Scott LaPierre Ministries

Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre (https://www.scottlapierre.org/) is a pastor, author, and Christian speaker on marriage. This podcast includes his conference messages, guest preaching, and expository sermons at Woodland Christian Church. Each of Scott’s messages is the result of hours of studying the Bible. Scott and his wife, Katie, grew up together in northern California, and God has blessed them with nine children. View all of Pastor Scott’s books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Scott-LaPierre/e/B01JT920EQ. Receive a FREE copy of Scott’s book, “Seven Biblical Insights for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Marriages.” For Scott LaPierre’s conference and speaking information, including testimonies, and endorsements, please visit: https://www.scottlapierre.org/christian-speaker/. Feel free to contact Scott at: https://www.scottlapierre.org/contact/. read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

Desire When It Has Conceived Gives Birth to Sin
3d ago
Desire When It Has Conceived Gives Birth to Sin
James 1:15 says, "Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." James 1:15 compares sin with pregnancy, pictured in Proverbs 7:24-27. When the foolish young man sinned with the harlot, the union's most obvious and natural result is pregnancy. The child produced from that pregnancy, or sin, is death! Table of contentsSin Begins in the HeartEven the Strong and Mighty Must Be on GuardThe Wages of Sin Is DeathSin Is Compared to Pregnancy Because It Gives Birth to DeathSin Is Compared to Pregnancy Because It Is a ProcessSin Is Compared to Pregnancy Because It GrowsBut What About When We Still Sin? https://youtu.be/RM8pfYAUiLs James 1:15 describes pregnancy: "Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." Consider these people who were killed by, of all things, their pets: Sandra Piovesan had nine half-wolves, half-dogs that she raised, and after they grew, they killed her. Kelly Ann Walz raised a black bear from when it was a cub. When it reached 350 pounds, it killed her. Marius Els had a pet hippopotamus, which ended up killing him after it grew. We know many animals are deadly. There are lots of stories of people being killed by animals. These stories stand out because the people kept the animals as pets. All these people had one thing in common: they thought the animals didn’t threaten them. They thought the animals could be tamed and controlled. They thought they could have these animals in their lives without problems. Marius owned the hippopotamus, and the article reads, and I quote, that he was “[warned repeatedly] that it was a wild animal that could never be tamed.” But he said, “There’s a relationship between me and the hippo, and that’s what some people don’t understand. They think you can only have a relationship with dogs, cats, and domestic animals. But I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa.” This sounds crazy to us. Most of us agree that keeping wolves, bears, and hippopotamuses is a bad idea. These people thought the animals were safe because they got them when they were small and harmless. Over time, the animals grew and became deadly. This illustrates what can happen with sin. We tend to treat our sin like a pet. It starts small and seemingly harmless, but then it grows into something deadly and kills us as well. This is the main point of James 1:15: "Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." And it is illustrated in Proverbs 7:24-27: Proverbs 7:24 And now, O SONS, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25 LET NOT YOUR HEART TURN ASIDE TO HER WAYS; DO NOT STRAY INTO HER PATHS, 26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. Don’t you hear the father pleading with his son? Proverbs 1:8 Hear, MY SON, YOUR FATHER'S INSTRUCTION, and forsake not your mother's teaching… Proverbs 1:10 MY SON, if sinners entice you, do not consent… Proverbs 1:15 MY SON, do not walk in the way with them; Proverbs 2:1 MY SON, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you Proverbs 3:1 MY SON, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, Proverbs 4, 5, 6, and 7 begin the same way. The word “son” occurs almost 50 times because Proverbs is written as a father speaking to his son. Proverbs is indeed for everyone. It is the book of wisdom, and we all benefit from gaining wisdom; however, because Proverbs is written as a father talking to his son, young men receive a special benefit. So, young men can read these verses and hear me pleading to resist the harlot. Young men hear Solomon, the human author of Proverbs, pleading to resist the harlot. But I hope even more that you look past Solomon and me to the even greater Person plead...
What Does Sin Do to Us? (Proverbs 7:18-23)
Apr 22 2024
What Does Sin Do to Us? (Proverbs 7:18-23)
What does sin do to us? The harlot in Proverbs 7 personifies sin. We can see how she acts toward the foolish young man to see what sin does to us. Table of contentsSin Lies to UsSin Says, “You Won’t Get Caught”God Won't Be MockedWhen It Looked Like David Wouldn't Get CaughtSin Makes Us More Like AnimalsSin Produces a Slow, Painful DeathSin Hunts the FoolishSin Is a Baited HookThe Way Joab Approached Abner and AmasaTurn to God from Sin https://youtu.be/-JeVOMo2fhY What does sin do to us? The harlot in Proverbs 7 personifies sin. We can see how she acts toward the foolish young man to see what sin does to us. Radio personality Paul Harvey shared about how Eskimos kill wolves: First, the Eskimo coats a knife blade with seal blood because seals are easy to trap. He allows the blood to freeze and then adds another layer of blood and another until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up.When a wolf follows its sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, it licks it, tasting the fresh, frozen blood. The wolf licks the blade more vigorously until the keen edge is bare. But the wolf doesn’t notice the razor-sharp sting of the blade because his tongue is numb from the cold, nor does it recognize that its insatiable thirst is being satisfied by its own warm blood. The wolf’s carnivorous appetite just craves moreuntil the dawn finds it dead in the snow. The account is grisly but illustrates sin's consuming, self-destructive nature. When we see people engaged in habitual sin, we can share this story with them and tell them to stop licking the knife. I looked at over ten websites to determine if Eskimoes do this because I don’t like when pastors use illustrations that aren’t true (something pastors are famous for doing). I found many websites with this story. But they were pastors’ websites or websites for sermon illustrations, so I’m not sure they can be trusted. I think an even better illustration of sin’s destructiveness is found in Proverbs 7 with the harlot. We can swap the wolf for the foolish young man. Like the wolf, he is killed because of his desires. If you want to see just how much the foolish young man looks like an animal being hunted, notice the theme of verses 22 and 23: "an ox to the slaughter...a stag caught in a trap...a bird stuck in a snare." Sin Lies to Us I will pick up at verse 18 with the harlot speaking to the foolish young man: Proverbs 7:18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. In the same sentence, the harlot twice mentioned the word love. This is a lie: she’s known this young man for about five minutes, yet she talks to him about love. She would’ve said the same words to any young man. She is like a prostitute or woman on the Internet who has no concern for the men she entices. But this is what sin does. Take your mind back to the fall. God said: Genesis 2:17 Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” When the devil tempted Eve: Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. The devil told Eve the exact opposite of what God said. Sin does the same with us. Romans 7:11 Sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, DECEIVED ME and through it killed me. Paul said sin deceived him. Hebrews 3:13 Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. We should exhort each other daily so we aren’t deceived by sin. What are some of the ways sin deceives us? What are some of the lies it tells us? This won’t ruin your family. This won’t hurt your friends and loved ones. This won’t become an addiction. You’ll be able to stop whenever you want. Sin Says, “You Won’t Get Caught”
Biblical Advice for Christian Marital Problems
Apr 18 2024
Biblical Advice for Christian Marital Problems
Our Christian marital problems are only symptoms. The actual problem is in our relationship with Christ. This is why all the prayers for marital problems should include praying for a stronger relationship with the Lord. Read or listen to this content from Your Marriage God’s Way to find biblical advice for marriage problems. Table of ContentsSubmission to Christ Improves MarriagesHandling Christian Marital ProblemsThree EncouragementsWhy We Should Embrace Christian Marital ProblemsAsk Difficult Questions and Expect Painful AnswersGod's Chastening Is Not Punishment, But a Father's Loving DisciplineLearning From Painful Seasons Caused by Christian Marital Problems Because our relationships with our spouses reflect our relationships with Christ, our marriage “problems” are merely symptoms. The actual problems are in our relationships with Christ. The horizontal relationship with our spouse is suffering because there’s something wrong with the vertical relationship with Christ. For instance, in my marriage, the problem looked like I did not have enough time for my wife and children. But that was a symptom. The problem was that I would not listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to meet my family’s needs, and I was not trusting Christ enough. Instead, I let anxiety consume me. Thus, the first place to address any symptoms that appear to be problems between the husband and wife is to look at each person’s relationship with the Lord. When I counsel couples, and they share a problem they are experiencing, they become confused when I ask, “What does your time in God’s Word look like? How is your prayer life? Tell me about your involvement in the church.” A wife might say, “I just told you my husband yells at me. Why are you asking