Sermon: Christ, the Great Deliverer (Hebrews 2:10-18)

Christ, the Great Deliverer

Hebrews 2:10-18 (ESV)

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.  [11] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,  [12] saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;

in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

[13] And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

[14] Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,  [15] and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  [16] For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.  [17] Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  [18] For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

If we are to understand this passage before us today correctly, we must do a little biblical interpretation.  The best way to interpret Scripture is to practice what is called Historical-Grammatical Interpretation. Read More

Sermon: Paradise Regained (Hebrews 2:5-9)

Paradise Regained

Hebrews 2:5-9

The church is engaged in battle with the forces of darkness.  This battle doesn’t let up it doesn’t take a vacation and it doesn’t sleep.  Our struggle with Satan consists mainly in the realm of faith.  He assaults our belief.  Everywhere we turn he has a stumbling block set in our way.  Our arch enemy, the destroyer of souls wants our faith weak and inoperative.  What does he do?  Rather than having our eyes fixed on Christ, he would rather our eyes be fixed on the things of this earth.  When we focus on the here and now and the things we see, we are not walking by faith but walking by sight.

The subject of faith runs throughout the Book of Hebrews.  It is important that we understand what faith truly is.

A biblical definition of faith:

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

As we think about this definition we understand that faith really isn’t a thing to hold or to look at but it is the inclination or attraction of the heart to the promises made to us in the Bible.

Faith is saying, I believe so strongly that I will live my life in the shadow of these promises even though I’ve yet to see them firsthand. What we believe guides our lives.

We have a great example of what faith looks like at the end of chapter 11 of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:13 (ESV)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

These people lived their lives in the light of promises.

All these people died without receiving the promises but believed so strongly that they would come to pass pressed on knowing that this earth was not their real home. Read More

Sermon: The Danger of Drifting (Hebrews 2:1-4)

The Danger of Drifting

Going to Bible College and Seminary was a great privilege.  It was the Lord’s will for me and my family.  While there we had many experiences and accomplishments through the Lord’s grace that have proven profitable to make us better prepared for ministry.  I also learned by experience what drifting is all about.

While away studying at seminary, there were times when I felt as if the Lord was miles away.  It seemed that the wonder of salvation and the person of Christ had been reduced to a theological argument rather than the wonder of the universe.  Reading my Bible became a requirement rather than a privilege.  Prayer was not effective.  Studying the Scriptures became cramming for a test.  However, given the setting the opposite should have been true.

One day while walking to class, the Lord hit me with the truth.  It was as if He said, what good is all this if in the end you have left your first love. During the next class, the professor thought I was listening to him but I was really listening to God.  At that moment, it was God’s will for me to tune the professor out and listen to the Lord.  I turned my Bible to the Book of Revelation.

Rev. 2:1-7 (ESV)

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

[2] ” ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  [3] I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  [4] But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  [5] Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.  [6] Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  [7] He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

I had to do what the text said.  The sense of doing what this text said was so great that I felt if I didn’t do it immediately I was in grave danger.  So sitting in class I remembered and repented. I thought back to what things were like when salvation was new.  I remembered those wonderful times when I read the Scriptures and I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit.  I remember writing things down as I read my Bible and how that my pen couldn’t keep up with my thoughts of the greatness of God.  I remembered.  Through the grace of God I remembered.  Rather than passing judgment on me, He showed me mercy.  Then I repented.  I repented for thirsting after grades more than I thirsted after the Lord.  I repented for the sin of neglecting the Lord and having idols in my life.  Seminary had become an idol.  I don’t remember much of the lecture that day, but I do remember the lecture the Lord gave me, one I pray I’ll never forget. Read More

Sermon: The Resurrection We So Desperately Need (1 Peter 1:3-9)

The Resurrection We So Desperately Need

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  [5] who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Introduction-

Most people today if asked the question, “Are people basically good?” would answer it in an affirmative way.  Answers vary from yes to probably to most lean towards good.  Practically all secular counseling and psychiatric examinations begin with the fundamental assessment that people are basically good.  Parents will argue that their children are good almost to the death.

