Because We are Transformed by Christ – Preaching Notes

Ephesians 5:8, Philippians 3:20-21, Ephesians 2:4-10

 

Ephesians 5:8

At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 

 

Philippians 3:20–21

Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

 

Ephesians 2:4–10 

God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.  

 

For by grace you have been saved.

 

Christ has raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. 

 

This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

 

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

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Christians intentionally connect with other believers

 Kyle and Margo’s story

Christian community is intentionally different

Christ-centered

Grace-driven

 

Why must Christian community be Christ-centered?

Jesus is the one who transforms and restores us

Ephesians 5:8 – once were, now are

Philippians 3:20 – Christ has raised us up

Ephesians 2:4-5 – God … has made us alive

Ephesians 2:6 – God … has raised us up

Ephesians 2:8 – This is not your own doing … it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship

We have been transformed, restored, healed, not by ourselves, but by Jesus

 

To be restored

To be returned to your original created condition

Paul Tripp on restoration verse remodeling

Restoration starts with the heart

Remodeling starts and stops only with the surface

Restoration deals with the foundation, source of the problems

Remodeling addresses the presenting symptoms

Restoration seeks to bring back to life

Remodeling seeks livability

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want

He makes me …

He leads me …

He restores my soul …

 

The power of God’s work

OT stories – everyone’s success is dependent upon God’s work

Moses vs Pharaoh

God’s Work is Critical 

Isaiah 55:10–11 (ESV)

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven 

and do not return there but water the earth, 

making it bring forth and sprout, 

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 

it shall not return to me empty, 

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Romans 1:16 (ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

 

If the Church not offer others Christ, we fail them

But any old love, wisdom, and support will not transform/restore a person

Success-rate of faith based recovery programs vs therapeutic models – 42% vs 3%

 

Everything we do in church must be Christ-centered

Worship

Look for friends who offer you Jesus

If you leave with more friends and less Jesus, we have failed

Thankful for sharing of members last week

Give me Truth, give me Jesus

Our strength is not the Pastor, our programs, our family spirit, our help

Our strength is Jesus, Christ alone

 

Promises from Scripture

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

The God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Colossians 1:13–14 (ESV)

He has delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

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Intentionally Connected – Preaching Notes

Intentionally Connected – Preaching Notes

1 Corinthian 1:1-9, Acts 2:42-46, Acts 4:32

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

(The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Corinthians 1:1–9.)

Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32

2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 They were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

4:32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 

(The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Acts 2:42–47 and 4:32.)

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Seinfeld Show

Our desire to have separate lives with clear boundaries

2 Distortions of Christian Community

1.  Christian Community  … on-MY-demand

2.  Christian Community  … as a separate conclave

Correction to the 1st Distortion

1 Corinthians 1:2 – “saints together”

1 Corinthians 1:9 – “called into fellowship”

Biblical phrases – God’s people, flock, household of faith, body of Christ

Correction to the 2nd Distortion

John 17:14-16 – “not of this world”

John 17:9 - “I protected them”

God wants His flock to be safe – Psalm 78:52-54

God does not want His flock scattered because this endangers the sheep

Jeremiah 23:1-4, Ezekiel 34:11-16, John 10:12

How does God protect, provide, and help us be the most faithful?

See Acts 2:42-47

Day by day – 2:46

Engaged in:

1. Temple worship for teaching, prayers, and fellowship

2. Home worship – for the same

This fueled their growth – 2:47

Christians are called to be Intentionally Connected”

To one another as believers – throughout the week

Conversation Trackers

What would government surveillance reveal about yours with other Christians?

Does your connection build, strengthen, support, or equip ohers and yourself?

The unique spirit of the Acts 2 Church

Acts 4:32 – “one heart and soul”

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Honoring God’s Order – Preaching Notes

Honoring God’s Order

John 13:12-17 and Mark 10:35-37, 41-45

John 13:12–17

When Jesus had washed the disciple’s feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them:

“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Mark 10:35–37, 41-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

Jesus said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

They said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

When the other ten disciples heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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I. The Human Community

How do we relate to one another?

The fight for rights?

II. God’s Ordering

Matthew 6:24 - “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

We can only have one vertical relationship in our lives

Who is your boss?

Only three options for boss?

Your boss dictates all other relationships

III. God’s Desire for who is your Boss

Deuteronomy 6:4–6 - “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”

Exodus 20:1-11

Matthew 22:37–38 - Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

If your vertical relationship is with God, what about all your other relationships?

Did God design a hierarchy?