about his time in the Word?” Because the hope is that as a husband reads God’s Word he will be convicted of what he is doing wrong, repent, and become a more patient and loving man. I do not have the power to change a husband’s heart, nor does a wife, or there would be no need for counseling. A husband can only become the man he should be by having a good relationship with Christ. Likewise, a husband might respond, “I just told you about how my wife humiliates me in front of our friends. Why do you ask whether we are part of a small group study?” Because ongoing connections with other believers can provide accountability and require vulnerability and transparency. You can learn from other believers and be challenged by their examples. When you are not actively involved with others in the body of Christ, you will not receive the encouragement and exhortation God wants you to have. You will feel alone, as though you are the only people having these problems. You will not have anyone through whom God can regularly speak to you. We are made to have fellowship with other believers. When that is lacking, it manifests in other areas, including our marriages. Submission to Christ Improves Marriages Here are two situations I have witnessed many times. A husband and wife are having Christian marital problems. They submit to Christ, and soon, their marriage improves. Why? Did their difficulties simply disappear? No, those difficulties were symptoms of the real problem—Christ was not supreme in their lives. When they put Christ first, their marriage improved. Similarly, I have seen a couple plugged into a church. The husband and wife pray and read the Word together. They are doing well spiritually, and their marriage is healthy. Then, for various reasons, they get distracted from the Lord, and their priorities shift. They start wavering in church attendance and spiritual disciplines. They fall out of fellowship. Soon, their marriage suffers. So remember: Christian marital problems are only symptoms—or negative consequences—of not having Christ as the focal point in the marital relationship. If a couple wants a strong, healthy marriage, they need a strong,
How to Have a Lasting Christ-Centered Marriage (Ephesians 5:18)
Apr 10 2024
How to Have a Lasting Christ-Centered Marriage (Ephesians 5:18)
Do you want to know how to have a lasting Christ-centered marriage? Ephesians 5:18 tells us to "be filled with the Holy Spirit." Read or listen to this material from Your Marriage God’s Way to learn how the Holy Spirit will help you have a lasting Christ-centered marriage. Table of ContentsYour Marriage Reflects Your Relationship with ChristJesus Deserves Your ObedienceTrust the Holy Spirit to Help You Have a Christ-Centered MarriageA Holy-Spirit Filled MarriageWe Cannot Just Sit BackWhat Might It Look Like for the Holy Spirit to Help Us?The Encouraging Balance When Striving to Have a Lasting Christ-Centered Marriage A few years ago, Katie and I faced the biggest crisis of our marriage. I started pastoring Woodland Christian Church when it was small, but within three years, the congregation tripled. Before I became a pastor, I was unaware of how much work is involved in shepherding a church of even a few hundred people. I had been an Army officer, a supervisor at a distribution center for a major retail chain, and an elementary school teacher. But none of those occupations approached the amount of mental and emotional energy and sheer hard work pastoring entails! Almost all my waking hours were spent studying, teaching, counseling, making phone calls, sending emails, attending meetings, addressing administrative responsibilities, and tending to benevolence issues. When I was at home, where I should have been an engaged father and husband, I did not have much left for my family mentally, emotionally, or physically. Although I was failing as a husband and father, I was able to convince myself I was still pleasing the Lord. I compartmentalized my life by saying, “I am a Christian first. I am a spouse second. I am a parent third. I am an employee fourth.” Instead, I should have said, “I am a Christian spouse. I am a Christian parent. I am a Christian employee.” The danger of seeing ourselves as Christian servants first and spouses second is that we can believe the lie I bought into: “If I can be a good pastor, I can please God even though I am not the best husband.” The truth is that I was a poor husband, and I should have recognized that meant I was not pleasing the Lord. Your Marriage Reflects Your Relationship with Christ The reason we cannot please the Lord while failing as a husband or wife is that our Christianity is directly related to the way we treat our spouses. Our marriages are outpourings of our relationships with Christ: In Matthew 7:16, Jesus asked, “Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” In James 3:11-12, the apostle James asked, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?” The point of these verses is that we reveal our Christianity by the way we live. Jesus clarified: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). And right living—or right fruit—can only be produced through a strong relationship with Christ. Because our relationships with our spouses are our most important earthly relationships, what we are as spouses reflects what we are as Christians. The two key commands in Scripture that give us God’s standard for marriage: Ephesians 5:25—“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Ephesians 5:22—“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Because these commands are from the Lord, our obedience to them affects our relationship with Christ. Think of it this way: There is no such thing as a spiritually mature man who does not love his wife. Nor a spiritually mature woman who does not submit to her husband: A husband cannot love Christ without loving his wife. A wife cannot submit to Christ without submitting to her husband. A husband loves and cherishes his wife not because she is perfect or treats him the way he wants to be treated.
Where Is the Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection on the Third Day?
Apr 1 2024
Where Is the Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection on the Third Day?
Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins [and] was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Old Testament doesn’t just prophesy that Jesus would die and be raised; it also prophesies that he would be raised on the third day. Where is the Old Testament prophecy of Jesus' death and resurrection on the third day? There are four possibilities. Table of contentsThe Gospel's Two Essential ElementsFirst, Jesus Died for Our SinsPsalm 22 Prophecies of Jesus' DeathIsaiah 53 Prophecies of Jesus' DeathSecond, Jesus Was Raised from the DeadWhere Is the Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus' Resurrection on the Third Day?The Feast of Firstfruits Is an Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus' Resurrection on the Third DayHosea Contains an Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus' Resurrection on the Third DayIsrael as a Type of ChristThe Veil and Jesus’ Body TornJonah Is an Old Testament Prophecy (or Sign) of Jesus' Resurrection on the Third DayJonah's "Death" and BurialJonah Was "Raised" on the Third DayIsaac Is an Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus' Resurrection on the Third DayDon't Try not to BelieveFootnotes https://youtu.be/o0HdYqct2pU Where is the Old Testament prophecy of Jesus' death and resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4)? Four possibilities exist. Growing up we had a handful of movies on VHS tapes. I feel old knowing some of you don’t even know what VHS tapes are. One of the movies we had was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I don’t know how often I watched this movie, but it was a lot. Let me tell you how it ended. The dying Khan activated a bomb that would blow up his ship and the nearby Starship Enterprise, finally delivering his revenge against Captain Kirk. The Enterprise’s engine was damaged, so it couldn’t enter warp speed and escape the explosion. With the lives of all the crew in jeopardy, Spock entered the nuclear reactor to restore power to the warp drive so the ship could escape. In the process, he was exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. When Kirk realized Spock was missing, he ran to the engine room, where he saw his friend within minutes of death. Spock used his last words to ask Kirk if the ship was out of danger. Then he said, “The needs of the many outweigh…” Kirk interrupted to say: “the needs of the few,” showing he learned from his logical friend. And then Spock added, “Or the one. I have been and always shall be your friend.” Spock made the Vulcan salute, which Kirk mirrored, uttered, “Live long and prosper,” and then died. Spock died for his friends, and our minds could even go to Jesus’s words: John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You don’t have to worry about Spock, though, because he only stayed dead until the beginning of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Spock rose from the dead, and the filmmakers wanted to make him look so much like Jesus there was even an empty coffin complete with nearby burial clothes paralleling Jesus’ empty tomb and burial clothes. Resurrections are common in fiction. J.R.R. Tolkien has a clear resurrection in The Lord of the Rings. The wizard, Gandalf the Grey, dies only to return to life as the more powerful Gandalf the White. Tolkien’s friend and fellow author, C.S. Lewis, has a clear resurrection in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Aslan the Lion, a picture of Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, sacrificed himself to save Edmund. Then, Aslan returned to life and defeated his enemy, the White Witch, I suspect picturing the way Jesus’s death and resurrection defeated the devil. The Gospel's Two Essential Elements I might sound like a fan of resurrections in fiction, but I wouldn’t say that’s the case. My biggest problem is that, with only a few exceptions, people are borrowing from Christianity without being Christian. There are allusions to Christ, but there’s no Christ. Nobody will be saved from these portrayals because they lack ...
