Category Archives: Jesus

Jesus – The Perfect Gift (Outline)

The following is the basic outline for the sermon I preached this past Sunday (Dec. 3). Feel free to use it, share it, or comment.

I did record it, so if you would like a copy via email, just let me know in the comment section or by private message.

Have a blessed Monday!


Jesus – The Perfect Gift”

  1. He was given at the perfect time (Galatians 4:4) – Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways
    • Great anticipation among the Jews. Roman rule made them hungry for a Messiah.
    • Rome had unified much of the world under its government. Pax Romana. Safe travel.
    • Rome conquered militarily. Greece had conquered culturally. Common language.
    • False idols had not protected the people from Rome. Greek philosophy and science had left many people empty.
    • The mystery religions of the day spoke of savior-gods and bloody sacrifices, which would have made the gospel of the cross believable. The Greeks also believed in the immortality of the soul, not the body.
    • The Roman army drafted soldiers from all over its territory. The earliest example of the gospel in Britain is from Roman soldiers stationed there.
    • It was the fulfillment of prophecy! (Source: GotQuestions.org)
  2. He was wrapped like no other gift could ever be (Luke 2:12; Philippians 2:7).
    • Wrapped with love (swaddled)
    • Wrapped as a sign (Luke 2:12)
  3. He was exactly what everyone in all the world needs (Luke 2:11) –
    • “a Savior!”
    • But not just ANY Savior – “Christ the Lord!”
  4. He was the greatest expression of love the world would ever see (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10).
    • Unequaled, Unimaginable Surprise! A baby? In Bethlehem? A manger?
    • Unequaled, Unimaginable Sacrifice! God’s Son.
    • Unequaled, Unimaginable Grace! …No secret Savior…No drawing names…No obligation of any kind

Preached @ South Soddy Baptist, 12/03/2017

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Filed under Jesus, Preaching, Uncategorized

Santa Claus Is Riding My Bus

Larry’s On Board

This morning, as I was pulling off the lot with my school bus, one of the dispatchers waved me down. “Are you still going to be having surgery?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied.

“So, you’re gonna be out after the first of the year?”

“Yes.”

“Perfect!” she exclaimed. “I want Larry to ride with you this morning, because he needs to learn your route…he’ll probably drive it while you’re gone.”

So, no big deal, Larry stepped on to my bus and took a seat. But it’s Larry…not Larry the Cable Guy…but Larry the Santa Claus.

Santa’s On Board

Larry not only looks like Santa, but he is a professional Santa for hire. Larry dresses up and poses for photos with children – like as a mall Santa, etc.

So, when it came time to pick up my elementary students, I told Larry it might get amusing – and I was right 🙂

Earlier on my route I told Larry (a.k.a Santa) that my young kids are not bad, just a little unruly. However, once the little loudmouths saw this older man with a familiar appearance sitting in a seat on their bus, taking notes, attitudes were strangely calmer.

Not one child asked the obvious question, but it was obvious in their glances and demeanor. It was clear what the sneaky little cookie snatchers were thinking: “He looks like Santa Claus…but he’s riding a bus…but he could be Santa…he’s probably not…but what if he is?”

As we approached the school, I began softly singing – just loud enough to be heard – an altered version of a classic Christmas tune.

“You better watch out / You better not cry / You better not pout / I’m telling you why / Santa Claus is riding your bus.”

I looked in the student (rear view) mirror and saw the emotionless, yet slightly-anxious faces of quiet children, all looking forward, except with their eyes darting back and forth in the direction of Larry…

…or was it Santa?

Jesus On Board

It shouldn’t be difficult to guess the spiritual application of this story. What would you change about how you act in life if Jesus were to ride along on your bus?

Oh, but that’s silly, isn’t it? Jesus wouldn’t just show up one day and ride with me to school, would He?

I don’t know. Could He? Does He? Actually, yeah! All the time. Consider these two verses alone:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. – (Jesus) Matthew 25:40

[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. – Hebrews 13:5

I guess you could say He’s one of those children I transport…or not…or maybe… And beside that, as a believer, He’s always with me. Hmmm, maybe I should quit laughing at the kids and start treating them more like I would treat Jesus, should He ride my bus.

And He does, you know.

How are you behaving on YOUR school bus?

