Tag Archives: salvation

Burden or Blessing?

Turning away from evil, following God’s commands, remembering Biblical teaching, giving steadfast love, being faithful, acknowledging God in all you do, fearing the Lord, honoring God in your finances, accepting and appreciating God’s discipline, and knowing God delights in us brings all kids of benefits to us throughout our lives – following the Lord is a BLESSING, not a burden. God gives us guidelines for our own benefit, and for His glory.

Proverbs 3:1-12

“My son, do not forget my teaching,

But let your heart keep my commandments;

For length of days and years of life

And peace they will add to you.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good repute

In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body

And refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord from your wealth

And from the first of all your produce;

10 

So your barns will be filled with plenty

And your vats will overflow with new wine.

11 

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord

Or loathe His reproof,

12 

For whom the Lord loves He reproves,

Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

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Happy Resurrection Day!

May you enjoy today worshiping the Lord, our risen Savior, and spending time with family and friends.

Our Identity as Believers

While this text was not the base for the sermon this morning, this is the passage from the service that really stood out to me. I thought I would share here, that you may also be encouraged.

Scripture quotes taken from John 17:9-13, 20-21

  • We are treasured!

“I am praying for them.”

  • We bring glory to Jesus.

“All mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

  • We are witnesses of Jesus in the world while He is in heaven.

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You.”

  • We are kept in the faithfulness of Jesus and the Father.

“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me.”

  • We are protected.

“I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost.”

  • We are to be unified. Our unity gives testimony of God’s grace to a lost world.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

  • We are glorified by Jesus for unity with other believers.

“The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.”

I hope this brings you encouragement this week. We are treasured, kept, protected, and glorified by Jesus, that we may give testimony to His grace to a lost world through unity with other believers.

Imperfection & Confession

“I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”

– Psalm 38:18

The Christian is not without sin. There shouldn’t ever be an implication of such. True Christians should be the first to admit fault and seek forgiveness.

Christianity isn’t about the lack of existence of sin, but rather the freedom from it through Christ’s sacrifice and our confession. When we cry out to God in sorrow and repentance, He hears us.

“Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

– Psalm 38:21-22

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.”

– Psalm 34:4

I’m not sure why we as Christians feel the need to sweep sins under the rug when freedom only comes through confession. There is no reason to fake perfection when Jesus paid for our sin. After all, if we are without sin, what need have we of a Savior?

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8

Prayerfully consider how you act once you’ve done something wrong, and make an effort to intentionally admit fault that you may move forward in the freedom of the Gospel.

Hearing vs. Listening

The difference between only hearing the Word of God and actually listening to it is faith. Not everyone who hears the message of the Gospel with their ears or who reads it with their eyes accepts the salvation of Jesus Christ.

“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” – Hebrews 4:2

When we hear the Word of God, or read it, we must absorb the text with faith in our hearts in order to benefit from it. We also must accept that, while we can and should reach out and share the message of the Gospel with others, we can’t control whether they are only hearing it or actually listening.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14

So far as it depends upon us, let us LISTEN to Scripture, rather than only hearing it.

Created For His Glory

“He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” – Psalm 100:3

God specifically created His people for the purpose of living to please Him and bring Him glory. From the moment He made us, God designed us for a relationship with Him. As the Westminster Confession of Faith so aptly phrases this concept:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

We aren’t just an accident, a blunder of random space dust or prehistoric goo. We were designed with a life purpose in mind. We are here for a reason.

It’s easy as humans to doubt our purpose, to wonder why we are here, and to feel insignificant. Reminders like this verse should help us to realize how truly empowering it is to have our hope sustained by the work of Christ, and God’s plan from before time began.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20, we are exhorted to honor God in all we do with our human bodies:

“…Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God…You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

When we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our redemption from our sins, it should cause us to want to do rightly.

Rebels {Both Historical & Present}

In Numbers 14:1-4, we see that truly “misery loves company.”

– The People Rebel –

Numbers 14:1-4

“Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

(4) And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.””

Rather than encouraging one another and giving one another reminders of God’s faithfulness and their hope in Him to guide their future, the Israelites griped together.

Complaining often leads to disobedience and entertaining prideful thoughts that man’s wisdom is better than God’s. – In verse 4, the people came up with what they thought was a superior Plan 2.0, instead of showing trust and obedience to God’s original Plan 1.0 that He had given them through Moses.

As we move into Numbers 14:13-19, Moses is speaking to the Lord on behalf of the people of Israel, after Joshua and Caleb had returned from the Promised Land spy mission and told the people to trust in God’s promise that they would overtake the land if they acted in obedience.

13 But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. For you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16 ‘It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.'”

We see in both verse 19 and 20 that God listens when we sincerely admit our faults and ask Him to pardon our sins. There are, however, still consequences for complaining against God and showing a lack of gratitude for His provision, as we see in the following verses, and time and time again throughout the Israelites’ journey.

In more modern times, we aren’t unlike the people of Israel once were. Too often, we pride ourselves on being rebels with our own will, sticking to our own plans, rather than the ones God has directed for us.

Hebrews 3:7-19

” 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

where your fathers put me to the test

and saw my works for forty years.

10 

Therefore I was provoked with that generation,

and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;

they have not known my ways.’

11 

As I swore in my wrath,

‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”

Let us not be the generation that does not enter the Lord’s rest. Let us not harden our hearts to truth, or be ashamed to stand for morality and righteousness. Let us not provoke the Lord’s anger through rebellion against His commands. Let our hearts not go astray, or ignore the knowledge of the ways of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 12:23a, God clearly states that:

“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as worshiping idols.”

Rebellion brings us closer to the demonic rather than the Divine. Hearing truth doesn’t lead to positive results when couple with a rebellious heart. A rebellious heart and unbelief go hand-in-hand, and restrict the person who embodies them from entering eternity with Christ. We must gently, but firmly, impress upon us there the urgency for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.