What Is Temptation? (Proverbs 7)
Mar 24 2024
What Is Temptation? (Proverbs 7)
What is temptation? The harlot in Proverbs 7 personifies temptation. The harlot pursues the foolish young man like temptation pursues us. The foolish young man should have resisted the harlot like we should resist temptation. Studying her helps us understand how temptation works and better equips us to resist. Table of contentsFoolish People Are Outmatched Against TemptationThe Harlot in Proverbs 7 Personifies TemptationTemptation Is AggressiveTemptation Makes Itself Sound GoodJustifying Giving InTemptation Appeals to Our PrideBalak Appealed to Balam's PrideWhy Would Temptation Want to Appeal to Our Pride?Temptation Appeals to Our SensesTemptation Appeals Most Often to Our SightLook to the Great High Priest https://youtu.be/p8pRdQz8afA What is temptation? The harlot in Proverbs 7 personifies temptation. The harlot pursues the foolish young man like temptation pursues us. The foolish young man should have resisted the harlot like we should resist temptation. Studying her helps us understand how temptation works and better equips us to resist. We like showdowns. When I say the word, our minds probably go to Westerns with two cowboys staring each other down while they stand on a dirt road in the middle of a small town with a saloon on one side, a bank on the other, and a few other buildings scattered about. A tumbleweed rolls by, and we hear the familiar whistling sound while we wait to see who draws first. There are many famous showdowns in fiction outside of Westerns. For example, Achilles and Hector’s fight in the Illiad. My favorite showdown is Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog in the Lord of the Rings. There are also famous showdowns in Scripture. The first few chapters of 2 Samuel record the conflict between the House of Saul and the House of David. Saul’s forces, led by Abner, ran into David’s forces, led by Joab: 2 Samuel 2:12 Abner and the servants of Saul and Joab and the servants of David met by the pool of Gibeon…one on one side…and the other on the other side. Then Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15 Then they arose…16 And each caught HIS OPPONENT BY THE HEAD AND THRUST HIS SWORD IN HIS OPPONENT'S SIDE, SO THEY FELL DOWN TOGETHER…17 And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David. Some other showdowns in Scripture are David and Goliath, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and Jesus in the wilderness with the devil. I could go one step further and say Jesus’ earthly ministry was a showdown between the kingdom of God that Jesus rules over and the kingdom of darkness that Satan rules over. Foolish People Are Outmatched Against Temptation Proverbs 7 contains another showdown: the foolish young man against the harlot. The foolish young man’s description: Proverbs 7:7 and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense The young man is “Simple” and “Lacking sense,” which are both ways of saying he is foolish and lacking wisdom. The NKJV says he’s "devoid of understanding," the NASB says he’s "naïve," and the Amplified says he’s "gullible." His opponent: Proverbs 7:10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. The showdown is about to begin, but let me make one point about the foolish young man. It says the harlot “meets him.” He had to reach this point. He wouldn't be in this situation if he hadn’t taken all the previous compromising steps: going to her corner, taking the road to her house, and doing this at night when he thought nobody would see. We can’t help being tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. But we can avoid putting ourselves in tempting situations: Don’t grab your phone or look at your computer at the wrong time. Don’t be alone with that person of the opposite sex. Don’t go to that bar or club. We saw how the foolish young man is described.
Learning from the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
Mar 18 2024
Learning from the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus taught the Parable of the Rich Fool. Ironically, the rich fool looked smart, accumulating wealth and succeeding as a farmer and businessman. Learn why God said he was a fool when his life ended. Table of ContentsEverything Comes from GodWe Can Be Wise in the World's Eyes But Fools to GodThe Rich Man Was a Fool Because He Didn’t GiveThe Rich Man Was a Fool Because He Didn’t Plan for EternityThe Rich Man Was a Fool Because He Didn’t Know to Whom His Soul BelongedThe Rich Man Was a Fool Because He Wasn’t Rich Toward GodUnderstand What Money Can't DoUnderstand What the Gospel Can Do https://youtu.be/XlQwaVEw090 Jesus taught the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:16-21. Learn why God called him a fool despite looking smart and successful. Malcolm Forbes was an American entrepreneur who is most well-known as the publisher of Forbes magazine. He’s also remembered for several sayings, and one that he repeated is, “He who has the most toys wins.” As you would expect from someone who said this, he lived an extravagant, flamboyant lifestyle. He spent millions (or perhaps billions) on parties, traveling, and his collection of yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, castles, hot-air balloons, and Fabergé eggs, some of which cost over one million dollars each. Growing up, there was a popular line of clothing called No Fear. They had one shirt that corrected Malcom’s quote: “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” The people working for the secular clothing company were considerably more biblical than Mr. Forbes. They recognized that regardless of how much a man has, he can’t “add a single hour to his span of life,” as Jesus said (Matthew 6:27). The No Fear clothing company also recognized we can’t take any of our toys or possessions with us because if we could, then the one who died with the most toys would be the winner. The man in the parable of the rich fool seems like the Malcolm Forbes of the Bible. He lived only for this life: The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:16-21). The rich fool’s harvest was so great he ran out of room to store it. As a farmer, because his crops are basically money, it’s like he has more money than he knows what to do with. How would you like to have this problem? Believe it or not, it was a big problem for him! He didn’t understand the concept of stewardship and that anything he had ultimately belonged to God and was meant to be used for His glory. Everything Comes from God Some things are harder to be viewed as coming from God. For example, if you study for a degree, it’s hard to say, “God gave this to me” because you feel like you earned it. The same can be said if you’re faithful at work and get promoted, practice an instrument and become an accomplished musician, or train for a race and win. But seeing God’s hand in them is easier with some other things. For example, we have nothing to do with where and when we are born. As of 2023, we have had ten children, and we see God’s hand in this child’s birth because we can’t create life. Only God can do that. One more thing we should view as coming from God is a good harvest, or “land [producing] plentifully.” Although I haven’t been a farmer, I know it’s a profession that greatly depends on circumstances outside our control. My father-in-law, Rick, is a farmer. Katie says she remembers growing up watching her father stand at the window looking at the clouds with conce...
