Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Spirit Tree


                                             Pentecost Sunday!


Introduction:
A.   If we look at a fruit tree, we see that if it is an
Apple Tree it bears apples.
1.   If it is a Peach Tree, it bears peaches!
2.   If a Peach Tree is truly a Peach Tree, we won't
find it bearing apples!

B.   Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the
coming of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live for
God.

C.   Our passage today states the fruits of the Spirit, and
if we consider our lives to be like that of a tree, let's look at what type of fruit a "Spirit" tree bears!

                            Prayer
                       Galatians 5:22-25

                      Fruit of the Spirit
                             _
I.   Love:  Greek word = agape

A.   God's Love!

Same word used in:
John 3:16     a sacrificing Love
&
I John 4:8    God is Love.
(Young's Concordance & Bible Knowledge
 Commentary.)
    
     B.   It is a love that wants God’s best for people!
    
     C.   It isn’t a love that only loves if they love in
return!

     D.   The fruit of the Spirit is Love!

II.  Joy: Greek = chara

A.   is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing.
(Bible Knowledge Commentary.)

B.   This joy doesn't depend on the circumstances!

Romans 8:28   "And we know that all things work
              together for good for those who love
              God . . ."

C.   This is a joy that trusts this and leaves it in God’s hands, knowing that God will be there whatever happens!

D.   The fruit of the Spirit is Joy!
                         _ _
III. Peace:   Greek = eirene

A.   an inner repose and quietness, even in the face of
adverse   circumstances. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

     B.   There is an element of trust here too!

     C.   There is an element of realizing this world is
          temporary and God is in control in the over all
          picture.

D.   This allows us to have peace!  The fruit of the Spirit is peace!

IV.  long-suffering: (patience - NRSV)  Greek = makrothumia

A.   forbearance, patience, long suffering.
literally = long-temper           (Vine's Dictionary)


B.   Patience is almost a thing of the past!  I used to
     work in a Retail Store; people didn't have to stand
     very long before they were complaining, a little
longer and they were walking out the door!

     C.   This affects us all!  We are used to instant
          everything!

     D.   The the fruit of the Spirit is Patience!
                                             _   
V.   Gentleness: (kindness - NRSV) Greek = chrestotes

A.   Kindness, goodness of heart

B.   Vine's Dictionary quotes Lightfoot, "a kindly
disposition   towards others."

     C.   Because we are Christian, it should affect how we
          think of others, out attitude to others.

     D.   People should be able to see by the way we value them
          that we are Christian because we are bearing the fruit
of a Christian!

E.   Do people feel like we value them by how we act toward them?

     F.   Remember, the fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness!
                                                _   _
VI.  Goodness: (generosity - NRSV) Greek = agathosune

A.   morally honorable, pleasing to God.

B.   Vine's Dictionary quotes Lightfoot, "a kindly activity on the behalf of others."

C.   So it isn’t just about our disposition toward people, but how do we act toward people!
     1.   Do we help them?
2.   Do we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves?
    
D.   Christianity isn’t just about not doing; it is about doing!

     E.   The fruit of the Spirit is Goodness!

VII. Faith: (faithfulness - NRSV) Greek = pistis

A.   Faithfulness, trustworthy or reliable.
(Bible Knowledge Commentary.)

     B.   Can we be counted on?
          1.   If you say you will do something, can people
depend on it, or do they need a backup plan?
          2.   I find that most of the time today I better have
              a backup plan!

C.   If we are guided by the Spirit, people should be able to count on us!

D.   The fruit of the Spirit is Faithfulness!
                                                _
VIII.Meekness: (gentleness - NRSV) Greek = prautes

A.   Submissive to God's word!
(Bible Knowledge Commentary.)

B.   Hard to translate to English because all the English
words denote weakness!  This denotes power:  God controlled!

C.   As I shared when I did the series on the beatitude of meekness, a good example of this is a good work animal such as an ox or horse that obeys at the master’s command.
1.   This animal is very strong, but when the master says stop, it stops.  When the master says go, it goes!
2.   That animal would be described as meek in the biblical way of speaking.
3.   An animal that is unruly is not meek!

     D.   Are we meek?  God controlled?
          1.   When the master says speak, do we speak?
          2.   When the master says act, do we act?
          3.   When the master says stop, do we stop?

     E.   The fruit of the Spirit is meekness!

IX.  Temperance: (self-control - NRSV) Greek = enkrateia

A.   Self - control, curbing the fleshly impulses described
     in vs.    19-21.        (Bible Knowledge Commentary.)

B.   Are we self-controlled? 

C.   The fruit of the Spirit is self-control!

Reread vs. 22-25.

X.   The Spirit wants to bear these fruits in the Life of a    Christian!

A.   I Thess. 5:19 "Do not quench the Spirit."  (NRSV)

My opinion:  He's not talking about worship, but he is
        giving instructions on how to live!

B.   Paul was saying:   Don't stop the working of the Holy
Spirit in your lives, let the
Spirit work!

Don’t put out the fire!

Conclusion:
A.   We have to face two questions this morning!


