Sermon: Why Are We A Peculiar People?

 

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:7–12)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

On March 23, 1931, the First Baptist Church of Baker was officially organized. That was 83 years ago. Since that time, the world has seen a great many changes—some good, some bad. 

 

I think it is accurate to say that today the world overall is less friendly to Christianity than it was eighty years ago. The world is more ready to challenge Christians about their faith and even demand that they set their faith aside in certain situations.

 

Hobby Lobby, a Christian owned retail chain, is currently before the Supreme Court because they are being forced, by the Affordable Healthcare Act, to provide birth control for their employees in their health plans. The problem with that is that some birth control pills—contraceptives—actually cause abortions, such as the “morning after” and “week after” pills.

 

Hobby Lobby is just one example. In the last decade, we’ve see all kinds of attacks against Christianity, especially in terms of the public expression of our faith. Christian photographers, bakers, and florists have found that they cannot refuse to service same-sex weddings and so must violate their conscience and participate in something immoral. A Christian’s love and for the unsaved should not lead them into participating in or endorsing sin.

 

Students are told that they can’t mention Jesus in their show and tells or reports or graduation speeches. The situation seems to have an overall downward trend.


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Sermon: The Fifth Plague: Livestock Stricken

 

1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. 4 And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. 5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. 6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. (Exodus 9:1–7)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

For the fifth time, Pharaoh goes head to head in a losing battle against the God who created him. When we read the account of the plagues, we marvel at the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. How could he keep resisting after so many obvious miracles from the Lord?

 

The short answer is that Pharaoh was an unbeliever, and unbelievers simply do not believe. In the New Testament we read:

 

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

 

In this verse, the “natural man” is an unbeliever. He cannot understand the things of God—he even thinks that they are foolishness. The unbeliever is unable to know the things of God. He must be saved in order to do so. Until then, he is like a blind and deaf man judging a movie or a television show. He cannot really know what is truth.

 

Pharaoh is a perfect example of this “natural man.” God was working mighty wonders right in front of him, but he refused to believe.


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Sermon: The Actions and Attitudes of Spirit-Filled Families

 

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1–4)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Beginning with Ephesians 5:18, Paul has been discussing what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit means that you are controlled by him. m

 

Christians filled with the Spirit do not get drunk with wine (or let themselves be controlled by anything other than the Spirit), they sing praises to the Lord, they give thanks to the Lord.

 

Spirit-filled wives submit to their husbands, and husbands lovingly nourish and cherish their wives. Now we turn to the children.

 

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Sermon: The Fourth Plague: Flies

 

 

20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 

 

22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be. 24 And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. 

 

25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. 26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? 27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us. 28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. 29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD. 

 

30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. 31 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. 32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. (Exodus 8:20–32)

 

I. THE PATTERN OF SALVATION

 

Exodus 8:20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve [worship] me. 

Exodus 8:21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 

 

This is one of the plagues where the Lord tells Moses to warn Pharaoh about the upcoming plague. You can’t say that God doesn’t fire warning shots over the bow! You wonder how many warning shots we miss in our lives.

 

Moses is to tell Pharaoh (for the sixth time) to “Let my people go.” The whole scheme of our salvation is tied up in those words. The situation in Egypt was that God’s people were held in bondage, and his demand was that his people be made free. 


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Sermon: The Mystery Of Marriage

 

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:28–33)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A HUSBAND and wife one day were fussing. They were really going at it. So the wife suggested they write down their complaints on a piece of paper and then show the other person exactly how they felt. She thought it might cut down on the bickering. The husband agreed and got the paper. She got out the pencils. They both started writing.

 

They both wrote furiously for a while. The husband would pause, look at his wife, and write some more. The wife would pause, look up at her husband, and write some more. The husband paused again, looked at his wife with an even angrier look on his face, and then he would write some more. The wife did the same and then put her pencil down. Her husband was still writing. He looked up at her in fury and continued writing. He kept writing. Then he wrote some more. Then he wrote even more. The wife was getting furious because she had covered one side of the page and her husband was finishing the backside of his paper. He kept looking up at her and coming up with more to write. Every time he looked up, something new would come and he’d write some more.

