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Jan 14, 2018
Pilgrimage of Faith (Psalm 84)
Series: (All)
Pilgrimage of Faith Psalm 84
Most people in our culture today don’t go on expeditions or pilgrimages. The biggest adventures most go on are to ascend the heights of Green Tree Hill in Pittsburgh on the highway into Pittsburgh!
 
But we do admire bold and courageous people- like the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Lewis and Clark, Clara Barton, and Magellan. These people were pioneers! We must admit, in comparison to our ancestors- we play most everything very safe. Most of the time, when it comes to our actual needs to exist- very little faith is required of us.
The problem is, when we refuse the adventure, when we play it safe all the time- there’s no need to acknowledge God. Living by faith means that we have room in our plans, our thinking, and our lives to trust God for that which only He can do! This journey through life is to be a pilgrimage of faith! Psalm 84:1-4 We read that the psalmist yearns and even faints to be in presence of God! It is his great desire to arrive where God resides! Nothing can satisfy him fully except being in God’s presence! Psalm 84:5-7 We find that those who are happy on the journey are find their strength in the Lord. Ps. 28:6-9; Phil 2:14-15 “whose hearts are set on pilgrimage”: Psalm 84:5    The 1599 Geneva Bible translates the verse as “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, and in whose heart, are thy ways.” “Literally, “The steps are on their hearts.” The steep ascents upon which the temple stood. Horsley renders, “They are bent on climbing the steep ascents” … perhaps more properly the raised causeways or stairs leading up to Mount Zion, or all through the mountain country on the road to Jerusalem.” CH Spurgeon, The Treasure of David Psalm 84:6-7 Valley of Baca: Arid places where the Mulberry Tree grows. The one who is on pilgrimage goes from strength to strength! The only way to go on this pilgrimage of life which leads to God’s presence- is by faith, from first to last. Romans 1:17; Hebrews 11:1-3 Our faith must have a direction however- It is to be placed in Jesus Christ- His existence, his attributes, and his plans. Hebrews 12:1-3: He is the pioneer of our faith. He is leading us. We must fix our eyes on him as he leads us through our pilgrimage- filled with faith and trust in Him alone!
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  • Jan 14, 2018Pilgrimage of Faith (Psalm 84)
    Jan 14, 2018
    Pilgrimage of Faith (Psalm 84)
    Series: (All)
    Pilgrimage of Faith Psalm 84
    Most people in our culture today don’t go on expeditions or pilgrimages. The biggest adventures most go on are to ascend the heights of Green Tree Hill in Pittsburgh on the highway into Pittsburgh!
     
