April 14, 2017

Why Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life

Last Friday, I had the privilege to minister to a family in our congregation, in the loss of the patriarch of the family had gone home to be with the Lord.  His name was Vernon Logue.

Vernon and his wife Joyce have been members of Magnolia Church for more than 40 years and they are very well known and deeply loved by so many people.

In the 18 months that I've been here now serving as the pastor of Magnolia Church, I was able to get to know Vernon, but not nearly enough as others had in the past, previous pastors who had known him much longer than I.

But during those times over the last 18 months, I was humbled to know that Vernon and Joyce prayed for me and my family every morning and evening.  He was the humblest of men I've ever met and it was only attributed to his love for the Word of God in his life that he read every day, especially reading Proverbs, which was his favorite book of the Bible to read also.

His loss hurts us all, but none more than his wife and family.  Vernon's passing last Monday morning came too soon, as he and his lovely wife would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday.

I was unusually extremely nervous to preach this funeral and I have no idea why.  But I had been praying and knew that there were some folks in the congregation who were praying for me as well and I thank God for helping me in the preparation of this sermon and for the strength He gave to me, to proclaim the truth of His Word, to all who were there to listen.

May these words cause you to consider how will you live when you die.

SERMON TITLE: WHY JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

BIG IDEA:  Jesus is eternal life to those who put their faith in Him, the hope for tomorrow that can’t be ignored today.  A question lies buried in the heart of every man from the beginning of history. "Is death the end?"

TEXT: John 11:25-26


1. An Exclusive Claim to Believe (25a)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
For Martha, in this passage, she was a close friend of Jesus, as was her sister and their brother Lazarus.  She believed that one day in the future, her brother would rise from the dead at the very culmination of prophetic events that would lead to all believers to be resurrected from the grave on that day.

Martha’s only misunderstanding was that Jesus wasn’t speaking of a future event for believers to experience.  His words are in the present tense when He said, “I am”, meaning the claim that He making was personal and it was in Him alone and no one else.  It was now, not tomorrow, or at some point in the distant future.

Jesus said quite clearly and with absolute certainty that He is the one whom has the power to bring the dead back to life, to give new life, who is the reason for eternal life upon death.

This is why Jesus makes an exclusive claim for you to believe.  New life, eternal life, life in God is because of Him and no one, or nothing else, but Christ alone.

2. An Exclusive Offer to Consider (25b)
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live
In today’s society, there are all kinds of things in the health and beauty marketplace that attempt to prolong our lives, as much as possible.  Quitting smoking may help prevent further damage to the lungs, quitting drinking may help prevent further damage to the liver and the functioning of the human body.  One thing is certain however, we will all one day die.  No matter how hard we try to extend our lives, God is in full control and knows when that day will be for you and I and it is best to be prepared well in advance of that day too.

Vernon knew he was getting tired, more than he preferred, but he didn’t do anything to make himself live longer, except that he would enjoy reading God’s Word everyday with his wife and to pray together twice a day too.

Vernon’s hope was in Christ maybe since before 1974 when Joyce had given him this bible.  For the last 42 years, or more, Vernon knew that one day, even though he would get older, his heart would get a little more weaker, yet, he grew a little more wiser still, from reading Proverbs daily, one day he would die, but yet he would still live when he died, why?

Vernon believed in these very words that Jesus spoke to Martha in the text.  Whoever puts their complete trust in Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation of their souls, death will only be a matter of taking a nap in this mortal body and awaking, in a glorious new body and in the glorious presence of Jesus Christ in heaven.

When Jesus spoke and said, ‘whoever’ that means that not everyone would choose to accept this offer that is being given to them.  This is why Jesus said this not just to Martha, but for every person who would come to hear these words that He said and to understand them clearly.

It’s a sad reality that people put more thought, effort and energy into how they will plan to enjoy a vacation each year, or how they plan to live in comfortably in retirement, more than how they plan to live after they die.

How a person wants to live after they die should be considered even more than how they plan to do anything else in this brief span of time God has given to us, because heaven is going to an eternity of joy and praise to God forever, but hell is going to also be an eternity of pain and suffering, which makes Jesus’ words even more important to consider for themselves.

When I die, how will I live?  If your faith is in Christ alone, then you have the guarantee of living because Christ lives.  If your faith is not in Christ alone, when death comes and it will, will you enjoy living in hell?

This is why Jesus makes an exclusive offer for you to consider.

3. An Exclusive Confidence to Trust (26a)
and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
There can be no greater confidence that a person can have than knowing that no matter what happens to them, because their faith is in Jesus Christ, trusting Him for the forgiveness of their sins, granting to them by the grace of God the promise and provision of eternal life in heaven, death is only a transitory experience.  Death, for the believer isn’t permanent at all, it’s only temporary because one day our bodies are going to be met with our soul and both will be reunited.

