Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

"The Christian’s Comfort”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. [15] For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. [16] For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [17] Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. [18] Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

I.  Comfort in the Revelation of Truth

1 Timothy 2:4; John 17:17; Romans 15:4; John 5:24-25; John 10:27

II. Comfort in the Return of Christ

Acts 1:8-11; Isaiah 25:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:8

III. Comfort in the Resurrection of the Saints

Revelation 17:14; Romans 6:8

Conclusion: 1 Corinthians 15:52-57; Psalm 116:15; Proverbs 12:28; John 14:1-3; Philippians 2:11; John 8:51; Psalm 119:105; 1 Peter 1:13


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

"The Christian's Attitude"
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

I.  Our Attitude Toward God vs. 1-8
     “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. [2] For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. [3] For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; [4] that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, [5] not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; [6] and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. [7] For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. [8] So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

Luke 1:17; Matthew 19:6; Romans 6:19

II. Our Attitude Toward One Another vs. 9-10a
     “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; [10] for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia.”

John 3:16; Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:2-3

III. Our Attitude Toward the World vs. 10b-12
     “But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, [11] and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, [12] so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”

Philippians 3:20; 1 John 3:13; Matthew 5:16

Conclusion: Matthew 16:21-25; Jeremiah 12:3


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Signs, Wonders and Miracles

I recently received the following question: “I've been studying signs, wonders and miracles. Can I ask what you think the definitions of each are or are they the same thing?” I post the answer publicly, hoping that perhaps this information will prove useful to others as well.

The terms are used concerning Jesus in Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”

These identifiers were also associated with the apostles in both 2 Corinthians 12:12, “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles,” and in Hebrews 2:3-4, “After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, [4] God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

Signs were used to authenticate the message of God's spokesmen. They accompanied the revelation of the word, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. An excellent example concerns the deacon, Philip, in Acts 8:6, “The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.” The signs manifested confirmed the word preached.

Wonders are events that are supernatural and extraordinary. As Thayer's lexicon states, a wonder is “something so unusual it arouses close observation.” Examples of wonders are the healing of a man who had been lame from birth (Acts 14:8-10), casting out a slave girl's spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-18), and the raising of Eutychus from the dead in Acts 20:9-12.

Miracles are special demonstrations of the Holy Spirit's power. Paul described such miracles in his second epistle to the Corinthians. “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; [9] indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; [10] who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).

He further clarifies that thought later in the letter. “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. [25] Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. [26] I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; [27] I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).

The point the apostle makes isn't that such things don't happen to others, but that the escape provided from these particular predicaments were very clearly not of human origin. Such miracles are clearly associated with the grace of God. By definition, grace is what God provides for us that we could not possibly provide for ourselves. As we near one of our primary texts, this association is made clear as Paul writes of the Lord, “He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. [10] Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong”” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

The difference between wonders and miracles is that wonders cause one to focus on WHAT was being done, while miracles should focus one's attention on WHO is receiving them and WHY.

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul identified those who were “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). While it is popular to associate everything miraculous today with the Lord, we should know this is not the case. Jesus stated clearly that “false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). The deeds of such men are anti-Christ, and thus are to be associated with “the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, [10] and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

Again, wonders cause one to focus on WHAT was being done, while miracles should focus one's attention on WHO is receiving them and WHY. True miracles are the result of God's divine providence, as He proves without question that He cares for His own. As it is written, “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9).

The differentiation between true workers and deceitful workers is not as difficult as most would make it. Supernatural evidence can be rejected as false if either the life or the message of the worker are not in harmony with the word of God. False teachers “are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.” But an inspired apostle writes, “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6). As he had earlier stated, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).

I hope this answers covers the subject sufficiently. I always welcome sincere questions concerning the word of the Lord! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Thessalonians 3

“A Blameless Christian Life”
1 Thessalonians 3

I.  Enduring in Their Affliction vs. 1-5
     “Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, [2] and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, [3] so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. [4] For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. [5] For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.”

Romans 5:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; John 15:18-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-9

II. Standing Firm in Their Faith vs. 6-10 
     “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, [7] for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; [8] for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. [9] For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, [10] as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?” 

2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

III. Increasing in Their Love vs. 11-13 
     “Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; [12] and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; [13] so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” 

1 John 4:10-1; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Conclusion: Revelation 2:23


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13

“The Christian’s Ministry”
1 Thessalonians 2:1-13

Introduction: Romans 12:1-6

I. The Motive of Our Ministry vs. 1-4 
     “For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, [2] but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. [3] For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; [4] but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” 

Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 4:11; Acts 5:27-29; Colossians 1:10

II. The Manner of Our Ministry vs. 5-12 
     “For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— [6] nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. [7] But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. [8] Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. [9] For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. [10] You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; [11] just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, [12] so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

     A. Christians are gentle, vs. 7-8

     B. Christians are hard-working, v. 9

     C. Christians are honorable, v. 10

     D. Christians teach others, vs. 11-12

     E. Christians live lives worthy of God, v. 12

III. The Measure of Our Ministry v. 13 
     “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

     A. We are measured by what we accept as truth. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 12:46-48

     B. We are measured by what we do in truth.

1 John 3:18; 2 Corinthians 13:8; James 2:18, 21-24

Conclusion: James 1:22; Proverbs 23:23-26


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thessalonians 1

Introduction: Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8

I. Thessalonica, the mission vs. 1-5a
     “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. [2] We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; [3] constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, [4] knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; [5] for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; ...” 

1 Corinthians 15:58

II. Thessalonica, the missionaries vs. 5b-10
     “... just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. [6] You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, [7] so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. [8] For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. [9] For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, [10] and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”