    But we do admire bold and courageous people- like the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Lewis and Clark, Clara Barton, and Magellan. These people were pioneers! We must admit, in comparison to our ancestors- we play most everything very safe. Most of the time, when it comes to our actual needs to exist- very little faith is required of us.
    The problem is, when we refuse the adventure, when we play it safe all the time- there’s no need to acknowledge God. Living by faith means that we have room in our plans, our thinking, and our lives to trust God for that which only He can do! This journey through life is to be a pilgrimage of faith! Psalm 84:1-4 We read that the psalmist yearns and even faints to be in presence of God! It is his great desire to arrive where God resides! Nothing can satisfy him fully except being in God’s presence! Psalm 84:5-7 We find that those who are happy on the journey are find their strength in the Lord. Ps. 28:6-9; Phil 2:14-15 “whose hearts are set on pilgrimage”: Psalm 84:5    The 1599 Geneva Bible translates the verse as “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, and in whose heart, are thy ways.” “Literally, “The steps are on their hearts.” The steep ascents upon which the temple stood. Horsley renders, “They are bent on climbing the steep ascents” … perhaps more properly the raised causeways or stairs leading up to Mount Zion, or all through the mountain country on the road to Jerusalem.” CH Spurgeon, The Treasure of David Psalm 84:6-7 Valley of Baca: Arid places where the Mulberry Tree grows. The one who is on pilgrimage goes from strength to strength! The only way to go on this pilgrimage of life which leads to God’s presence- is by faith, from first to last. Romans 1:17; Hebrews 11:1-3 Our faith must have a direction however- It is to be placed in Jesus Christ- His existence, his attributes, and his plans. Hebrews 12:1-3: He is the pioneer of our faith. He is leading us. We must fix our eyes on him as he leads us through our pilgrimage- filled with faith and trust in Him alone!
  • Dec 24, 2017Christmas Portraits_Part 4: Herod and the Magi (Matthew 2:1-23)
    Dec 24, 2017
    Christmas Portraits_Part 4: Herod and the Magi (Matthew 2:1-23)
    Series: (All)
    Christmas Portraits # 4: Herod and the Magi Matthew 2:1-23 Our fourth and final Christmas portrait includes individuals that pose a striking contrast. One individual is a foolish, crazed worshipper of self, the others are worshippers of Christ. Our background is the throne room of Herod the great in Jerusalem and the house of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in Bethlehem- 6 miles apart. Jesus is no longer and infant- he is probably a young toddler. Herod the Great: Herod was an Idumean and appointed tetrarch of Judea by the Roman Marc Antony and later by the Roman Senate. He was known for his massive building programs including the Temple in Jerusalem. Herod the Great was an anti-Christ. He was a foreshadow of the anti-Christ when Jesus returns. Isaiah 34:5-8 Herod was a brilliant negotiator. Military tactician, persuader, and opportunist. He murdered his wife, three sons, his mother in law a brother in law, uncle, and many others in his paranoia. Matt. 2:16-18 Evil has and always will try to kill the innocent and the Godly. Daniel 4:17 The Magi Like Melchizedek in the OT the Magi- in many ways men of mystery who come on the scene and then disappear from the narrative. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus believed all “Magi” centuries before these who appear in Matthew were Zoroastrian priests. They pursued astronomy, astrology, magic, and sorcery. Because of the captivity of the Jews to Babylon centuries earlier, they most assuredly were exposed to the Old Testament. This is evidenced by their pursuit of a “star”. Matt. 2:9; Dan. 9; Num. 24:15-19 In the Magi the central virtue of the birth narrative is clearly seen- The virtue of giving. Matt. 2:11; Is. 9:6. This virtue is seen throughout the story- generous, sacrificial, often silent giving. 2 Cor. 8:7; 2 Cor 9:6-7. Giving is a grace. One which Jesus himself modeled and taught: Matt. 6:1-16. I love that the Bible keeps presents the Magi anonymously and mysteriously. There is no name recognition or amounts given- they just arrive- and give to the Lord Jesus. In terms of our giving- we should model the Magi- not looking for credit- no fanfare, no loud trumpets announcing the gifts or acts of service- Just do them as an act of worship- graciously.  
  • Dec 17, 2017Christmas Portraits_Part 3: Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22-40)
    Dec 17, 2017
    Christmas Portraits_Part 3: Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22-40)
    Series: (All)
    Christmas Portraits week 3 Simeon and Anna Our Christmas portrait today has the backdrop of Jerusalem, specifically the temple. The Temple is the focal point of religious service in the nation. It is the place where the divine meeting the human- in a physical structure. It is within the courts of the temple where we view these portraits of Simeon and Anna. Historic Structures for Hebrew Worship The Tent of Meeting The Tabernacle Solomon’s Temple Zerubbabel’s Temple Herod’s Temple – the temple in the time of Jesus. Luke 2:21-24- Joseph and Mary are pious and obedient to the Lord in times when the majority are not. They travel the roughly 6 miles from Bethlehem 40 days after the birth to offer to the Lord a sacrifice. Sheep from Bethlehem would have travelled this route to be offered in temple sacrifice for generations. Simeon Luke 2:25-32 Simeon is righteous and devout- looking forward to the coming of the deliverer. His prayers echoed Isaiah 41:1-5. He has sought the Lord- he fears the Lord. The Lord has confided in him some important information. Psalm 25:12-14 The Lord God is directing His steps to find the Messiah! Upon finding Him he praises and prophecies! Jesus is the Salvation a Revelation! His coming is apocalyptic! The God is Israel is the true God! Genesis 12:2-3; 28:10-15. The child born into this little family is a child of destiny and controversy! Anna This widow never left the temple courts. Worshipped day and night. She has been fasting day and night. Why? Because all is not well! The nation is rebellious, it is under oppression. She is waiting for a deliverer! God uses her to proclaim in the temple the importance of Jesus.   