Sermon for Sunday, June 3rd, 2012- Deuteronomy: Past, present and future

Come and worship with us this coming Sunday as we continue our road trip on Route 66, through the Bible in 66 weeks. Sunday’s lessons will deal with the entire book of Deuteronomy, Moses’ farewell sermons to the children of Israel. Moses preaches three sermons and in each one encourages the Israelites to meditate on God’s word, learn it, keep it and teach others to keep it too.

We begin our worship at 10:00 am and our evening worship at 6:00 pm.
You may see the sermon presentations here (http://tinyurl.com/cjtdq74)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sermon for Sunday, May 8th @ 11:00 am: Numbers 15-36-Disorganization goes to Reorganization

Application:  Korah was a complainer, but he was also a poser.  He thought that he could use this opportunity, this wave of complaint, to exalt himself to a position that did not belong to him.  Since everyone was already complaining about Moses he thought that it was the perfect opportunity to “unseat” Moses, get rid of him, and then Korah could take his place.  But Korah could never become that leader in the priesthood.

Numbers 17, God is confirming the priesthood through Aaron and his sons. (sixth murmuring)

  1. Application:  We must understand that once we begin to divide God’s people through murmuring it is almost impossible to get rid of all the residue.  Even after Korah and his followers were exterminated there still remained doubt in the minds of some people.  Some people were still wondering if indeed God had selected Aaron and his sons to be the priests.  Even though God had already established this in Exodus 28.  So God is going to instruct Moses to set up a test to see who of the 12 tribes will be the priests (confirming the priesthood).
  2. Let everyone of the tribes of Israel put the name of their tribe on a stick, a total of 12 sticks, and for the tribe of Levi put the name of Aaron on a dry dead stick.  Take all 13 sticks and place then in front of the Ark.  So they did that.
  3. Num 17:8  On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
  4. This validated Aaron and his sons as the rightful priests.  This is also a cool image of something dead coming back to life, just like Christ.
  5. In the Ark of the Covenant was placed pieces of manna, the two tablets of stone containing the 10 commandments and Aarons budding rod.
  6. All of these things remained in the Ark and served as a reminder to them of what God had done for them: gave them the Law, gave them sustenance and gave them priests that would help them in having their sins atoned.  Hebrews 9:9 tells us that the Ark, tabernacle, sacrifices, etc  serves (present time) as an illustration that only Christ can wash away our sins.

Leviticus 18-27: A walk with God through sanctification-being different

A walk with God through sanctification-being different

Leviticus 18-27

 Introduction:

  1. In the book of Leviticus we have been studying a very important word: holiness.
    1. What is God’s most attractive attribute?
      1. Love?
      2. Creative nature?
      3. Omniscience?
      4. Omnipotence?
      5. Most people would not pick God’s holiness as His most attractive attribute.
    2. The Bible speaks God’s holiness more than any other attribute.
      1. Since the Bible speaks a lot about His holiness, then we too shall speak about it in this lesson, which by the way, Leviticus has to do with approaching God with holiness.
      2. Holiness is not only an Old Testament topic but it is also a New Testament topic.  (Matthew 6:9, “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Your name…”)
    3. “Holy” is the name of the third person in the Godhead, Holy Spirit.  Notice that He is not called “The Loving Spirit”, or the “Omniscient Spirit”, or “The Omnipotent Spirit”, but by His most attractive attribute, “The Holy Spirit”.
    4. Application:  We find a correlation between who God is and what God wants us to be: HOLY.
      1. We can’t pick and choose which attributes of God we like and toss out the rest.  We take the whole package as God reveals Himself to us.
      2. “Be holy for I am holy.”  

Come and worship with us for the entire lesson!

Featured Article

Recently I received a flyer from a local church meeting at the middle school.  It had “real testimonials from first time visitors.”  Church service is not a church service it is an experience.  It is not religious but spiritual.  It is not traditional but trendy.  The flyer promised a rock concert style music and no one would be dressed up but dressed down.

“Malls are trendy.  Churches should feel timeless.  With the forceful current of constant change sweeping over every part of our lives, people have the need to connect with something enduring and firm.  We believe Christ designed the church to fulfill that need by representing an eternal kingdom and ageless truth with no need to imitate the culture.  We want you to know that there’s still a church that feels like a church.  It won’t feel like a rock concert, comedy club or motivational seminar.  It is not old-fashioned as in 50 years ago.  It is timeless, as in 2000 years ago.”

In doing some research on this trend I was surprised (I should not have been) to learn that this type of experience is common, it is the in thing, it is the trendy thing to do.  I came across an article about someone being invited to one of these churches.

