Monday, January 18, 2021

LIONS!


What an amazing story!!

This story is one we’re all familiar with, so I’ll just jump right to the application. 

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to the sermon, check it out on our YouTube channel.

January 17 Worship Gathering



Here are the basic points of application I brought up in the sermon:

 

Be Like Daniel


• Be Consistent (Disciplined)

He strived after holiness his entire life.


• Focus on God’s Will

Is being in the dead center of God’s will your primary desire?


• Have a Great Attitude

In the face of many difficulties, he had a great attitude. 


• He Pursued Righteousness & Sanctification

They couldn’t find anything to accuse him of

What could others accuse you of?

What are you known for?

What is your reputation?


• Daniel Trusted God

Daniel obeyed God and trusted Him for the outcome. 

His theme song: Trust and Obey


In light of all this:

Self Evaluation Checkpoints


__ Evaluate your Attitude

Do you tend to complain about things?

Or are you pursuing a positive perspective?

Dwelling on the problem is easy. It doesn’t take work or effort - that comes naturally.

Daniel had an excellent spirit


Here’s a passage that perfectly describes Daniel here in Chapter 6

Philippians 2:14-15Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world


What’s your attitude?
What are you known for?

What needs to change?


__ Don’t Be Hasty

The King made a hasty decision because he listened to the wrong people. 

Who are your “go to” people when making decisions? Are they going to speak godly wisdom into the situation?

Are they coming in with an agenda?

Determine to Pursue God’s Will

Spend time in God’s Word

And much time in prayer

Seek input from People with Godly wisdom


__ Persist in Prayer

Is your commitment to prayer be so obvious to others that they know that’s where they could trap you?


I’m adding one that wasn’t in the sermon:

__ Respond with Praise

In any situation, there will be something you could complain or be upset about (see “Attitude” above). 

Instead, look at what God has done. The King, when he saw how the Lord worked in the situation responded with an amazing psalm of praise to God. 

We should be on the lookout for how God is working (Hint: He’s ALWAYS working) and quick to praise Him for what He has done!



Ultimately, however, this passage is about

The GOSPEL


It points us to the final judgment.


Daniel - who had done nothing wrong - is a picture, or a “type” of Jesus, pointing to judgment day, a day when He will judge the world in righteousness.


Daniel went down into the Lion’s Den. 

He was not guilty

He was lifted up out of the Den.

The guilty ones, when thrown into the den, were destroyed. 



When Daniel went into the Lion’s Den - he emerged safely.

Why? Because he was found NOT GUILTY

So the Lions did not harm him 

They were God’s agents of judgment. 

And those who plotted against Daniel were judged, found guilty, and destroyed. 


Pointing to the final judgment


On that day - those who are in Adam - 

declared guilty - face destruction

Those who are in Christ - not guilty

you will be lifted up


Jesus was innocent - but He suffered a punishment that we should have endured.

He suffered for the guilty ones.


When we repent of the sin of unbelief, the sin of rejecting who Jesus is and what He did, we become part of the people redeemed from the pit through His death. 


We get His verdict because He took ours.

We get His “NOT GUILTY” 

Because He took our “GUILTY”


Lions are fierce, deadly animals

And only when you’re in Christ - united with Jesus through repentance… through faith will the mouths of the lions be closed


God is faithful

He will hold on to us

Through all the struggles of life.


He will lift us up out of the pit

sometimes in this life

ultimately we’ll be lifted up to be with Him

forever in heaven.


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob


Monday, November 2, 2020

The Call to Holiness in Daniel 1

As Daniel opens, four young men: Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah are taken WAY out of their comfort zone.


Verses 1-2 

A Picture of God’s Sovereignty

One of the most comforting doctrines in Scripture is the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty.

We can rest easy, no matter the circumstances, because God is In Control


(Isaiah 45:7, Acts 4:28, Job 42:2, Daniel 4:35)

God, in His sovereignty, can accomplish all of His will and all of His purposes even while allowing men and women to make their own decisions. He is that powerful. He is that wise


Verses 3-7

The Conformity Challenge

The world always wants to press us into its mold. The whole concept of holiness is to be set apart, to be different, to have a special purpose


The name change is saying you were a servant of the Jewish God, now you’re with us and WE worship the Babylonian gods. The world is doing that very thing today on every conceivable level. Rather than call it sin, the world wants to call it a struggle, orientation, illness, right, choice, etc.