In both accounts we read of people in the mindset of expectation! We could really have a series of message about Christmas titled “Expectations”. Galatians 4:4-5   Jesus is coming again. Could we describe your life as one of “Expectations?” If so, what are you most expecting? I pray that it is the second coming of Jesus! May we look forward every day to Jesus coming again. Do we take seriously, like Anna and Simeon the coming of Christ? Are we grieved that all is not well in our world- yet excited about the One who will make it right? I pray that we are!  
  • Dec 10, 2017Christmas Portraits_Part 2: Joseph, Mary and Jesus (Matthew 1:16-20)
    Dec 10, 2017
    Christmas Portraits_Part 2: Joseph, Mary and Jesus (Matthew 1:16-20)
    Series: (All)
    Christmas Portraits: Week 2                                                                                                                                                         Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Over these four Sundays my desire is to paint for you, with words, four portraits depicting some of the people, places and circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the central figure, but I want to highlight others whom God chose to have a role in the most important story. The setting is the nation of Israel, a conquered people for centuries. God has not spoken to the nation for 400 years. Then Gabriel is sent from the LORD God. Matthew 1:16-20 Here we read that Mary and Joseph were pledged or betrothed to be married. They had exchanged vows, but they were not living together yet, nor had the marriage been consummated. Christian, did you know that you as well are living in a time of betrothal? As part of the church, metaphorically, the bride of Christ, we await the time when we will be united to the bridegroom- Jesus! Parallels between a Jewish Wedding in the first century and the Wedding of Christ with the Church.          (a partial list)
    1. The bride is chosen by the father for his son. Matt. 22:14
    2. A price is paid for the bride. Acts 20:28
    3. Vows are exchanged and seal with wine. Matthew 26:27-29
    4. There is a separation when the groom prepares the future home- the bride stays pure. John 12:1,2; 2 Cor. 11:2; James 1:26-27
      Matthew 1:19-25. Joseph is a godly man, a gracious man, and a thoughtful man. But he has not earned these things, he is a recipient of God’s grace. Deut. 22:23-24; Prov. 2: 1-11, 19:11. Joseph receives the message of the angel and obeys. The proof of his faith is found in his obedience. James 2:17-19,26   Luke 1:26-38 Mary has been a recipient of God’s grace as well. Living in a spiritually rebellious nation, she is pure- The Lord is with her. She is reassured of God’s blessing and that her marriage into the royal line will produce a son who will sit on David’s throne- a son will be born to save his people from their sins. Her faith is found in her submission to the Lord. “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord.” Vs. 38 NASB   Luke 1:46-49 She praise God from the depths of her heart- God has been gracious to her- he has been mindful of those in low position (in heart and circumstance).  This is often how the Lord works- He chooses the lowly to carry out his purposes. 1 Cor. 1:26-31.   However, if we are submissive and wise- the Lord has tremendous promises for us. (Dan 12:2-4) WE will shine like the stars in the universe!  
  • Dec 3, 2017Christmas Portraits_Part 1: Zachariah, Elizabeth and John (Luke 1:5-10)
    Dec 3, 2017
    Christmas Portraits_Part 1: Zachariah, Elizabeth and John (Luke 1:5-10)
    Series: (All)
    Christmas Portraits Part 1:                                                                                                                                                            Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John. Over the next four Sundays my desire is to paint for you, with words, four portraits depicting some of the people places and circumstances surrounding the birth of or Lord and Savior Jesus. With any portrait the background is vitally important. Our background information today will provide the setting obviously for the next three weeks. When these events happened, the nation of Israel was approaching the end of 400 years of silence from God. The nation is weak in every way- stemming from its spiritual weakness. (Malachi 1:6-8,12-14) The rest of the book speaks of rampant intermarrying with pagans, unjustified divorce and the withholding of tithes. Because of this the land has become a geo-political football (as prophesied in Daniel 2). Israel is a conquered people between the old and new testaments. The Babylonians, Medio Persians, Greeks and finally the Romans have all trounced over the nation. In this context, we read of the subjects of our portrait: Zechariah, Elizabeth, and their son John.
  • Nov 26, 2017Precepts for the Troubled Christian (John 16:33)
    Nov 26, 2017
    Precepts for the Troubled Christian (John 16:33)
    Series: (All)
    Our Lord Jesus is a perfect Savior, isn’t He? Perfect in His love- the Good Shepherd, our Peace, our Comfort, our Friend, our Brother. Redeemer, Atoning Sacrifice for our sins- The Risen One.
    The Words of Munster Gesangbuch, in his hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus  speak to the beauty of our Savior:
     