I’m afraid that these claims fall very short when compared to the reality of human nature.

Rather than being basically good and able to perform truly good works, the Bible is very clear that the opposite is true.  The scriptural assessment is very gloomy indeed.

What the Apostle Peter wants us to see today is that we have a great need and only Jesus Christ can meet that need.

I want to begin this message by identifying our greatest need.  You may not have enough money to pay your bills…money is not your greatest need.  You may be suffering from a sickness or a disease…health is not your greatest need.  You may have fought with your spouse before coming to worship this morning…a good marriage is not your greatest need. Read More

Sermon: Putting Angels in Their Place Pt. 2 (Hebrews 1:4-14)

Putting Angels In Their Place (Part 2)

Hebrews 1:4-14 (ESV)

having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

[5] For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,

today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,

and he shall be to me a son”?

[6] And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

[7] Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

and his ministers a flame of fire.”

[8] But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

[9] You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

[10] And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,

and the heavens are the work of your hands;

[11] they will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment,

[12] like a robe you will roll them up,

like a garment they will be changed.

But you are the same,

and your years will have no end.”

[13] And to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

[14] Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Last week we worked our way down through the text that teaches us the superiority of our Lord over the angels.  We learned that Jesus is superior because He has a superior name.  Only our Lord is called the Son of God and the Son of David.  We also looked to the text to find out that Jesus is superior because He doesn’t worship the angels but, in fact, the angels are commanded to worship Him.

As we continue this morning, it’s important to remember who it is that the writer is writing this epistle to.  We remember from the beginning that he is writing this letter to Hebrew Christians who were struggling with the Jews.  The Jews were telling these believers that their traditions and former beliefs were superior to Christianity.  Traditionally, the Jews have held a very high idea of angels.  To the Jews, it was an angel that delivered the Law of God to Moses.  It was an angel that would often destroy towns and level villages.  It was an angel that killed all the firstborn in Egypt.  Angels had proclaimed many things on behalf of God and angels had performed many mighty feats in God’s name.  However, we must remember that they are created beings that are being obedient to God’s will.  God says go and they go.  He says deliver this message and they deliver it. Read More

Sermon: Putting Angels in Their Place Pt. 1 (Hebrews 1:4-14)

Putting Angels In Their Place (Part 1)

Hebrews 1:4-14 (ESV)

having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

[5] For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,

today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,

and he shall be to me a son”?

[6] And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

[7] Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

and his ministers a flame of fire.”

[8] But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

[10] And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,

and the heavens are the work of your hands;

[11] they will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment,

[12] like a robe you will roll them up,

like a garment they will be changed.

But you are the same,

and your years will have no end.”

[13] And to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

[14] Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Introduction

1994-KINGSTON, Ontario – An eastern Ontario man is hoping to make a bit of money by auctioning a fish stick he says looks like Jesus. Fred Whan, who has kept the fish stick in his freezer since burning it at dinner a year ago, decided Tuesday that it was time to thaw it out so he could sell it on eBay.

1978- It all started back in 1978 when Mario Rubio, rolling a burrito, notices skillet burns on a tortilla resembling the face of Jesus Christ. Shortly thereafter, 8,000 curious pilgrims trek to the Rubios’ small stucco house in rural New Mexico to view the sacred icon. Mrs. Rubio leaves her house unlocked so that visitors may freely enter and examine the tortilla. (Newsweek, Aug. 14, 1978)

1991- Jesus makes national news as the centerpiece of a Pizza Hut billboard in Atlanta. Joyce Simpson spotted the face of Christ in the advertisement immediately after praying for a divine sign. She couldn’t decide whether to stay in the church choir or quit and sing professionally. The shadowy image of Jesus’ face in strands of spaghetti hanging from a fork meant she should stay with the choir. John Moody, a marketing director for Pizza Hut, said the picture, one of 35 put up in the area, is a standard food photograph that the Wichita headquarters provides franchises. Moody said several people, however, called his office to say they see other notably less religious images in the picture: deceased rock star Jim Morrison, a puppet and Willie Nelson. (Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1991)