The Unfading Beauty of a Godly Woman (Proverbs 7:10-12 and 1 Peter 3:1-4)
Mar 11 2024
The Unfading Beauty of a Godly Woman (Proverbs 7:10-12 and 1 Peter 3:1-4)
First Peter 3 explains how a woman can have unfading beauty. The godly woman in 1 Peter 3 can be contrasted with the ungodly woman in Proverbs 7 who lures the foolish young man. Table of contentsA Godly Woman Has a Gentle and Quiet Spirit Versus Being LoudA Godly Woman Is Submissive Versus RebelliousA Godly Woman Manages Her Home Versus Neglects ItA Godly Woman Dresses ModestlyAre Men or Women at Fault?A Selfish AttitudeA Godly Woman Can Pursue External BeautyWhat About Jewelry and Nice Clothing?Unfading Beauty Should Be Pursued More than External BeautyOur World's Obsession with Unfading BeautyEven the World Appreciates Unfading BeautyUnfading Beauty Is "Precious to God"What About Jesus's Appearance? https://youtu.be/UxLIno3AskA The unfading beauty of a godly woman is described in 1 Peter 3:1-4 and can be contrasted with the ungodly woman in Proverbs 7. Much of the text in this post is found in Your Marriage God's Way, which also has an accompanying audiobook. I am praying God uses the book and workbook to strengthen marriages and exalt Christ. What makes a woman beautiful? The harlot in Proverbs 7 tried different ways to make herself beautiful, or attractive, to the young man: Verse 10 says she “dressed as a prostitute” Verse 13 shows she was incredibly aggressive: “She seizes him and kisses him” Verse 17 says she used “[perfume], myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon” Verse 21 says she used “seductive speech” Are these the things that make a woman beautiful? Or is it something physical, such as her hair or face? Or something mental, such as her intelligence or education? Or something emotional, such as her personality or friendliness? The Bible acknowledges physically beautiful women. For example: Sarah in Genesis 12:14, Rebekah in Genesis 24:16, Rachel in Genesis 29:17, Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3. But the weakness of this beauty is it fades with time. But 1 Peter 3:1-4 describes an unfading beauty: 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be externalthe braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the IMPERISHABLE (or unfading) BEAUTY of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. The godly woman described in these verses can be contrasted with the harlot in Proverbs 7. A Godly Woman Has a Gentle and Quiet Spirit Versus Being Loud Proverbs 7:10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. 11a She is loud What did it say about the woman in 1 Peter 3? She has a: 1 Peter 3:4 gentle and QUIET SPIRIT It’s important to notice it says, “gentle and quiet spirit” versus “gentle and quiet mouth.” In other words, this isn’t telling women they can never talk. Women can be friendly, social, extroverted, and have quiet spirits. Conversely, women can be introverted, talk little, and NOT have quiet spirits. Consider the description of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31:26: Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She is applauded for speaking. If Peter is not discouraging women from speaking, what is he discouraging? The Greek word translated “gentle” is prays, which means “mildness of disposition.” It describes how a woman should handle herself and respond to situations in life. She should be calm and in control. She should not be easily wrought or stirred up. Consider how it’s worded in the Amplified: “a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature].” The word appears only two other places in Scripture: Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek [prays], for they shall inherit the earth.
Three Ways to Resist Temptation from Proverbs 7:6-9
Mar 4 2024
Three Ways to Resist Temptation from Proverbs 7:6-9
God personifies temptation as a harlot in Proverbs 7. The chapter gives us one of the greatest pictures of temptation in Scripture. The harlot pursues the young man the way temptation pursues us. The chapter also gives us one of the greatest pictures of the foolishness of giving in to temptation. The young man should have resisted the harlot like we should resist temptation. Here are three ways to resist temptation from Proverbs 7:6-9. Table of contentsTo Resist Temptation, Don’t Take the First StepSome Sins Don't Require Taking StepsThe Steps David Took to Commit Adultery with Bathsheba"When He Fell, He Didn't Fall Far"To Resist Temptation, Guard Your HeartCounsel for Parents Who Want to Help Their Children Guard Their HeartsCounsel for Young Men and Young Women Who Want to Guard Their HeartsCounsel for Children Who Have Parents Who Help Them Guard Their HeartsTo Resist Temptation, Stay in the LightWanting to Hide in Darkness Starts at a Young AgePursue the Light https://youtu.be/9BlInZgE7lQ Here are three ways to resist temptation from Proverbs 7:6-9. The young man should have resisted the harlot like we should resist temptation. God is a visual teacher. He wants us to have pictures in our minds. Think of how God had prophets use object lessons in the Old Testament so the people had images of the preached truths. Think of the poetic language used throughout the Bible, such as: Exodus 19:4 I bore you on eagles’ wings. God didn’t literally carry Israel with eagles, but this creates wonderful imagery of him swooping in to save his people from Egypt. Psalm 6:6 Every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. David wasn’t literally lying on a soggy bed of tears, but it creates the imagery of his sleeplessness and sorrow. Think of the way Jesus taught in parables, causing people to picture: A sower sowing seed A friend coming in the middle of the night A king throwing a wedding for his son A greedy farmer who kept building barns for his crops. This creates pictures that help us understand spiritual truths more easily. God does the same thing in Proverbs 7. He personifies temptation as a harlot. This chapter gives us three things: The harlot gives us one of the greatest pictures of temptation in Scripture. Because temptation can be so strong, God wants us to have an equally strong picture of how terrible it is. The harlot pursues the young man the way temptation pursues us. The foolish young man gives us one of the greatest pictures of the foolishness of giving in to temptation. The young man should have resisted the harlot like we should resist temptation. The end of the chapter gives us one of the most dramatic pictures of the danger of giving in to temptation. The harlot killed the young man like sin kills us. James 1:14 says, "Each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his own desire." "When he is lured" is one word in Greek, exelkō, which is a metaphor for the seduction of a harlot. In other words, when James wants to describe temptation enticing us, he uses the imagery of a harlot. We get to see what that looks like in this chapter. What is temptation? Some synonyms for ‘tempt’ are: allure, attract, entice, seduce, and tantalize. Each word generates an emotional picture. We are allured by the temptation. We are attracted to it, enticed by it, seduced by its seeming pleasure, tantalized by the fantasy of what it would be like. Dangers Men Face by Jerry White, 1997, p. 80 If you didn’t know better, you would think Jerry is describing a harlot enticing someone versus temptation enticing us. Because we are dealing with a harlot, there’s lots of application for young men, but because the harlot personifies temptation, and we all face temptation, there is application for all of us. That’s why the sermon title is “Three Ways to Resist Temptation” versus “Three Ways for Young Men to Resist Harlots.” When we are tempted,
Young Men Overcoming the Evil One By…
Feb 26 2024
Young Men Overcoming the Evil One By…
In 1 John 2:12-14 progressive sanctification is divided into three stages: children, young men, and fathers. Twice, the verses mention young men overcoming the evil one. They do so by being spiritually strong, being in God’s Word, being self-controlled, and resisting the harlot in Proverbs 7. Table of contentsYoung Men Overcome the Evil One By Being Spiritually StrongYoung Men Overcome the Evil One By Being in God’s WordYoung Men Overcome the Evil One By Being Self-ControlledYoung Men Are Fighting the Toughest BattleYoung Men Overcome the Evil One By Resisting the HarlotA Father's ResponsibilityYoung Men Wrongly Think Noone Sees God Sees the Good, TooFootnotes https://youtu.be/wOlsoFelGao Twice, 1 John 2:12-14 mentions young men overcoming the evil one. They must be spiritually strong and resist the harlot in Proverbs 7. Let me tell you about the different units in the Army. I will briefly break them down, starting at the brigade level: A brigade has 2-3 battalions and about 5,000 soldiers. A battalion has 4-6 companies and about 1,000 soldiers. A company has 3-4 platoons and about 200 soldiers. A platoon has 2-3 squads and about 36 soldiers. A squad has about 10 soldiers. Squads make up the platoons, companies, battalions, and brigades They are the building blocks of the Army, and they are filled with young men. We don’t send children, women, or old men to battle. We send young men. They are in the trenches and on the front lines. When a general decides to storm a beach, take a hill, or drop men behind enemy lines, he sends young men. They exert the greatest effort and make the greatest sacrifices. The greatest strength is required of them. First John 2:12-14 divides our progressive sanctification into three stages: children, fathers, and young men. It says to young men twice, "Young men have OVERCOME THE EVIL ONE." Young men are fighting the enemy. They are in the trenches and on the front line. They must exert the greatest effort and make the greatest sacrifices. The greatest strength is required of them. Maybe this is why they are listed last in the verses. Children are addressed first, then fathers, and THEN young men, versus children, young men, and fathers as expected. Maybe John addresses them last because the most is expected of them, and he wants to give them the most attention: 1 John 2:13b I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14b I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Young men know more than the gospel basics of children, but they don’t yet have the deep knowledge and understanding fathers have.28 Three things are said to young men, but only one thing is said to them twice, once in verse 13 and again in verse 14: they “have overcome the evil one.” It seems that if you are wondering when you move from being a child to being a young man, it is when you have victory over temptation. And this could be why some people spiritually remain children: they don’t overcome sin. Now, there must be some balance because none of us stop sinning completely. I think the balance is young men have victory over life-dominating sin. They still sin, but not habitually, or it does not dominate them. Let’s talk about each thing said to young men so we can equip them to overcome the evil one. Young Men Overcome the Evil One By Being Spiritually Strong Because we are talking about young men, we immediately think of physical strength, and that’s probably part of it. Hopefully, you young men are using your strength and energy in positive, productive ways, not wasting your time on frivolous activities. But spiritual strength is even more in view. And there is a relationship between a young man’s spiritual strength and – as it says – “the Word of God abiding in [him].” God’s Word is the source of a young man’s spiritual strength.