IV. God’s design for your horizontal relationships

They are ordered, but not a hierarchy

Genesis 2:18-25 – Helpmate

Ephesians 5:22- 6:9 – Purposeful

Philemon – Brothers

Galatians 3:28 & Colossians 3:11 – Jew/Greek, slave/free male/female – all One in Christ

1 Timothy 6:1-2 – Youth is not a handicap

Titus and Hebrews 13:17 – Leaders serve God’s purpose

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

1 Corinthians 12 – One body, many parts

Ephesians 4:1-16 – one body many gifts for one function

V. The Purpose of God’s Order

“God’s ordering of relationships is meant to help you connect to Him and to glorify and to enjoy Him forever.”

Genesis 2

Romans 1:11-12

Ephesians 5:22-33

Hebrews 10:24-25

VI. NOT to rule over others

Mark 8:31-34, 9:33-35, 10:41-45

VII. Jesus’ Example

John 13:12-17

John 3:16-17

This is why we celebrate the Lord’s Supper

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Men – God’s Magnificent Mystery – Preaching Notes

Jeremiah 17:7–8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Daniel 4:20–22

The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived. it is you …

I.  Men – Strong and Powerful – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Men love power.  Men love football and ice hockey.

If men had to choose to be a plant they would want to be trees – big, strong massive trees.

God also wants men to be like trees. Jeremiah 17:8 reads:

“He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes,  for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”⁠1 

Trees represent strength, power, and endurance.   This is how God created men.

II.  Men – Providers and Shelters – Daniel 4:20-22

In Daniel 4:21 the purpose of trees in God’s creation are well described:

“Trees with beautiful leaves produce abundant fruit.  In trees there is food for all, under which beasts of the field find shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens nest.”

God created men to use their strength and power to provide food and shelter for all of God’s creation.

Men, like trees are not big talkers.  Men want their provisions and shelter speak to for them.  This is why men are a mystery to women.

III.  Power and Strength Gone Awry – Ezekiel 31:2-7

Since men are impressed with their strength and power, this is where they can go awry.

In Ezekiel 31, we read about Assyria, a nation that was impressed with her domineering strength.

“Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. It towered high above all the trees of the field;  its boughs grew large and its branches long.  It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches.”⁠2

Listen to God’s judgment against that tree:

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out.”⁠3 

In Matthew 17 Jesus while speaking about dangerous men, talks about trees and their fruit:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. … Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.   Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”⁠4

God created men with strength and power for a purpose.

IV.  God’s Full Desire for Men – Isaiah 61:3

Isaiah 61:3:

” … that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”⁠5

God wants men to be an oak of righteousness.

The only man who can reveal God’s glory in his strength and power is the man who has a heart for God.

V.  Why God Chose David – 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The story of God choosing David as King is fascinating.  We read about it in 1 Samuel 16:1-13:

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 

Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” 

The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 

Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 

He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” He consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 

Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 

Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 

Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 

Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” 

He said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” 

Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 

He sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. 

The LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.”⁠6

God instructed Samuel not to be impressed with the strength, power, or size of Jesse’s sons.

In verse 7, God tells Samuel:

“I do not look at the outward appearance of a man.  I look at a man’s heart.”

The last son, the youngest was a fair redhead lad with eyes attractive to girls. He was the one chosen by God and anointed as King.

VI.  God Created Men to be Strong Shepherds – Isaiah 40:10-11

In Isaiah 40:10-11 God is described in two distinctive ways.

“The Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him.”⁠7

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms; He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”⁠8 

Our favorite description of God is from Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd!”

What is the first blessing: “I shall not want!”  

What does the Lord as our shepherd do?

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”⁠9

Because our shepherd is strong and mighty, David tells us:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me. He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:4-5)

Men are you listening.

God made you strong and mighty so that others …

Men if you use your power to…

Why do children fall in love with The Wizard of Oz?

At the end of the day the man who loves God and others as God has loved us, it the man the world really admires.  It is the man with a heart for God who is loved by all and by God Himself.

God created men to be strong shepherds.

All of us have been blessed by men who see themselves as God’s strong shepherds.

VII.  God’s Grace for His Men

Isaiah 53:6 reminds us of God’s grace for all His sheep who go astray:

“All of us, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, each one of us, to our own way.  But the Lord, our God has laid upon himself, Jesus the iniquity of us all.”

All men are called by God to be a strong shepherd.  It is not an easy task, but it is one which God helps us complete.

Thomas Kempis writes about men in The Imitation of Christ:

“For a man’s merits are not measured by his … knowledge of the Scriptures, or by his being in a higher position than others, but by the truth of his humility, by his capacity for divine charity, by his constancy in seeking purely and entirely the honor of God, (and) by his disregard … of self, and … by preferring to be … humiliated rather than honored by others.⁠10

God’s men are strong shepherds with a heart for the Lord.

Notes

1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 17:8.

2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ezekiel 31:3, 5, and 7.

3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ezekiel 31:10–11.

4. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Matthew 7:15–20.

5. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 61:3.