Those who have been genuinely born again believers in Jesus Christ, as long as you live and have put your trust exclusively in Him, you’ll never die because Jesus lives forever.

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

And then one day, I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I'll see…

Is your confidence in Christ alone, as death gives way to your eternal future?

Lastly, why Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
4. An Explicit Choice to Make (26b)
Do you believe this?
Jesus asked a very simple, yet direct question that must be answered by each one of us today.

The Greek word here for believe is the same as it is in verse 25, which means to commit one’s trust, to have confidence in something believed, faith that is exclusively in Jesus Christ alone for the purpose of forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life in heaven.

Jesus was asking Martha if she believed that He is that hope for not just her brother, but for herself.  He asks through the pages of Scripture as they have been read to you, as I have spoken them in your hearing today, do you believe this?

Do you believe that Vernon is not merely in a better place, that heaven wasn’t automatic for him because he just lived a good life and God was not part of it?  He’s not in heaven because he was a good person either because Vernon was still a sinner the day he met Jesus as his Savior.  Jesus Christ, who knew no sin but became sin for Vernon, so that he would become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Do you believe that Vernon lives, even though he is dead?  There is great joy in knowing this that as it is for him, so shall it be for me and so shall it be for all who put their faith in Christ alone, as Vernon and his beloved wife has done too.

Conclusion: 

Friends, Vernon Lee Logue lives because Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life.  He lives because HE lives.

Vernon lives because of the exclusive claims about Jesus.
Vernon lives because of the exclusive offer that Jesus offered him, one day long ago.  An offer that he did not reject, but humbly received.
Vernon lives because of the exclusive confidence of trust that he did not put in himself, but in Christ alone.
Vernon lives because he made an explicit choice, one that I am confident is one he has no regrets having made.


How will you live when you die?  How are you living now?

March 28, 2017

Book Review: The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful GivingThe Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My good friend Phil Morgan had given high praise for this book a few years ago at church and I should have taken advantage of the time to read it then because I would have put into practice then what I know now.

I understand the teaching from Scripture concerning tithing and have experienced personal difficulty because I had fallen behind in my commitment to tithe to the Lord. When I returned to diligently tithing, those financial difficulties that were immediately a problem, went away.

In the book, there is this statement that really struck me concerning tithing. On page 64 the author said concerning tithing, "Tithing isn't the ceiling of giving; it's the floor." This gave me a whole new perspective that's been corrected for sure. Tithing is really the starting point of giving and not the end.

I especially like the explanation of Ecclesiastes 5:10-15 of each verse too.

I loved reading this short book and now want our entire congregation to read it too.

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Follow Phil
Blog - http://www.philmorgan.org
Twitter - twitter.com/pastaphil
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/phil.morgan.777

Have a great day y'all and may you experience the blessing of reading The Treasure Principle!

February 23, 2017

When You’re Anxious for God’s Promises

On January 4th of this year, I began a new teaching series on the life of Abraham from the Old Testament.

I am traditionally an expository preacher, preaching verse-by-verse expositions from a particular book of the bible, where last year I preached through Paul's letter to the Philippians and that took about 4-1/2 months to get through, too.


This study on Abraham began in Genesis 12 back in January and last night we came to Genesis 15 and I expounded verses 1-6.


The headline for this study is Abraham - A Model of Faith and it's through his example of how he lived, not perfectly at times either because he struggled in being obedient and walking by faith too, much like we do today.


There are a number of things that people are anxious about in their lives.  Some of those feelings of anxiousness revolve around thoughts of personal security given the unrest that we are experiencing around the country.  There are thoughts of financial security too - not having enough finances saved for retirement, will a person's current level of retirement living provide the security and comfort they expect to have until they die.  Some folks are even planning to move and there's definitely some anxiety there, especially when the house hasn't been finished yet to put on the market and they aren't sure yet where they'll live, even know they may know what city they are moving into.


There is no doubt the anxious feeling that parents have for their children, regardless of their age.  Christian parents want to see their children come to faith in the Lord, to live passionately for Jesus throughout their lives and do great things in service to Him.  


There are those parents who are praying that their children would return to the Lord again and serve Him because they've either been drawn away by the culture, or they've left because they've been hurt in some way by the church.


Abram though, his main concern was that he didn't have a son and God had made a promise to him that he would become a great nation and that his name would be great too (Genesis 12:2).


God had made a promise to Abram 3 separate times, but as we would read these verses, we tend to forget that it wasn't said over a matter of a few minutes as we read it, but it was spoken to Abram from God over a period of a few years.