Verses 8-16

Daniel’s Resolve

The most important verse in Chapter 1 is verse 8

Daniel had a radical commitment to holiness.

The problem Daniel and his friends faced: the standards of Scripture are not compatible with the world. 


In asking for different food, there’s a lesson in this for all of us. There’s godly wisdom here for us all.

Principles for disagreement 


1. A Radical Commitment to Obedience

Daniel’s commitment was to God

Not to making himself look good or getting his own way.

2. Be Gracious and Humble

Daniel wasn’t arrogant, rude, obnoxious, or stubborn.

He didn’t demand, but made a humble request


3. Ask God for Wisdom

James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God…

Daniel, no doubt, asked God for wisdom. He demonstrated wisdom beyond his years. 


Verses 17-21

God Blessed them with Ability and Success (verses 17-21)


They were blessed physically.

Daniel and friend honored God, and He honored them by giving them favor with the stewarding with healthy bodies


They were also blessed Mentally

God gave them learning and skill in literature and understanding


They were blessed Spiritually

Daniel was given the gift of being a seer or a prophet. This gift is going to prove very valuable and to Daniel’s benefit very soon in chapter 2. 


They were blessed Socially

They were given key administrative posts. The king was confident in their abilities. He trusted them to serve and represent him. He sought their counsel in all areas. They were TEN times better than everyone else.



This story points us to Christ:

Jesus left His home and travelled to a foreign land to demonstrate and live out the truths of God’s Word.

He left his home

Entered a radically sinful world

Ddidn’t defile Himself - not even once

He found favor with God and man

He amazed others with His understanding

Remember: when Jesus was tempted by Satan - it started with food


A Call to Holiness

• Holiness is commanded

• Christ died so that we would be holy.

• Our holiness is actually evidence of our salvation

• Without holiness no one will see the Lord

• Holiness is a demonstration of our love for the Lord


And at the end of the day you’re either going to conform, or transform


1 Peter 1:13-15 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


Holiness is not an option

Be holy in ALL your conduct

In the big things

In the little details

In every aspect of your conduct

In your attitude - toward everyone and everything

In your actions - things you do, places you go, 

In your words - what you say to people and what you say about them as well.

In what you watch, listen to, read

You must train yourself to ask: is it holy?


Daniel was resolved toward holiness

And we must be too


Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Rob



 

Monday, October 19, 2020

At last! ROME!!


From Jerusalem to ROME!

Acts 28



Acts 27 & 28 show us 

Five Characteristics of a Faithful Disciple

A Faithful Disciple is

1. Trustworthy

We see this clearly in Julius’s trust of Paul

2. Counselor

Offering wise counsel

Godly advice

Biblical Wisdom

3. Encourager

Paul encouraged others consistently.

4. Servant

We’re given gifts, passions, desires, and abilities for the purpose of serving the church. 

But it’s not serving just the Body, but also being a servant in general: helping those in need that the Lord brings across your path.

In truth - whether serving believers or serving others, you’re really serving God. 


Paul kept serving after the shipwreck. From helping gather wood for the fire, to healing the sick on the island. 


And Paul certainly shared the gospel with them. The hospitality shown to them at the beginning became generosity when they left the island. Likely, many were saved as a result of Paul’s preaching the gospel. 


When they left the island, they had everything they need. God literally supplied all of their needs. 


And so they came to Rome


They landed about 125 miles from Rome and as they made their way to Rome, a group of believers travelled 43 miles to greet them. This was extremely encouraging to Paul that people would walk 43 miles to greet him and accompany him into Rome. 

This shows us that we, as believers, through simple acts can be of great encouragement to one another through simple things, and making effort.

_________________________________________________________________

What can you do this week to encourage someone? 

As we Pursue Christianity Intentionally I’m challenging everyone to be intentional to encourage someone this week. Just something simple, but it will take effort. 

It could be as simple as:

• Taking a meal to someone who recently 

  had surgery. 

• Writing a note of encouragement.

• Sending a few text messages.

• Checking on someone you haven’t seen

  in a while.

• Helping someone with a project.

_________________________________________________________________


It can be very simple. It will take intentionality, commitment, and effort, but it will be absolutely worth it. Imagine coming to church next week hearing stories of how everyone was encouraged this week!


As Paul arrives in Rome, we see the final Characteristic of a Faithful Disciple: 

5. An Evangelist

He Preaches the Gospel


Paul still loves his people. He immediately meets with the Jewish leadership and sets up a time to talk about the gospel. 

