Tag Archives: Message
The Sanctity of Life
“I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.” – excerpt from the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, 1984 Ronald Reagan
Life is HOLY
“When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)
Why is human life holy?
WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26-2:25)
If we are made in the image of a HOLY GOD, then we too should be holy.
We are image bearers of God – created in the image, shadow, likeness of God.
We are imprinted with godlike characteristics.
“To be fully human is to fully reflect God’s creative, spiritual, intelligent, communicative, relational, moral and purposeful capacities.” (Relevant Magazine)
WE ARE SET APART – that means we are holy
We are set apart above all creation (Genesis 1:26-28)
We are handmade
Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade.
We are set apart as God’s chosen people
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
We are set apart for fellowship with God
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16b)
We are set apart and crowned by God with glory and majesty
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:4-5).
GOD VALUES ALL LIFE
You are valuable. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:26)
He values new life – He creates new life. He knit you together (Psalm 139). It’s all a part of God’s great plan.
He values young ones – He blesses them and says to let the little children come when the disciples rebuked them. (Matthew 19:13-15)
He values teens & young adults – Paul writes that youth should not be looked down on for being young. Instead, be an example to believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12)
He values the mature adults – You shall stand up before the gray head & honor the face of an old man, & you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
He values the poor, the widows, the strangers – For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)
If Life is Holy, how is Life Not Worth Living?
The world is filled with
This is unnatural death. God’s ways are life, not death.
- Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:9-15)
- Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13)
- Eye for eye (Leviticus 24:21)
- Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35)
- Abimelech (Judges 9:52-54)
- Samson (Judges 16:29-30)
- King Saul (1 Samuel 31:4-6)
- Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:1-29)
- King Zimri (1 King 16:15-20)
What does God say about death?
See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)
LIFE AND DEATH IS IN HIS HANDS
The world is filled with abuse of life
Abuse steals peace. Abuse kills joy. Abuse destroys hope.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Equip others. Empower others. Encourage others. Embrace others.
Speak life. Stand up for and speak for those who cannot stand up or speak for themselves.
The world is filled those who misunderstand the purpose of life
What is the purpose of life? To glorify God.
Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. (Isaiah 43:7)
Our greatest desire is to know God, to have a relationship with God.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
The Most Important Life – Eternal Life
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)
God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The worth of a human soul can be estimated only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. … It was the joy set before Christ in accomplishing so great salvation, that led him to submit to shame, agony, and death. How do all the treasures and the glories of earth sink into insignificance when compared with the value of a human soul! – Ellen White
- Value Life – everyone is valuable to God’s Kingdom
- Celebrate Life – praise the Lord for your life and for the lives of others
- Embrace Life – seek out what God has for your life
- Speak Life – speak life to others
- Share Life – share the Good News of Eternal Life
May your life bring glory to God
Psalm 118:22 – stone rejected by the builders has become the head of the corner
Verse 12 — At one time we were Through Christ we are
Separated Brought Near
Without hope With Peace
- Fellow citizens with the saints – Members of the household of God
- Built on Foundation of Apostles & Prophets
- Christ – Cornerstone – whole structure joined together into Holy Temple in the Lord – We are living stones to be united to & built up by the Cornerstone
Christ is a stumbling block to those without faith
Isaiah 8:14 – And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [ESV]
Parable of the Wicked Tenants – Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17
Christ is security to those who believe
Acts 4:11 – Built together into dwelling place for God by the Spirit – completeness & unity
Matthew 7:24-27 – built house on the Rock – hear words & act upon them – firm foundation
Isaiah 28:16 – Therefore the Lord GOD said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable. [HCSB] — Firm, Unshakable, Reliable
1 Peter 2:6 – those who trust in Him will never be put to shame – no shame
Follow up questions:
Read Isaiah 28:16. This verse describes the foundation of Christ as firm, unshakable, and reliable.
Take time to consider in your life…
- How has Christ been firm?
- How has Christ been unshakable?
- How has Christ been reliable?
