Sanctification is the opposite of conformity.
There is a danger we face when we turn our backs on legalism: it’s the temptation to to lean on grace so hard that we eventually become indistinguishable from the world in which we live.
Our freedom in Christ should never be used as an excuse to be conformed to the world; it should release us to be different.
“I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:15-17 (HCSB)
Even though tomorrow (Sunday) will be my 50th birthday, I am going to resist the temptation to be self-serving; I have decided not to preach a sermon on celebrations and the giving of gifts.
As a matter of fact, I even decided to avoid making the obvious connection between Pentecost and the 50th year of my life. Low-hanging fruit is too easy.
No, this Sunday morning I will be continuing a series of expository sermons I’m preaching as we go through the book of Ephesians. This week we will be looking at the 4th chapter of Ephesians, concluding somewhere around verse 8.
The church fellowship which will immediately follow the sermon should also be considered a run-of-the-mill time of mutual edification. After all, it’s not about me.
God bless you all (or “y’all” as we say), and have a wonderful weekend and Lord’s Day!
Sunday is Mother’s Day!
I have only one question for you:
Which of the following statements would make your mother more happy?
- “Mom, I’m going to go to church, today.”
- “Mom, in honor of you I decided not to go to church.”
- “Mom, I heard a filthy joke, today. Want to hear it?”
- “Mom, I heard a great sermon today about mothers. Can I tell you about it?”
Why not go to church on Mother’s Day and find out 🙂
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!
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”
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 🙂
In preparation for preaching in Africa, I’ve been going through some older outlines of sermons trying to stir up some thoughts. In the process I came across this one.
Here are just four simple point based on the following passage in Isaiah. I don’t usually preach from the New Living Translation, but for today that’s the translation I’ve decided to use.
Read the text, then take the points to heart.
Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon, bow as they are lowered to the ground. They are being hauled away on ox carts. The poor beasts stagger under the weight. Both the idols and their owners are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people, and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together.
“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” – Isaiah 46:1-4 NLT
1. If God is a burden to you, you’ve got the wrong god!
2. False gods sap our strength; the True God sustains us.
3. The True God doesn’t need saving.
4. You’re never too old to be a child of God.
Have a blessed day!
Filed under God, Preaching
My voice was rough because of the weather, and many in the congregation were doped up on Benadryl (because of allergies). Yet, it was a joy to preach once again about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
The following was recorded on Easter Sunday morning at Riverside Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN.
I didn’t use an outline…I just wanted to tell the story as the Spirit led me.
Click on the picture of Chattanooga to listen.
Another Sunday is just around the corner, and many pastors, including myself, are putting the finishing touches (as best we can) on sermons to be delivered. Many of us will put in long hours of study and contemplation in preparation for those few moments during which we expound God’s Word.
What is your duty? What is your responsibility as the parishioner, the church member, or simply the Christian who randomly wanders in to hear some preaching?
As William Gurnall (17th century English clergyman) said…
“The Christian’s life should put his minister’s sermon in print.”
Please, dear Christian, don’t waste what you hear; put it into print with your life.