Trendy Churches

A friend recently invited me to his church. When I asked what time the service began, he was quick to correct me: it wasn’t a church “service,” it was “the Sunday experience.” He seemed to think that this terminology would make it seem cool, maybe irresistible. It was at that moment that I knew I was in trouble.First of all, every imaginable event—including tying your shoes and brushing your teeth—is an experience. To call something “the experience” makes about as much sense as calling the letter H “the letter.” It’s not “the letter”; it’s “a letter”; there are lots of other ones.Such semantics are about as ridiculous as when Christians tell others that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. Or when they say that they’re not religious, they’re spiritual.

There’s nothing wrong with being religious, so long as you subscribe to the right religion. And there’s nothing wrong with a church service, so long as it’s a good church service.

But back to my friend. He invited me to his church. I said sure, why not. So Sunday morning came and I went to “the experience.” And let me tell you—it was quite an experience.

The worship service is what I imagine a rock concert would be like. (Given that I never go to rock concerts, I can only surmise here.) The music was loud and there was dry ice on the stage, causing fog to rise up around the worship leaders (“performers”?).

After the music ended, a hip, well-dressed pastor came onto the stage and gave a sermon. Of course, they probably don’t call it a sermon, and he’s probably not a pastor. Bear with me; I’m still learning.

He ended his seeker-friendly sermon (“rap session”?) by quoting the church’s life verse (“He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine…”). A few people then applauded. I could have sworn that I heard some girls sighing in ecstasy, no doubt in awe of the pastor’s designer shoes. Snaking my way through the church’s foyer, where hoards of people were helping themselves to free espressos and donuts, I finally made my way to the front door.

Needless to say, not a very religious experience for me. Heck, I would have settled for a spiritual one.

Admittedly, many of my qualms over the church boil down to personal taste. I don’t like dry ice, or designer shoes, or espressos. But even when I put my personal likes and dislikes aside, I can’t help but feel that the church, and all like it, are lacking something, that they’re just not what churches are supposed to be.

Outreach is good. Adjusting your language to reach a culture is sometimes necessary. But I honestly wonder whether these trendy churches often do more harm than good.

First of all, outreach is the last thing the American church should be focusing on. Morally speaking, Christians today don’t seem to be any better than unbelievers. And I’m not just talking about all those big-haired televangelists. I’m referring to your average, everyday Christians, the Christians we meet in PTA meetings and grocery stores and real estate offices.

I’m sad to say it, but Christians tend to be an unholy bunch. We rally against same-sex marriage bills but practice a debauchery and hypocrisy that far exceeds anything you may find on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. As Ronald J. Sider, author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, writes, “Whether the issue is divorce, materialism, sexual promiscuity, racism, physical abuse in marriage, or neglect of a biblical world view, the polling data point to widespread, blatant disobedience of clear biblical moral demands on the part of people who allegedly are evangelical, born-again Christians.”

In the same way that a city experiencing a surge in crime needs to dump more tax money into its police force and after-school programs and not, say, its tourism department—in the same way, Christians today need to root the sin out of their own lives before trying to get outsiders to join.

But there’s another reason these trendy churches need to go. Simply put, they don’t seem to be all that Christian.

Christianity contains both happy news and sad news, and you can’t have one without the other. The happy news, of course, is that Jesus offers us the gift of eternal life. The sad news is that we’re sinners, that we’re the reason Jesus died, that every new day requires us to repent of our sins and pick up our crosses and suffer for Him.

Both aspects—the happy and the sad—make up the Christian message. A church, therefore, that just focuses on one aspect is not really Christian. Which brings us back to the trendy churches.

The trendy churches just want us to be happy. Spend a few weeks in such a church and your self-esteem will be higher than a woman who’s just been given a makeover on Oprah. Neither the sermon nor the church’s life verse nor the rockin’ worship service nor anything else will cause you to meditate on the sufferings of Christ. Nothing will encourage you to confess your sins to God; in fact, nothing will remind you that you’re a sinner who has something to confess.

It is for this reason that I’m drawn to traditional churches. Sure, the organ music can be hideous. Sure, the pastors can be ugly. But none of that matters. Christianity isn’t about good music and stylish entertainers; that’s why we have MTV.

I’m not saying that all churches need to have the Eucharist every week or that they need to sing hymns and recite liturgy. And I’m certainly not saying that they need to bring back organ music. (I personally think flatulence is more edifying.) All I’m saying is that Evangelicals today could learn much from traditionalists.

And those old foggies, in turn, can learn much from their more contemporary friends. For instance, where to go for a good deal on pants or how to make sure that all the girls in your class think you’re really cool.