SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
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.
Some of the most compelling statements from Jesus about our life in Him and His life in us are found in John 15. In this chapter He says:
John 15:4-5 – “Abide in Me (or, to remain, to rest, to dwell, to live. Also means to spend time with, to continue steadfast, to persevere, to tarry, to remain in or with someone, to remain united with someone, being of one heart, one mind, and one will. It defines something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures), and I (abide) in you. As the branch cannot (or, no, not, ever, an impossibility) bear fruit of itself (or, on its own), unless (condition) it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much (or, many, exceeding, abundant) fruit; for without Me (or, apart, separate, by itself) you (your name) can do (or, to make, to produce, to prepare, implies action) nothing (or, no one, none at all, not even one, not in the least).”
Note the following:
(command and invitation) “Abide in Me, and I in you.
(example from nature) As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
(application) neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
(clarification and identification) I am the vine, you are the branches.
(promise) He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
(warning) for without Me you can do nothing.”
But this is only the beginning. There’s so much more to learn. Are you interested? Then keep listening.
In our Christian life we find the Lord gives us two calls or two personal invitations. The first invitation is found in Matthew 11:28-30 where He says, “Come to Me.” This is the call to salvation, to the binding of ourselves to Christ and to become one with Him.
The second call comes after salvation and it is the invitation to a life of unbroken intimacy with Christ. That call is found in John 15:4 where He says, “Abide in Me.”
“Come to Me.”
“Abide in Me.”
There’s so much to learn from these two simple invitations that will literally change the life of a believer. Which begs the question: Do you want your life changed to be more like Him? If so, then by all means, please keep listening.
From John 15:
John 15:1 – “I am (Jesus) the true (or, genuine, perfect, real, essential, enduring, not true as opposed to false) vine and My Father (God the Father) is the vinedresser (or, farmer, gardener, husbandman, a tiller of the soil, a vine keeper).”
But it gets better.
John 15:2 – “Every (or, all, each and every one, the whole, in totality, lacking none) branch in (abiding in) Me (Jesus) that does not bear fruit He (the Vinedresser) takes away (or, lifts up, elevates, raises up, to raise from the ground, to carry, to bear, to remove from its place); and every (or, all, each and every one, the whole, in totality, lacking none) branch that bears fruit He (the Vinedresser) prunes (or, cleans, makes pure, spotless, and without stain; to purify from filth, to cleanse from defilement), (why) that it may bear more fruit.”
And then the key word: abide. To abide means “to remain, to rest, to dwell, to live. Also, to spend time, to continue steadfast, to persevere, to tarry, to continue, to remain in or with someone, to remain united with someone, being of one heart, one mind, and one will. It defines something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures.”
Want to know more? Then keep listening.
In Colossians 2 we find the church being warned about deception and being led away into error by persuasive and enticing words. The word to them was to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” (Col. 2:7).
But what if we’re not?
What if we’re not rooted and grounded in Him and established in the faith?
What if we’re more concerned about this world and what it thinks of me rather than pleasing Him?
What if we want “My Best Life Now” today?
What if we’re more earth bound than heaven bound?
What happens when we try to satisfy our deepest needs and longings for acceptance, love, belonging, companionship, and purpose in our own flesh and not realize Christ has already satisfied those very needs in His flesh on the cross?
What do we do when we find ourselves in that dire strait?
To find out more about being complete in Christ, keep listening.
The Great Deception we are facing today centers around the same issues the church at Colossae was struggling with. And it all has to do with this one simple question: Who is Jesus?
Is He really the only way to the Father?
Is He really the only way to heaven?
Why is He right and everyone else wrong?
Isn’t that intolerant and judgmental?
And isn’t being intolerant and judgmental a sin?
Hence, the Great Deception. Want to find out how to survive the Great Deception? Then keep listening.