Sermon: Putting the Beatitudes to Use Matthew 5:13-16

Truth Taught-  We are called to influence society by being salt and light.

Introduction

The Beatitudes of Jesus have shown us the essential character of a Christian.  We are to be all those things our Lord told us about.  There is a tension with each of these character traits. The tension is found in the fact that these The Beatitudes are very odd to the world around us but normal in the Christian life.  They make no sense to the lost.  Why would anyone choose to be poor in spirit and a mourner on purpose?  It is in their supposed strangeness that Beatitudes find much of their potency.  

Matthew 5:3–10 (ESV) 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Now our Lord moves forward in His sermon to encourage us in using these character traits for the glory of God and good of others.  We are to be those who influence the world around us.  Our Lord wants us to take these truths He has presented and use them to be an influence with others.

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The Art of Divine Contentment (part 5) Thomas Watson

Chapter 11: Divine Motives to Contentment

In this Chapter (which is by far the longest) Watson presents the Christian with motivation toward Divine Contentment.  He does this by means of, what he calls, arguments to quicken contentment with us.

Argument 1.  Consider the excellency of contentment.  

Contentment teaches us how to abound in the midst of want.  It’s the antidote against poverty.  Too often we think that we would be content if we just had more wealth but the reality is it’s not the amount of money but the love for God and the thankfulness toward Him for giving us what He has given that brings us peace, joy and yes contentment.  So, in a very real sense, contentment is the remedy against all our troubles.  It calms the raging sea within our hearts that is always tossing and turning within us longing for more.  The secret is this: we have had exactly enough the entire time.  

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Sermon: All Who Live Like Jesus Will Be Persecuted Matthew 5:10-12

Truth Taught-As we seek to imitate Christ we will be persecuted because He was persecuted. 

Truth Taught-As we seek to imitate Christ we will be persecuted because He was persecuted. 

Matthew 5:10–12 (ESV) 

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

Introduction

As we have worked our way through the Beatitudes, we have discovered that they are full of surprises and to expect the unexpected. What Jesus tells us often doesn’t make sense at first.  His teaching seems strange at times.  The reason this is so is because we are accustomed to thinking like the world thinks and responding like the world responds.  So, when we hear pure truth from our Lord we have to pause and think it through.  The final Beatitude is no different; Jesus tells us that persecution is a blessing not a curse and that if you’re persecuted for righteousness you’re doing something right not wrong. 

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Art of Divine Contentment (Part 4) Thomas Watson

Chapter 10- The Third Use: A Persuasion to Contentment

In this Chapter, Watson addresses the objection to contentment that says God has dealt too harshly with me how is it possibly for me to be content?  In this chapter he gives us examples of circumstances that may lead to this type of attitude.  He calls these apologies.

I will have to admit that many of these are extremely difficult situations, which would test our faith.  Many of these examples would be very difficult and yet God would be greatly glorified if we could through immense help from the Holy Spirit find contentment in these circumstances.

We’ll discover that some of these examples are not ones we may struggle with but should remember that others do.  Some are extreme and others not as difficult. 

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Sermon: Following Christ in Making Peace Matthew 5:9

Truth Taught- Jesus is the greatest Peacemaker

Introduction

As we have walked through the Beatitudes together, if we have learned anything we’ve learned that when we are born again many changes take place.  We are moving from our old person to the new creation in Christ.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit creating these otherworldly character traits within us.  We know this because…

We are not naturally poor in spirit.  We don’t normally mourn over sin.  We are not meek people on our own.  We don’t hunger and thirst for righteousness without the Holy Spirit.  We’re not merciful nor are we pure in heart.  Beloved, if God is working these within you praise His name because you are a new creation in Christ.

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4.16.2020 COVID-19 Update…

COVID-19 Update…

Sovereign Grace Family,

A Quick Recap

In light of the ongoing “Pandemic,” several weeks ago, with the approval of the elders, I decided to cancel our congregational gatherings. Even though almost every other church in America canceled services, this was still one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make as a Pastor. I did not enter into it lightly.

I believe we, as a congregation and me, as the Pastor have a responsibility to strive for a good reputation with our larger community. Jesus walked in favor of God and men (1 Timothy 3:7). In joining with our community in this, we are seeking to maintain a good reputation and seeking to love our neighbors.

We should also pursue being good model citizens. Paul makes it clear that believers should obey the laws and submit to civic leadership (Romans 13:1-8; Titus 3:1-3). When we do not do this, we become part of the problem instead of the solution. We must always endeavor to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. Only when the civic law violates our faith, then are we called to practice civil disobedience, just like Peter did (Acts 4:18-20).

