Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve

December 31, 2004
Psalm 90:1
“Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations”

INTRODUCTION: We come once again to the end of another year – 365 days have passed – the Year of our Lord 2004 – a year in which we have been blessed by God to serve Him, to be a witness, to experience His mercy and grace. What can be said concerning this past year? Possibly David summed it all up in the words of our text for this night: “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations” {Psalm 90:1}

I.        The Lord our Dwelling place.

A. The Lord Almighty has been and is a refuge from the tempter and the destroyer.

B. He is a shelter from every storm.

II.     In All Generations.

A.          An Ancestral Home. Think of the repository of family traditions and memories and associations we’ve been permitted to experience this past year.

B.          Yet, in Christ we have a home more real than house filled with material things. The presence of Christ fills us and everything associated with Him. Think of those moments this past year when you have known of His presence in your life. Think of those times in which He was there yet we may not have known it… Only in eternity will everything be completely revealed.

CONCLUSION: Thus close out in just a few hours the year of our Lord 2004. In each year, in all generations the Lord Jesus has been our dwelling place. May He continue to sustain us from this generation to the next.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Day

Christmas Day
December 25, 2004
Isaiah 9:6
What’s in a name?

INTRODUCTION: What’s in a name? A name identifies the character of a person. For example, my name, “Daniel” is of Hebrew origin and means, “God is my judge.” Tamara is also Hebrew which means, “palm tree.” Henry mans “Ruler of the Home” while Lydia is Greek for “cultured”. Lindsey, the first girl and the first child baptized this year {as well as the first recorded baptism in our church’s 2nd century} means “trees near water” while Remington [1st boy] is taken from the word “Raven” meaning “Blackbird” while Coy means “quiet” or “still”.

In Biblical thought you are a name. The son born on Christmas is no ordinary person as shown by the name He is given. What’s in a name especially His name? Consider Jesus’ title.

I.                    Counselor-

A.         He guides us into the ways of truth, divine and eternal truth.

B.         He is a helper – who came to rescue us from our greatest peril. The powers of sin, death and the Devil.

C.         Advocate – Paul put it this way, “God was in Christ rec0onciling us to the Father, not counting our sins against us. And He has given us this ministry of reconciliation.”

II.                 Mighty God-

A.         The transcendent One – who created this universe in six days and rested on the seventh. He created a vast universe for us to explore, to profit from ($1 spent in exploration translates into $17 in return) Yet He is the one who governs our days and orders our universe.

B.         Totally other – One whose will was to be born in human likeness who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and was made man. Conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin He is our Savior from sin, death, and the devil.

III.               Everlasting Father –

A.         Warm – who has loved us with an everlasting love.

B.         Tender – who speaks to us favorably through His inspired Word.

C.         Caring – Who in love has reached down to us to save us from our sins.

D.         The Compassionate God- Who broke into time and space to be our Savior – who took on flesh to dwell among us, to take the burden of our guilt and sin.

IV.              Prince of Peace –

A.         The creator of our peace with God. He is the source of every blessing. Our peace comes only from Him.

B.         The one who will bestow His abiding peace on those who are called by His saving Gospel. This is why we share His story with the world so that souls might be won for Him.

CONCLUSION: What’s in a name? There’s plenty. The child whose birth we celebrate this day has been given the name “Jesus” for “He will save His people from their sins.” And save us is what He has done. No wonder the angels who announced His birth would exclaim, “there is now peace on earth and good will toward men”! A Blessed Christmas in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mid-week Advent 3

December 15, 2004
Isaiah 35:1-10
"A wasteland transformed"

INTRODUCTION: For many, life is a wilderness, a wasteland, and a desert. Like the Israelites who were in bondage in Babylon when this text was written modern man lives in bondage – bondage to fear, anxieties, loneliness, loveless ness. Today people again are living in conditions of ignorance poverty and misery from which they need to be delivered. When God comes Isaiah reminds us that a wasteland will be transformed into a garden.

1.                  From the wilderness of sadness to the garden of joy – “The wilderness and desert will be glad.” (V.1)

A. The personification of nature is quite common in Isaiah. Barren land will bring forth lush growth and vegetation. An about face, and change of the landscape – God is moving among His people.