B.   If we were a Spirit Tree, would we be bearing the
     right kind of fruit?

C.   Are we Spirit controlled, or are we quenching the Spirit?

D.              If not, we can yield to the Spirit this morning as we have our closing hymn!

                         Closing Hymn 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Virtuous Woman!



                          Proverbs 31

                     Proverbs 31 for TODAY

Who can find a virtuous woman?  Her worth is far above secretary, cleaning woman, or waitress.  To her husband, she is worth her weight in gold.
She accepteth her husband as he is and hangeth up pajamas all the days of her life.  Her children also rise up and call to her for clean socks.
She taketh pride in keeping her house tidy but her family feeleth it can be "lived in."  She decorateth her home in good taste and rearrangeth the furniture in season and out of season.
She girdeth her arms with strength and taketh out the garbage.  She also picketh up bicycles lest her children trip over them and dash their feet against a stone.
She cooketh ample meals so her family eateth properly, yet she counteth calories and considereth high cholesterol.  She runneth not out of bread and milk.
She riseth also when the alarm ringeth and maketh breakfast and packeth lunches while her family looketh for socks and contact lenses.
She knoweth not how to raise the hood of the automobile nor how to change a tire, yet she driveth the children to piano lessons, swimming instructions, and boy's and girl's clubs.  She feareth not the traffic night or day.
She remembereth all birthdays and anniversaries.  She forgetteth not the appointments.  She remindeth her son and husband about haircuts.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom and saith kind words, but also knoweth enough to keep it shut when football or baseball is on.
She helpeth all in her house with their problems.  She discusseth her son's social studies project.  She consoleth her daughter when snubbed by a young man.
Glamour is shallow, but a woman who hath personal contact with God hath honorable character.  She is the poorest paid worker, yet she is the richest, because she is the most loved.

author unknown

Motherhood is one of the most important jobs in the world, and it doesn't end throughout ones life.  The job description may change, but you are still a mother and your influence is still very great!

To help illustrate this, I would like to read a letter from the Scottish essayist and historian, Thomas Carlyle, to his mother Marqaret Carlyle.  The letter was found after his death.



Before I  read this letter, I would like to ask, "Are you proud of your children?  Do consider that they have done well and been successful?  Are you proud of their achievements?"  Listen to this:

My dear, good mother,
Let it be ever a comfort to you, however weak you are, that you did your part honorably and well while in strength, and were a noble mother to me and to us all.  I am now myself grown old, and have had various things to do and suffer for so many years, but there is nothing I ever had to be so much thankful for as the mother I had.  That is a truth which I know well, and perhaps this day again it may be some comfort to you.  Yes, surely, for if there has been good in the things I have uttered in the world's hearing, it was your voice essentially that was speaking through me; essentially what you and my brave father meant and taught me to mean, this was the purport of all I spoke and wrote.  And if in the few years that may remain to me I am to get any more written for the world, the essence of it, so far as it is worthy and good, will still be yours.  May God reward you, my dearest mother, for all you have done for me!  I never can. ("Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes" p. 580)

               Prayer, thanking God for Mothers.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Ladder to Success!


                                                                                                               Senior Recognition Sunday!

Prayer
Joshua 1:7-9
Introduction:
A.        This scripture tells Joshua to keep the book of the law so that he can be successful wherever he goes. 
1.         You’ve been given a Bible this morning; I make the same challenge to you!  Use this Bible.  In it you will find the roadmap to success in God for your life!
2.         I want to talk to you this morning about “The Ladder to Success!”  Not necessarily from this scripture, but just some things I would like to leave you with as you enter into this new chapter in your lives!

            B.        There=s a movie that came out several years ago called ABadazzeled,@ starring
                        Elizabeth Hurley as the quite attractive devil and Brendan Frasier as Eliot.

            C.        In it, Eliot is the kind of guy who people dread being around; he gets on people=s
                        nerves.  His idea of success, if you will, is to be loved by a certain female named
                        Allison.

            D.        He meets up with the devil, who is non-other than Elizabeth Hurley.  He signs a
                        contract with her to sell his soul to her, the devil, for 7 wishes.
                        1.         He wishes to be married to Allison and to be rich and powerful.  Doesn=t
                                    work because she is married to him but doesn=t love him and he is a drug
                                    lord.
2.         He wishes to be the most emotionally sensitive man in the world and to
            be loved by Allison. He wishes to be healthy, athletic, & rich.  He wishes
            to be smart, articulate, & whitty.  He wishes to be the president of the U.S.
            None of these bring him to the success he desires.
3.         Finally, he wishes for Allison to have a happy life, which is a self-less
            wish and breaks his contract with the devil.

E.         It ends with him finally moving toward the success he desires, but he didn=t find it
             where he thought he would.
Trans.
Where do we find success?  Someone has said, AAll that stands between the
            graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder!@  I want to look today at some of the steps on that ladder, not necessarily in this order!

