Monday, July 30, 2012

Colossians 1:3-5 [Insert Sermon Title Here}

I was asked to come preach this past Sunday at a church near where I live.  I preached from Colossians 1:3-5.  Click here for the audio to play in your browser (or right click on the link to download to your computer). 

The sermon title is a joke--I couldn't come up with a good, catchy sermon title, so......there's that.  :-)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hebrews 7:4-10 The Greatness of Melchezedek

This ia bible study I taught about 2 years ago out of Hebrews.  I pray that you are encouarged.  Click here for the audio to play in your browser or right clck to download..

The Gospel and The Dark Knight Rises

Why does that clown playing me sound like he ate gravel, Robin?
The shootings that happened last week at the premier of The Dark Knight Rises are the stuff of nightmares.  Just as nightmarish have been the responses in the wake of that tragedy.  As one would expect, those on the political left cried for tougher gun control laws because, as we all know, criminals obey the law scrupulously.  I'm not in favor of further gun control laws and I think the constitution protects our right to own firearms, but for a Christian, this isn't the time to bellyache about laws concerning guns or to proclaim "You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers".  Christians have a responsibility to respond to this senseless tragedy with the gospel, not with political posturing. 
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5 ESV)
Folks, life is short.  Eternity isn't.  Have you repented of your sins and trusted God to save you on account of Christ's sacrifice?  If you recognize your need for a savior and pray to God to save you, it doesn't matter what you've done, where you're from, or who you are, He will save.  He won't turn anyone away who repents of their sins and trusts in Christ's sacrifice on Calvary for salvation.  You have no idea when time will run out for you.  Please don't put it off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Make Counter Accusations

Silly rabbit, just look in I Samuel 15!!

Are these the actions of a serial sociopath?
Well, I think that’s what psychologists would call it. But, they actually describe someone from scripture pretty well.
King Saul, when he was ordered to go slaughter the Amalekites in I Samuel 15, did most of the job.  He was obedient—up to a point.  He was ordered to kill everyone and destroy all their property.  Instead, he killed most of them and kept some of the best of their animals for spoil.
When Samuel confronted him, he lied and said he had been obedient.  When Samuel pressed him,  he denied he kept the spoil for himself but that he intended to offer it on the altar to God.  When Samuel continued to press him, Saul claimed the people pressured him to do it.
Seems to me we could learn a lot by just studying the mistakes that Saul made.

I mean, all that over some sheep?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Habakkuk 2:12-14 You’re bellyaching about doughnuts?

We’re all familiar with the poem The Nail. 

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost.
So it was a kingdom was lost - all for want of a nail.

Priorities, people!!!!
While it’s true that sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference, some people will whine and complain about something as inconsequential as a nail, or a doughnut, or whatever when their refusal to repent of their sins when they’ve been pointed out is the problem they really need to address.  For instance, in the passage we’re going to look at in Habakkuk, the sinfulness of the Babylonians is evident, but so is their stubborn heart which refuses to repent. 

Observe with me the manner in which these Babylonians go about their conquest.  In Habakkuk 2:12, we’re told the tools of their trade are “blood” and “iniquity”.  The Babylonian army was violent, as we saw when we studied Habakkuk 1:5-11.  They killed without pity and were savage in their treatment of the survivors.  In fact, they dehumanized them in many ways, but in particular in verse 13 we notice they enslaved them.  A worker earns his wages.  A slave is lucky to get anything at all.  They treated them no better than a rake or a mule.   

That’s not how God intended for people to treat one another.  If someone works for you, you should pay them.  We don’t “own” any other person.  God created each of us as individuals and we are accountable for how we treat one another.  In contrast to how the Babylonians enslave, kill, rob, and mistreat people, in Habakkuk 2:14, we read that God, Who is in control of everything, will ultimately be glorified.  No matter how awful things are on this earth, regardless of how we treat each other, and no matter the pains and sorrows we experience, we can trust and know that God is sovereign over time, history, and all of creation.  He will be glorified in all things, even in the midst of our pain, and He will be known even by those who reject Him.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moron....or Oxymoron??