Progressive Sanctification from Children to Fathers (1 John 2:12-14)
Feb 19 2024
Progressive Sanctification from Children to Fathers (1 John 2:12-14)
Progressive sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus. Justification is the once-for-all-time moment God declares us righteous by faith in Christ. Progressive sanctification begins after justification and continues throughout our Christian lives until we receive glorified bodies. In 1 John 2:12-14 progressive sanctification is divided into three stages: children, young men, and fathers. God’s spiritual family is like human families, with members at different maturity levels. Table of contentsChildren’s Progressive Sanctification Begins with Gospel BasicsChildren’s Progressive Sanctification Begins with Moving from Knowledge to RelationshipGinosko Versus EpistamaiBaby Christians Are Still ChristiansWhat About Unbelievers?A Father’s Progressive Sanctification Comes from the WordA Father’s Progressive Sanctification Comes from TrialsKnowing God Is the Height of Progressive SanctificationWhat Shouldn't We Boast About?One Thing We Can Boast AboutThe Balance with Progressive Sanctification https://youtu.be/uNJ6aP7w2gk Progressive sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus; 1 John 2:12-14 divides it into stages: children, young men, fathers. When we moved to Washington in 2010, Johnny was only a few months old but wasn’t growing. He was classified as “failure to thrive.” It was scary because his skin was hanging from his face and arms, he couldn’t tell us what was wrong, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what to do. I think it was particularly hard on Katie, who tried to nurse him around the clock but couldn’t get him to gain any weight. As concerning as it is when people do not grow physically, it is even more concerning when they do not grow spiritually: Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain…TO MATURE MANHOOD, to the MEASURE OF THE STATURE of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may NO LONGER BE CHILDREN…15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to GROW UP IN EVERY WAY into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes THE BODY GROW SO THAT IT BUILDS ITSELF UP in love. These verses describe progressive sanctification, which is the process of becoming more like Jesus. In 1 John 2:12-14 progressive sanctification is divided into three stages: children, young men, and fathers. God’s spiritual family is like human families, with members at different maturity levels. We will look at children and fathers in this sermon and young men separately. The verses are written uniquely: There are two sets of three addresses. The three addresses are for children, fathers, and young men. In the first set, the address begins with, “I am writing to you,” and in the second set, the address begins with, “I write to you.” The verses are written TO US instead of ABOUT US. In other words, they don’t say, “Children know their sins are forgiven, fathers know him who is from the beginning, and young men have overcome the evil one.” Instead, the verses say, “I am writing to you, or I write you children, young men, fathers.” This makes it personal and shows John’s desire to assure us of these truths. These verses are not about biological children, young men, and fathers. They are about spiritual children, young men, and fathers. Children’s Progressive Sanctification Begins with Gospel Basics 1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake...2:13c I write to you, children, because you know the Father. Because children, or baby Christians, only have a basic understanding of the gospel, these are two wonderful yet simple truths to share with them. First, John assured them their sins were forgiven. Sometimes new believers need to be reassured of this truth. If you’re a new Christian, or you remember being a new Christian, you probably remember being amazed at God’s grace and mercy in forgiving and sa...
Don’t Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young (1 Timothy 4:12)
Feb 12 2024
Don’t Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young (1 Timothy 4:12)
Paul said, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul says young people should set an example in five ways. Table of contentsWhen Young People Set an Example That Should Be Looked Down OnThe LaPierre HouseholdAddressing One of My Weaknesses as a FatherThe Journey to a Family BusinessThe 12 Disciples Were Probably in Their TwentiesGod Told the Prophet Jeremiah He Was Not Too YoungAccording to 1 Timothy 4:12 Young People Should Set an Example in Five Ways...First, Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young by Setting an Example in WordSecond, Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You by Setting an Example in ConductThird, Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young by Setting an Example in LoveFourth, Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young by Setting an Example in FaithFifth, Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young by Setting an Example in PurityGrace and WorkFootnotes https://youtu.be/cEbcuvyEqf4 Paul said, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12). The text in this post is from Work and Rest God's Way. There is also an accompanying Family Guide. Both are available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. I'm praying God uses them to exalt Christ in your lives and family and encourage you as you serve Him. People with lazy childhoods rarely grow up to be diligent adults because they’ll bring the habits they developed in their childhood into adulthood; therefore, the best approach is to start training children to have a strong work ethic when they’re young. Their work depends on their strength and maturity, but even at a young age, they can do jobs around the house and sometimes even in the surrounding neighborhood. In the church I pastor, we strive to take care of our needs ourselves as opposed to paying people to do it for us. This means we have a schedule for families to clean the church, instead of hiring a janitor to do it. We have church workdays versus hiring people for maintenance and repairs. When church cleaning and workdays take place, families perform these tasks together. Children work alongside adults. Unfortunately, in some churches, children might be the least likely to serve, but this is the opposite of what should be the case. In Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20, Paul charged, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” and “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” Performing chores faithfully and with a good attitude is one of the primary ways children obey their parents. Parents can remind their children that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 teaches that people who don’t work shouldn’t eat. Are parents going to starve their children? No, but rare is the child who wouldn’t benefit from the lesson that missing a meal teaches. How many children would work more diligently if they were told the meal wouldn’t be served until all the work is done? When Young People Set an Example That Should Be Looked Down On Unfortunately, society makes children think they aren’t adults until they’re twenty-one, but they can behave maturely years earlier. Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). According to this verse, becoming an adult has more to do with putting away childish things than it has to do with age. Some children are mature because of the childish things they’ve put away. Conversely, some older people are immature because of the childish things they haven’t put away. According to a 2017 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, 57 percent of today’s children will be obese by the time they’re thirty-five.