Read Psalm 118:22. This verse speaks of a stone that is rejected by the builders becoming the head of the corner, the Cornerstone. The Cornerstone holds in place all of the other stones. Consider what you have used to build up your house. Examine the pieces you used to build. Is Jesus the Cornerstone? What are some of the pieces you have been using to build? What do you need to do to get back to your foundation of Christ and allow Christ to be your Cornerstone?
Read Acts 4:11. Peter makes it clear that this cornerstone is Jesus Christ who was rejected by the Jewish leaders and crucified. If the stone is precious and sure to be laid as a cornerstone, why would it be rejected by the builders? Why did the Jewish leaders not accept Him? What can we learn from this?
Read 1 Peter 2:6. This verse says those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. When have you felt shame in life? Why did you feel this shame? Why does the Bible promise that we will not be put to shame? How can you live this out?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
The Gospel is…
- Good News of God (v. 5)
- The Word of Truth (v. 6)
- The Message of God’s Grace (v. 6)
- Centered in a person – Jesus (v. 4)
- Universal – It is for the whole world (v. 6)
- Humanly transmitted (v. 7)
- Productive – Multiplies (v. 6)
People believed. People were discipled. People were faithful in Christ.
FAITH in Jesus and LOVE for God’s people that spring from HOPE stored up in heaven (v. 4-5)
God’s way = the best way
How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1 NASB)
God’s way = the only real peace
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
God’s way = the only real joy
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11 NLT)
God’s way = the only true and lasting reward
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35 NIV)
Bible Study Questions:
1) How does Paul introduce himself to the Colossians? How does he address the Colossians?
2) Paul wrote that he was thankful for the Colossians. What specifically made Paul thankful and excited for this church in Colossae? (see v. 3-8)
3) Paul never met the people in Colossae. Who shared the Gospel with these people? How is he described?
4) What is the Gospel? Read Acts 2:22-24, Acts 16:30-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
5) One of the unmistakable characteristics of the Gospel is God’s grace in all its truth. John 1:14, 17 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (ESV).
How do you define grace?
How do you define truth?
How can you share God’s grace?
How can you share God’s truth?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
Reservations are great. It is awesome when you can make a reservation to be sure you have a spot. I remember reserving particular classes. I enjoy reserving a hotel room so I know when I’m traveling that I have the comfort of a nice room waiting for me. My son loves to reserve new video games so his game is ready right when it comes out in the stores so it is guaranteed to be there.
In Colossians 1, we read about this hope that we have in heaven. It is a reserved hope. It is reserve and waiting. This is the truth. This is what we can expect. We can rejoice in knowing that we have this reserved hope, this guarantee of heaven. We won’t lose our spot.
When the day drains you, when you are exhausted, when you feel like everything is caving in, remember this great hope. Remember that you have a space reserved. Remember that God has so much more for you just waiting for you. There are some things reserved on earth for you, things you need to step forward and claim. There are some things reserved for you in heaven—and one day they shall all come to light. Rejoice in this hope. Rejoice that you my friend have a reservation.
Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel. – Colossians 1:5 [AMP]
[Elisha and the Widow’s Oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7]
Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (ESV)
- Lost her husband
- Was about to lose her kids into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-41)
- Would then have no one to work the family land which would leave her deeper in debt
Humility – go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors
Faith – empty vessels and not too few
Solitude – then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons
I HAVE NOTHING … NOTHING EXCEPT A JAR OF OIL
God of the impossible – Luke 18:27
- Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” [NIV]
- “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” [MSG]
See beyond the nothing… except a jar of oil
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. – Ephesians 3:20 [MSG]
1) The woman who approached Elisha was the wife of one of the sons “of the prophets.” This is similar to a disciple. The students were known as the “sons” and the instructor would be called “father.”
When the woman asked Elisha for help, what was Elisha’s response?
2) Considering this interaction between Elisha and the widow:
How do you respond when someone approaches you with a need?
How do you respond when you have your own need?
What could you do differently?
3) In tonight’s passage, we read about many different problems this widow had to overcome. Not only did she have to overcome the loss of her husband and potential loss of her children and her income stability, she had some inner obstacles to overcome.
What were some of those obstacles?
How did Elisha direct the widow through those obstacles?
4) What obstacles are you facing?