So a wannabe teacher says to you at one point that he doesn’t need to be saved.
Then later he says that you are wrong in your doctrine.
Then later he lies about you to authority.
He accuses you falsely of multiple things.
And at the same time, he expects respect.

Sound like anyone you know? 

The Persian Empire did all these things.  They believed their god was the mightiest because they had conquered Israel.  The jealous leaders told King Darius that Daniel had defied his order and prayed to God.  They lied about Daniel suggesting he was not a faithful servant of the king.  They did all these things because they were jealous of Daniel.  But God was with Daniel so in the end what they thought or said didn’t matter. 

Funny, things haven’t changed in the last 2,200 years.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

“Aww, did you cry to Andy about it? Did he make it all better?”

“Did he fix it and make you feel all safe because you were so threatened?  Bless your little heart—so mistreated and bullied.  Did he make everything ok, little bunny?”

The title to this post was supposed to be Habakkuk 2:9-11 Malicious Motivation.  However, as I was studying this text and preparing to write, I let my imagination run a little bit.  I tried to picture what it would have been like to have been an Israelite and have the Chaldean army come in, conquer, and take all your belongings.  I pictured a young Israelite who had lost everything they had to that terribly vicious army saying to himself (or herself) “I know, maybe my kinsman-redeemer could help me.  Maybe he can convince them to give me my stuff back”.  So, I imagined this person’s kinsman redeemer, who I randomly named Andrew, going to the Babylonians, getting his clock cleaned, and going back to his relative to tell him it was hopeless.  Then, I could see the giant of a soldier going to the man and mocking him.  Can you imagine how humiliating something like that would be?  Trying to put myself in that kind of place and imagine what it would have been like to be helpless certainly made the text more real to me.  Ultimately, the hearts of the Babylonian army were utterly wicked and their motivation for conquest was purely evil.

First of all, notice in Habakkuk 2:9 the desire behind their conquests—“to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm”.  In other words, they saw themselves as a “self-made man”.  In contrast to those who trust God and rely on Him for everything, including their salvation, the Babylonians plundered other people and robbed them of their possessions for the purpose of enriching themselves.  To them, it was a kind of insurance policy—a nest egg, if you will.  They felt safe because they had enough stuff to weather whatever sort of storm life threw at them.  Such self-reliance is celebrated in our culture, but the fact is that as Christians we rely on God not on ourselves.  We have faith that God will provide for us and carry us through whatever we face in this life.  We have the hope that this life is not the end and no matter how hard life is, we can trust God to keep us safe, not our own strength and possessions. 

The Babylonians thought that they set themselves above other people.  They saw themselves as honored because when one army conquered another army in the ancient world, the people interpreted that to mean that the god of the winning army was more powerful than the god of the losing army.  However, in reality that is the exact opposite of what they would experience in the long term.  They thought they were honored because of their conquest but Habakkuk 2:10 tells us because of their conquests they had “devised shame” instead of gaining honor.  And, as would be the case years later when the Persian Empire conquered them, rather than being safe they would find they had “forfeited [their] life”.

The fact is, what they had done was evident to everybody.  People saw the Babylonian Empire go out and conquer nation after nation with impunity.  People saw what was happening—they knew how they treated people I think that’s the idea being expressed in Habakkuk 2:11—the stones and the beams of their lofty homes would cry out against them.  There’s no place to run or hide.  You can live “high on the hog” and flaunt sin in God’s face for so long, but eventually there is a judgment day.  One day, these merciless men would be punished for what they did.  They would suffer like they’d made others suffer.

The root cause of this and their other sins is pride.  They were too proud to cry out to God and seek Him.  They preferred to live life on their terms.  If that describes you today, pray to God that He will break you of your sinful pride and grant you repentance.