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Filed under Christian Living, Christmas, General Observations, Humor, Jesus

Jesus Paid It All and His Blood Is the Only Payment Accepted

A guest post by Wally Fry

jesus saves

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

That, of course, is John 14:6.  Those were the words of Jesus Himself and sum up His thoughts about how a person comes to a relationship with God.  It seems like a fairly straight forward statement, really. Jesus did not say He was one of the ways, or one truth, or that there was any life other than Him.  He stated unequivocally that the only access to God the Father was through Him, God the Son.  Nonetheless, we live in a time where truth is considered relative, any belief is okay as long as it is sincere; to say there is only one way is considered hateful and exclusionary.

Most people with any spiritual inclination whatsoever would tend to put some credence to words spoken by Jesus. Of course, an atheist would not, but this article is not really for them. This is really to address those who hold the idea that many paths lead to God. We can’t really say that Jesus was just a good man, good teacher, and one of many ways to Heaven. If He was outright lying in that Scripture and knew He was not the only way to God, then we should never follow a man such as that. If He genuinely believed what He said, but was just monumentally wrong, then we should never follow a man such as that. In either of those two cases, Jesus was certainly not a good man, or good teacher or any path to Heaven whatsoever. The only real alternatives are to totally disbelieve or completely believe the words He said in that verse. That is simply C.S Lewis’ famous Liar, Lunatic or Lord argument and it remains a valid one.

We hopefully agree at this point that payment is due. See this article for discussion on that subject:

Jesus Paid it All- Part 1- Your Really DON’T Want To Pay Your Own Way

I hope we also agree that we have no ability to do anything whatsoever to pay the price for our sin, other than the Biblically prescribed one of death. A review of that subject can be found here:

Jesus Paid it All – Part 2 – Your Payment’s No Good Here

Belief in God, sincerely held, is also not enough. After all, James taught us that even the demons believe. (James 2:19). Not only do they believe, but they tremble in fear! Sincerity does not accomplish a thing. Jesus said in our verse above, that He is the Truth.  Sincerely held belief in an untruth does not make it true, no matter how sincere the belief.  Some examples follow.  One can sincerely disbelieve in the Law of Gravity, but if that person steps off a building, he or she will soon discover they were wrong.  The laws of physics trump sincerely held belief. One can sincerely believe auto theft is okay, but a Judge will quickly show that person the error of their ways. The laws of the land trump sincerely held belief.  We could follow examples until the end of time.  The bottom line is, law trumps sincerely help belief every time.

God is the Supreme lawgiver. His law is just and perfect. We fail to meet His standard, making us law breakers. The penalty for transgressions of God’s law is death. Death is both physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is separation from God eternally in a place of torment called Hell.

The reason Jesus is the only way to God is because only Jesus could pay the needed price. He was able to pay it because He was fully human. Humans broke the law and a human had to pay. He was able to pay it because He was sinless and perfect; Jesus never transgressed The Law. Only because He had nto penalty of His own to pay could He pay mine. He was able to pay it because He is God. Only God could pay the infinite penalty required on behalf of every person who had lived, was living in His day, is living now and will live into the future.

Just a quick counter to those who claim that Christianity’s statement that Jesus is the only way is exclusionary follows next. Jesus payment on the Cross for sin is not exclusionary; it is available to anybody. No one is denied access to it. Read the following for an explanation:

Jesus Paid It All – Part 3 – The Payment Was Enough For Everyone

The payment Jesus made for us is not exclusionary, but it is extremely exclusive. Matthew 7:13,14 teaches us that the path to destruction is wide but the path to salvation is narrow. No one is excluded, but many will decline the offer.

How does one accept? Understand how you have failed before a Holy God. Agree with Him that your sin is wrong and and an offense to Him and deserving of punishment. Believe that Jesus paid the price you could never pay and accept Him as your Savior and Lord.  Repentance toward God and belief in Jesus Christ, it’s that simple.

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Filed under Christianity, God, Guest Posts, Jesus, salvation

Crying In Verona

Katie, is traveling with the Bryan College Choir in Europe this summer. She is thoroughly enjoying getting the opportunity to sing in extraordinary places, the likes of which most of us only dream of visiting.

Her first stop was in Venice, Italy, where they spent a couple of days.