I.          Initiative.
            A.        You need to have initiative.

            B.        Initiative makes you a self-starter.
                        1.         Webster=s defines: Aenergy or aptitude displayed in initiation of action.@
                        2.         You can=t count on someone to get you out of bed now!
3.         You need a built in drive that makes you try to do the best you can and to not be afraid to try!
                        4.         The world needs people who have the energy and aptitude to act. ABetter
                                    to try and fail than to not try at all!@

II.        Enthusiasm.
            A.        Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ANothing great was ever achieved without
                        enthusiasm.@

            B.        If we believe in something enough to be enthusiastic about it, we will act.

            C.        We will like what we do and it won=t be a despised task

            D.        Your best teachers have been those who are enthusiastic about teaching.

            E.         Your best church and community leaders are those who are enthusiastic about
                        what they do.


            F.         Success is driven in part by enthusiasm.

III.       Character.
            A.        Be a person of character that people will not despise.
                        “Let no one Despise your youth….”  I Tim. 4:12

            B.        Be honest!  Be loyal!  Be trustworthy!  Be a good friend!  Be a worker that can be
                         depended on!  Be a person who works hard in college!

            C.        No matter what your age, if you are a person of character, people will reward that!
                        You will be on your way up the ladder of success!

IV.             Discipline.
A.                Live a disciplined life.
1.         Decide what you are going to stand for, how you will live, and what it will
            take to get you there, what knowledge you need to acquire etc.
2.         Don=t be driven by peer pressure.
3.         Be disciplined!

B.        This discipline should be informed by God!

Ecc. 12:1 says, ARemember your creator in the days of your youth.@

C.        Do not leave God out of the picture, and you will have the best chance of living a
            disciplined life, of staying on target, with God as your guide.
            “Seek you first the Kingdom of God . . . .”  Matt. 6:33

V.                Lastly, Self-sacrifice.  (this is the one that Eliot discovered in the movie I started with.)
A.                You didn=t get where you are today on your own.
1.         Many have sacrificed for you to be where you are.
2.         Our forefathers and mothers.
3.         Your parents.
4.         Your teachers.  To name a few!

B.        Whatever you do, you need to feel that you are contributing back to a society and God who has given to you.

C.        We need to not only consider ourselves but also others!

Conclusion:
A.                AAll that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder.@

B.                 Start at the bottom and climb steadily upward.

C.                 Most of us don=t get there without hard work and consistently climbing.

D.                Keep climbing these steps of the ladder, and eventually, you will find the top!  You will find a successful life!


Congratulations and May God richly bless you all!
                                                                         Amen!

Prayer of Confession
Service of Communion

Monday, April 30, 2018

Body Language


                         
Introduction:
     A.   Have you ever heard of Body Language?

     B.   We talk to each other through body language: facial            expressions, hands, and body movement for example.

     C.   In our scripture today, we see where some people                   verbally told Christ something, and we will look at
how we might tell Christ the same thing, using a type
of "Body Language."

                            Prayer
                          Mark 5:1-20

I.   What did these people verbally tell Jesus?
     A.   "Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their                   neighborhood."  (vs. 17 NRSV)

     B.   Why did they ask Christ to leave?
          1.   Perhaps, it was because he had just caused 2,000                    swine to drown themselves!
          2.   Christ had cost them financially; he had possibly              even threatened their way of life!
          3.   So they asked Christ to leave; they traded Christ              out for financial gain and financial security!

II.  We too can trade Christ out; what do we trade Christ out for today?
     A.   We still, sometimes, trade Christ for financial gain!
          I Tim. 6:10  "For the love of money is a root of all                             kinds of evil."  NIV
          1.   We sometimes will lie if it will mean financial
gain thus trading Christ for financial gain.
          2.   We will sometimes steal from our company,                      justifying that they have it coming; they make                plenty of money thus trading Christ for . . . .

     B.   We may trade Christ for "a good time."
          1.   In a moment of passion, we yield to uncommitted
love, and we have traded Christ for a good time
besides putting in jeopardy everything that we
have stood for.
          2.   We may trade Christ for Lust by tempting
              ourselves with pornography.
          3.   We may trade Christ for the abuse of alcohol and
drugs.
          4.   We may trade Christ for weekends doing a number
of things that in themselves aren't wrong except for the fact we have let them come between us and God. 

     C.   We may trade Christ for acceptance by the crowd!
          1.   We may laugh at jokes that aren't funny and go                 against what we believe so people won't think we
              are weird!
          2.   We may do things that are against the teachings
              of Christ and that does not reflect the Love
              that Christ lived before us because of what
people will think thus trading Christ for acceptance by the crowd!

III. These are just a few of the many ways we can ask Christ to    leave.
     A.   We may not verbally ask Christ to leave, but we can
ask Christ to leave by our actions: our Body Language!
          1.   We decide several times everyday to ask Christ to              stay or to leave!
2.   Many times by what we do more so than what we say.

     B.   When the people of this area asked Christ to leave, he         left!

     C.   Christ doesn't dwell where he is not wanted! 
          1.   Christ will not dwell in the heart where he is
not wanted! 
          2.   We completely decide and control how much Christ                    lives in our hearts!

Conclusion:
     A.   How much are we allowing Christ to stay in our hearts?

     B.   Is there something in our lives that we have traded            Christ for, thereby, asking Christ to leave?
    
                       Commitment time!