130908 Proverbs 9:8-12

Text: Proverbs 9:8-12
Theme: What It Takes To Be Truly Wise

Last weekend's Labor Day holiday gave many Americans a chance to relax, and it gave me the opportunity to do something I enjoy, something I don't get to do much anymore. I watched Jeopardy. Even though the game show first aired almost fifty years ago in 1964, the basic put-your-answer-in-the-form-of-a-question format hasn't changed.

Here are a few questions (or answers) from Monday's show: Two million kilowatts can be generated by the power plant at this dam on Lake Mead (What is Hoover Dam?); This alphabetically first of the six noble gases is used in light bulbs and vacuum tubes (What is argon?); Common four-letter term for an ordinary hexahedron (What is a cube?).

Some game shows require more luck than skill. Jeopardy is not one of them. In order to be successful, you need to be able to process information quickly. In order to do well, you have to perform under pressure. And in order to win, you have to know a lot about a lot of things.

The text before us today was written by a man who knew a lot about a lot of things. Listen to what the Bible has to say about him: "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt" (I Kings 4:29, 30).

Solomon was perhaps the wisest man who ever lived. But as smart as he was, as much as he knew, he didn't let it go to his head. Solomon recognized that his wisdom was a gift from God, a gift to be shared with others. In the book of Proverbs King Solomon shares some of his insights with us. And as we sit at his feet and listen to his words, we will learn...

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE TRULY WISE

I. A humble attitude
II. A healthy appetite
III. A holy awe

Read more: 130908 Proverbs 9:8-12

130901 Hebrews 13:5,6,8

Text: Hebrews 13:5,6,8

Theme: Be Content!

Look up the word "content", and you will find definitions such as "not desiring more than what one has; satisfied." Are you someone who does not desire more than you have? Are you satisfied with your life at this point? A couple of weeks ago we talked about the Old Adam and the New Man that lives inside your heart and mine; and the struggle between the two for control of our lives. Each one of us has a sinful nature in us that is never content. The Old Adam inside each one of us is never satisfied. Motivated by greed, he always wants more and more. But, by the grace of God, and the Word of God working on our hearts, you and I also have a New Man, a New Self. This New Man is always content. He knows and is confident that the Loving Lord in heaven is watching over you and me each and every day. Rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for you, giving thanks to the loving Lord for all the blessings he has given to you, the encouragement from God's Word for you and me is: BE CONTENT! I invite you to listen again to three verses taken from our Second Lesson for today from Hebrews chapter 13. I am reading again verses 5, 6 and 8:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Read more: 130901 Hebrews 13:5,6,8

130825 Luke 13:22-30

Text: Luke 13:22-30
Theme: Are Only A Few People Going To Be Saved?

"Are only a few people going to be saved?" That's the question that introduces our text for today. Even though the question is thousands of years old, it hasn't gotten old. In fact, variations of the same question are still popular today.

And when people ask the question, there is usually an agenda behind it, as if the person who is asking thinks he/she already knows the answer. What gives Christians the right to say that Christianity is the only true religion? How can a loving God send people to hell? Of the billions of people on earth do you honestly believe that only a select few will be saved?

Those are tough questions, and a book I am currently reading with our Board of Outreach sets out to provide some answers. The Reason For God is a New York Times bestseller written by a conservative Presbyterian pastor named Timothy Keller. As the title implies Keller relies on reason to make the case for Christianity.

But before he does that, in the first half of the book Keller addresses some of the most common criticisms of the Christian faith. And on the first page of the first chapter this is what he says: "During my nearly two decades in New York City, I've had numerous opportunities to ask people, 'What is your biggest problem with Christianity? What troubles you the most about its beliefs or how it is practiced?' One of the most frequent answers I have heard over the years can be summed up in one word: exclusivity."

Keller was confronted with the same question, and many people have found his answers to be compelling. Books like his (this genre is called Christian apologetics) are a blessing. They are a good resource for a Christian's library, and they can be helpful especially when some of those difficult questions are put to us.

But wouldn't it be nice if instead of relying on these resources we could go back to the original source? Wouldn't it be even better if we could see how Jesus answered these questions? Well, we can and today we will. In Luke 13 the Lord gives us his answer to a question which is ancient and yet relevant...

ARE ONLY A FEW PEOPLE GOING TO BE SAVED?

Read more: 130825 Luke 13:22-30

130818 Ephesians 6:10-18

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

Theme: STAND UP FOR JESUS DRESSED IN THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Which is easier for you to do? To stand up for your Savior, Jesus, and what he tells you in his Word; or, to give into "peer pressure" and do those things and say those things that you know are against God's will? You and I have an Old Adam, a sinful nature that finds it far too easy, far too fun to give into temptation and sin. But, by the grace of God, you and I also have a New Man living inside of our hearts; a New Man who loves the Word of God; a New Man who finds great joy in living in such a way as to give all praise and thanks to the Savior-God. There is a war going on that you and I can't see. Yet, it is a war we are all personally involved in. It is a fight taking place between our Old Adam and our New Man for control of your heart and mine. As you and I battle our Old Adam, as you and I battle against the devil and the sinful world around us, you and I STAND UP FOR JESUS DRESSED IN THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD!

Read more: 130818 Ephesians 6:10-18

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