Mercy and Grace at the Cross

We give thanks to Christ. He provides our strength, he is our strength. He gives us ministry assignments. We give thanks to Christ because he deserves it.

Paul, like ourselves had a background. Before salvation he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent opponent. All of us have heinous sins which we have committed which rightly bring us to a point of condemnation.

God gives mercy to those who are without hope. God gives grace to those who need grace. These two gifts from God come freely but not based on merit. These things come to us overflowing. Truly, God is rich in mercy. Without this mercy, this grace, we would be utterly hopeless and destitute.

With Paul, so with us, God is most magnified in these gracious demonstrations of benevolence. We are his trophies. God is glorified in his saving of people like ourselves.

Rightly do we join Paul in singing praise to God! To him be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Passage is taken from 1 Timothy 1:12-20 and Acts 26:9-18.   Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

Redemption in Fatherhood

Adam watched the serpent talk to his wife.  He watched her defenses crumple beneath the serpentine lies.  He watched her eat of the fruit.  Then, he too ate of the fruit.

Adam and Eve both sinned before God.  Adam’s sin was at a different level though.  He knew fully what he was doing while Eve was deceived.  That is why Adam carries the weight of the human race with his sin.  He took humanity down with him.

In Christ, however, humanity comes back through redemption.  Christ makes it right.  Fathers join Christ in working out the redemption in home and family.

Practically speaking, fathers now engage in active leadership at home.  They love their wives and they teach their children the Bible.  This proactive approach differs sharply with the passive approach of Adam.  This is the approach of redemptive living.

The passage is taken from Genesis 3:1-19.  Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

Warnings about False Teaching

Some desire different teaching. There is a gospel teaching that has been delivered by Christ and the apostles and this is the standard. Yet there are some who desire their own identity, who want to be special in their own right, to be significant. It is this desire for novelty and recognition that drives many off the path and into different teaching.

Strive to love God. This is the heart condition of those who walk with Christ in sound doctrine. The love that flows from us to God comes from a clean heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. This is where we want to be. Such a heart adores the creator and does not desire to be independent of him. May we assert the standard with conviction and rest in this. It is a strong healthy love for God that rules out a slide into different teaching.

Loving God guards us against myths and speculation. The Da Vinci Code, Mormonism, Oprah, and the “Elvis is Alive” movement do nothing but promote idle thought and nonsensical living. A strong love for God rooted in sound doctrine will develop in us a strong distaste and recognition for these myths.

Some swerve from the path. Did dreams not pan out? Did God not deliver success as expected? What is it that causes some to abandon love for God? Doubtless the causes for swerving off the path are many but somewhere along the way some exchanged strong love for God with a desire to be something special. God was too mundane, too plain so they strike out on their own in search of a prestigious position. They wanted to be “teachers of the law.”

The aim of this warning against false teaching is a strong vibrant love for God, flowing from a clean heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. This is the way, walk ye in it. When someone abandons this they head for different teaching and thereby swerve from the truth to a lie. Not so for us. We walk in love, not different doctrine.

Taken from 1 Timothy 1:3-7

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

1 Timothy Introduced

In the introductory message of 1 Timothy we treat the first two verses.  Christ sent Paul as an apostle.  Paul’s commission was not of human but divine origin.  This word to us is from Christ himself not Paul.  This brings us comfort because Christ cares for us enough to give us specific instruction just as he did Timothy.

In 1 Timothy there are two words from Christ.  The first is a warning against false teaching.  Jesus bought the church with his blood and he values her greatly.  Any teaching that would steal his sheep is met with his stern gaze and severe punishment.  The end result of false teaching is the loss of faith and that is why our Lord addresses it so sharply.  We needn’t view warnings as inappropriate or petty when we see that Christ’s love for us undergirds his warnings.

The second of Christ’s words has to do with order in God’s house.  God’s house is just that, the house which is built by God.  He cares greatly how this house conducts itself.  Disorder in his house is evidenced by disorderly worship and ambiguity regarding gender.

As creator, God has placed specific designs in place.  When things function according to his design it brings glory to him since order and balance proceed from him.  This is why he cares about order.  Order isn’t a necessary evil but a necessary ingredient to his glory.