By the canals in Venice

The next stop, the best I can tell, was Verona.

Katie in Verona, Italy.

Below is a picture she sent from inside the Arena di Verona (a miniature version of the coliseum in Rome).

But more than just visiting incredibly beautiful historic sites, Katie has had the chance to minister to many unbelievers with the art of music – Christian music. And it is this ministry – the real reason why the Bryan College Choir is there – that ultimately led Katie to send the following message via Facebook Messenger.

Sang at a nursing home today. I cried and cried. This is virtually a zero-zone. There are almost no Christians in this region. The place we were at today said that every time evangelicals come there is a peace that follows, but they still don’t know Him…
Two of my friends and myself had to just stop and weep and pray. We huddled together and each prayed that God would leave an impression and a witness with them as we left..
I feel like a real missionary here. Even though I don’t know that people are accepting Christ, I know that He is working. Even though these people are atheist, I can see that they are receptive…
I could easily come back and live here as a Christ-worker.

THAT was exactly the response I was hoping for! THAT is what a true believer in Jesus Christ, one who has an actual relationship with Him, when they get to experience something of what the Apostle Paul experienced when he observed while waiting on his friends in Athens (Acts 17:16). His spirit was “stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.”

Wherever God ultimately leads my daughter, my prayer is that this trip will stir up in her a greater zeal for sharing the Gospel that brings hope and peace, the kind the world – wherever you are in it – cannot provide.

In the meantime, may our hearts be broken, and may we fall to our knees in prayer, weeping, when we consider the those who do not know Jesus.

It’s what “Christ-workers” do.

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Praying With Patrick

As you wind down from a weekend of celebrating St. Patrick Day, pause for a moment and read a portion of the real St. Patrick’s prayer, one he prayed every day.

May it be our prayer, also.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, worship

“My Jesus I Love Thee:” Sermon In Song

Song Sermons

One thing I love doing is taking old hymns and turning them into sermon outlines. Frankly, many of the old songs of the church were nothing more than condensed sermons put to music. They were not only meant to give us a means to sing praise to God, but to learn of His character, of his goodness and grace.

Last week I explained to the congregation at the church where I pastor that the songs we sing should be known and understood. I mean, how profitable is it if we stand as a group and sing something that makes no sense? What kind of corporate praise can we offer to our God if we cannot relate to the lyrics? It is so much better when we can all stand and sing from the bottom of our hearts the words of a hymn that means something vital to our soul!

An Outline

The following is an outline which I will be using soon, maybe even this Sunday. The outline is based on the song “My Jesus I Love Thee” by William Featherston (1864).

Please note, Featherston wrote this poem when he was between the ages 11 and 16 (he died age 27, long before the song became well-known). Adoniram Judson Gordon (founder of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) added the melody. How many teens do you know these days who could write something like this?

On a different note, how many teens could God use if they would only let Him?

“My Jesus I Love Thee”

  1. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; (Jn 21:15-17)
    For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; (2 Tim. 2:19)
    My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; (Ruth 2:10)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Regeneration)
  2. I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, (1 John 4:19)
    And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree; (1 Peter 1:18-19)
    I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; (Mt 27, Mk 15, Jn 19:2)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Realization)
  3. I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, (Job 13:15)
    And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; (Job 33:4)
    And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow, (Ps. 116:15)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Resignation)
  4. In mansions of glory and endless delight, (Jn 14:2)
    I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright; (Rev 21:23)
    I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, (2 Tim 4:8)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Revelation)

I would love to know what you think of this, especially after you read the biblical references.

What do you think of topical sermons like this? Expository preaching is something I regularly do, but I also think we need to mix up the delivery styles every so often. Doing it this way – a song sermon – is not only a good way to explain a song, but doing so with Scripture helps reinforce the truth the next time the song is sung.

Head’s up, South Soddy Baptist! You might be hearing this sermon tomorrow morning 🙂

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Filed under Bible Study, God, Jesus, Love of God, music, poetry, Preaching, worship

Wisdom vs Knowledge 

There’s nothing wrong with getting an education – I have one. However, we should first desire to learn of Christ, the Wisdom of God, rather than knowledge for knowledge’s sake. An ignorant wise man is far more profitable than an educated fool.  – A. Baker

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