Take Heed How You Build

When building a structure, careful attention must be given as to how it is built. Christians are in the building-business as well, and careful attention must also be given to how we build upon Jesus Christ, our chief
cornerstone.

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A Christ Centered Life

We Christians live our lives in this world. Christ, in His prayer to the Father in John 17:9-18, states that we are living here and that our task is to remain apart from the evil one—by the power of God. He also mentions that our sanctification is in being set apart by the word of Truth. 

Christ lived His life with God at the center. Nothing He did or said or thought was in opposition to God. NOTHING! Multiple times He stated that He didn’t speak on His own authority but on the Father’s. Notice John 12:44-50: “Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

The only way for Christ to have lived His life perfectly in this world is by doing exactly what He said He did—never once taking His eyes off of God or the task for which He was sent.

We have the same opportunity that Christ had. We have been called to be here at this point in time, living our lives and accomplishing those things that God has set in motion for us. There is a purpose for us to be here now. We need to understand and keep that in mind at all times—like Christ did (compare 2 Peter 1:10-11: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ).

How many times have we read Matthew 6:33—and yet I wonder how many of us truly understand what is being asked of us? Notice: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” 

Our righteousness is useless! It is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)! It is not our righteousness that we need to seek—it’s God’s! 

Seeking God first takes an enormous amount of letting go—letting go of one’s own desires and outcomes and turning everything over to God. We want to remain in control (or at least think we have control), but the Truth is that without Christ leading in our lives—showing us the way, leading, guiding and directing, we will inevitably end up following our own wants and desires and serving that which is NOT useful or good. 

Can we trust Christ to lead us? That is a question that is being asked of each of us. The answer lies in how we live our lives, in how we think, what we say, and our actions or reactions. 

We can trust Christ to lead us in good directions (Colossians 1:9-29). We can trust Him to show us how to live this life because He has already done so (Hebrews 4:14-16). We can also have faith that Christ is faithful even when we are not (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5). 

There is something truly remarkable that should come with a life that is centered around Christ. Christ mentions it in John 14:27 where He tells us: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

There are so many things in this life that we can be worried about. Stress is growing in the world all around us! Christ stated that the world would be in upheaval before His return. This cannot cause us to stumble. We have to be rooted in our Way of Life and lean on Christ, so we can stand and not be afraid—no matter WHAT happens to us. 

Philippians 4:6-7 states: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This can only truly happen when we allow Christ to lead us. The challenge for us daily is to figure out and understand if we are allowing Christ to lead in our lives! Note Ephesians 5:15-17: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Showing the Greatest Love

Christ gives us many examples throughout the New Testament that shows us how important our relationship with God is. Second to this relationship is our relationship with our fellow people and Christians. What does the Bible tell us in regards to how we are to grow in understanding and how to have the best relationships possible?

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BNPL

NOTE: THE DATE IN THE SERMON SHOULD BE APRIL 23, 2024: The USA is drowning in debt, and yet we live in one of the most prosperous times of human history. What causes this? How does this relate to our offerings we give?

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God’s Work In Your Life

God calls us for a purpose. We may not always know why, but as we live our lives, it becomes important for us to stay focused on seeking God in our lives and allowing Him to lead. How much we are willing to draw close to Him will dictate how much we are led. 

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Continued Growth by Application

As we live our lives in this world, we are often bombarded by the realities of life. We read in 2 Peter 2:7-8 that God “…delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).” Lot was called righteous, even though some of his deeds were unrighteous. God deemed him worthy to be saved from the destruction of the society in which he lived.

We are finding ourselves living in times similar to that of Lot. So much is going wrong around us. It can be easy to be influenced by the “pleasures” in this world. We have to make sure that our moral compasses are being influenced by God and not being sucked into this world in our thoughts and our ways.

There are so many things that we can pay attention to in this life; but really, it comes down to the question if we will pay the most attention to God’s Words which should guide and direct us. God shows us in the Bible those actions that we are to take in our lives. We need to be asking ourselves if we are learning how to accomplish them by living them.

In Micah 6:8, we are shown a few examples of how we should be operating: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy (or lovingkindness), And to walk humbly with your God.”

We have to learn HOW to accomplish these things. It doesn’t come automatically. It requires us to spend time learning to do and develop them in our lives. We have to be paying attention and figuring out how to make them happen in our dealings. When we learn this, it should produce within us the love (agape) for God’s ways as we see how this helps others and benefits all. We have to understand what each of these words mean in the context of being a Christian.

Acting justly requires us to be impartial and knowledgeable, and to act lawfully and to know how to use righteousness (compare James 2:1-8; Proverbs 11:9; Romans 7:7-12; Isaiah 26:9-10).