As we look to these crazy stories about people seeing the face of Jesus in their food, it’s really a sad but accurate picture of the lack of understanding of the real Jesus.  We must all answer the question as to the person of Jesus Christ.  Is He simply some icon found on the wall of a church or on a pizza or is He King of the universe? Read More

Sermon: God’s Greatest and Final Word (Hebrews 1:1-3)

God’s Greatest and Final Word

Hebrews 1:1-3 (ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  [3] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

I want us to work our way through the Book of Hebrews for one main reason.  I want us together to see Jesus Christ clearly and in all His glory.  We will not see Jesus physically until we die or He returns; however, seek to see Him clearly with the eyes of your heart.  If the Lord grants this vision to us through His Word, we will never be the same.  To see the Lord is to be changed. I pray that our imagined ideas of the Lord will fade away as we see clearly the Lord of Scripture high and lifted up.

When Isaiah saw Jesus in the Temple he was forever changed.  He saw the Lord in a vision, high and lifted up.  The Lord’s robe filled the temple.  Isaiah heard the angels singing and as they sang the foundation of the temple shook because of the glory of the Lord.  Immediately, Isaiah realized a mortal sinful man was in the presence of deity and he believed he would die.  However, the Lord was gracious to him and was going to use Isaiah to be His spokesman.  He cleansed Isaiah’s sin and gave him a job to do.  Isaiah would prophecy for the Lord. Read More

Beginning The Book of Hebrews

The Book of Hebrews is a very rich and rewarding part of the Bible.  We will begin working our way through the book verse by verse starting this Lord’s Day 3/22/09. Use this as an opportunity to invite your friends and relatives to join us for this time of spiritual growth. Pray that Jesus Christ will be lifted up and adored even more as we learn the truth about who He is and what He’s done.

God Bless,

Pastor Brian

Sermon: Will the True Redeemer Please Stand Up (Ruth 4)

Will the True Redeemer Please Stand Up??

Ruth 4:1-22 (ESV)

Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down.  [2] And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.  [3] Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.  [4] So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.”  [5] Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.”  [6] Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

[7] Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel.  [8] So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal.  [9] Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon.  [10] Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”  [11] Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem,  [12] and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.  [14] Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!  [15] He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”  [16] Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.  [17] And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

[18] Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron,  [19] Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab,  [20] Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,  [21] Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed,  [22] Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

Preaching through this Old Testament Book has been a reminder for me, a reminder that through difficult circumstances God is leading His people.  In every trip to the hospital, every graveside tear, every discouragement, and in every victory the Lord is moving us to our final destination for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  Our Redeemer lives and we will see Him.  Nothing is more important than the fact that we are reconciled and God is glorified.  These two things far exceed everything else, including our comfort.

The Lord often brings trouble into our lives to cause us to depend on Him alone. We must realize that if we’re not experiencing trouble now, we probably will soon.  Jesus promised us that we would experience it. Read More

Sermon: Our Great Redeemer (Ruth 3)

Our Great Redeemer

Ruth 3:1-18 (ESV)

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?  [2] Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.  [3] Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  [4] But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  [5] And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

[6] So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.  [7] And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.  [8] At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  [9] He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  [10] And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.  [11] And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  [12] And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.  [13] Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

[14] So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”  [15] And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city.  [16] And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her,  [17] saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ”  [18] She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Many of you recognize this as the first line from Jane Austin’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice.  This had to be Naomi’s thinking concerning Boaz.  She had to be thinking that between God working to place Boaz and Ruth together and the fact that he was their kinsman redeemer that Boaz must be in want of a wife.

So Naomi begins to weave her plan. Read More