Yielding to gender roles in the church is liberating, not stifling.  The lie of the age is that we define our own roles according to our own desires.  Yielding to God’s order results in our maximum happiness.  When the church is ordered according to God’s design it reflects well upon the designer.  Similarly when men and women function in the church within the calling of their gender the designer is glorified.

God’s letter to us through 1 Timothy then underscores his fierce love for us.  He does not wish any of his own to be led astray.  He also desires that we walk according to his designs in the church.  This brings him glory since his redeemed ones respond to his design.

Text:  1 Timothy 1:1-2

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

The Holy Spirit: Advocate and Judge

Our Lord gifts his people with the Holy Spirit.  We may not see it so.  The reason for this is the absence of Christ.  In our ignorance we prefer him over the Spirit.  However, we do not understand that it is our advantage that Jesus seeks.  The Holy Spirit ministers in ways Jesus does not, that is why Jesus has to leave.

The Spirit is our Helper.  To us he is like an advocate in the courtroom.  When we grow weary in our faith, he gives assurance of our sonship.  When we do not understand our own aches and pains, he translates our unspoken aches to the Lord in deep groanings of intercession.  When we need guidance and assistance with life decisions, he helps.  When we need strength for the journey ahead, he is our strength.

To the unbeliever the Spirit is a judge.  The Spirit smites the unbeliever with recognition of his sin.  The Spirit convicts him of the perfect standard.  The standard which Jesus brings is perfect as indicated by the Father receiving him back.  Finally, the Spirit convicts the world of judgment.  The ruler of this world is judged and so are all his children.  This judgment is in effect right now.

We have several implications from these things.  First, may we rest in the exit of Jesus.  It is literally best for us that we not have him here now.  The present construct is for our best so we needn’t strive against it.  Second, love the Holy Spirit for he advocates for you.  Be secure in his work and his person.  Lastly, allow the Spirit to convict the world.  We do not need to take this upon ourselves.  And, as in all things, may we simply cooperate with the ministry of the Spirit and not against it.

Passage:  John 16:5-11

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

Walk for the World T-shirts are coming!

Walk for the World T-shirts are on sale for Pre-order THIS SUNDAY (5/18) and WEDNESDAY (5/22)! You may pre-purchase your shirt for $15.00 via check, cash or plastic! Available in Adults AND kids sizes!

Walk For The World T-Shirts**If you are not walking, this is a GREAT way to support the cause! You may guarantee your size by pre-ordering! Orders made AFTER May 22 will be $20 and sizes are not guaranteed!

**If you ARE walking and have the required $50 in sponsorships for a free shirt, please see Lisa Smythe to order your size.

As you can see, these shirts can have a duel meaning. Not only is it supporting our walk FOR the world, but it is a reminder that we are to go TO the world making disciples! Matt 28:19:20!

And as always, make sure you free your calendar for our Celebration picnic following the walk at 11:30 am, bring a side to share!

See you June 1 at Pinkerton Park!

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Celebrating an Imperishable Beauty

God ordains womanhood, of which motherhood is a subset.  There is much pain in motherhood.  Yet, due to hope in God, mothers are able to soar above their difficulties and give glory to God.

As we note Peter’s instruction to women we make direct application to mothers.  First, women are able to influence their husbands through godly behavior.  A woman need not resort to manipulation and coercive arguing to influence her husband.  She speaks gracious words but her actions are her strongest argument.  Her actions are maintained by hope in God, not hope in her husband.

A godly woman does not pursue fulfillment in external appearance.  She pursues God.  Due to God being her strength, her spirit becomes calm and gentle.  This is the imperishable beauty that overwhelms a worldview based on mere externals.  Her beauty is her spirit and this is true beauty.

This is the model of Old Testament women, especially that of Sarah.  Women of faith are Sarah’s children when they do good and refrain from being fearful.

The application of these truths is profound for everyone.  For now we apply them to mothers.  May your work be powered by your hope in God.  Correction has its place but a basis of godly behavior will set a lifelong example for your children.  Pursue a gentle and quiet spirit.  Children can be shepherded best by a mother whose spirit is gentle and quiet.  From this base she is able to instruct with all patience.

