A Wee Little Man—Luke 19:1-10

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Remember that little song we learned as kids?

 

Zacchaeus was a wee little man

And a wee little man was he.

He climbed way up in a sycamore tree,

For the Lord he wanted to see.…

 

The story of Zacchaeus is far more than a cute children’s song. It’s the true story of a man, yes, a wee little man, who came to Jesus. It’s a story that we can learn from, the first lesson being that…

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This World’s Not My Home…But It Will Be!

Topic: Heaven

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I love the old hymn, “This World’s Not My Home, I’m Just A Passin’ Through,” but that song is not quite completely true.

 

It’s true that, in this life, we are just a passing through this world. And we die, and we go to be with Jesus. But after that, what happens? We live in Heaven forever? No! We come back to this world! We will live forever, but we were made for Earth.

 

Remember how God created Adam? It was from dirt. In fact, Adam’s name is the Hebrew word for “dirt.” If that had happened today, God would have named him Clay or Dusty. 

 

Why did God tell us about Adam being made from dirt and being named after dirt? Because Adam—and the whole human race—was made for this Earth. And, after the old Earth is passed away, there will be a New Earth for us to live on.

 

Before we look at what the Bible says about the New Earth, we need to step back and look at the big picture. What is God’s plan for Creation?

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Choose One—Joshua 24:14-24

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Sit In One Chair

 

“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates.  “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice…a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil.  I also enrolled in a teachers college.  

 

On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’  “‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them.  For life, you must choose one chair.’  

 

“I chose one.  It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance.  It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera.  

 

And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it.  Commitment, that’s the key.  Choose one chair.” (Gordon)

 

At the end of the book of Joshua, we find that Joshua is approaching the end of his life. So he gathers the people together for a kind of farewell speech. It’s found in Joshua 24. 

 

In it, he challenges the people to make a commitment, to sit on one chair, to serve the one true God.

 

The Motivation For Obedience

 

In the first part of the speech he reminds them of how God had taken them out of Egypt, led them through the wilderness, and then into the Promised land. Speaking God’s words, Joshua says,

 

Joshua 24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. 

 

Rehearsing God’s blessings was a good way for Joshua to begin his challenge to the people to make a serious commitment to the Lord. It’s always good to meditate on the goodness of God in our lives as a motivation to obey him.

 

Every Christian should daily bring to mind what Jesus has done for them. He went to the cross so that we would not have to. 

 

He set us free from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and one day, we will be completely free from the presence of sin.

 

Those truths should spur us on to obedience, an obedience that flows from gratitude and love for a God who spared not his own Son for us.

 

After reminding them of the blessings that God had given them in order to motivate them, Joshua challenges them. He says to the Israelites,

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A Faithful God Helps Us Fight And Flee Temptation—1 Corinthians 10:12-14

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Let’s start with a children’s story. There’s a book called, Frog And Toad Together, in which Frog and Toad discover the terrible power of temptation.

 

Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.” 

 

Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog. Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.” 

 

“You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl. “Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie. “We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another. 

 

“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.” 

“What is willpower?” asked Toad. 

“Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do.”

“You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?” asked Toad.

“Right,” said Frog. Frog put the cookies in a box. 

“There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” 

“But we can open the box,” said Toad. 

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” 

“But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad. 

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf. “There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” 

“But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad. 

 

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a large, loud voice. “HEY, BIRDS, HERE ARE COOKIES!” Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away. 

 

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.” “Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.” 

“You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.” (Lobel).

 

All of us can relate to that story, because we all struggle with temptation. Temptation is, as we’ll learn in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14…

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Lessons From Jericho For The Lord’s Warriors—Joshua 6:1-27

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Unbelievers will often look at the battles found in the Old Testament and scoff at how a loving God could cause the violent death of so many in holy war. 

 

But the believer can look at the same battles and find in them lessons to learn about having faith and hope in God.

 

4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

 

The Battle of Jericho is perhaps the most famous battle in the Old Testament and is packed full of spiritual lessons for us. Our first lesson is the reminder that…

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Learning By Example—1 Corinthians 10:1-11

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

We all learn from both good and bad examples. What we learn—well, that all depends—but no one can deny the power of an example.

 

[At an] annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Atlanta, [thousands of] doctors, nurses, and researchers came together to discuss, among other things, the importance a low-fat diet plays in keeping our hearts healthy.

 

Yet during mealtimes, they consumed fat-filled fast food, such as bacon cheeseburgers and fries, at about the same rate as people from other conventions. When one cardiologist was asked whether or not his partaking in high-fat meals set a bad example, he replied, “Not me; I took my name tag off. 

 

(Stephen Nordbye, “Always an Example,” PreachingToday.com, qtd in Craig Brian Larson…, 1001 Illustrations That Connect, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008], 155–156)

 

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul points to the bad example of the Israelites and warns us not to follow them into their sins. He starts by showing us that they had every blessing they could need from God… Continue reading

We are Great Sinners, but Christ is a Great Savior!—Joshua 2:1-24

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

John Newton, famous today for his great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” was not exaggerating when he wrote:

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me….

 

  • He was a wretch, and he knew it. 
  • He participated in one of the most vile of human trades—the slave trade. 
  • He shattered families, tearing husbands and wives and children apart. 
  • He used slave women for his own immoral purposes. 

 

Beyond that, he was a man with a very foul mouth, a streak of dishonesty, a drinking problem, and other vices.

 

Yet, this was a man that God not only saved, but put in the forefront of God’s work in Newton’s day. We only know him because of “Amazing Grace,” but in his time and place, he was a well-known warrior for God. 

 

It’s amazing what God’s grace can do with the vilest of sinners. Newton was forever grateful for that grace. 

 

One of the final things that he would say in this life was: “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”

 

Newton was not, however, the first person to discover this truth. Rahab the harlot, over 3,000 years earlier could have said the same thing.

 

All of us need to remember that… Continue reading