WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, July 30, 2017

When He Came – 7/30/2017


John 16:8-11 (ESV)
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Jesus told his disciples that the world is wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment, and that the coming of the Holy Spirit would convict the world of its error. 

Concerning sin…

Jesus here tells us that it is the Holy Spirit that will convict the world of its sin.  Of course Christians need to inform the world of God’s word and what sin actually is, but too often the Christian speaks to the sinner with disdain and a sneer seemingly to get the worldly one to convert to faith right then and there.  And while I cannot claim that many have not had a genuine conversion to faith in this manner, I still don’t think it’s my job to attempt to convict people of sin—because frankly, the Holy Spirit is a much more compassionate convector of sin that I am.

So how is the world wrong about sin?  Simply, according to verse 9, anything that attempts to deal with sin without Jesus is incorrect.

Our world is full of the attempt to get to heaven without Jesus, it rejects the words of our Lord from John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me – as too exclusive and not encompassing enough.  But I have never done a funeral where the loving family didn’t expect that their loved one was enjoying the fruits of God’s Glory even though they knew well enough that the person was not a follower of Jesus.  The world is wrong about sin, when it doesn’t consider itself as sinful and Jesus as sin’s only solution. 

It’s often the case that we preachers feel like we are the ones who need to convict people of sin by our many words rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to use our simple proclamation of Christ to convict the sinner.  Remember, verse 8 informs us that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to convict the world concerning sin; not the Christian.

Concerning righteousness…

In verse 10 Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning righteousness because He goes to the Father and the world can no longer see Him.

Too often we look to what we can see and observe in order to determine our own righteousness.  We look to whether we are obeying the laws, following the rules, or doing what is moral and right in order to determine if we are righteous or not.  This however, is the wrong standard of righteousness.  The correct standard of righteousness is not observable by sight or sound or any other standard of physical measure.  The correct standard is that of faith: faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ upon the cross.

2 Corinthians 5
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Holy Spirit will have fully convicted us concerning righteousness when we understand that the righteousness of God is not what we do (or don’t do) but what Jesus Christ has already done for us when He died on the Cross; the righteousness of God is not determined from what we can observe from our own actions, but must be believed by faith alone in Him who is not seen.

Hebrews 11:16
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Concerning judgement…

Finally the world will be convicted concerning judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 12:31
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.

The world is obsessed with the future judgment of God upon the world.  We talk of the Judgment Day, when Christ will come and judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5). But the good news is that satan has already been found guilty and sin and death defeated when the Christ died on the Cross.  Too many of us trudge along each day waiting for The Day to come, when in fact no judgment need yet come.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When the world is convinced that the judgment of the devil is a present reality, then it will rejoice in the Victory of Jesus.

And so it is that when the Holy Spirit came, He came to convict us concerning the truth about sin, righteousness, and judgement.  Have we been convicted concerning these things?  If you have not, please be sure to seek the wisdom of Christ by asking the Holy Spirit to convict you of such things right now. 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC37VXrVNjE

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Your Righteousness – 7/23/2017


We desire that God is happy with us, but too often we don’t believe that He is.  We look to the many sins in our lives, the many failures, the many times that we did not act as we should in certain situations, and we become unhappy with ourselves.  And since we are unhappy with our own performances it is easy to visualize God as unhappy with us too. 

But we have it wrong.

Isaiah 51:1

1“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
    and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
    and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

Isaiah was talking to the Children of Israel who had been exiled and were in the shackles of the Babylonian empire.  They desired God and His righteousness but the prison they were in made it seem impossible for them to achieve this goal.

We may or may not be in literal captivity but we are all prisoners of our minds.  Our sins have separated us from God and we want to be right in His sight, but we keep looking to ourselves, our own actions, and our own performance to make us feel like we are making God happy.  And as we do we recognize that we cannot achieve this feeling for long because we find ourselves right back to where we began – feeling far from God.

But Isaiah tells us to look to the Rock from which we were cut and the quarry from which we were hewn.

We prisoners tend to look at our present circumstances or environments in order to feel righteous, but Isaiah informs us that the trick is to not look toward ourselves, but to look at Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

You see, one of the biggest lies that the devil can have you believe is the self-help lie that “you can do it”, but the reality is that when it comes to pleasing God you cannot.  Only Jesus can satiate God’s desire for Holiness and we must accept and receive the gift that Christ gives to us – His Spirit.