B. The wilderness of sin and loneliness, isolated from God because of the misery of sin brings forth a new relationship – life with God has He comes to visit His people. In the form of a son, His only Son.

2.                  From the wilderness of fear to the garden of courage – “Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble.” (V. 3)

A.     Feeble arms, legs, bodies need physical therapy. Christ is our therapist. A helper just He comes to Thee.

B.  He offers Himself as He bids us to come to Him. Here we find that great exchange His life of perfection for our futile attempts of piety. He exchanges our sin for His righteousness and carries our sins on His own back on the bloody cross.

3.                  From the wilderness of bondage to the garden of freedom – “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.” (Vv.5-6)

A.         Jesus will quote this verse in Matthew’s gospel to prove that He is the Messiah. “Report back to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5)

B.         God provided water for His children of Israel during their sojourn in the desert. He provided for them then, and He provides for us now. Forgiveness, life, salvation have all been given to us freely. Truly our Father is the provider of all who are in need.

CONCLUSION: A desert becomes a lush garden?  A dream? A dream comes true when the Lord’s Messiah, our Savior, breaks into time and space. Jesus has come to offer His life as an exchange for our life of misery and sin. O rejoice ye Christians loudly! Jesus has come to offer salvation!

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Advent mid-week 2

December 8, 2004
Isaiah 11:1-10
A Profile in Greatness

INTRODUCTION:  In this Advent season we look forward to the celebration of Christmas and for the coming again of Jesus into our hearts and the close of this age. Who is this expected one and what is He like? Is He worth hoping and waiting for?

In our Old Testament lesson for this night the prophet Isaiah draws for us a profile of the Messiah some 800 years before He is born. Consider this profile of greatness.

I.                     Who is He?

A.     A prince – “then shall a shoot spring from the stem of Jesse and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” (V. 1)

B.     A man of Spirit – And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (V.2)

C.    A God fearing man – “And He will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

II.                   What will He do?

A.     Judge righteously, not on evidence of hearsay – “He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear, but with righteousness will he judge the poor.” (Vv. 3b-4a)

B.     Destroy the evil in the world through His Word – “He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”

III.                  What will He accomplish?

A.     Peace on earth – (V.6) “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together and a young lad will lead them.”

B.     The world will know God – (V.9) “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”

C.    Nations will seek God – (V.10) “Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.”

CONCLUSION: Often in schools and in business a profile is made of new students or interns to acquaint the faculty or management with the lives of incoming students. We have reviewed the profile of the coming Messiah – truly a profile of greatness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Advent mid-week 1

December 1, 2004
Isaiah 2:1-5 
Peace in our Time

INTRODUCTION: The world is ever in pursuit of peace. Each successive decade makes peace an even greater necessity because of the sophistication and proliferation of weapons. Now in the age of terror the world longs for peace so much so that the words of verse 3 are carved on the outside wall of the United Nations building in New York City “and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation and never again will they learn ware.” Yet, this dream of world peace has not yet been realized.

Our test for tonight gives the conditions of peace, a price the world has yet failed to pay. Is peace in our time possible?

1.                  Not now but in the last days – “Now it shall come about in the last day, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as a chief of the mountains and I will be raised about the hills; and all nations will stream to it.”

A.      Peace is for the time when Christ returns.

1.      A time in the future.

2.      Yet set only by the Father.

B.      This text does not promise peace for the world today.

1.      There will be wars and rumors of wars.

2.      Because of distress in the world the end will have to come.

Transition: Peace will come in the later days. It will come by the Father’s directive.

2.                  Peace will come when God is considered to be the true God.

A.      God is the highest of the mountains.

B.      God is considered at the center of the world.

C.     God is considered the hub of the universe.

Transition: Peace will come when God directs it, when He is at the center of man’s thoughts, when the nations seek Him.

3.                  Peace will happen when all the nations come to God.

A.      When people make peace with God.

1.      Done in time @ Jesus’ 1st Advent.

2.      Done in eternity @ Jesus’ 2nd Advent.

B.      Then they will have peace among themselves.

1.       Because God is at peace with what Christ has accomplished at the bloody cross and empty tomb.

2.       Because of His name; the prince of peace.

CONCLUSION: Peace in our time, can it be realized? Yes, when Christ descends from the clouds of heaven and then every eye shall see Him. Come Lord Jesus, come even today. Amen.