SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
Some of the most wonderful yet confusing verses in the entire New Testament are found in the last chapter of the book of James. Do you know what these verses mean:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much – James 5:13-16
Are you suffering? Do you know those who are sick? Do you know what the prayer of faith is and what is involved in calling for the elders and having them anoint you with oil? Are these verses somewhat confusing to you?
If so, then keep listening.
In Colossians 3 the Lord confronts us with a checklist that deals with the proper attitudes we are to have in our most cherished relationships: wife to husband and husband to wife, children to parents and fathers to children, and employers to employees and employees to their employers.
In this lesson we’re going to look at some of the tough words the Lord has to say to both fathers and their children about their relationship both to Him and to each other.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Col. 3:20-21
To find out more, just keep listening.
During His last week with His disciples, Jesus said the following regarding a fig tree that He cursed:
“Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing (or, to have faith in, to think it’s true, to place confidence in, to entrust), you will receive” – Matthew 21:21-22.
Do you believe what Jesus said? Do you take His words at face value or have you reduced them to some type of parable or story not to be believed literally? And what does Jesus mean by “believing”? How does faith impact our prayers?
Keep listening, for the answer to these and other questions may astound you.
In Colossians 3 we see the commands to put off, put on, and put to death various aspects of our life. Consider the following:
“put to death your members” – 3:5
“you yourself are to put off all these” – 3:8
“put off the old man with his deeds” – 3:9
“put on the new man who is renewed” – 3:10
“put on tender mercies” – 3:12
“above all these things put on love” – 3:14
You would do well to carefully examine what about you is to be put to death (or, to mortify, kill, make dead, to deprive of force and vigor, to render powerless, impotent) and what we are to put on (or, to sink into, to clothe oneself, to be enveloped) and to put off (or, renounce, throw off, lay aside or down, to cast away).
Want to know more? Then keep listening.
There are three words that Paul uses to describe each of us: elect (or, chosen), holy and beloved. He uses these descriptive words in the first part of Colossians 3:12.
Therefore (based on the previous verses), as the elect (or, chosen, picked out, one selected) of God (or, by God), (defined as) holy (hagios – set apart, sanctified, consecrated, a saint, a most holy thing, its fundamental idea is separation and devotion to the service of God, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth’s defilement) and beloved (agapao – to be dearly loved, esteemed, to delight in).
Does this describe you? Do you see yourself as chosen by God, holy in His sight, and beloved above all? I sure hope so. But if not, then keep listening.
You know, there’s more to our life in Christ than most of us realize. And that’s because most of us are satisfied and content with far less than what God has planned for us. Consider one of the primary purposes of acquiring wisdom:
A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (why) to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles – Proverbs 1:5-6.
The climax, the zenith of wisdom is to be able to understand an “enigma” (or, a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand, also a riddle, a symbol or parable, a discourse requiring an interpretation) and the words of the wise and their “riddles” (or, difficult questions, perplexing sayings, statements with double meanings, or dark or obscure utterances). It is the ability to comprehend the deep, dark sayings of the Lord. The hidden truths, the obscure meanings of His Words.
Yes, that is our inheritance in Him via His wisdom. So how are you doing in the wisdom arena? To find out more, keep listening.
Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. Scripture tells us to expect “trials and tribulations” (James 1:2) and even “persecutions” (2 Tim. 3:12)— but what seems to knock us down the hardest are the things we don’t see coming, just the bad stuff that happens to fallen people living in a fallen world.
All people, both good and bad, sometimes get cancer, lose their jobs, or suffer from broken relationships. No one is promised an easy road this side of heaven. Which, if you think about it, should make heaven more appealing. But often it doesn’t. Instead, we get overwhelmed and depressed by daily life.
Did you ever wonder why? And have you ever wondered why your prayer life gets overwhelmed by the problems of life when it should be the other way around? If so, this message is for you. To find out more, keep listening.
Our lives are busy, incredibly busy. But the One who gets slighted when we fail at proper time management is usually the Lord. Think about it.
We schedule a time with Him and stay up too late the night before and oversleep. Who gets slighted? Who gets stood up? Our boss? Nope. Our friends? No way. Our spouse? Not on your life. Then who? The Lord. The very One we say we love more than anyone. How can that be?
Probably because we don’t enjoy our time with Him as much as we enjoy our time with our spouse or friend. That’s why we choose them over Him. And probably we don’t respect Him as much as we do our boss. That’s why we choose pleasing our boss more than pleasing our Lord.
If any of this sounds familiar, there is a change that needs to take place. And to find out more about that change, keep listening.
The Scriptures talk much about how to approach the Lord or how to “come into His presence” (Ps. 95:2). From the words to Moses at the burning bush: “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5), to the invitation from Christ: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)— we see examples of how to come near to the Holy One.
But there’s one place in Scripture that reveals more about how to approach the Lord than any other. And that is found in Psalm 100. Or, as Spurgeon called it, “the ol’ one hundred.”
So join with me as we discover what it means to “Come before His presence with singing” and to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Ps. 100:2, 4). I think you’ll be surprised. Why? Because it doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Believe it or not, your first thought about something is a telling indicator of your core nature. It’s your knee-jerk reaction that shows what you are made of and who you belong to— the god of this world or the One you claim as your Lord.
Ask yourself this: When you’re faced with a problem or an inconvenience, what’s your first thought?
Is it, how does this problem affect me?
Or, is it how does this problem affect my family, or others, or the ones I love?
Is your first thought about you? Or is it about the welfare of others?
Your answer may be a key indicator as to your true nature. And your true nature is the single, most important indicator as to whether or not you’re saved. Confused? Maybe a bit angry? Good. Then keep listening to find out what you need to do.