When I Kept Silent About My Sin (Psalm 32:3-5)
Feb 5 2024
When I Kept Silent About My Sin (Psalm 32:3-5)
David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah, in 2 Samuel 11. We wouldn’t know it from that chapter, but David was paying an excruciating price while he wouldn’t confess. He wrote, “When I kept silent about my sin,” and then described the consequences he experienced in Psalm 32:3-5. Table of contentsOutline for Psalm 32:1-5Psalm 32:3-4 Describes David's Misery When He Kept Silent About His SinSin Is a Heavy BurdenIf We Keep Silent About Sin, It Can Physically Affect UsIf We Keep Silent About Sin, It Can Bring God’s DisciplineDavid's ConfessionA Confession Can Bring ReliefIf We Keep Silent About Our Sin, We Fail to Prosper or Obtain MercyA Confession Can Be Short If It Is SincereSincere Confessions Can Bring Habitual Sins to an EndNathan's Response to David's Confession https://youtu.be/NmTSVy4EhL0 David wrote, “When I kept silent about my sin,” and then in Psalm 32:3-5 described the consequences he experienced when he wouldn’t confess. I want to tell you about one of the most difficult students I had as an elementary school teacher, who also became one of my favorites. His father was in jail. I still remember reading a letter he wrote him encouraging him to be strong because he knew prison must be really difficult. Imagine a son writing that to a father! I don’t think his mother was in the picture. His aunt, who also had her children to care for, raised him. I don’t think she was married, so she had to work full-time to care for herself and the children, which didn’t leave much time for him. Even though he behaved poorly, regularly disrupting class and getting in trouble, I would have had him in class every year if I could have. So, what gave me so much affection for him besides his difficult background, which made me want to see him succeed? He never argued, made excuses, lied, or blamed others when he got in trouble. He made foolish decisions but admitted what he did wrong whenever I confronted him. I found this to be very refreshing because the first two words out of most students’ mouths when they were in trouble were the word “But” followed by the name of the student they wanted to blame: “But Brian hit me first,” or “But Jessica was talking to me when I was trying to work.” The humility to accept responsibility is endearing and impressive. I have often wondered how King David could be the Man after God’s Own Heart after committing adultery with Bathsheba and then trying to hide his sin by murdering her husband, Uriah. David’s actions were so wicked that we would doubt the salvation of anyone else who did the same. I’m convinced that at least part of the reason God spoke so highly of David was his humility in accepting responsibility for his actions. Outline for Psalm 32:1-5 In Psalm 32, which David wrote after confessing, he did two fascinating things: In Psalm 32:1-2 David wrote about the blessedness for those whose sins God covers. In Psalm 32:3-5 David wrote about the misery he experienced when he kept silent about his sin. Psalm 32:3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah When David said, “When I kept silent,” he criticized himself. He meant: “When I wouldn’t confess my sin.” “When I pretended to be deaf to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.” “When I was stubborn, proud, and rebellious.” If Cain, Absalom, or Ahab had written these words, we wouldn’t wonder what they were thinking because we expect men like them to keep silent about their sins. But David wrote these words, and he was the Man after God’s Own Heart. So, we can wonder what a deeply spiritual and godly man could have been thinking when he kept silent about his sin. I have wondered this many times. Some of you might remember that the first books I chose to preach through when I came to WCC were 1 and 2 Samuel.
Blessed Are Those Whose Sins Are Covered (Psalm 32:1-2)
Jan 23 2024
Blessed Are Those Whose Sins Are Covered (Psalm 32:1-2)
God took away Adam and Eve’s fig leaves and clothed them himself. He stopped them from covering themselves, and he covered them. This is a physical picture of a spiritual reality. God doesn’t want us to cover our sins. He wants to cover our sins for us. In Psalm 32:1 David wrote, "Blessed are those whose sins are covered." We can't cover our sins. When we try, we fail. We still see our sin. It is always before us. But when we confess our sin, and God covers it, it is hidden from sight, never to be seen again. Table of contentsOur Flesh Tempts Us to Cover Our SinsCovering Their Nakedness Pictures Them Covering Their ShameThe Word Atone Means "To Cover"God Wants to Cover Our SinsGod Wants to Forgive our TransgressionsGod Doesn’t Want to Count Our Iniquity Against UsGod Doesn’t Want Us Living DeceitfullyWe Can't Cover Our Sins https://youtu.be/dW0Uplz5hPs "Blessed are those whose sins are covered" (Psalm 32:1). We can't cover our sins, but when we confess them and repent God covers them for us. Last Wednesday, January 10th, Charis and Chloe baked cookies, walked around our neighborhood and quickly sold out. Two days later, they wanted to bake and sell more cookies on Friday morning. I knew the big storm was coming, but I told them I would take them around a different neighborhood to support their entrepreneurial efforts. When we were leaving the house, George wanted to go too. I brought him even though he wasn’t dressed warmly, and it should have occurred to me that he didn’t know how cold it was or what we were doing. As a two-year-old, he saw people leaving the house and didn’t want to miss out. Plus, I thought he might help us sell cookies. Ignore the fact that it was about 20 degrees outside, and he wasn't dressed very warmly. Things were going well until, actually, things were never going well. It was freezing. People didn’t seem interested in buying cookies. Charis and Chloe were walking down different sides of the street, and they wanted me to stay out of sight. I think everyone who opened the door thought, “What is this little girl doing outside my door all by herself, selling cookies with a National Weather Service warning? Where are her parents? Is that why she’s selling cookies? Is it because her parents don’t care for her, and she needs the money? And is that a little boy with her?” At one point, a man came out of his house to tell Chloe to bring George home. I quickly ran up to explain the situation. I said, “Well, you see, my girls sold out of cookies the other day, and I told them that if they baked more, I would take them out again. I thought I should keep my word even if the weather is bad. I brought my son along so that Katie could have a break from him because he’s very busy, and we have nine other kids. Yes, I did say nine, so that makes ten total.” Believe it or not, my story didn’t convince him that I wasn't being a foolish father. And did you know cold weather is hard on car batteries? That was another fun part of the night. I couldn't get the car started when we tried to leave. Fortunately, I had my portable battery charger. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work. Katie called to see where we were because she knew we were only a neighborhood over, and it shouldn’t take long to sell eight boxes of cookies. I told her what happened, and she asked, “Do you want me to pick you up in the bus?” This was code for, “I hate my kids being outside when it’s freezing, so let me come pick you up.” I said, “Well, they aren’t outside. They are inside the car.” Unsurprisingly, that didn’t make her feel better because she knew the heat wasn’t on. After all, the battery was dead. Nothing really gets by Katie. She said, “Just let me come pick you up.” I said, “I bought a car battery charger, and now I can learn how to use it.” This also didn’t make Katie feel better because she knows I’m not the handiest with this sort of stuff. After trying for 5, 10, or 47 minutes,
The Stone that the Builders Rejected Has Become the Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22)
Jan 15 2024
The Stone that the Builders Rejected Has Become the Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22)
Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 at the end of the parable of the vineyard owner: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." In a few days, the religious leaders arrest Jesus and murder him. They look victorious, and he looks defeated, but this verse lets everyone know he will be victorious, and they will be defeated. Even though they rejected Jesus, God the Father chose to exalt him. Table of contentsGod Stopped Focusing on Israel and Focused on GentilesGod Gave His Vineyard to Tenants Who Produce FruitActs Shows the Transition from Jews to GentilesJews Were Losing an Inheritance Versus Gaining OneThe Stone Represents the Son, and the Builders Represent the TenantsNot Just Any Stone or Rock, but the CornerstonePsalm 118:22 Is About Jesus' Victory and the Religious Leaders' DefeatFall on Christ’s Mercy, or He Falls on You in JudgmentJesus' Warning Is Loving https://youtu.be/BxNl1tYVTUo "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" (Psalm 118:22) This is about Jesus' victory even though he was crucified. Not long after Katie and I moved to Washington, my parents followed us. They found what seemed like the perfect house. It was beautiful, and the price was low. I wondered how this house could have stayed on the market for so long. I came to find out there was a crack in the foundation. The house was so unstable no bank would back a loan. On one hand, I thought It was sad that such a beautiful house seemed to lose everything because of a poor foundation! On the other hand, I thought, How valuable is