6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Samuel 16:1–13.

7. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 40:10.

8. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 40:11.

9. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:2–3.

10. Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1996), 112.

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Women: A Gift from Heaven – Preaching Notes

Proverbs 31:10-12, 25–31

An excellent woman who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed.

Her husband also, and he praises her saying:

“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Lost Identity

Women are a unique and special gift from God.

Women have always had a significant place in God’s sacred history.

Women of the Covenant

There are 188 named women in the Bible.

We can add to this list of women those who are significant, yet without names:

Two who consistently are mentioned by women of faith as mentors for them.

Esther and Ruth

Esther and Ruth were as different as night and day:

Despite their differences, God used each of them in a mighty and powerful way.

Esther

A life of pleasure and luxury was hers to be had.

A plan was hatched to kill all the Jews in the king’s kingdom.

Esther was asked to foil the plan.

She knew what happened to Queen Vasti.

She used the power of her beauty to entice the king.

Ruth

Her story is radically different.

Ruth lost the loves of her life.

Naomi encouraged her to find new a new husband.

Ruth refused to leave Naomi.

She made a pledge to Yahweh.

Ruth, an alien worked hard.

Her work ethic attracted Boaz.

Esther and Ruth could have chosen to live out their lives differently.

All women are beautiful.

Esther used the power of her beauty to protect the powerless.

Ruth choose the path of a servant.

From the Heart

A third woman in the Old Testament.

She is the good wife who is extolled in Proverbs 31.

In Proverbs 31, this woman is described in two ways.

In verse 10-12 and 25-31, we are given a description of her character.

In verses 13-24, we are told what she does.

She was a stay-at-home Mom.

The most demanding job with great significance.

She found satisfaction in her labor.

She knew the work she did was invaluable and she never shied away from it.

This woman’s influence came not from her labor, but from her character.

“Give her everything she deserves and to fill her life with our praises!” (Proverbs 31:31)

10 Women of Influence at Kish

These women are resident saints.

Women are a gift from heaven.

If you are a woman … take pride

If are a man … give thanks

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God’s Child from the Beginning – Preaching Notes

God’s Child from the Beginning

 May 5, 2013

Psalm 139:13–16

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;  my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Matthew 18:1–6

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 Calling to him a child, Jesus put him in the midst of them

3 saying, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.

6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

God’s Gift of Life

We all come to The Human Community in the same way, we are born into it.

Psalm 139 speaks about God’s knowledge of our lives before our mother’s became aware of of life.

What is going on during those initial five weeks before our knowledge of life?

The Psalmist tells us, “God is knitting and weaving us together … in the unknown depths of the womb” (Psalm 139:13 and 15).

The language of Psalm 139 is reminiscent of Genesis 1 which speaks of God at work in the “formless void of darkness over deep waters.” (Genesis 2:2)

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ESV)

“You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews.” (Job 10:11, ESV)

The Psalmist does not simply credit the gift of our life to the hand and work of God, he declares that he is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

John Calvin wrote: “We are so wonderfully made, that our organization infinitely surpasses, in skill, contrivance, design, and adaptation of means to ends, the most curious and complicated piece of mechanism, not only ever executed ‘by art and man’s device,’ but ever conceived by the human imagination.”  

God’s Ordained Dependence

When we receive a gift we not only have the pleasure of enjoying the gift, we have the responsibility of caring for the gift.

There is no gift which needs as much care as a child.

Infants, while they have a mind and spirit of their own, are 100% dependent upon others from the moment of their conception.

Children are born, needing community.

Children need to be cared for physically and spiritually.

We frequently fret over our ability to provide for our child’s physical needs.

Children need to know they are loved.  They need security, safety, and comfort.  They need home.  Children need to know WHO to trust, not WHAT to trust.

Children are tender, vulnerable, and easily bruised.  They bruise from the inside out.

Hedges of Protection

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

Throughout scripture we are instructed to protect the life and the spirit of all children, from conception through their youth.

Why is this so important to God?

Four different times we read in scripture:  “The iniquity of a father is visited upon his children and his children’s children to the 3rd and 4th generation.” (Exodus 20:5, 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:6)

How many times has someone said about you or about your child: “He is just like his Dad! She is just like her Mom!”

If parents are loving, kids are more likely to be loving.

“Guard the deposit entrusted to you.” (1 Timothy 6:20).

The blessings of a good parent extend to the 3rd and 4th generation.

What is the legacy we need to leave for our children.

A Child’s World View

Babies want and demand our attention.

Babies so much love being the center of universe, they assume they will hold this place for the rest of their lives.

They do not relinquish this role easily.

Unless taught differently a child will grow up into an ego-centric monster.

What do Children Need?

Children need a world-view which does not revolve around them.

