Nothing for Which Jesus Cares So Much (Part 4)

Today’s message from John 14:15-24 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I attempted to capture the gist of the section:

Now in campaigning for their correct understanding of saving faith as issuing in devoted obedience and no easy-believism, I mentioned in part three that Jesus further shows His care by outlining for the disciples the stunning provision made for them/us to enable that obedience. Indeed I called it a Trinitarian provision for Jesus goes on here to describe how all three members of the Godhead come into play in what we might call operation saving faith resulting in treasuring obedience. They are the giving of the Spirit (15-17), the coming of the Son (18-21), and the abiding of the Father (22-24).

Praise God that the Helper, Jesus, remains our advocate before the Father’s throne in heaven ANd another Helper, the Spirit, perpetually adds His aid as our advocate, friend, counselor, and comforter as well.

My thanks to Greg Willson for his poignant testimony about advocacy from his recent experience in federal court!

Nothing for Which Jesus Cares So Much (Part 3)

Today’s message from John 14:15-24 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I brought the message home:

If you believe you do possess this priceless gift, then understand that the acid test of ownership comes with “owning” His commandments and keeping/obeying His words. Jesus put it this way in an exchange with the crowd on the Via Dolorosa in Luke 11:27-28 –

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Are you hearing the word of God and keeping it? Where must you repent today? Understand this. If you are blatantly and wantonly disregarding some command of Jesus that you know He requires of your in your ethics of life, you have no reason to be assured of a saving knowledge of Him. What idolatry or disobedience must you bring to the cross for pardon and plead to Jesus for gospel power based on your true identity as a beloved son or daughter of God. Don’t delay. Do business with God now. That is evidence of true saving faith for sure, no matter how many times you must do so.

For more information about human trafficking click here.

For more information on the movie Amazing Grace about William Wilberforce click here.

For more information on John Piper’s book The Roots of Endurance click here.

Nothing for Which Jesus Cares So Much (Part 2)

Today’s message from John 14:8-14 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here. Our apologies for the lesser quality of the audio. We had to resort to a back up recording source due to a glitch with our primary one. Thank you.

Here’s how I summarized the sermon:

So what have we seen as we move further into Jesus’ farewell discourse in this two-part message? Jesus’ loving care in thoroughly preparing His own for their mission points yet again to His identity as Messiah that we might believe in Him. There is nothing for which He cares so much as our faith. For bolstering that faith we look to His continual witness of words and His ongoing witness of works, both the ones He did in the flesh while on earth and the beyond-all-we-can-ask-or-think (Eph. 3:20) works He continues to do through we who believe as we faithfully pray in His name, claiming His authority and reflecting His identity.

So, dear ones, let us ask. There are exceptions, but more than not we do not put God sufficiently to the test. We fail to pray. Let us have praying homes, let us having praying leaders, let us have a praying church, especially when it comes to our mission near and far to engage peoples for pursuing ultimate satisfaction in Jesus. And let us allow the thought that to pray in Jesus’ name means that He is not just the savior of our sins but also the savior of our prayers through His death on the cross too compel us to come boldly especially in praying for the salvation of specific people, the spiritual growth of one another, and whatsoever else may promote the fame of the name of Jesus.

Praise God for the advantages that have come with Jesus at the Father’s right hand including the mighty means of access that is intercessory prayer!

Nothing for Which Jesus Cares So Much (Part 1)

Sunday’s message in John 14:8-14 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summarized the gist of the sermon:

Jesus’ loving care in thoroughly preparing His own for their mission points yet again to His identity as Messiah that we might believe in Him. There is nothing He cares more for in His love for them than their faith. He dogs them with this question do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Believe, He says, for two rock-solid reasons – His words from the Father and His works for the Father, both done in the flesh and through His followers – even greater works because He goes to the Father.

I should say that I spoke prematurely about the Mark manuscript recently discovered as being actually confirmed as authentic. That is still under consideration. For more information on this significant development click here.

