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Sunday, September 30, 2018
Scriptures: 1 John 1:1-4

 

In a world that often seems shallow, God calls us to a deeper reality.  In part one of our look at the book of 1st John, we learn about developing Deep Joy.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

To download a copy of today's sermon notes, click here.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

 

"Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6 NLT)

Some people think of Jesus as one of many ways to God, but Jesus said there is only one way to God: through him.

But what makes Jesus so great and powerful? Among other things, it was his complete and total surrender to the will of God the Father:

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
     he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal's death on a cross.

 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
(Php. 2:3-11 NLT, emphasis added)

And now through Jesus, God has invited us to be a part of his eternal plan - to be his people, revealing his wisdom to the whole spiritual realm. (See Ephesians 3:10-11.)

How are you responding to this call? Here is what Paul recommends in Philippians 2:5: "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had"... an attitude of total surrender to the will of God.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

Pastor Dennis Larkin was our guest speaker, and he drew our attention to two particular passages of scripture: Psalm 42:1-11 and Isaiah 61:1-9.

The first drives home this thought, stating it twice in the space of 7 verses for emphasis:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. (NIV)


The second offers a prophetic glimpse into the future self-revelation of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.


Pastor Dennis pointed out how those verses were not only true of Jesus: they are true of all who have submitted to his Lordship. It is our sacred calling to proclaim the good news to the poor in spirit, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for those held captive by sin, and to bestow upon them a crown of beauty, the oil of joy, and a garment of praise.

He then issued a 30-day challenge to speak God's truth into our own lives: once in the morning and again in the evening. Those words are contained in the document Who I Am in Christ, which you can download by clicking here.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

 

Today's message was given by Dr. Carl Wilson. He drew some powerful insights from Luke 8:40-48, which describes how a woman who had been afflicted with a physical malady for 12 years was healed the moment she touched Jesus.

She had spent everything she had on doctors and ineffective remedies, and her life was ebbing away. In her desperation she sought Jesus, and pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of his garment. And her life was radically changed because of her faith in Him.

Dr. Wilson says, "Desperation is a good thing! You have to become desperate in order to get to the end of yourself. Because when you get to the end of yourself, that's when you can experience the power of God."

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

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Sunday, September 02, 2018

 

O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

If you want to know God's will for you, the two most important things to remember are:

  1. The Bible is the first place to look for wisdom and guidance
  2. Prayer is essential.

Then keep in mind that God's will is more like a game plan than a blueprint. We follow God's will using general principles and values, with occasional specific instructions from the Lord.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

 

Legalism can be defined as "Thinking we're accepted by God by keeping rules, and expecting others to keep the same rules."

But obeying a list of rules doesn't create Christ-followers. It creates self-righteousness.

Jesus offered a prime example of self-righteousness (i.e. legalism) in Luke 18:9-14:

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (New Living Translation)

We shouldn't use other people as a way to gauge our righteousness in God's eyes. Because God doesn't compare us with other people - he compares us with Jesus.

And that is why "everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23 NLT)

That standard is Jesus.Thankfully, He loves us, and gave himself for us! (See Galatians 2:20.)

"God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit." (Romans 8:3-4 NLT)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

 

It's critical to read the Bible to find out what God actually says, not to make it say what we want him to say! There are even theological terms for these different approaches:

Exegesis: to draw or extract meaning out of the text.

Eisegesis: to read meaning into the text.

In today's message Pastor Dave shows how the Temperance movement of the late 19th / early 20th centuries was a mostly American phenomenon. Its leaders emphasized only those verses that seemed to support their zero-tolerance attitude toward alcohol, while ignoring the many verses that did not support their position.

For example, Psalm 104:15 tells us God has given us wine to make us glad! And remember that Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding.

What the Bible actually speaks against is excessive consumption of alcohol, to the point of drunkness, which can lead to addiction, disease, and death.

The Temperance movement, and others like it, are based on checklists of things they say are appropriate or inappropriate for Christians.

But our standing with God is not based on our performance or our righteousness; it is based on Jesus himself, and his righteousness.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

 

Note: This is the third message in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2). 

The Bible says we're ALL broken, and for some people, brokenness shows up as homosexuality.

So our response to homosexuality should be no different than the way we respond to other sins: with love and compassion.

There's a popular (and true) statement: We should love the sinner, but hate the sin.

That's what God does for us! It may help to think of him like a doctor, who loves his patients but hates the disease (sin) that afflicts them.

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. (Romans 5:20)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

 

Note: This is the second in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2). 

In today's message Pastor Dave illustrated the corrosive and progressive nature of sin, and described how far unbridled passion can go when left unchecked. 

The focus was on homosexuality, though the lessons can be applied to other areas of our lives as well.

When we choose to do things that defy God's instructions, those actions have a damaging effect on the soul. And when people do things that damage them internally, that damage will eventually affect the external world.

"No man is an island…" John Donne (1572 - 1631)

To download the audio for today's message, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

 

Note: This is the first in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2).

Pastor Dave continues the "Got Questions?" series with a three-part answer to a question submitted by a member of our congregation: "What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?"

In western culture today, confusion reigns supreme in the areas of marriage, sexuality, the value of human life and the human body, and morality in general. The very existence of absolute truth is being questioned, not only in areas of morality but also in previously established areas of science.

To find truth we need to listen to someone who knows truth, as the blind men did when they listened to the wise man in the story about the elephant.

God is the source of all truth. His perspective is infinite and eternal, and it is far more certain than the ever-shifting opinions of culture.

And when God calls something a sin, it is indeed a sin. 

"A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." – Pastor Dave Zierenberg

We are all stained by sin and are not worthy to stand in God's presence (Romans 3:23). Thankfully our sins can be washed away through accepting God's free gift of salvation through Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

To download the audio for today's message, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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