Written by Rodrigo Avila
Pastor Chris’s sermon last Sunday was entitled “God’s sovereignty over salvation.” It was based on Matthew 11:25-27. In the previous context of this passage, we read of Christ’s severe denunciation of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Their unwillingness to repent and believe in Christ even though He performed many miracles in their midst is the reason he condemns them.
Written by Chris McKnight
For today’s blog related to yesterday’s sermon, I’m going to go Question and Answer style, using a question sent to me shortly after the message and my response. I hope this clarifies a theological principle suggested by the text but not really developed in the sermon.
Here’s the question:
Written by Toby Baxley
Mike Tyson once famously quipped, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
In our text from Sunday’s sermon, John the Baptist had been punched in the mouth, figuratively speaking. He’d been unjustly imprisoned for speaking out against the sin of Herod Antipas. While under arrest, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah.
Written by Heath Gregory
Peace. There’s nothing like it. We naturally long for peace because we’re naturally in a war everyday and we seek release, quietness, and calmness.
Last night was anything but calm. But today brings the peace of an early morning after a raging storm. Crisp air. Birds chirping. The sun slowly rising to shed light on a dark world, a hint of orange glow on the trees and an incredible array of pink and purple beams of light peeking through the clouds. But there will be another storm.
Yesterday, Toby offered us some wonderful encouragement and reminded us of a peace that surpasses all understanding. A peace that is deeper, wider, and more captivating than anything we can imagine. Peace that will never waiver or vanish. Peace that is unmerited, unfathomable, and undeserved. Peace with God.
It goes without saying, but our biggest problem isn’t our health, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, wayward children, a falling stock market, the loss of a job, trouble in our marriage, the loss of a spouse, getting old, or even death. Our biggest problem is the chasm that sin has placed between us and God. But God, being rich in mercy, offers us peace in himself. And his peace is not temporary or conditional. It’s permanent and absolute, given to those who have faith. Romans 5:1 says “... we have peace with God...”
We have it. We don’t have to go looking for it. And we don’t have to long for it. We have it. It belongs to us. He’s given it as a gift. It’s yours. You posses it. And it’s guaranteed. It will always be with you. These things are true because this peace doesn’t come from you or any of your efforts and isn’t based on our circumstances, it comes “...through the Lord Jesus Christ,” His life. His death. His resurrection.
So although it may sometimes feel like it’s not there, it is. No matter what you do, you will not face condemnation from God if you’ve placed your faith in His son. That’s peace that surpasses all understanding. We can’t lose it no matter how hard we try. If we could, we would. We are however naturally prone to think we can. As Toby said, we start thinking about God as a finger pointer who is just trying to catch us messing up, so he can snatch back his good gift from us. This is a mindset we have to shake. We can’t live in fear of messing up and losing God's approval. If we do, it will limit our opportunity to serve Him. Instead, we stand firm in this grace that we have obtained. We rest. We cease striving. We believe Him. We trust Him. We can’t live our Christian life in the fear of messing up or disappointing God. We’ve already done that and he knows. In fact, he knows how we will fail him or disappoint him today. And this didn’t stop him from pouring out His wrath on the most undeserving man to ever walk this created earth so that we, the most undeserving people, might receive his peace.
Storms will come and go. Peace will not. Like a child who holds short accounts of the wrongs they’ve done, live in the peace of God. Confess your sin often and move on, God has replaced his wrath toward you with peace!
Written by Scott Christensen
Any Bible teacher or expository preacher who is worth his salt will engage in something called “exegesis” when he studies a passage of the Bible to preach or teach. Exegesis simply means “the critical interpretation of a text.” Biblical exegesis seeks to break down the grammar (the study of words) and the syntax (the study of the arrangement of words) of a Bible passage so as to carefully understand what it is saying.