    “Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer than all the angels of haven can boast. Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forever more be thine.”
    Yet in all his beauty and praiseworthiness, one day speaking to his disciples Jesus said,
     
    “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33 To which we don’t want to say, Amen, but rather O-me!
    The ancient man Job knew well: “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1 Thankfully, this wasn’t all Jesus said in his teaching to the disciples: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Precepts for the Troubled Christian
    1. The Lord is ____________________ over all. Isaiah 46:9-11; 1 Cor. 10:13; Matt. 8:23-26
     
    1. The Lord has ___________________ for all. James 1:2-4; Eph. 1:11-12
     
    1. The Lord expects _____________________ from all. Ps. 95; Heb. 13:15,16; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Job 1:20-22.
     
    1. The Lord expects ____________________ from all. Dan. 3:16-18; 1 Peter 5:6-11
     
    1. The promises _____________ ____________________ to all. John 17:20-23.
     
    Our precious savior entered this storm with us- and spiritually he will remain with us till we see Him face to face. While with us, as the hymn
    Fairest Lord Jesus
    states: “Jesus shines fairer, Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing.”
  • Nov 19, 2017Walk In The Light (Ephesians 5:8-14)
    Nov 19, 2017
    Walk In The Light (Ephesians 5:8-14)
    Series: (All)
    Walk in the Light.
      Ephesians 5:8-14
    This morning our passage touches upon one of the grand themes found in the scriptures: light and darkness. Darkness by definition, is simply the absence of light. God is Sovereign over both. Darkness and light describe physical and spiritual conditions within the entire realm of reality that we know of within and outside the universe. From Genesis 1:1-3 to Revelation 22:5 and everywhere in between we see the contrast of light and darkness.
  • Nov 5, 2017The Five Solas of the Reformation_Part 2 (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
    Nov 5, 2017
    The Five Solas of the Reformation_Part 2 (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
    Series: (All)
    The Five Solas of the Reformation: part 2 Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone
    October 31st 
    , 1517 is recognized by historians as the beginning of what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation. The Reformations occurred in Western Europe within the Roman Catholic Church, but eventually led to a great division between Protestant and Catholic.  Out of these movements came 5 phrases of belief to stand in stark contrast with the Roman Church.
    1. Sola Scripture or Scripture Alone.
    The Scriptures alone are the ultimate authority in all matters of life and faith. This does not mean other sources of authority are necessarily evil, but rather the scriptures are the ultimate authority.  2 Tim. 3:16-17
    1. Sola Fide’ or Faith Alone
    The Christian’s right standing before God is by faith alone. A person is Justified (declared righteous) by God due to a righteousness not resourced in themselves- but rather in Christ. Faith is the lone agent by which we may receive the grace to receive salvation. Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-28; 9:16
    1. Sola Gratia or Grace Alone
    Salvation is a result of God’s grace with no consideration of human works. We can do nothing to merit salvation- it is the work of a Sovereign God who chooses to save. Eph. 1:3-8; 2:8-9.
    1. Solus Christus or In Christ Alone
    Christ alone has accomplished the work of salvation. His sacrifice is sufficient to atone for our sins. The work of salvation is finished. As our High Priest, Christ alone is our mediator. As priests, believers are enabled to approach God personally through Christ. In Him alone we confess our sins, worship, and pray. Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:4-6,10-11; 1 Tim. 2:5-6 The Roman Catholic Mass is based on the belief that the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Christ. It is believed that the priest breaks the body of Christ at each Mass. Christ’s work of atonement is a continuing event. The sacrament is viewed as a means of salvation not just a sign of salvation. The RC Church also believes sins must be confessed to a human priest, something not affirmed in the scriptures. This Roman Catholic view is contrary to the the teachings of scripture.
