Don’t Settle for Less

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they shall be satisfied”

(Matt. 5:6 ESV)

 

I made a very rare visit to a department store in the USA a while back and found something called “True Religion.”

Yes, true religion. 

The true religion I found was a line of fragrances, cologne, I think, for men.  I picked up a card beside this pungent product and sure enough it says “True Religion” and then “fragrances.” Then, under these words is a character that looks somewhat like a religious holy man or guru, holding a guitar in one hand and making a happy gesture with the other. What a combination of words and images to sell something to help you smell a particular way!  

Now, I mention this product because it illustrates for me what a touch of religion actually does, it just does something to the outside of you. It is external. It is surface. It doesn’t impact your life at an internal or deep...

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The Exemplary Leader

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

(1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV)

In 1 Timothy 6:11, the term “man of God” carries a specific emphasis. It underlines the special role of Timothy (in this instance) as a man called of God into His service. And in that role, the person in leadership and the person preaching the Word, is to be an example in life, not just in word.

So, it is appropriate to look with more detail into this exemplary life of the called servant of the Lord. Ultimately such a life is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work and power. Here, the Apostle has much to say to his son in the ministry about the kind of life he should lead.

Our discussion will not be comprehensive, but it is representative of what the Apostle...

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Spiritual Living and Ministry

There is a close link between the Word of God and the Spirit of God doctrinally, and in terms of Christian living and ministry.

Indeed, God’s Spirit is the One who uses His Word in our lives and through our lives. So, life in the Spirit is really a description of the Christian life itself.

Our key text for our thoughts today is Galatians 5:13-6:5. I am following and adapting my father’s material found in a chapter in our textbook, Anointed Expository Preaching.

Notice that:

Life in the Spirit Calls for Spiritual Freedom

This truth might sound strange because we think of freedom as a gift, and indeed it is! But, we are to live according to the gifting of the Spirit and the freedom that is ours in Christ. What do we mean by “freedom” in this context? We are called to freedom from “religious legalities” (Galatians 5:1). It would take a long time to explain fully the wonderful freedom that has been bought and secured by the gracious and merciful...

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Taking the Word of God Personally

It might seem an obvious truth that those who teach and preach the Word of God need to be personally committed to and blessed by the Word of God themselves.

Sometimes, though, we need to be reminded of an obvious truth because it is an essential truth.

A good doctor can help many people with their health, but not give adequate attention to their own health. An excellent home builder may not give as much attention to their own home.

What about us who minister the Word of God in one way or another?

Ezra, the godly scribe, provides a great model for us involved in the ministry of the Word of God.

Ezra 7:10 reads, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (NKJV).

Our own hearts need to be set on God and His Word. Also, there needs to be a commitment to obey the Word of God. Then, we can teach others. Ezra is an example of someone who had a personal “heart” commitment to the Word...

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Power to Proclaim the Gospel

 

TEXT: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NKJV).

 

INTRODUCTION:

The risen Christ has been presenting Himself and teaching His disciples for a period of forty days. The “kingdom of God” continued to be a main theme in Jesus’ instruction even as it was before He was crucified.  As His apostles are assembled with the risen Jesus, evidently for the last time (1:9), a question is asked concerning the kingdom being restored to Israel “at this time.” The specific answer to that question is not given, except to say that the answer is not for them to know. That matter is under the Father’s authority.

Many today continue to ask that question, and many today want an answer to that specific question. The best approach to answering that question is to follow the lead of our Lord...

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Being Victorious in Face of Great Temptation

 

Like our Master, We will be Victorious in the Face of Great Temptation by Choosing to Worship and Serve God Only.

Read Matthew 4:8-11 (NKJV)

This whole covid-19 pandemic “experience” has impressed upon us the need to take steps of prevention to avoid getting or spreading the virus. As inconvenient as some of the measures have been, the goal is stopping the spread of the virus and maintaining the personal health of ourselves and others.

As we view this third temptation (as recorded in Matthew’s gospel), we do it with the desire to help maintain spiritual health. And one way to maintain and improve spiritual health is to learn how to avoid “yielding” to temptation.

We begin by considering the significance of this time of temptation in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ Himself. And as you look at this event recorded in the synoptic gospels, it becomes clear that this was a necessary event in the life of our Savior.

The identity of...

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New Life in the Spirit of God

Text:   Romans 8:12-17

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (ESV)

 

INTRODUCTION:

The Apostle Paul has been expounding his gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).  After Paul explains the core truths of his gospel of justification (chapters 1-5), he moves to questions concerning sin, the law and life in...

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We Need the Aid of Jesus

TEXT: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham”

(Hebrews 2:16 NKJV; read 2:9-18 and especially 14-18)).

We live in a world that is experiencing crisis after crisis. The call for help or aid is voiced constantly across our fallen race.

We think of victims of covid-19, lives devastated through natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. Then, there are so many people caught in the midst of conflict and warfare, not to mention daily crime.

Often the cry for aid is voiced. Sometimes the call is not heard. Sometimes help is slow in coming. Sometimes the aid doesn’t meet the real needs of the people in crisis.

Thankfully, at times there is a helpful response from those who give aid, and the response meets the crisis need, at least to some degree. And praise God for the work of “First Responders” who run towards the needs rather than away from them.

What I want us to learn through this message today is that...

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Praise the Lord — Psalm 150

READ THE TEXT: Psalm 150 (ESV)

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in the sanctuary; praise him in the heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him for his excellent greatness!

Praise him with the trumpet; praise him with the lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

 

INTRODUCTION:

This Psalm, the last Psalm in the Biblical collection, is a fitting conclusion to what we often refer to as the Book of Psalms. This Psalm is a call for sincere and exuberant praise to the Lord God.

We will discover, as we view this Psalm, three truths concerning praise that will challenge us to praise the Lord, especially when we gather with God’s people. It is important to stress the fact that “praise the Lord” is not just a phrase, it is a command and expectation for God’s people.

Of course,...

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Forgiveness and Fellowship

The Blessing of Restored Fellowship with the Lord: Forgiveness and Fellowship

Read:        Psalm 32      

Introduction:

The pain and hurt of broken relationships are real and deep. How often people are wounded and discouraged through personal relationship problems. Yet personal relationship problems abound, and impact daily life often. Think of how many songs lament difficult relationship issues. We are relational beings, and relational hurt and struggle are a real part of the human experience.

It is wonderful to know that the child of God is secure in an eternal relationship with God. But, it is sad when our fellowship with God is impacted negatively in some way.

God does not sin. God is holy. God always loves. God is always faithful. God is the all-wise God. God is righteous, merciful, and full of grace.

So, if there is a problem (real or perceived) between the Christian and the Lord, it is due to the Christian. Often the...

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