  • Genesis 12:2, I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make  your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
  • Genesis 13:15, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever
  • Genesis 13:16, I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.
We struggle with waiting on God for a few days, let alone a few months or even several years to see the fulfillment, the realization of God's promise that's been made to us. Could you stand waiting on God for 10 years, as Abram did and still not see anything come to pass?

February 3, 2017

This morning's devotion written by Charles Spurgeon was beautiful to read and I wanted to share it with you today.  If you haven't read Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotions before, they're very good.

There are many people who struggle to get out of financial debt and some successfully achieve that goal.  Many people however, work very hard to eliminate the debt of sin by attempting to work really hard, or try hard to be a good person and do good things that God will accept and therefore, withhold condemning them to hell and grant to them a place in heaven.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works with God.

The quote by John Stott pretty much summarizes the beauty of the debt of our sin that has been placed upon the cross.  Not an empty cross, but upon Jesus Christ, whom suffered and died upon the cross - for a sin that He did not commit and for our debt that could never be repaid.

Thank God, He has satisfied my debt.  Has He satisfied yours?

Forgiven by His blood,
Pastor Kurt


Morning, February 3
So then brothers, we are debtors - Romans 8:12

As God's creatures, we are all debtors to Him: to obey Him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken His commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to His justice, and we owe to Him a vast amount which we are not able to pay. But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God's justiceanything, for Christ has paid the debt His people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God's grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to His justice, for He will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, "It is finished!" and by that He meant, that whatever His people owed was wiped away for ever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God's justice no longer. But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to His disinterested love, for He gave His own Son that He might die for thee. Consider how much you owe to His forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts He loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to His power; how He has raised you from your death in sin; how He has preserved your spiritual life; how He has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast—yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service.

Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening - February 3

February 2, 2017

Don't Believe the Lies from the Devil

On Sunday, January 8th, I had preached a sermon that really impacted many people in our congregation and acknowledged similar experiences themselves at some point in the past.

This sermon is the result of my own personal experience and I had conveyed to a few people in the congregation that I felt that I was going to be voted out as their pastor, at the upcoming annual business meeting at the end of the month.


Satan has made some subtle whispers to me that it was actually going to happen and it caused some distress in my life.  When I had mentioned it to one of the ladies of the church, she said to me, "No way. That's not happening.  If you're voted out, we're going to another church, or wherever you go, but that's not happening."


Another woman also said, "You better NOT leave us!"  But the devil was indeed playing mind games with me and he's done so to others too.


On Saturday afternoon, I asked the Lord, "Since this is something that I'm experiencing and others are, or have also experienced this too, would You help me to preach this to the people at Magnolia Church?"


Just a short while later, when I returned home, I began looking at Luke 4:1-13, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan for 40 days (Luke 4:2).

I asked the Lord's help to develop an outline for preaching this passage and I'm thankful to God, by His Holy Spirit, to have helped me to formulate an outline to preach this passage.

The Facebook Live video from that Sunday was shared by quite a few people at the church and then it was viewed by more than 2,100 people as well.


So, today, I read a recommendation about sharing my sermon notes, whether it be a full manuscript, or an outline on my blog that would help others too.  If you feel this message has been a blessing to you, please share it with others, on social media using the icons at the bottom of this post.


The video has been uploaded to YouTube and you can watch it here.


Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

 

January 8, 2017
When the Devil Attempts to Play Mind Games with You
SCRIPTURE TEXT: Luke 4:1-13

SERMON OUTLINE

David Wilkerson said in a sermon back in 2007 titled, “The Private War of a Saint”, “…there will come a time of war. And that war won’t involve the vast body of Christ worldwide, but will be a private war. It will involve battles and struggles known only to you.  These are wars of the flesh — I call them “soul wars” — and they bring a burden you can’t share with anyone. Even your spouse or best friend can’t help you carry them. They simply aren’t able to understand your battle.  Such private wars and battles overwhelm the body and soul. And they are lonely wars. They are just about Jesus and you.”

All of what Jesus experienced here in this passage was a private war and even a personal war too because it was a one-on-one spiritual battle.  

The example we also see here is that what Jesus experienced, He experienced for us, to show us that He understands what it’s like to be tempted by Satan.

1. He’ll attempt to make you feel unknown by God - To doubt your true identity in Christ, more than once (v. 3, 9)
a) He attempted to cause Jesus to doubt His Divinity - “If you are the Son of God,”
b) He attempts to cause Christians to believe the wrong things about themselves
c) He attempts to cause you to doubt your work in service to God

2. He’ll attempt to make you feel unfulfilled - To make promises he can never fulfill (v. 5-7)
a) Don’t let the devil lead you into believing that you can be satisfied by temporary need apart from an eternal purpose that is established by God alone!
b) Don’t let the devil lead you into believing that you can compromise your walk with Christ, for something selfish today.