In 2 Samuel 1 we read about the death of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Philistines. David is told this news and he lamented. He writes this long lamentation that says “how the mighty have fallen” three times (vs. 19-27). It is such a beautiful collection of words as a tribute for these men. As I read through this passage, it is easy to see how David wanted to honor these men; however, it also can serve as a reminder—“How the mighty have fallen.”
No matter how strong we are on our own, we will fall. No matter how much we achieve, we will fall. No matter how high up the ladder we climb by our own human standards, we will fall. We will fall. But that’s not the end of the story. It’s only a small smidgen of life. God has promised us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). His Word says that if we believe in Him, we will have everlasting life (John 3:36). We may fall but we will rise with Him. On His shoulders He carries us home (John 6:40).
You can trust in the promises of God for He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is true. He is the Promise Keeper. Each of us will fall again and again, but with each sin we are covered by the blood of Christ. Each of us will one day breathe our last breath, but that last breath of air is not the end. Oh how the mighty have fallen— but oh how the children of God will live forever with Him rejoicing together, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8 NIV).
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 [NLT]
God has placed a special calling on each of our lives. Peter spoke of the need to always be prepared to share the Message (1 Peter 3); however, we also need to be ready to serve in other ways. There are times when your life may seem like it is on course and suddenly something “pops up.”
Consider Mary, a young woman going about her normal day. Suddenly an angel of the Lord visits and tells her of an amazing plan that involves her in a very personal way. Life would immediately change. What was her response? “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.”
I think it is fair to assume that she was nervous and perhaps fearful but she trusted God. Today let us be prepared to serve. We might be led to give someone a bottle of water or we could be led to something that requires more sacrifice and dedication. Whatever it may be, may your answer be “I’m the Lords… ready to serve.”
“’And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.’
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.”
-Luke 1:36-38 [MSG]
When you are trying to grip something for a long period of time, you start to lose your grip and need to take a new grip. With my problematic hands, I often need to re-grip items. In Hebrews, the author writes to “take a new grip with your tired hands.” The word “tired” actually can be translated to “paralyzed.”
Why would your hands be paralyzed? Why would your knees be weak? Earlier in the passage, the author speaks of how God disciplines His children. Discipline seems horrible at the moment, but it produces righteousness (v. 11). We do not simply undergo the discipline, but we submit to it and as a result we share in God’s holiness. God disciplines us because He loves us.
The hands were tired and the knees were weak because there was no endurance in faith. They were tired from the burden of sin. They were focused on the world rather than God. They were not looking to the Holy Spirit for help, not being intentional with their faith. When you do not have an active prayer life, you are paralyzed. When you are not reading and hearing the Word (reading your Bible and attending church), you are paralyzed. You cannot do life alone. Today take a new grip. Strengthen those hands and knees.
“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.” – Hebrews 12:12 [NLT]
Privilege and authority are two words most people would like to have associated with their names. We often work diligently to gain the privilege of certain opportunities. We work just as hard to gain authority. We might not like the responsibility that comes with authority, but being in the position has its perks.
When we receive Christ into our lives, not only do we get the free gift of salvation and an open door to a beautiful and satisfying relationship with God Almighty, but we also receive privilege and authority. We are called to “go” and take the Message. We are commanded to share Jesus with those that cross our path. Some of us are even directed to new paths in uncharted territory.
We have the privilege. We have the authority. The question is what are you doing with it? Do you see the Great Commission as a privilege? Do you live and speak as one with authority?
“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]
We all get shipwrecked in life. It is how we handle our circumstances in life that shows our true character. When Jonah was on a ship, he was running from what God called him to do at Nineveh. While the boat was in trouble, he was sleeping while everyone else worried. He was sleeping until his shipmates pressed him for answers.
Paul gave us another example. When he was on the ship to Rome, he was excited to take the message of Christ further. He wanted to build on a new foundation and reach those who had not heard of Jesus Christ. As the boat was in trouble, he spoke to the shipmates about the situation.
Are you running from what God has called you to do in life or are you pressing forward? Are you keeping silent or speaking up? Are you angry at the mercy of God or are you serving joyfully, excited to take the message of Christ to those who have not yet heard the Good News?
“Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:2 [ESV]