    1. Soli De Gloria or Glory to God Alone
    All of life is to be lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There is no real division between the sacred and the secular. All of life is to be lived, and can be lived to the Glory of God. Col. 3:17 The Roman Catholic Church exalts the officers of the church. Only the clergy could take part in the highest forms of worship and ministerial service is exalted over all other vocations.  1 Cor 10:31; Ps. 115:1,14-18; Isaiah 42:8-10; 1 Peter 2:11-12 These 5 Solas reset the proper view of the relationship between God and man and the means of salvation. Ultimately, they exalt God alone- returning to Him the Glory- all the Glory.
  • Oct 29, 2017The Five Solas of the Reformation_Part 1 (Romans 1:16-17)
    Oct 29, 2017
    The Five Solas of the Reformation_Part 1 (Romans 1:16-17)
    Series: (All)
    The Five Solas of the Reformation: part 1 Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone. Romans 1:16-17
    October 31st, 1517 is recognized by historians as the beginning of what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation. The Reformations occurred in Western Europe within the Roman Catholic Church.  On this date Martin Luther, a monk, priest, and professor of theology posted 95 Theses for debate on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. The theses were to address errors and abuses within the Roman church. There were other contemporary reformers throughout Western Europe, among them: John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Theodore Beza and Philip Melancthon.
    Out of these movements came 5 phrases of belief to stand in stark contrast with the Roman Church.
    1. Sola Scripture or Scripture Alone.
    The Scriptures alone are the ultimate authority in all matters of life and faith. This does not mean other sources of authority are necessarily evil, but rather the scriptures are the ultimate authority. The Roman Catholic error was and is that other authorities have been place equal to or above the scriptures. Popes, Papal decrees, councils and even mysticism are regarded as equal or superior to the scriptures. Deut. 31:3-13; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17
    1. Sola Fide’ or Faith Alone
    The Christian’s right standing before God is by faith alone. A person is Justified (declared righteous) by God due to a righteousness not resourced in themselves- but rather in Christ. Faith is the lone agent by which we may receive the grace to receive salvation. Rom. 1:16-17. Roman Catholic View: Faith in Jesus results in grace to be enabled to be saved to do good works. Free will does good works to merit salvation. Right standing before God (Justification) is a process. Faith is a work, Salvation is a work of God and man. Biblical View:  Faith is a gift to receive the grace of God. The believing sinner is justified (given right standing before God). Faith is evidenced through good works. Salvation is wholly God’s work. Romans 3:21-28; Romans 9:16
    1. Sola Gratia of Grace Alone
    Salvation is a result of God’s grace with no consideration of human works. We can do nothing to merit salvation- it is work of a Sovereign God who chooses to save. Roman Catholic View: Grace is infused in a person so they are able to be righteous and their righteousness contributes to their salvation. Grace is gained or lost based upon ones works. Salvation is a cooperative effort between God and man. Eph. 1:3-8; 2:8-9. A real marker of true faith in Christ- is the ability to rest in His work- not our own. Heb. 4:9-10
     
  • Oct 22, 2017Signs of the New Self (Ephesians 4:22-24)
    Oct 22, 2017
    Signs of the New Self (Ephesians 4:22-24)
    Series: (All)
    Signs of the New Self. Ephesians 4:22-24 The Christian, in response to being placed into the body of Christ is to live a new and different life. We are secure in Christ, His work has brought us salvation and eternal security, but we must daily choose to put off the old self and put on the new self.
    What are the signs in a person’s life that prove the new life is being carried out daily?
     
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