To love mercy includes, to love the ability to forgive. God forgives abundantly! We also must learn how to forgive; otherwise, we are in jeopardy of not receiving God’s continued mercy in our lives. Mercy is not always easy to show. But it is required. We have to come to realize that all of us are guilty before God and each other (compare Ephesians 2:4-5; Isaiah 55:7; Lamentations 3:22-23; Luke 6:36; James 2:13; Matthew 5:7).

Finally, to walk humbly with God means, to be seeking Him in everything we do. We are seeking to be in alignment with Him. Our thoughts, our actions, our very being need to be in harmony with Him. This takes an immense amount of humility because it shows God we are willing to lay aside our own ways, our own thoughts, and seek and accept what He will show us (compare Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 2:3).

As with so much of God’s laws, each of these characteristics and actions layer on top of each other. They are all required. This means then that we are to be learning how to develop and use all of them in partnership. If we miss out on growing in any of the areas, the other areas will not work properly. We have to continue to grow in righteousness, mercy and humility so that we can become the type of people that God is looking for. Our journey into the Family of God will require these attributes (and more)—therefore, we cannot neglect them! 

Before It’s Too Late

As we continue to watch the world descend into chaos, we are admonished that we need to be the opposite – we need to draw closer and closer to God so that we are not sucked into the coming destruction. To do this, we need to make sure we are fully focused on our Christian lives. It will become too late at some point!

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How Is Your Conscience?

God has placed a conscience within man. Yet, how do we use this tool given to us? How can we make sure that our conscience is working correctly? We have to be making sure that we are on the right track in regards to the conscience within!

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To Have Fervent Love

In the New Testament, two of the Church leaders, Peter and Paul, spoke about the same attribute that Christians need in their lives. They encouraged everyone to have love for each other.  It is easy to say, “yes, I have love,” but do we really show love in our actions?

The first Scripture that I want to use is found in 1 Peter 4:7-9: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.“

Peter’s encouragement for us is to be aware that, as we draw closer to the end of this age, there are going to be more opportunities for each of us to show love for one another. But not just love, but fervent love! The word “fervent” can mean, “having or displaying a passionate intensity”—like a fire: hot and burning. Being on fire for showing love is a proper way to think about it. In the letter to Titus, Paul iterates it in a different way but with the same meaning, saying in Titus 2:14 about Christ “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Our use of love in a Godly sense means that we need to be going above and beyond in our love for each other—in prayer, in deeds, in actions, and in our thoughts. We need to be thinking about HOW we can show love more fully. Christ’s warning in the book of Matthew comes to mind where we are warned that as this world grows darker, there is a real danger that the love of true Christians will grow cold; that it will no longer be fervent and zealous (Matthew 24:12).

In what ways can we allow this fervent love for each other to become manifest? We bring this love to fruition by looking for opportunities and then taking action. This is going to be different for each person—but make no mistake: when we take the opportunity to show this love, the immediate impact may be unknown; and yet, it will have lingering effects. In every relationship that we have in this life, the most powerful thing is love. With Godly agape love, we are fulfilling God’s law.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes under inspiration about how this love of God should be manifesting itself. This love is not for us—it is for the people around us. When I review these words from Paul, it becomes apparent how I fail in regard to having these actions show up in every situation. And yet, the opportunities to show and prove this Godly love are there, but we have to take advantage of these opportunities.

These actions of love encourage and help people to deal with life. The life that we each live now is not an easy life, and it will get harder. The challenge for each of us is to grasp that each person, Christian or not, is dealing with the effects of sin. This whole world is under the subjection of Satan and his demons.

We are truly living in the most challenging of times.

This is why I find the following Scriptures encouraging.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says in the New International Version: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

From our children to our elders, we are to be encouraging—and building one another up. It is so much more powerful to show encouragement and solidarity in love than it is in finding fault and tearing each other down. It is so easy to find fault and to tear into people for their wrong doings or failures—but in the long run, we ourselves have just as much failure. There is a common idiom: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. This means, before judging someone, we must understand their experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. It is no easy thing to do. Another idiom is: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

As we spend time and meditate on our opportunities for love, we should realize that God the Father and Jesus Christ show us the ultimate love. We are so blessed to have their example.

1 Peter 2:4-5 tells us: “Coming to Christ as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

This Scripture, paired with 1 Thessalonians 5:11, is very powerful: We are precious in God’s sight. We are worthy of love because He deems it so. And it is because of this knowledge that we can grow in our love for each other and for the God Family.

Give Me A Vision

Most people are born with their eyesight. It is one of the most fantastic things that we have as humans. Our spiritual eyesight is just as important and is easy to lose if we are not careful. How can we make sure we continue to have good vision? 

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