He spends an entire day dialoguing with them about Jesus and sharing how they can be saved. 

Following the example we see in Jesus on the road to Emmaus, he shares the gospel with them from the Old Testament. 


And again, in spite of being those who should have been most likely to trust in Christ, many of the Jews rejected the gospel, reminding us that growing up with the Bible, in church, is no guarantee of salvation. You must turn from your sins and place your faith in Jesus. Believing that He is the Son of God, and trusting in His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. 


Paul consistently proclaims the gospel to everyone he can in every circumstance.


The final two verses are so much more than the end of the story. They’re two years of incredible ministry that was just the beginning.


Lessons We Learn in Acts

1. The Gospel Never Changes

Paul’s gospel in Acts 28

Peter’s Gospel in Acts 2

No matter who

No matter where

No matter when

The Gospel doesn’t change


2. Preaching Results in:

Some Reject it

Some Respond in Repentance & belief


When (not if) you’re rejected - know this - you’re not the first - you won’t ‘be the last. 

You’re no different from Paul and everyone who has ever shared the gospel with others. 


3. God’s Plan Hasn’t Changed

God’s plans can’t be thwarted.

Tradition tells us Paul was beheaded

All of the Apostles but John were martyred

Along with countless others.

People were burned at the stake over their beliefs

Even today - people are dying for their faith


But God’s plan remains unchanged 

There will be times when everything seems to be going great! 

In those times: GOD IS AT WORK.

There will be times when nothing seems to go right - 

In those times: GOD IS AT WORK.



While we think of Paul as the central character in the second half of Acts, it’s not really about Paul (and your story isn’t about you).

It’s about the gospel 


Our task is so simple:

Proclaim the Gospel

God’s Word says: 

Isaiah 55:11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

1 Peter 1:25 – the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 

Our task is simple:

Make God’s Word known 

God’s Word will

Convict

Confuse

Convert

Comfort


The question is always in front of us:

Will you be intentional to share Christ with others?

As I outlined in my sermon: Take the Next Step, we need to:

• be intentional about building relationships

• become equipped - 

• invite others to church

• share the gospel message


Let’s follow Paul’s example and be intentional to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ!


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob
















 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Being a Faithful Disciple

 













1 Corinthians 11:1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 


In Acts 27 and 28, we see

Five characteristics of a faithful disciple. 

The first three are from Acts 27


1. Trustworthy (verses 1-3)

This is a baseline characteristic for a believer.

Are you trustworthy?

Proverbs 11:3, Luke 16:10


2. Counselor (Verses 4-12)

Julius ignores Paul’s counsel

verse 11 points out the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

The next verses show the storm getting worse and worse, so what we’re seeing here is how NOT to make Decisions. 


How NOT to be in God’s will:

1. Be impatient.

Don’t wait on the Lord’s timing


2. Listen to the expert advice above godly widsom.

Experience and right motives don’t trump Godly wisdom. 


3. Follow the Majority

Just because most people want it doesn’t make it right.  

Verse 12the majority decided


4. Look for Perfect Conditions

Verse 13the south wind blew gently

Even when the conditions are perfect, don’t ignore biblical wisdom. 


Always look to Scripture: The Instruction Manual. The Inspired, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient Word of God. 

It’s the Final Word.


3. Encourager (Verses 21-26)


Paul encouraged them in several ways

1. He shared God’s Word with them.

We don’t need visions or visits from angels because we have the Word of God.



                                   

in Discipleship 


As we encounter storms, and you’ve been intentional with the Bible, hiding God’ Word in your heart you’re better able to encourage others with God’s Word.

An encourager encourages with the Word

2. An encourager warns

Those trying to escape were being selfish, rebellious, and acting in unbelief

God’s promise was: you’ll be safe with Paul

They’re rejecting that promise, taking their lives into their own hands. We’ll be better off out on our own they were thinking. They were wrong.


One of the great benefits of being a part of a local church is the protection it offers. When we’re doing life together, we’re stronger because we have one another. You’re not better off doing it on your own. 


3. An Encourager sets a good example

Living the Christian life before them

Paul sets a great example praying and encouraging them to eat. He’s put his Christian life on display.


4. An Encourager Rescues Others


Everyone on the ship benefited from Paul being on the journey with them. Many would have perished had he not been on board.


How do those that God as placed in your proximity benefit from you being in their lives?

