Sanctification

Sanctification

Are My Future Sins Forgiven?

In last week’s sermon, I argued from 1 John 1:9 that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything, including giving believers a new cycle of sin, confession, and forgiveness. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, Christians depart the cycle of repeated sin with no confession and forgiveness. They receive a new cycle of sin, confession, and forgiveness. But a question arises from 1 John 1:9, which states: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us…

Where Does Spiritual Warfare Occur?

In Ephesians 5:22-6:9, the Lord outlines essential roles we are to fulfill in various relationships in our lives: A wife submits (5:22) A husband loves (5:25) A child obeys (6:1) A father exercises patience (6:4) An employee obeys (6:5) An employer shows kindness (6:9) How are we to fulfill these roles? We find the answer to the source of the power to fulfill these roles in Ephesians 5:18: “be filled with the Spirit.” The only way we can fulfill our…

Does God Promise to Work Out All Things for Good?

I have gone on record in saying that Bible passages we think we know the most we know the least (see here and here). This is not any less true with Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse is often used to give hope and encouragement during suffering and trials. Often this verse is understood to say something like: Everything bad…

Does God Still Reign?

At the beginning of 2015, I preached a sermon (which you can find here) titled “God Reigns in 2015.” I argued that despite all the uncertainty in the world, God still reigns. In the sermon I used the following examples of uncertainty in our world: Robin Williams death by suicide, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and Malaysian Flight 370 vanishing during a routine flight. Not to diminish any of these uncertainties, but Covid-19, stock market crash, and political and…

How Do I Know God’s Will for 2021?

How Do I Know God’s Will for 2021? As we enter 2021, what does God want from you and me? How can I know God’s will? If you are a Christian, you desire to follow God and do His will. Sometimes, however, you are unsure what God wants you to do. Does God want me to move to Florida? Does God want me to buy a minivan? Does God want me to date him or her? As Christians, there are…

Are You a Preaching Critic?

Preaching is hard. It is hard for several reasons. First, preaching involves dealing with an ancient text far removed from our world and culture. Second, a preacher’s audience is at different levels of mental and spiritual maturity. Crafting a message that meets various maturity levels is a skill that is learned over time. Third, a sermon must have a good blend of content and presentation. A well-crafted sermon delivered in a mono-tone voice or a poor crafted sermon delivered in…

Five Reasons for Obeying God

We bark the command to our children: “You need to obey mom and dad,” based on Ephesians 6:1. While this command is often given, in the heat of the moment we seldom give the reason, motivation, or benefit for obeying mom and dad. But your kids need to see the reasons and benefits of obedience. And so do we! You need reason, motivation, and benefit for obedience to God. Why should you obey God? Seventeenth century pastor, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), recognizes…

What Is More Divisive Than American Politics?

No doubt, in the United States we live in a polarized and divisive political climate. But there is something more divisive than American politics. What is it? The flesh and the Spirit. Paul writes these shocking words in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Notice closely: the flesh and Spirit…

Two Insufficient Ways to Deal with Difficulty

Over the years I have recognized that people deal with difficulty in generally one of two ways. One person deals with difficulty by looking out. When difficulty and conflict are present, the tendency is to want to look away and escape. Escaping can take many forms, like binge watching TV, gorging on food, or spending above your means. Another person deals with difficulty by looking in. When difficulty and conflict are present, the tendency is to want to look in and fix.…

One Sentence That Could Change Your Life

Now that I have your attention from the title, let me give you the sentence: relationships are not meant for your happiness; they are meant for your redemption. This statement comes from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane in their brilliant and biblical book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. The fact of the matter is that your life is filled with relationships. You have family, friends, work associates, church members, neighbors, doctors, lawyers, accountants, contractors, postal workers, school associates, homeowner’s associations,…

Consider One Another

The New American Standard Bible, the version used to preach God’s word at Grace Community Bible Church, puts Hebrews 10:24 like this: “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Unfortunately, this way of translating Hebrews 10:24 does not entirely capture the original Greek wording. In the original Greek, the main verb is the word “consider,” not the word “stimulate,” which happens to be a noun. Since the main verb is “consider,” the immediate object of…

Providential Interruptions

In our culture, we plan to the max: our calendars are full, our checklists are long, and our goals are polished. Yet sometimes we are interrupted from our plans, checklists, and goals. The whole world has been interrupted by the virus we call COVID-19. Even as the pandemic rages, we experience small interruptions like our children’s mishaps, cancelled appointments, and technology that does not function when we need it to. So, how should we respond to interruptions in our lives?…

How Long, O Lord?

Recently, I have been asking myself the question, as I’m sure you have too: “How long, O Lord,” will this social distancing/shelter-in-place order last? At this point, we do not know. And not knowing is driving us crazy! Of course, if you have read the last paragraph with attentiveness, and if you’re familiar with the Bible, particularly the Psalms, you know that I made an allusion to an often repeated line: “How long, O Lord” (Psalm 13:1; 79:5; 89:46). Take,…

Bearing Burdens

Bill Withers, writer of the famous song ‘Lean on Me,’ died Monday March 30th at the age of 81.  I had just referenced a specific lyric of this song (we all need somebody to lean on) the day before in a sermon on bearing one another’s burdens from Galatians 6:2-5. In this passage, Christians are called to bear the burdens of others because they have a biblical view about self. To bear the burdens of others, a Christian must look…

Life Is Fragile

Three years ago on Easter Sunday 2017, I was so sick that I could not get out of bed. The day before I was in full health; on Easter Sunday morning, I was hardly able to move. I can only recall two other times in my entire life being so sick. More recently, due to a herniated disc, I have been on my back more in the last few weeks than I have ever been. Both sickness and injury have…

Your Work Is Service to Christ

The Scripture teaches us that as we work, we are to work for God, doing the best at what he has called us to do (Colossians 3:23). If we can do our work—whether outside the home or inside the home, paid or unpaid—“as for the Lord,” then it follows that our work is in some sense service to God. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches: “It is the Lord Christ whom your serve” in your work (Colossians 3:24).…

Advice on Killing Sin

The definitive treatment on killing sin is a series of sermons John Owen preached on Romans 8:13 that eventually became Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (1656). In the book, Owen has several pithy statements of advice on killing sin. “Be killing sin or it will be killing you” According to Romans 8:13, Christians are to actively kill sin in their lives. The reason is simple: sin is serious. If we do not kill sin, it will kill us!…

When Desires Aren’t Fulfilled

What do you do when God implants a desire to do something or have something and that desire is not fulfilled? For example, God gives you the desire to serve him as a pastor or missionary or engineer or military officer, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? Or, God gives you the desire to be married or to have children, and the desire isn’t fulfilled? How do you process these disappointments, especially considering Psalm 145:19, which states: “He will fulfill the…

Should We Follow Our Heart?

There is a modern-day way of life that says: “Follow your heart.” According to this philosophy, the way to happiness and freedom is to follow what your heart tells you to do. In a nutshell: if it feels good, do it. The problem is that this concept is fundamentally flawed for two important reasons. First, the philosophy of “follow your heart” is inherently inconsistent. No loving person would let a five-year-old eat an entire 64-ounce bag of tootsie rolls in…

Comfort and Christ

I inherited, for better or worse, cold blood and poor circulation. What I mean is that I often feel cold rather than warm. Consequently, I love warm weather . . . and space heaters! The other day while I was praying in my study, I literally laid right in front of my space heater, so my cold hands would warmup. Immediately, upon beginning my prayer, this thought crossed my mind: I am as pathetic as Jonah! If you remember the…
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