Friday, July 13, 2012

II Timothy 3:14--Christian Discipleship

I preached this sermon back in 2009.  This was an AWANA awards ceremony.  Click this link and it should play in your browser or right click to save to your hard drive.  I pray that you are encouraged.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Matthew 9:27-31 Coming Out of the Darkness

I told you that you shoulda used Lifeboy.
I was born with cataracts so I spent about the first 18 months of my life blind as a bat.  Two other times over the years I’ve had eye surgery and had to be led around by other people to get anywhere, so when I read the healings in the gospels involving blind folks, it warms my heart.  Because, one day, in heaven I will get a new resurrection body and both of my eyes will see clear as day and let me tell you I am looking forward to it.  The men we read about in these verses were blessed because not only did they get their sight because of their faith in Christ; they got their sight in this lifetime.

Notice with me that after Christ walked by them in verse 37, they cried out to Him for mercy.  In particular, observe the title they used to call Him—“Son of David”.  Now, from this we can assume these men had saving faith.  They believed Jesus was the Messiah sent from God and likely knew, as was prophesied in Isaiah, that the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind.  Unlike what is taught by Word of Faith heretics, their genuine faith did not cause them to be healed miraculously.  Rather, it drove them to seek out Jesus and appeal to Him for mercy and healing. 

Being blind is a limiting disability now but being blind back then meant you had to depend on others—family, friends, and strangers.  It was impossible to work.  Instead, you had to beg.  You were at the bottom of the social and religious totem pole, so to speak, and many people would assume you had been cursed by God (John 9:2).  But physical blindness is less severe than spiritual blindness (II Corinthians 4:4) and in many ways it is a picture of what spiritual blindness is like.  A person who is spiritually blind is helpless and hopeless, unable to see their sin and need for a Savior.  These men had their physical eyes opened and sought the Messiah to have their physical eyes opened. 

In Matthew 9:28, after Jesus entered the house, they followed him, demonstrating their faith with their persistence.  Giving them an opportunity to verbalize their faith, He asked them if they believed He could heal them.  He didn’t ask if they thought He was willing, but rather was He able—“Do you believe I am Who you say that I am?”  When they answered “Yes, Lord”, He compassionately touched their eyes and they were healed.  Of course, He could have healed them without touching them, but perhaps, because they were blind, He gave them a touch so they could know that He did respond to their faith. 

In any case, their eyes were opened.  I can imagine their excitement.  During my recovery from my last eye surgery, I was unable to see much of anything for two weeks.  I was scheduled to preach and bought a Giant Print NASB so that I could see.  I remember the sheer joy of being able to open that Bible and read God’s word after having been worried I’d never see again.  These men had been blind, probably from birth, so their joy even eclipsed mine.  A whole new world opened right before their eyes, literally.

Of course, as we read in Matthew 9:30, Jesus knew what could happen as a result of their excitement.  These men, likely as not, were going to go shouting as loudly as they could to everyone they could tell what Jesus had done.  And, as we’ve seen in this gospel and others, when Jesus heals people, crowds form.  These crowds of course had some people who had genuine faith in the Messiah.  However, some of the people were just looking for a good show or a free meal.  Because the gawkers would pose an impediment to His ministry, Jesus wanted to avoid them so He commanded the men to keep quiet about this healing.  Of course, as we see in verse 31, these men, who had enough faith to be healed by the Messiah, disobeyed Jesus.  In the end though, are we really that different, brothers and sisters.  God reveals Himself to us in His word and calls us to repent of our sins, trust Christ, and walk in a manner consistent with our faith (Colossians 1:10) but we still struggle with sin and disobedience.  Praise God, however, that just like these blind men who were healed, God still loves us and forgives us when we sin because we are His children.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Right back at you.

Sorry for the long hiatus, folks.  Work has been a bear these past few months.  But like a bird returning from the south after the winter, here I am.  I plan to get back to posting next week.