a house with a poor foundation? Buildings are not the only things that need strong foundations: marriages, families, and nations do, too. When the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as their foundation or cornerstone, they also lost their value. Let’s briefly review what we have covered so far: Luke 20:9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. From Isaiah 5, we know the vineyard owner represents God, and the vineyard represents Israel. Luke 20:10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. The servants the vineyard owner sent represent the Old Testament prophets, whom Israel repeatedly rejected and mistreated. Much of the parable would seem absurd to Jesus’ listeners. It was hard to believe the tenants would respond this way. The worst tenants would do is refuse to provide the expected fruit, not beat the servants, and send them back empty-handed. It was hard to believe the owner would respond this way. No owner would keep sending mistreated servants without getting upset at the tenants. It reveals God’s long-suffering nature. Luke 20:13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ With this verse, the owner reaches the height of absurdity. No reasonable father would send his son to check on tenants who severely beat the servants sent to them. Sending a son would be the LAST thing a father would do. How do the tenants respond to this incredible demonstration of love, patience, and compassion? Would they go so far as to beat the vineyard owner’s son, too? They do even worse than that: Luke 20:14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? The tenants’ wickedness reached an all-time high with this decision. They didn’t even talk about murdering the servants,
The Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked Husbandmen (Luke 20:9-18)
Jan 8 2024
The Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked Husbandmen (Luke 20:9-18)
The Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked Husbandmen is in Matthew 21: 33-46, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-18. As the owner continued to send servant after servant after servant (the way God sent prophet after prophet after prophet), it says much about the tenants and how stiff-necked and rebellious they were. But it says even more about the vineyard owner (God) who kept sending them because of how longsuffering he is. Table of contentsGod Pursues PeopleGod's Pursuit in the Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked HusbandmenThe Wicked Husbandmen Represent the Religious LeadersThe Servants Represent Old Testament ProphetsGod's Longsuffering in the Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked HusbandmenWhy Did Jesus Preach Something So Absurd?Two Shocking Points About the Owner's ResponseThe Vineyard Owner's Son Represents JesusWhat Could the Wicked Husbandmen Have Been Thinking?God’s Longsuffering Comes to an End https://youtu.be/jhI1_Q45-5k The parable of the vineyard owner and the wicked husbandmen is in Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, and 20:9-18. Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint, and Pete Fleming were the missionaries who tried to preach the gospel to the incredibly violent Auca Indians in Ecuador. It was well-known that the Aucas had killed many people around them, including the workers at a nearby oil company drilling site. The oil company closed their site because people were afraid to work there. Jim Elliot and the other missionaries wanted to show the Aucas they were friendly. Nate Saint, their pilot, devised a way to lower a bucket filled with supplies to the Indians on the ground while they flew overhead. They thought this would win the Aucas’ trust while keeping the missionaries safe. They began dropping gifts to the Aucas while using an amplifier to speak friendly Auca phrases. After months, the Aucas put a gift in the bucket that the missionaries could bring to their plane. Jim and the other missionaries felt the time had come to meet the Aucas face-to-face. The five missionaries built a base a short distance from the village. After four days, an Auca man and two women appeared. The missionaries shared a meal with them, and Nate took the man up for a flight in the plane. Later, two Auca women walked out of the jungle. Tragically, as the missionaries approached these women, a group of Auca warriors killed all five heroic men on January 8th, 1956. Although, this wasn’t the end of the story. In less than two years, Jim Elliot’s wife, Elisabeth Elliot, their daughter, Valerie, and Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel, moved to the Auca village and continued trying to reach the Aucas. Many of them became Christians. They are now a friendly tribe with some missionaries, including Nate Saint's son and his family, continuing to live among them. God pursued the Aucas using Jim Elliot, the four missionaries with him, and some of their family members. God Pursues People While God might not pursue everyone as dramatically as he did the Aucas, he has pursued man since the fall. Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. Because we are the ones who sinned and separated ourselves from God, I would think we would then have to be the ones to pursue God. But instead, God pursues us. We see this beginning at the fall, right after Adam and Eve ate from the tree: Genesis 3:8 They heard the sound of the Lord God [and] hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” God has continued pursuing man with the gospel throughout all human history. Think of some of the common metaphors we use for the gospel to communicate God’s pursuit. We say the gospel is a call to salvation: 2 Thessalonians 2:14 HE CALLED YOU THROUGH OUR GOSPEL, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. He calls us to be part of his kingdom:
The Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7)
Jan 2 2024
The Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7)
The owner comes looking for fruit in the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7. He didn't send servants too early when the tenants were not ready. God is not expecting us to produce fruit that we are not ready to produce yet. But because of all God has done for his vineyard, whether Israel in the Old Testament or the church in the New Testament, he still expects fruit. Table of contentsDon't Take God’s Grace for GrantedGod's Grace in My LifeWe Should Examine Our FruitGod Only Needs to Remove His Protection to Discipline UsGod Removed Job's Hedge of ProtectionIsrael's DesolationJesus Expanded on The Song of the VineyardGod Expects Fruit in the Song of the Vineyard and Our LivesThe Right Motivation to Produce Fruit https://youtu.be/RyO3zw6Y2Ms The owner comes looking for fruit in the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7. He didn't send servants early when the tenants were not ready. My dad was always a big fan of working outside. To give you an idea of how much he liked it, I once asked him what he thought would be his favorite job, and he said – and I’m not kidding – “Working on a railroad in the hot sun.” Yes, he said the words, “In the hot sun.” And he didn’t mean inspecting railroad cars. He meant laying down ties to build the track. As a kid, I couldn’t imagine many things that sounded more unpleasant, and I feel pretty much the same as an adult. I thought this was what they made inmates do in prison for punishment. Because Dad liked working outside so much, it seemed like he was always finding things for us around the house, even if I didn’t think they needed to be done. If I was home on the weekend or during the summer, I had to work outside with Dad. I tried to get a job as soon as possible for two reasons. First, so I could be inside with air-conditioning. Second, so I could get paid. One thing Dad loved was having a garden. I remember many hours in the backyard on our hands and knees, removing rocks and picking weeds. Dad would come into the house with vegetables he grew and ask us to try them. He was proud that he thought they tasted better than anything we could find at the supermarket. It didn’t matter to me how good they tasted. I didn’t think they were worth the effort. I couldn’t understand all that hard work for something we could buy at the store for a few dollars. But I think that misses the main reason my dad, and probably others, have a garden: the satisfaction from watching things grow. But what if you planted a garden and it didn’t grow? What if it never produced anything? Worse, what if it produced what it wasn’t supposed to produce? That would be very frustrating, but this is what happened to God. He had a vineyard that produced the wrong kind of fruit, and it is described in the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7: Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2a He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; Isaiah speaks in the first person and refers to God as “My beloved.” Notice the wonderful advantages the vineyard enjoyed: It belonged to a loving person: my beloved. It was planted in a great place: a very fruitful hill. The ground was carefully prepared: dug and cleared it of stones. Good plants were used to get it started: choice vines. It was protected: a watchtower [was] in the midst of it. Provision was made for the fruit to be processed: a wine vat [was] in it. My dad would’ve been proud! 1 Corinthians 10:11 These things [in the Old Testament] happened to [Israel] as an example [for us, and], they were written down for our instruction. So, this account with Israel is an example for us. It’s not a question of whether we should learn from it. It’s a question of what we should learn from it. And there’s much we should learn from it!