The greatest need of every child is to know about God and His never-ending steadfast love for them.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  (Deuteronomy 6:7–9 – ESV)

A child needs this heart knowledge of God.

Paul writes lyrically in 1 Corinthians 13 about how empty and meaningless life is without love.

A child, a teen, an adult who has everything of the world, but does not have the knowledge of and a love for God through Jesus Christ, has nothing.

Parents, your most important challenge and the most significant achievement of parenting is o move child from their self-centered universe into a God centered-universe.

While this seems to be an overwhelming challenge.  It isn’t.  If you can teach a child only one thing, your child will have faith.

The Faith of a Child

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus tells us to have have the faith of a child.

The central component of a child’s faith is trust.

From the day a child is born, he is trying to figure out WHO he can trust in life.

Children instinctively know they are vulnerable.

Your task as a parent is to teach your child that he can trust God.

I tell parents that their faith becomes the first faith of their children.

The spiritual life of a child is centered in WHO he can trust.

For a child grace is knowing WHO to trust, not knowing all that will happen today or tomorrow.

Your task as a parent is to help your children learn that God is the only one you can trust with all of your life.

In his farewell address the prophet/priest Samuel spoke to all of Israel, the children of God, saying:

“Trust the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24)

Children never forget who to trust.

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In Christ Alone, but Not Alone – Preaching Notes

2 Timothy 4:9-22

9 Do your best to come to me soon.

10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me.

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.

12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.

21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

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Lonely Christians

“I am so embarrassed, I have no one to talk to.  I am so lonely. I don’t have a single friend in the church!”

God is appalled that there are so many lonely people in His church.

God never intended for Christians to be lonely,

John Donne: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

Paul’s Friends

Spent his whole ministry on the go.

Paul was a task-oriented but he built intimate personal relationships.

Paul mentions 18people in 10 different cities, plus,

He surrounded himself with close associates.

Paul did not have it easy because of his faith in Jesus.

Paul needed his friends in Christ.

He begs Timothy to come quickly. bring Jon Mark with him.

Luke alone was with him

Paul knew that God was always with him, but Paul was well-connected with other Christian brothers.  He built and maintained these personal relationships without phones, email, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter.

In contrast most Christians in America have a hard-time establishing one close, intimate friendship with another believer;

Christians do not seek close faith-centered friendships with other Christians for three primary reasons.

We think we can make it as successful Christians on our own.

Our biggest challenges is our self-confidence.

We are embarrassed to ask for help.

We tough it out.

Sometimes we make it through the waters free and clear,

Sometimes we make it through rough waters beaten and bruised.

Then there are those times when we drown in the process.

Jason Upton, “I tried walking on water, but found myself under the sea.”

Too proud or too weak to ask for help,

Our red-blooded, All-American independence is the reason a problem

“You cannot make it through life as a peace-filled, joyful, Christian” all by yourself.

We believe faith is a private matter with God alone.

Pairs in the Bible

Loners in the Bible often get into trouble.

Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  (Matthew 18:20)

Acts 1:13-14 and 2:1: The disciples and the others all stayed together.  All of them were of one accord devoting themselves to prayer. Then when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.”

God never intended our faith to be a private affair

Solo acts were doomed for failure.

Paul talks about the church being a body with multiple parts,

Hebrews 10:24-25 “Stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”

Ecclesiastes 4:8-12: “One person who has no other, either son or brother, sees no end to all his toil.  Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

If you believe your faith is a private matter between you and God, you are wrong.

We do not want anyone to know us we really are.

We believe Romans 3:23 is only about us: “All sin and fall short of the glory of God.”

While we know that Jesus

died for the forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16)

died for us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8)

nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:37-39)

While we trust God’s mercy and grace, we do not trust the mercy and grace of other Christians.

We wrestle with shame.

We turn our shame into blame, “He did it … she did it!” so can look at ourselves in the mirror.

Why do we blame others?

Outwardly we do not want to endure punishment.

Inwardly, we do not want to suffer condemnation

==> building walls without windows around our personal lives,

Alan Wright, “No Shame Zone.”

Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!”

Alan rejoices in the transformation of the congregation. People quit hiding.  Instead of repeating their failures and falling further into the pit of despair, they have overcome and are living grace-filled lives.

The transformation does not come easy, but it comes because God dispenses grace through Christ Jesus and through your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

Our Need for Deep Spiritual Friendships

We are  saved in Christ, but God has given us help in community

Sunday AM we never turn and say to someone in coffee hour and say, “Let me tell you about my struggles…”

We want peace that passes understanding,

We want your joy to be complete,

We will never have these gifts of God if you do not establish the habit of maintaining a spiritual friendship.

Paul Tripp believes we need at least one

Intentionally-intrusive,

Christ-centered,

Grace-driven,

Redemptive Relationships

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