3. He’ll attempt to make you believe something that’s untrue - To lead you out of the will of God (v. 9-11) 
a) He misinterprets Scripture (v. 10, 11; He’s a bad theologian)
b)The devil would be more than pleased with any person who compromises their worship of God.  He would be more than pleased for the truth of Scripture to be compromised - Preaching, Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Marriage, Family, Tithing.

Friends, don’t believe the lies that Satan has been trying to speak to you.  All he wants to do is try to get to you walk away from Him, to cause division between you and God, even between you and the church too.

In each instance of the Devil’s multiple offers that he made to Jesus, He always responded with the Word to prove Satan wrong.

Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 - “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

Don’t let the devil lead you into believing the lies about your life.  You are blood bought by Jesus Christ, you are sealed permanently and eternally by the Holy Spirit of God, you are now and forever will be a son, or daughter of Almighty God.

The Word of God ALWAYS conquers the one true enemy of our souls - Satan.

Know the Word.
Study the Word.
Apply the Word.
Declare the Word.

Has Satan been playing mind games with you?  Don’t let Satan play mind games with you anymore.


January 25, 2017

The Market, Resistance and Godlessness in the Last Days

Many people will scoff at the thought of the certainty that Jesus is returning at an unexpected time in the future. The Bible tells us of many things that will happen that will point to His imminent return, so that we should be ready.
This morning's news reported that the Greenpeace organization climbed a crane at a construction site, just a few blocks from the White House and fastened a sign that said, "RESIST", which is directed at President Trump and yesterday's Executive Action regarding the building of the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines. (Reuters, The Atlantic)
One of those things we shall most clearly see prior to Jesus' return is the behavior of people when they are observed as lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (2 Timothy 3:2-4), these are the signs of godlessness in the last days.
This past weekend's tirade of Ashley Judd and Madonna at the Women's March, the actions of the House Democrats are occasions also of people being proud, arrogant and abusive to others.  Even the riot "protest" in Washington on the day of the President's inauguration too is a sign of such pride, abuse and ungratefulness.
Even Hillary Clinton's scandal of the (corrupt) Clinton Foundation and all of the money that was given to her, while she served as Secretary of State, where all of that money went to her and her husband, to help fund their personal endeavors is a clear sign of being a lover of money.
It is my hope and prayer for Bill and Hillary that they would genuinely repent of their sins and put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ alone.  While all of what they've done is enough to be condemned to hell if they don't repent and trust in Jesus for their forgiveness and salvation, all of what they've done can be forgiven by God, if they do repent and put their faith in Christ alone for their forgiveness and salvation.
I have often said to people who have argued saying that these types of things have happened in our country for many, many, many years now. They're cyclical and we can expect them to happen and deal with the effects of them and move on.
Surely, someone without an eternal perspective in mind can and will see it this way, but for anyone with a biblical perspective, they will see even these events as additional mounting evidence against those who do not believe the Bible and its prophecies.
God is giving not only enough evidence to see, but signs that are to warn us and prepare us for His imminent return.

For anyone who bought low in the market just a few years ago, they've done so with the hope of the market continuing to rise, recoup their losses from previous years and rebuild their wealth for the future. But how much is that really worth in comparison to your soul and living eternally with God in peace, in heaven? The opposite of that will be to live eternally apart from God in punishment, in hell.


Days of difficulty will come upon us (2 Timothy 3:1), so don't think that just because the Dow went over 20,000 this morning that everything is going to be alright and Jesus will hold off on His return because the market is beginning to soar. He is coming back regardless if the economy is great, or if it has devastatingly crashed.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26
I am certainly looking for a better economy in the next four years compared to what we've had during the Obama Administration, but I do not want to become comfortable in what good may come of the economy and possibly a greater expression of religious freedom as a Christian because of the election of Donald Trump and forget that Jesus will return at any minute.

We're all in for an interesting 4 years ahead, but Jesus could come back before the end of President Trump's first term, or sooner. Will you be ready?


Pastor Kurt

January 12, 2017

Book review: The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steven J. Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was impacted greatly when I read Preaching & Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and this book by Steven Lawson truly described the passion that The Doctor had concerning preaching and the Word of God.

In the preface, The Doctor's Mandate, Lawson said, "In a day that clamors for churches to capitulate to the spirit of the age and use entertainment in order to draw crowds, the primacy of biblical preaching must be restored wherever the people of God gather to worship." So true for today, too.

I look forward to reading the other books that Lawson has written, in The Long Line of Godly Men Profile series.

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Why Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life

Last Friday, I had the privilege to minister to a family in our congregation, in the loss of the patriarch of the family had gone home to b...