

This passage begins the second section of the book of Ecclesiastes.  In the first section, Solomon spoke of the emptiness, the futility of life apart from Christ.  We can’t rely on anything to bring satisfaction.  You build something, it gets torn down.  Pleasure is fleeting.  Solomon ended the section by saying there is no joy apart from God, and that all joy is the gift of the Almighty.  The last verse in chapter 2 said that although God is blessing the sinner, they are actually God’s vault where He stores up for the righteous.

How does that work?  We don’t see it happen on a regular basis, so how can we be joyful and trust that He will bring these things to pass? The point is that we see that the root of our joy comes from faith in God’s sovereignty over everything in life.  (more…)

Joy in the Sovereignty of God

test 2

The emptiness of pleasure – 2

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

In Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:3, Solomon described the how he pursued wisdom, and rather than being a blessing, it allowed him to see all the more how empty life is.  No matter how wise he was, he could not straiten what God has made crooked.  So he pursued laughter and comedy (apart from God) and was empty, and he gave himself to food and wine (both gifts of God), discovering again that they are impossible to enjoy apart from submission to God.  Those things, though, still don’t convince him.  Remember that the book is about how to enjoy (and not enjoy) life.  Everything under the sun is vanity (empty) because God is working out His designs; we can’t figure out God and shouldn’t try.  We are called to obey Him with a glad heart, enjoy what He gives us, and trust Him when things don’t turn out the way we want.

We come to the last four areas where Solomon looked for joy, but couldn’t find it.  Apart from God, it isn’t there.  (more…)

Godly modesty

I found these notes when preparing to teach on feminine modesty.  It’s a sermon preached by David Hatcher.  They’re direct and to the point.  We could use more preaching like this.

How do we find joy?

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3

We like control.  It comes naturally to us.  We want set patterns to be established and left unchanged. 

  • It’s a struggle for both men and women, but men have it especially hard. 
  • They have been given the responsibility of tending the garden of their families, and when something unexpected comes along, they are blown away.  But women also struggle. 
  • They like control in their homes and when something comes up unplanned, it frustrates them.  That’s one reason why we all like rules.  They give us structure and a base (which is not bad). 
  • But we get mad when something or someone comes along and doesn’t follow the rules. 
  • That’s also one reason we like Proverbs.  It is clear, straightforward, and to the point.  This is like this, that is like that.  Do this and you receive blessing, do this and you are cursed. 
  • But it’s also why we don’t like Ecclesiastes.  It’s not as straightforward; the meaning is not as clear.  And why does he talk about vanity so much? 
  • The meaning is clear, if you’re willing to see it: apart from submission to God, life is meaningless. Only those who are in submission to God have the capacity to enjoy life as He intended.

This leads us to the author of Ecclesiastes. 

  • Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, according to the Bible.  But he fell. 
  • We have the recording of that fall in I Kings 11.  We’re told he loved many women, and his wives (700 of them) turned his heart away.  The Lord corrected him (I Kings11:11-13). 
  • And we don’t know exactly what took place after that, at least in the historical books. 
  • Ecclesiastes is the wisdom of Solomon after he repented. 
  • We’re told in the beginning that it is written by the preacher.  This means it is a record of one who called others to hear the word of God. 
  • In the same verse he calls himself the son of David, king of Jerusalem.  There is only one son of David who was king of Jerusalem and that’s Solomon. 
  • Because the Bible says that, we shouldn’t try to look for other sources, but take God at His word. 

The period of his writing it should be pretty clear, for refers to the experiences he’s had with sin and appeals to the wisdom he’s gained as a result.  But how should we read the book?  (more…)

Prayer for the Church – 2

Pray for her sanctification – Hebrews 12:5-6, John 15:2-3, Acts 14:22

  • When we go through tribulations, we have a choice in how we respond.  We either react negatively or positively.  In other words, we trust God or we resist God.
  • We’re told that the Lord sends chastening at times for our benefit.  This isn’t always in response to open sin (as Brother Mike said when he preached through Hebrews). 
  • Sometimes God’s chastening is to help us in crucifying the flesh.  God sends it because He loves us.
  • We’re told that He brings it to allow the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
  • When He sends this to the body, it is for (more…)

Praying for unbelievers-3

Pray for boldness to proclaim the gospel yourself – Acts 4:29, II Cor. 5:20

  • It is interesting to note that the Bible contains more actual evangelism than there is praying for evangelism. 
  • There’s a reason for this: we have a harder time participating in evangelism than we have praying for it. 
  • That isn’t to say prayer is unimportant, but that it’s not all. 
  • We have been made ambassadors for Christ, we are responsible to offer peace with God by means of repentance. 
  • That person is God’s enemy and he needs to be reconciled to God.  That’s done through repentance and submission to God. 
  • We are responsible to proclaim this, but first we need to pray for boldness to do that very thing. 
  • This is particularly the responsibility of God’s ministers.  They must do the work of an evangelist. 
  • If you are afraid, pray for boldness, but also pray that they will hear the gospel. 
  • I can’t stress the importance that they hear the real gospel (which is not God loves them as has a wonderful plan for their life). 
  • Explaining the real gospel would take at least another sermon, but they need to hear it anyway (Romans 10:14). 

Finally, remind God of His plan to save the world – II Cor. 5:19, I John 2:2, Isa. 2:2-3

  • This is where a hearty belief of prophecy is important. 
  • If you believe that Jesus’ death was only to save a handful, then the chances are slim that that person is elect. 
  • But if you believe that that majority of people in history will be saved (which is what John saw in Revelation 7:9, the only time the Bible refers to a group as being greater than any man can number) then you should pray like it. 
  • Remember you are God’s friend, not a casual acquaintance. 
  • Remind Him of His promise to save the world when you are praying for another person. 
  • This leads to another type of evangelistic prayer, one that is not as specific, but exemplified in Scripture. 
  • We should pray that the world will come to Christ.  We should ask God to move in such a way that He will be exalted (the first line of the Lord’s prayer). 
  • Don’t get bogged down in just praying for one or two people; pray for city, state, and world-wide evangelism. 

Imprecatory Prayer – 5

What does it do?  It calls God to act on our behalf – Rev. 8:1-5. 

  • The prayers of the saints were offered to God, and He in turn poured out fire upon them. 
  • When did fire come upon God’s people?  At Pentecost. 
  • I believe here we have a heavenly picture of what happened in (more…)

Imprecatory Prayer – 4

Does praying these prayers mean we seek the death of God’s enemies? 

  • It could be misunderstood that we desire the death of all those who oppose us in this life, but we don’t. 
  • We don’t know who is elect and who isn’t.  The Lord is angry with the wicked, but He loves the righteous. 
  • How do we pray this properly?  Psalm 137:8-9.  This is one of the most often quoted verses by atheists to prove that the God of the Bible is vengeful. 
  • We know better, but as James Jordan points out, we have a bigger problem.  This passage, written during the exile in Babylon, contradicts Jeremiah’s command from God to pray for Babylon’s peace (Jer. 29:7). 
  • Is the Psalmist praying contrary to God’s command?     (more…)