Sunday, December 25, 2011
“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.”
Sin is bad news. That’s one of the main messages from the book of Jonah. Most people remember this book because of the story about how Jonah got himself stuck inside the belly of the whale. But most don’t remember why he was there – it was because he disobeyed God. Dr. David Jeremiah writes the following about sin (disobedience to God) and its consequences:
“When we walk away from the revealed will of God, there’s always a price to pay, “for the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23). Wages aren’t paid in one lump sum; they are paid in little increments throughout our lives and then we get the final payment at death. Sin pays, all right, and its wages are not what the sinner would want.”
There are consequences for disobeying God and Jonah suffered those consequences. But for whatever reason, we often think that those consequences don’t apply to us - we deceive ourselves into believing that we can do whatever we want and it will be okay. We tell ourselves that nothing will happen. The story of Jonah reminds us that sin always has consequences and ultimately we will experience them.
On Sunday, we will talk more about the consequences of sin as we begin a new sermon series entitled, “Returning to God: Lessons From Jonah.” What a better way to start the new year than in church? Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sermon Title: Christ Has Come!
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Who did Christ come for? The easy answer is that He came for all of us. John 3:16 makes it clear that “God so loved the world” that He sent Christ to be our Savior. The “world” is offered salvation through Christ. However, we also know that not all the world receives Christ, and some outright reject Him. Because of this, some theologians say that Christ came just for the “elected” or those who actually receive Christ as Savior.
But we can also say that Christ came for each of us individually and personally. He left the heavens and took the form of a human for “me.” It was an act of grace and love that is extended to each person, individually, and not just corporately.
This is the true message of Christmas – that God loves each of us so much that He came. For us. Each of us, individually. Yes, He came for me. And for you. And because of this, we can truly say “Merry Christmas”! I hope you will take time in your busy holiday schedule to worship with us this coming Sunday and celebrate true message of Christmas!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sermon Title: Christmas Time Is For Hope
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie writes the following about the story of Christ’s birth: “John Lennon once said of the Beatles, the phenomenal group of musicians of the sixties and seventies of which he was a part, that they were more popular than Jesus. That may have been so, but they were not and are not better-known. Hundreds of millions of people, even those in non-Christian lands, know the events and details of Jesus’ life and death and Resurrection. The details are universal.”
We will talk about this universally known story that has been retold countless of times over the centuries on Sunday, focusing on the hope that it provides our world and, in particular, our own personal lives, as we continue our sermon series, “Good Times.” Hope to see you then!