 

The wife was in pain and agony. She was clenching her fists and tears of anger were welling up in her eyes. Finally, her husband said that he was finished. They exchanged sheets of paper and looked at each other’s sheet. As soon as she gave him her sheet and looked at his, she felt terrible. She wanted to take her sheet back. For when she looked at her husband’s sheet of paper, in spite of his anger and in spite of his pain, he had written on every line, “I love you, I love you, I love you. I’m ticked off, but I love you, I’m angry, but I love you. I don’t want to be here right now, but I love you.” 

 

(Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More Than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking [Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009], 198–199)

 

This husband had learned the lesson being taught in this passage: husbands are to love their wives sacrificially just as Christ loved the church sacrificially; and furthermore, husbands are to love their wives just as they love their own bodies.


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Sermon: A Sacrificial Love Leading To Sanctification

 

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25–27)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I read about a woman who discovered, in the nick of time, what kind of man that God wanted her to marry. 

 

In 2010, she fell in love with the wrong guy. Although she was a nominal Christian, she decided to follow the cultural expectations and moved in with him before they were married. When she accepted a new job, they moved across country together. A friend at work suggested she try a new church in the area, and so she (alone) did.

 

When the opportunity came to go to the pastor to ask him to perform the marriage, he gave them a couple books to read. She, not he, read them. In one of the books she read that faith had to be the most important part of a marriage. If you start buttoning a shirt on the wrong hole, nothing else lines up right.

 

Her fiancé had no interest in spiritual matters. He would not attend church, pray before meals, or anything. She, on the other hand, was growing deeper in love with Jesus. 

 

Then she read this passage and understood that it meant that a husband was to be the spiritual leader in marriage. She argued back and forth: “But he’s a good man,” “Yet he doesn’t love Jesus,” “But aren’t we supposed to love the unbeliever?” 

 

In the end, she realized that she could not marry this man because he would not be the kind of husband God describes in these verses. She chose obedience to God and his Word instead of following her feelings and her heart, as so many Christians are prone to do. She wrote:

 

Difficult and sad as it was, God was there every step of the way. He was there in the simple way it ended, despite our lives being intertwined in nearly every way. He was there in the support and love our family and friends provided. He was there to give me a sense of peace that transcended all understanding (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/05/26/today-was-supposed-to-be-my-wedding-day/). 

 

Look with me and see what this woman saw in Ephesians 5:25-27. After discussing submission of wives in the previous three verses, Paul spends the rest of the chapter on the husband’s love for his wife. When a husband loves his wife so completely and so much like Christ, she will never have to fear submission to him.

 

The main application of this passage is that husbands are to love our wives. But how? As Christ also loved the church. How did Christ love the church? He loved her with…


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Sermon: The Witness

 

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (John 1:6–8)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A. Witnesses In Court

 

In a court trial, there are several important people. One, of course, is the judge, sort of a referee to the whole thing. He or she, at least in the movies, spends a lot of time banging a gavel and saying “sustained” or “overruled.” 

 

The prosecutor is trying to show that the plaintiff, person being charged, is guilty. The defense counsel does the opposite, trying to show their innocence or at least their justification in doing what they did. 

 

Then thereʼs the jury, twelve people picked to determine the fate of the accused. They are supposed to make their decision based on the law, not on their feelings. They may feel sympathy or hatred toward the plaintiff, depending on what he did, but itʼs what the law says that is what counts.

 

Finally, there are the witnesses. The witnesses are the people who were at the scene of the crime, or who are people who can vouch for the plaintiff’s character. 

 

In some cases an “expert witness” comes in—he wasnʼt at the scene and doesnʼt know the plaintiff, but he might say something like that it was physically impossible to do whatever the plaintiff did. The witnesses are very important, without them to testify, there isnʼt much of a case.

 

B. Jesus Has Witnesses

 

Are there witnesses who can vouch for Jesus? Yes, one of those witnesses is John the Baptist, Jesusʼ own cousin. Jesus always has witnesses. Who are the witnesses who testify for him today? Weʼll answer that question before weʼre done.

 

There are three statements in John 1:6-8 that I want to share with you: 

I. John was Sent by God;

II. John was Sent by God to be a Witness; 

III. John was Sent by God to be a Witness so that People would Believe.


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