Would those around you say they’re better off because you’re part of their world?

Is the waiter/waitress glad you sat at their 

table?

Is your neighbor glad you’re living next door?

Are your in-laws glad you married into the fam

Are those you work with glad they hired you?

rather than asking: when is he going to quit?

Are the people in your SS class, Home Group, etc. thinking: “I’m so glad they’re part of our church!!”


                                   

in Discipleship:



More than just deepening relationships. 

Is our church better because you’re part of us?


Lessons we’ve learned so far:

• Storms come as a result of disobedience & sin

• Storms Reveal Character

• Storms Don’t Affect God

• Storms Bring Ministry Opportunities


––> Psalm 121



How Do I stand firm Through the Storms of Life?


1. Always Remember: God is with you.

Matthew 28:20, Lamentations 3:22-24


2. Remember: You belong to Him

Acs 27:23 – the God to whom I belong 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 

The GOSPEL makes ALL the difference

Galatians 3:13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us


3. Remember You’re Serving The Lord

Wherever you are, God has you there for a reason: to serve Him.

If you’re still here, God isn’t finished with you.


4. Trust Our Trustworthy God

Verse 25take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told

You absolutely can trust God with the details:


I pray that God’s Word, through the Holy Spirit, captures your heart and mind, and that you are changed because of His working both in and through you!


Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Rob


Monday, September 28, 2020

Paul's Testimony & Defense

Acts 25 & 26


Paul trusted in God's Providence:

Providence: God’s foresight of what we need and the action/initiative that He takes to provide for that need.


We still have our own desire/will and make decisions because God is big enough to allow men to do as they wish and yet still purposefully achieve His purposes.


Acts 25:1-12


Four points of application

Four principles that are seen in the rest of the passage:

1. Trust in God’s Providence. 

When things seem hopeless in your life, you need not fear. There’s no better place to be than in His hand!


2. The Gospel demands a response. 

You can’t not respond

Jesus predicted hostility in John 15:18-25 There is no such thing as being neutral about Jesus


3. The Deadly Grip of Sin. 

When sin gets ahold of you, it doesn’t want to let go - like an Alligator’s mouth - when it gets hold, it won’t let go.


4. The Necessity of Submission


No matter who you are or what position in life you are in, God has ordained that you are to be a person under authority.

Only when you’re submitting to the earthly authorities God placed you under are you truly submitting to God.

Children - parents - Ephesians 5

Wives - Husbands - 1 Peter 3

Employees - Boss - Titus 2

Church members - church leadership - 

Hebrews 13:17


Verses 13-27

Enter Agrippa and Bernice


Paul’s isn’t trying to get acquitted.

or to win a debate.

He’s trying to convert Agrippa.


Paul saw himself as Christ’s Ambassador

2 Corinthians 5:20 we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.


Do you see yourself as Christ’s ambassador?

When you get up and head out tomorrow, you are heading out as Christ’s ambassador. In whatever situation you find yourself in, you’re speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ.


26:1-11 - Paul’s Testimony


Reminder: the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so central to the gospel message that if you don’t include it - you really haven’t shared the message of the gospel


Romans 10:9if you confess with your mouth 

Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.

If you don’t confess that God raised Jesus from the dead

YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN. 

There are doctrines we can disagree on

this is not one of them. 


Light and Dark

The Bible uses the metaphor of light to describe salvation. Darkness represents lostness.

Paul, as a Pharisee - thought of himself as enlightened - as one of God’s people, yet he was living in darkness.

That’s our world today - thinking we’re enlightened but truthfully in darkness


The Gospel Verse

Verse 18 is about the spiritual condition we all must be saved from and what we are saved TO.

to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 


Paul, before salvation, was trusting in his own works. In his own righteousness

As we all are before Christ.


And just like Paul - we have to lose that.

We have to turn from that

And trust in Christ alone. 

We have to stop trusting in ourselves

And trust exclusively in Christ!


We need to keep doing that - it’s all too easy to begin trusting in ourselves along the way.


Beginning in verse 19 - we see the amazing results of the gospel. 


If you were to use one word to describe what it looks like to be saved, it would be: Obedience


Notice that Paul’s desire to see others saved never ends.

What is your own passion to see others saved? Is it an all consuming passion like Paul’s was?


Be praying for yourself, and your brothers and sisters in Christ that God would foster in each of us a greater passion for evangelism. 


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob