The people on the other side of this issue will tell us that they believe in the sanctity of marriage, but they expand it to include same-sex unions. In fact, they will tell us that they are actually fighting for the sanctity of marriage for all. We must be sure of and stand strong on the biblical sanctity of marriage.
Dad has been downgraded. This is something more sinister than a mere downgrade of status. This is the intentional trivializing of fatherhood for the sowing of dysfunction into what God designed as the nuclear family—the unraveling of what God designed in the nuclear family as the foundation of civilization. We need to push back and get back to a biblical view of the relationship between children and their fathers.
Generally, everyone loves Mom, but love for motherhood has declined from generations past. While moms should be having a great time on Mother's Day, motherhood is seen by too many as a hindrance to great times to be had. We Christians need to check how far that kind of thinking has tainted our view of motherhood. We need to go back to the beginning and take a fresh look at the essential calling of motherhood.
What if Christ has not been raised? What if He is still dead somewhere in an unmarked grave? That is what the scoffers tell us must be the case. What is at stake for us if they are right? I will show you from Paul how we are to hit that head on, putting it all on the line with nothing left to salvage if we are wrong.
God magnifies the first advent of His Son for us to come, be amazed by Him. Come, let us be in awe of Him. Yes, come, let us adore Him. For that, moved by the Holy Spirit, Matthew wants his readers to know how the birth of Jesus Christ came about as He came to be among us—as He came to be one of us.
The things we focus on in the holiday seasons should refresh for us what we cherish and practice all year long. In that sense, each holiday season should be a revival with lasting effect. Regarding that, I preach this simple message about a simple practice that is essential to our daily walk with God and our daily happiness.
-IN COMMEMORATION OF REFORMATION DAY-
On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in response to the abusive sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. Beyond the immediate problem of indulgences was the ultimate problem of spiritual darkness, from the pope to the pulpit, to the pew, to the public square. While a Roman Catholic monk, Luther himself had been brought out of the darkness by the light of the gospel, and today I am preaching the sacred text of Scripture that saved his life.
Looking at what the Apostle Paul had to say to two fussing women, this is a message on how to deal with conflict to maintain the spiritual and missional integrity of the church body.
I want to climb up on the mountains of biblical truth - of God’s Word - over all the problems and challenges we face today in the valleys of this world, plant both feet firmly against the rock slides of discouragement and despair, and bring you that same good news the people of God needed to hear all those thousands of years ago. This good news is just as fresh and powerful for us as it was for them!
If you are waiting for God to do something, surrender to Him and wait for Him to do the right thing at precisely the right time. Take instruction and encouragement from the Scriptures to persevere in that hope.
Perhaps the most profound words a person may ever speak will be when facing his impending time to die. In thinking about why he was ever born and what his life was about, what might he say for the sake of those that survive him? When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, He looked into the face of the man that would kill Him, not with the actions of his own hands, but with the authority of his words. Leading up to that fateful point when Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, in their exchange, Jesus had something eternally profound to say about the reason He was born into this world to live in this world for the short time that He did. Jesus answers the question we should be leading the world to ask anew every Christmas: Why was Jesus born? What Jesus says in this one verse should re-calibrate our perspective on the reason for this season.
On this Labor Day, we look forward to an extra day off from our every-day labor - a day for some extra rest and relaxation. The holiday should include a third "R" in the R & R of the break from our labor: reflection with our rest and relaxation - reflection on the value of our labor. We Christians should find value in our work beyond both the personal and public quality of life we can afford and invest in. We should find value in our work in the calling of our Lord.
The future of this nation is not hopeless because the wicked cannot kill Jesus nor erase His gospel. Under His continuing authority, if the gospel is still the power of God for salvation of even one neighbor, then it is still the power of God for salvation of an entire nation.
How are we to bring faith to bear on fighting for the sanctity of the life of the unborn--fighting for the unborn's right to live--standing against abortion as an industry, abortion as an agenda, and abortion as an option? I intend to show you how in this message on the faith we see in Moses' parents. In faith, they hid Moses to save him. In faith, they hid Moses for what they saw in him. And in faith, they hid Moses in being stalwart for him.
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The majority of Americans believe there is no moral difference between getting married and moving in together. More troubling than that, over half of professing Christians are convinced that God does not care about cohabitation. For the Christian, what is right and wrong on this issue comes down to this one question: Does God care? And this one verse in His Word shows that He does.
God has resolved what the new year holds for us, down to every last detail of what will happen to every last numbered hair (Matthew 10:30). He has revealed some broad principles of what He has resolved. These principles of God's resolutions stand as pillars of reality year after year. From these two verses in Proverbs, we are going to look at what the new year holds for two groups of people, you and I being among one or the other. For these two groups, these two verses state truths that will stand through all that befalls them. What the new year holds for them is what the new year holds for us as we are included among them.
Over the years of my ministry, I have lost count of how many times I have been asked, as a minister/pastor, to say a special prayer for someone. Well, Jesus is the One that truly has the special place with the Father to offer a special prayer for all of us. One of the most precious and powerful truths of Scripture is that Jesus is always interceding for us that belong to Him, and we can have an idea of what He is praying by looking at what He has prayed in His high priestly prayer in John 17. In this message, we look at one part of His prayer - His prayer for our sanctification. We look at what it means for the Father to sanctify us, and the means by which the Father sanctifies us.
The big picture of all that is going on in the world is distressing and can be confusing. Through all the media outlets, there is a non-stop stream of discussion on what is going on with all the nations, between the nations. However, for true clarity, we need to have more discussion on what is going on between the nations and God. In Psalm 2, King David gives us a general, broad picture of the interaction between the nations and God. And the picture is not a good one. But the psalm is a good word. Psalm 2 begins on a disturbing note and ends on a delightful note. In looking at this psalm, we see the insanity of the nations, the indignation of the Lord, the inheritance of the Son, and the invitation to the nations.
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In these uncertain times, we Christians should be standing on and speaking out about a certainty that does not swing with public opinion and political elections. For our certainty, we are not ultimately looking to the occupant of any public office - even the Oval Office. For our certainty, we are looking to the Occupant of a throne that will never be up for election. In Hebrews 1:8-9, we see what God the Father declares to be true to and about God the Son, in the rock-solid permanence of His rule, the righteous perfection of His rule, and the refreshing pleasure of His rule.
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What are we to do about the evil that evil people do? If evil people bring their evil to where we live, are we allowed by God to take any action against them? There are professing Christians on polar opposite extremes in answer to that question. This topic could be covered in a lengthy series, so, today’s message is not intended to be exhaustive, but overarching. The message comes from Romans 12:9-13:7, not exhausting the passage, but hitting the high points of the passage on how we are to respond to evil. The structure of particular actions must be built on foundational principles, and we find those principles in this passage. First, we must expel evil for good. Second, we must engage evil with good. Third, we must expect evil to be avenged by God’s servant for good.
A note of clarification: In the message, I make reference to John Piper's position on using force to prevent evil acts. Looking back on it, it seems to me that I was a bit too simplistic in stating his position, even though I disagree with him. Therefore, in fairness to him, here is a link to an article he wrote on this issue: "Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?"
Who was really in control that day? The terrorists or God?
When Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill him, threw him into a pit, then sold him into slavery, he had to do a gut-level reality check and decide what he believed. Who was really in control of his life? His brothers or God? Who really planned what happened to Joseph? Joseph’s conclusion has gone down in history as a most profound, powerful, peaceful lesson on God’s sovereignty over evil. That lesson is our lesson for today, as we remember 9/11.
Who really planned 9/11? Let’s look to Joseph for an answer.
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Baptism is not an accomplishment, but a statement - a symbolic statement for those of us that God has saved, of something that has happened and is going to happen beyond it - a visual statement of a life received and a life to be lived, no longer defined by what God calls wrong, but defined by what God calls right. We are going to see this in Romans 6:1-14, as we look at our baptism into Christ’s death to sin and life to God, under three reminders: a reminder that we have been baptized into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; a reminder that we have been raised with Christ into a living relationship with God; and a reminder that we have been raised with Christ to live in righteousness with God.
I have a deep, inescapable burden for the churches of America. I have a fire in my bones to preach the Word of God for the glory of God and the good of His people here, knowing that everything is not good with His people here. God is calling, Satan is prowling, Christians are cowering, and the lost are perishing. It is in that mindset that I say I am convinced that the churches of America need sweeping reformation and revival, and that must start with each of us in our prayer closets. We look at this under our next four keywords in this passage: “Intensity”, “Establishment”, “Enjoyment”, and “Invigoration”.
We need to understand that what God does in this world starts in our prayer closets. The refreshing waters of reformation and revival have their fountainhead in our prayer closets. The blazing fires of reformation and revival must be ignited in our prayer closets. For this message, we gather around the prayer of a man who understood that. To help us understand how to pray for God to make the reformation and revival waters flow - for God to make the reformation and revival fires burn - we will look at eight verses under eight keywords, starting with four today and finishing with the next four next Sunday. Today’s four keywords are “Enlightenment”, “Understanding”, “Enablement”, and “Inclination”.