Prepare the Way of the Lord Spiritually Versus Physically (Luke 3:1-6)
Dec 25 2023
Prepare the Way of the Lord Spiritually Versus Physically (Luke 3:1-6)
John the Baptist told people to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” There’s no record of Jesus walking around saying, “Man, these roads are terrible. Why didn’t anyone fix things up for me?” The preparation he wanted was spiritual instead of physical. Jesus didn’t care about having better roads to walk on, but he did care about people having better hearts to receive him. Table of contentsThe Old Testament Prophesied a King Was ComingWhen Kings CameIs This What Jesus Really Wanted?Jesus Wants Heart Construction Versus Road ConstructionPrepare the Way of the Lord by RepentingPrepare the Way of the Lord By Providing a Straight PathPrepare the Way of the Lord By Being JoyfulPreach to Your SoulThe Joy of ChristmasPrepare the Way of the Lord By Being HumblePrepare the Way of the Lord By Acting JustlyPrepare the Way of the Lord By Smoothing Out Rough EdgesSeeing Jesus Is Seeing "the Salvation of God"Jesus' Robe, Crown, Scepter, and Servants https://youtu.be/lCn8cZopKZI John the Baptist told people to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Jesus wanted people to prepare for him spiritually versus physically. On November 30th, Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and presidential candidate, debated Gavin Newsom, governor of California. Governor DeSantis criticized how Governor Newsom prepared San Francisco for China’s president, Xi Jinping’s, visit. Governor DeSantis held up a map of San Francisco that showed areas Governor Newsom wanted cleaned up. Because it is so disgusting, I won’t tell you what Governor Newsom wanted cleaned up from the streets of San Francisco, but I will read part of what Governor DeSantis said: “When a communist dictator [came] to town. Then [Governor Newsom] cleaned up the streets. [He] lined the streets with Chinese flags. [He] didn’t put American flags there. [He] cleaned everything up. So, [he’s] willing to do it for a communist dictator, but [he’s] not willing to do it for [his] own people.” Governor DeSantis was upset Governor Newsom prepared San Francisco for a Chinese president, but not for the American people. I mention this because it is a present-day example of the practice described in this morning’s verses: preparing for the arrival of an important or powerful person. In our day, we do it for presidents, and in the ancient world, they did it for kings. The Old Testament Prophesied a King Was Coming When Jacob was blessing his twelve sons, he said to Judah: Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. In ancient times, scepters represented a ruler or king’s power. This is a prophecy a king would come from the tribe of Judah. Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy, which is why he’s called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. We learn more in David’s day when God made a covenant with him about his son: 2 Samuel 7:13 I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son…16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” Jesus fulfills this prophecy, so he’s also called the Son of David. Listen to the way the angel Gabriel described Jesus’ birth to Mary: Luke 1:32b The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Gabriel told Mary that Jesus’ birth was the coming of the prophesied King. When Kings Came The Old Testament also prophesied what people were supposed to do when that King came: Isaiah 40:3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
Jesus’ Authority Questioned by the Chief Priests and Scribes (Luke 20:1-8)
Dec 18 2023
Jesus’ Authority Questioned by the Chief Priests and Scribes (Luke 20:1-8)
Jesus' authority was questioned by the elders, chief priests, and scribes in Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, and Luke 20:1-8. The religious leaders “were afraid of the people” (Mark 11:32). They wouldn’t obey Jesus, but they would obey man because we obey what we fear. Table of contentsThe Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders Questioned Jesus' AuthorityThe Chief PriestsThe ScribesThe EldersThe Religious Leaders Tried to Trap Jesus, but He Trapped ThemThe Religious Leaders Played DumbJesus Would not "Give What Is Holy to the Dogs"We Obey What We FearSaul Disobeyed Because He Feared the PeopleLove and Fear Produce ObedienceAbraham Obeyed Because He Feared GodThe Hebrew Midwives Obeyed Because They Feared GodIsrael's Fear Would Produce ObedienceLack of Fear Produces Disobedience https://youtu.be/qKES6njGGJc Jesus' authority was questioned by the elders, chief priests, and scribes in Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, and Luke 20:1-8. Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security advisor during Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford’s presidencies. He wrote about the seven people he believed to be the most powerful in history: Number 7: The American President since 1945 because of the nuclear weapons at his disposal Number 6: President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) Number 5: Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) the Emperor of the French Empire Number 4: Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) the leader of the Indian Independence Movement Number 3: Peter the Great (1672-1725) the czar of the Russian Empire Number 2: Qin Shi Huang (259 B.C.-210 B.C.) the emperor of Unified China Number 1: Julius Caesar (100 B.C.-44 B.C.) the Emperor of the Roman Empire It’s a good thing nobody asked me who I thought the seven most powerful men in history were for two reasons. First, I don’t think I would have guessed many of the names on the list. Second, the Person I would have said is number one didn’t even make the list, and that’s Jesus. He said: Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Nobody has ever had more authority than Jesus because he has all authority. But you wouldn’t know that from the gospels. The religious leaders didn’t even think Jesus had the authority to cleanse the temple. The context for this account is important. The triumphal entry is in verses 28 through 40. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem in verses 41 through 44. This was on Sunday, also known as Palm Sunday, and it began the last week of Jesus’ earthly life leading up to his crucifixion. Then, in verses 45 and 46, which was probably Monday, Jesus cleansed the temple. This went over terribly with the religious leaders. Not only did it make them look bad, it also cost them lots of money. If that wasn’t enough, Jesus followed this up by calling them robbers and thieves: Luke 19:47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. They want to murder Jesus, but they can’t. This shows why they questioned Jesus' authority: they couldn’t directly get rid of Jesus because of his popularity, so they try to indirectly by trapping him. After Jesus cleansed the temple, even though the religious leaders were trying to murder him, he decided to stay in the temple teaching during the week leading up to the crucifixion. In our sermon on these verses, I said it was like Jesus set up his headquarters in the middle of enemy territory. Think about what it looked like when Jesus cleansed the temple. He bursts in, and we know by looking in all three synoptic Gospels he drove out everyone who was selling and buying, and overturned the tables of the money changers and knocked over the chairs of those selling pigeons. Mark 11:16 says he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple,
The Importance of the Blood of the Lamb (Exodus 12)
Dec 11 2023
The Importance of the Blood of the Lamb (Exodus 12)
The blood of the lamb of God saves us. Jesus’ life was important. He had to be unblemished to serve as our Passover Lamb. But if Jesus had stayed alive, he wouldn’t have helped us anymore than any Passover lambs would’ve helped anyone if they weren’t sacrificed. Table of contentsThree Things That Could not Deliver Israel from EgyptFirst, Moses Could not Deliver IsraelSecond, the First Nine Plagues Could not Deliver IsraelThird, the Passover Lamb Could not Deliver IsraelThe Blood of the Lamb Provided Immediate DeliveranceLooking Forward to ChristThe Lamb's Death Is More Important than Its LifeThe Blood of the Lamb's ImportanceThe Blood of the Lamb ProtectedThe Blood of the Lamb Was not to Be Trampled OnThe Blood of the Lamb Must Be Personally AppliedThe Lamb's Sacrifice Becomes PersonalEveryone Needs the Blood of the LambGod Was Willing to Do What He Wanted to Spare People From Suffering https://youtu.be/yErE5hFzuFA Charles Spurgeon said, “Morality may keep you out of jail, but it takes the blood of Jesus Christ to keep you out of hell.” Billy Graham said, “Be assured that there is no sin you have ever committed that the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cleanse.” Charles Spurgeon and Billy Graham had high views of Jesus’ blood. By the end of this post, you too, will have a high view of Jesus’ blood, and if you already have a high view of it, you will have an even higher view. Three Things That Could not Deliver Israel from Egypt I want to begin by sharing three things that could not deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Then, I will share the one thing that did deliver them. First, Moses Could not Deliver Israel We say that Moses delivered Israel – and God used him to do that – but if you’re familiar with Moses’s attempts, you know how poorly they went. Exodus 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’”...6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.” Not only was Moses unable to deliver Israel, but he actually made their bondage worse. How did the Israelites respond? They weren’t happy with Moses at this point, as you might expect: Exodus 5:20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The people were like, “Some deliverer you are. I hope God punishes you for what you’ve done.” Second, the First Nine Plagues Could not Deliver Israel What did the first nine plagues accomplish for the Israelites? Were the Israelites any less slaves after the plagues were unleashed than they were before? Were they in any less bondage? Had their oppression been improved whatsoever? Even though these were the most dramatic plagues the world has ever known, they didn’t change anything for the Israelites. Third, the Passover Lamb Could not Deliver Israel Exodus 12:3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. The Israelites got a lamb for Passover on the 10th day of the month of Nisan. We could argue that this is when Passover began. They had their lambs from the 10th day to the 14th day, and at any time during those days, were they delivered? No. So, when exactly was Israel delivered?