Scriptures:  Genesis 3:20, 1 Peter 3:1-6

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

Walk by the Spirit

How can a believer overcome the lusts of the flesh?  The answer is that he must walk by the Spirit.  The believer, by faith, relies upon the Holy Spirit to be the means by which he overcomes.

The lusts of the flesh are at war with the Spirit.  The Christian life is a life of war.  The Spirit is at war with the flesh.  The flesh is everything in us that is profane and godless.  In a believer it is the residual of what ruled before we came to Christ.  It is what must be put down daily.

So what do we do we flesh this out?  We consciously yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit for the duration of our lives.  This thinking and meditating keeps us focused on him.  We yield to his direction for our lives.  We yield in the unexpected.  When something comes up, out of the ordinary, take a moment to consult the Spirit’s wishes.  It is precisely in the unusual that we default to old-man categories of fleshly lusts.  Take a moment to listen.

We also hear his pleasure for us in the long term.  We live too random and too fast, so fast that we can’t hear him.  We would do well do slow down and listen to what the Spirit says to us individually as to what he wants in place for our lives.  We are speaking here of rhythms, not shortcuts and erratic bursts of fervor.

Focus on the fruit of the Spirit.  It is this agreeing and tasting that provides the soul with the food it needs to live.  The fruit of the Spirit is of the Spirit.  Think about it, meditate on it, and live it.

Finally, may we not forget Paul’s overarching argument in Galatians?  Salvation and sanctification both happen by faith.  Trust in the Spirit just as you trusted Christ for salvation.  Your sanctification literally depends on it.  We must consciously distinguish between us winging it or the trusting in him.

See Galatians 5:16-25

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

Walk For The World – June 1, 2013


Saturday June 1, 2013 | Pinkerton Park in Franklin, TN

  • Walk starts at 7:30 AM for all 1/2 marathoners and 9:00 AM for all other walkers
  • Lunch 11:30 AM

All proceeds go to the 2012-2013 National Alliance Women’s Project “Let It Shine” supporting Children’s Ministries of the C&MA overseas.

Join the Alliance Women in raising money for Children’s Ministries around the world! Pick up or print off a sponsor sheet, get some sponsors, come at 9 am that morning and walk with us! If you bring more than $50 in sponsorships and receive a free t-shirt! ( to print sposor sheet) Can’t walk? Come at 11:30 for a round up feast! Burgers, hot dogs and drinks provided! Bring a side to share. You can purchase a t-shirt to support the cause at $20 per shirt! Please RSVP for the picnic no later than Memorial Day!

Sponsorship Form:

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Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be under his control.  When someone is under the influence of alcohol he/she loses control of the motor skills and subsequently does things he later regrets.  Such a person is under the control of alcohol.  This is an excellent illustration for us to better understand the filling of the Spirit.

Being filled with the Spirit takes on certain characteristics.  Some may wonder whether being filled with the Spirit consists of a lifetime mountaintop experience.  Maybe it means we more or less float above every situation and never feel pain, ever.  Maybe it means we’re never happy but always dutifully doing what we are supposed to do.  Eph. 5:19-21 tell us that the Spirit filled believer is one who is full of praise and thanksgiving.  He speaks about the Lord to the brothers and sisters, he speaks to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise.  It is as if he has a river of living water flowing out of his inner man.  This river consists of praise and thanksgiving.

There are obstacles to being filled with the Spirit.  Someone might believe it is only for the superstars, the ones with the magnetic personality.  Some might believe it is too intense for the average Christian.  Others might not want the discomfort of being controlled by the Spirit.  These reasons all fall short of God’s best.  Surely we do not want to be controlled by fear and our own appetites.  We must repent of all false imaginations that keep us from communion with God.

How do I get filled with the Spirit?  It is actually quite simple.  Give up control!  It is what you did at salvation.  However, living in the age of the Spirit means we give up control all the time.  Being filled with the Spirit is not for the professionals, it is for the Christian.  And, it isn’t complicated, it is very simple.  Give up control!  Then live in the contentment of yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting him run your life.

Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.