My goal in cancelling our public services was to help with the current safety threat and to stand with our community seeking to slow the spread of the virus so that our hospitals and other medical providers could get better prepared for the potential mass influx of patients. In light of this, on two-week intervals, the elders and I prayerfully moved to postpone our gatherings.

In the mean time, we have tried to take advantage of other means that we have to reach out to our fellowship. As most of you are aware, we have been posting weekly messages as well as Bible and book studies seeking to promote intentional times of being in God’s Word. We have also promoted some interaction together by posting songs regularly for singing and reflection in home worship and short articles encouraging family worship. We understand it is not the same as seeing each other in person and worshipping together face to face but we also realize God is sovereign over illness, disease, governments and everything else in His creation.

Wise counsel from Martin Luther for our current situation…

Martin Luther was both a wise citizen and a reformer during the “Black plague” that killed over 25 million people! Here’s how he put his faith into action:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it.

  • I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.
  • If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.
  • If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Where do we go from here? There is light at the end of the tunnel…

Our government has issued a current stay at home order and a prohibition of public gatherings through the end of this month. As a church we will honor this and not meet for at least two more weeks. However, our goal is to meet again as a congregation the first Sunday in May (May 3). If the Lord permits, we will begin by meeting together for worship at 11:00. In this, we still want to be cautious and caring for others. So, just to be clear, we will NOT have Disciple Hour on Sunday mornings nor will we have our Wednesday, mid week service. I feel we have done our part in lessening the mass influx of sickness and yet we still must get back to meeting together for worship. Please pray to this end.

When we do meet, we desire to take balanced and common sense precautions for the safety of those around us. We will make every effort to clean and sanitize our building and restrooms. We will have hand sanitizer at the front door for each of our attendees. Please utilize these and other precautions.

That’s my update,

Grace to you and peace,

Pastor Brian

The Art of Divine Contentment (Chapter 7-9)

Thomas Watson- The Art of Divine Contentment (Chapter 7-9)

Chapter 7: Reasons Pressing to Holy Contentment

Thomas Watson begins this chapter with some reasons why we should engage in contentment or seek to be content. He cites…

Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

1.  God’s precept.  Here we could say, we should be content because God has commanded us to be content. He writes that it is charged upon us as a duty.  

The same God to tells us to believe also tells us to be content.  

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Sermon: The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

Text- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Truth Taught-Christ’s death, burial and resurrection are at the heart of the Gospel.

Introduction

Today, we are looking at the genuine Gospel, which as Paul writes contains the factual historical events of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. 

Unfortunately there are many false gospels promoted in churches today.  Whether we like to admit it or not they have on some level impacted us.  One reason they influence us is because they are so widely accepted today.  We have heard them or parts of them enough that we may even believe them to a degree.  We must be very cautious when it comes to something someone calls the Gospel.  The Gospel is the message of salvation and that message must be the same message that is found in the Bible.  Since it is the only means by which we hear how it is sinners are saved it must be the genuine message. We should also realize all false gospels are demonic even if the people delivering them are seem very nice and make promises that are music to our ears.  If their gospel does not line up with the Bible’s Gospel then it is from Satan.  The devil loves to destroy the true Gospel whenever he can.  He loves it when people go to church every Sunday hearing a false gospel.  He laughs when people are deceived by a false gospel and enter hell thinking they are headed to heaven.  This shows the importance of being accurate with what we call the Gospel. 

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The Art of Divine Contentment (Chapter 4-6)

Thomas Watson- The Art of Divine Contentment (Chapter 4-6)

Chapter 4: The Second Branch of the Text

As we continue through this great Puritan classic, the author Thomas Watson focuses our attention on the second half of the verse Philippians 4:11…

Philippians 4:11 (ESV)

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

In the original language the final branch of this verse, as Watson puts it, has four words, in every state contentThis text is like a precious jewel: little in quantity but great in worth and value.  What does Paul mean by this phrase, in every state content?  I know people who are in comfort and ease and I know people who are struggling.  What Paul has learned is that he can be content and satisfied no matter his situation or state.  What exactly did Paul learn?

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Sermon: The Christian Counter Culture (Part 6)

Matthew 5:8 
Truth Taught- It is only the pure in heart who will be happy in the presence of God.

Introduction

Today we are highlighting verse 8. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

Here Jesus shows us that those who will see God as His children are those who are pure in heart.  Here as with the earlier, poor in spirit our Lord is very specific as to what sort of poverty He is looking for and what sort of purity He is looking for.

In this verse, Jesus is reminding us what King David wrote in Psalm 24. What Jesus tells us here in verse 8, David goes on to explain it to us in Psalm 24.  David helps us to understand what Jesus is thinking about when He simply says pure in heart.  Jesus has in mind Psalm 24 and it serves as a commentary for verse 8.

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