John 16:8-11

When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The truth of the matter is, as long as you focus on your own circumstances, your own situations, and your own best efforts, you will always find righteousness will elude you as well as God’s warm embrace.  But when you learn that you are righteous by faith in Christ alone then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Do you seek God’s approval today?  Then look to Jesus for He is the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Sunday, July 16, 2017

What do You See? – 7/16/2017


The whole story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17, take five minutes to read it if you are unfamiliar with it.

What I want to look at specifically this morning are the verses in 1 Samuel 17:28-37.

David was just a kid and all of his brothers were at the war between the Israelites and the Philistines.  He was young enough and small enough that he wasn’t allowed to go to battle, so his job was to stay home to tend the flocks and take food to his older brothers; who were at the front line of battle.

On one occasion, David was at the front line and heard the largest of the Philistine warriors taunting the Israelites to fight by insulting and blaspheming God.   David was incensed and started asking the soldiers of Israel what the King offered to the man who would defend God’s honor and “remove this disgrace from Israel.”

Starting in verse 28, David’s brother over-heard him and started telling him that he was too small to kill the giant.  Eventually work got back to King Saul that David wanted to battle the Giant but he too (verse 33) told David that he was not able to do this because he was too small and inexperienced.

In verse 34 David told the king that he had killed both a lion and a bear with his bare hands while working in the fields and as sure as God delivered David from them, He would deliver him from this giant.  The King was convinced and told David to go with God’s blessing.

The rest of the story is that David went to battle against the giant and succeeded in killing him and taking his head off with his very own sword.

As I read the story of David and Goliath I am reminded of David’s great faith that “God’s got this.”  A dozen times a day I worry or fret over one situation or another and David’s faith tells me that my days would be much more peaceful if I would just relax and look at all of my situations with the same confidence in God that David had; easier said than done I know, my situations often feel to me like I am fighting a lion, a bear, or a giant.

But I am going to bet that if I stop looking at my situations, or assessing how I feel, and focus on the ability of the honor of my God, then I too, like David, will find victory over the obstacles that come against me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Chris Cornell sings Show Me How to Live – 7/12/2017


A month ago or so, singer Chris Cornell[1] committed suicide after a concert in Detroit.  I was not really a fan, nor had I ever been to one of his concerts, but he was an incredible musician and I loved most everything he created.

Since his death, I have been listening to his music through his career of performing in a bunch of different bands and projects.  He did a song “Show Me How to Live” that he sang when he was with Audioslave and I wanted to comment on it.

Show Me How to Live

And with the early dawn
Moving right along
I couldn't buy and eyeful of sleep
And in the aching night under satellites
I was not received
Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

And in the after birth
On the quiet earth
Let the stains remind you
You thought you made a man
You better think again
Before my role defines you

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave

I’m not going to try to figure out the depths and details of this song but the chorus begs to be commented on.

Nail in my hand
From my creator

I find it interesting that Cornell was of the opinion that there was a creator of this world.  One may argue that this was just a song and he was not trying to infer this at all, but he has other songs that were somewhat spiritual in nature, and it leads me to believe otherwise.

On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
(Like a Stone – Audioslave[2])

He seems to understand that he has the curse of death in his life but he’s not exactly sure what to do about it.

You gave me life
Now show me how to live

These words are sung almost in an angry tone; like someone who is upset that he has been born into this world but doesn’t have the directions for life.  I can sort of relate...

When I first became a Christian, in 1994, I found I was upset because I was placed in the situation of having to live according to the will of Christ when all I really wanted to do was to live my life -- my way.  But the resurrection would no longer allow me to simply live my life for myself, and I could no longer deny that there was a moral obligation on my life.  My problem was that I wasn’t yelling to God to show me how to live, rather I already knew and I didn’t necessarily like the call to a new life of selflessness and sacrificial existence.

In Christ, we have all been shown how to live; for Jesus lived a life of selfless abandon led by the Spirit of a Holy God who cared for the poor and the neediest among us.  And he called us to pick up our crosses and follow him daily[3].

Chris Cornell was an extraordinary talent and I am sorry that he ended his own life.  I wish he didn’t struggle like he did and I wish he could have been around longer so he could have met the savior and learned the answer to his question.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Cornell
[2] Like a Stone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX-t_Y-AzWY
[3] Matthew 16:24-26