How Our Extraordinary God Deploys Ordinary People for His Extraordinary Purposes

Yesterday’s message in Acts 18:1-28 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s a summary of the message:

Our extraordinary God specializes in deploying/using ordinary people for His extraordinary gospel purposes. He guides them by providence in circumstances. He galvanizes them for mission through the gospel. And He grounds them in truth for discipleship. How about you, ordinary Joe or Jane, Jim or Janice? Do you know this extraordinary Jesus in terms of His glorious saving Gospel? If you aren’t certain about that, let us know and we will get you some resources to help you. If you do, do you realize He means to deploy you in His mission where you live, work, and play, maybe even beyond at some point in a short term mission or even long term relocation/? Don’t rule out something quite surprising from this God! How mobile are you for the sake of Christ? You never know when and where providence might point you in a missional direction. Be ready! Start praying J. D. Greear’s gospel prayer daily (I’ll post it on my blog – see above) and buckle your seat belt and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

May God give us grace to grow as a people on mission among peoples near and far!

Fuel for the Fire of Faithful Ministry

Today’s message from 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

I summarized the theme of the text this way: the victorious reality of our future resurrection anchors us in an unshakeable constancy in ministry. Work for God fueled by the fire of a gospel-resurrection hope will be an amiable, abounding, arduous, assured, and awarded kind of work.

Here are Charles Spurgeon’s words with which I closed:

Take this henceforth for your motto—All for Jesus, always for Jesus, everywhere for Jesus. He deserves it. I should not so speak to you if you had to live in this world only. Alas, for the love of Jesus, if thou wert all and nought beside, O earth! But there is another life—live for it. There is another world—live for it. There is a resurrection, there is eternal blessedness, there is glory, there are crowns of pure reward—live for them, by God’s grace live for them. The Lord bless you, and save you. Amen.

What We Need Most in 2012 & Always (Part 3)

Sunday’s message is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

We have now completed the New Year’s emphasis on Godward priorities in prayer and the Word.

Part three focused on the word of His grace and the importance of regularly putting ourselves under the reading and hearing of the gospel.

Oh that the cry of John Wesley might be our cry as well:

I am a creature of a day. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God. I want to know one thing: the way to heaven. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. He has written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book! At any price give me the book of God. Let me be a man of one book.

May the Lord make of us a people committed to ultimate priorities now and always!

What We Need Most in 2012 & Always (Part 2)

Yesterday’s message from Acts 20:17-38 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summed up this second installment of what has become a three-part New Year’s mini-series:

Given grave threats to the church’s wellbeing, what it needs most is leaders and followers alike who focus on ultimate priorities – seeking the Lord in prayer and hearing His word of grace. What manner of people will we be at OGC in 2012 as we open our building and move into a new phase of our ministry? Let us be a Godward people. Two ideas for application this week:

  1. Determine some place and time where you will regularly meet with God for prayer and time in the word.
  2. Create some prayer cards for the most important people in your life per Paul Miller’s suggestion in his book, A Praying Life, and be sure to include a Scripture verse you will pray through regularly for each person/card.

Remember the admonition of Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest:

Jesus taught that a disciple has to make his relationship to God the dominating concentration of his life, and to be carefully careless about everything else in comparison to that.

Prelude to a Dying Savior’s Last Words

Sunday’s message from John 13:31-38 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summarized things:

Because of Jesus’ great care in preparing His own for His departure, we should believe in Him as the Messiah, God’s Son – His pointing to glory both of the Father and the Son, His providing for grief in the New Commandment to love one another, and His protecting from guilt in the predicting and praying through betrayal. Have you put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah? His miraculous works commend Him to you. His astonishing claims do the same. And His compassionate care for His own beckons you to trust Him. No one will ever care for you as thoroughly, lovingly, and completely as Jesus. Believe Him today!

Beauty & the Betrayer

Today’s message from John 13:21-30 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summarized the flow of the message:

As we come to the Table of the Lord this morning, feast your eyes on and give your tastes to the beautiful Savior. Having heard the preached Gospel, we now have it made visible in the elements of the bread and the cup. What amazing, devoted love would for the joy set before Him, despise the shame, endure the cross, and lay down a life so sweet, so pure, so divine? The love of Jesus. Do you see this beauty in all its distress, in all its devotion, in all its determination? Will you not go the way of Peter and John and move toward Jesus to rest your all on Him or will you go the other direction into the night, not just the dark night over the Mt. of Olives that fateful evening in John 13, but the pitch black night of sin’s evil that refuses His friendship and loves something, someone more than Him.