This is an exposition of Psalm 33. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 24, 2016.
This is an exposition of Psalm 33. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 24, 2016.
This is an exposition of Luke 7:36-50. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 21, 2016.
It is the mark of a great book or movie. You figure it all out early in the story. You know who did it and why. You are putting all the pieces together as the story unfolds. You are feeling smug and confident as the story reaches it’s climax – then it happens. Your suspect dies. It wasn’t him after all. But wait, how can that be? The ending shocks you. You are amazed and yet now it all makes sense. “Of course!” Why couldn’t you see that before? It is the last thing you would have ever suspected and yet it is the only way that makes sense. You were caught completely off guard. The storyteller exploited your bias and made his point.
Luke the physician and traveling companion of the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, took events, teachings and encounters from the life and ministry of Jesus and wove them together in a fascinating tale for his friend Theophilus. His purpose in writing was to demonstrate that Jesus was indeed the Messiah of the Jews and the Savor of the world. His goal was to bring his friend to faith in Jesus as the Christ. Luke, with the skill of an artist and the depth of a master storyteller, creates a powerful account of the life of Jesus.
In the seventh chapter of Luke’s Gospel we find the account of a dinner party. This was no ordinary dinner party. Especially when you consider it took place in the home of a Pharisee. Here a Pharisee was entertaining a rebel rousing itinerate preacher and in walks the town prostitute! It makes for an interesting evening and more importantly; it reveals a profound truth.
Text: Luke 7:36-50
The story is simple.
In fact its simplicity is the secret to its beauty.
Luke, through an economy of words, tells a powerful story.
Two different people.
Two very different lifestyles.
One extremely religious the other a notorious sinner.
Both were exposed to the teaching ministry of Jesus.
And as you might expect – there were two different responses.
One was gloriously transformed.
The other was hardened in their sin and driven further from salvation.
But which was which? That is the surprising part.
Let’s look at our text.
Their story is central to Luke’s purpose.
For from his account we learn that:
Thesis: The sovereign touch of grace radically transforms the most ardent sinner.
And we are reminded of its parallel truth:
Apart from the sovereign touch of grace the most righteous person is held captive by his own self-righteousness.
This passage is about the heart of the Gospel – for it is about grace. God’s unmerited favor. God granting to us what we do not deserve. In fact it is more than that, it is granting us life and hope and peace when we are deserving of the exact opposite!
And that is precisely what Simon and his fellow religious leaders could not see. They failed to grasp the heart of His message. They couldn’t get past their rules to see His grace. Their problem was they didn’t understand the depth of their own sin – they were unaware of their own depravity. Oh, they knew God was Holy. They knew they were not holy. They understood the need for ritual cleansing and sacrifice – but they were so caught up in the symbolism they failed to understand the substance. Ritual they understood. Rules they obeyed. It is the reality of their predicament they failed to recognize. Keep that in mind as we watch the evening unfold.
Let’s examine first the life of Simon as we discover:
This woman, in contrast to Simon, saw only her great need, and therefore was overwhelmed with love for him who could supply her need. And this is in evidence that she knows forgiveness.
Jesus sought to drive the point home to Simon by telling this parable 7:41-43.
Simon patronizingly answered Jesus’ questions – but he failed to understand its message.
The sovereign touch of grace radically transforms the most ardent sinner.
This text serves as a solemn warning and a wonderful promise.
Self-righteousness hardens the heart and drives you away from God’s only provision.
A deep awareness of sin and genuine repentance enables forgiveness and life.
An exposition of Psalm 5. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 17, 2016.
This is an exposition of 2 Kings 6:24-7:20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 14, 2016.
I’m confident I’m on solid ground when I say that we all agree that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone because of Christ alone. We know that we are dead in trespass and sin and we are incapable of saving ourselves. Our condition as fallen sons and daughters of Adam is that of “total” or “radical” depravity. We are sinful to the core of our being. Sin affects our thinking, our actions, our emotions and our wills. Every aspect of our being is marred by sin. Thus whatever we do attempting to deliver ourselves is tainted by sin and therefore ineffectual. It is not that we are drowning and in need of a life preserver to keep our heads above water, we are dead on the bottom of the pool and our only hope is that another dives in, drags us out and breathes life into. That’s the biblical doctrine and if we are asked to define what salvation is we might give such a description but I’m not sure that we think that way on a daily basis. I’m not so sure that we understand that outside of Christ – that’s how desperate we really are. I’m not sure we are completely convinced that we are absolutely helpless and hopeless. Yet the Scripture is clear in both the Old and New Testaments that salvation is all of grace. God delivers his people because He is gracious. This is powerfully displayed in our text this evening found in the 6th and 7th chapters of 2 Kings.
Text: 2 Kings 6:24-7:20
In 2 Kings 5 we saw the power of God extended to a great man who had a great need. Naaman the commander of the Syrian army was sured of leprosy. At the beginning of 2 Kings 6 we saw the power of God extended to help a simple man with a simple need. An un-named student in Elisha’s seminary lost the axehead off his borrowed axe. God worked a miracle to restored the axehead. Then we were made aware of God’s preserving, protecting and perplexing grace with the story of the Syrian army surrounding Elisha’s house and Elisha’s prayer that his servant might see God’s protection all around. Then the power of God to deliver the army into the hands of Israel without any bloodshed, only to feed them and send them home! Some time has passed by the time we reach our text.
And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel. Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria…
Wait a minute. “The Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel. Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria? Oh, I see no more raids just total annihilation. God’s grace to the Syrians only brought a temporary relief. Now it was back to business as usual. Some time passed between 6:23 and 6:24.
Our text tells of the siege of Samaria and God’s dramatic deliverance of his people.
[Read the text]
As we work our way through this text I want to point out 4 principles for us to consider.
The captain’s unbelief did not nullify God’s promise but his unbelief assured he would not benefit from God’s promise. It is dangerous and foolish to think that God is not angered by unbelief.
As we look back over this passage we are reminded that…
God is gracious to His people even in the midst of judgment.
God’s promise often seems impossible.
The ways of God are astounding.
The consequence of unbelief is tragic.
This all serves to teach us that…
Thesis: While God is gracious beyond belief to His people, to refuse to believe proves disastrous.
This is an exposition of Luke 7:29-35. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 14, 2016.
What comes to your mind when you think of the term, “Evangelist?” Do you picture a red-faced preacher thundering away at the congregation? Do you think of Billy Graham preaching in a stadium? Or someone, uninvited, knocking on your door? Perhaps you think about a friend or family member who faithfully shared the Gospel with you and lovingly urged you to trust Christ? Do you think of yourself as an evangelist? Or do you say, “I don’t have the gift of evangelism?” The truth is all of us who have trusted in Christ have been called to take the Gospel to our world. Evangelism is not the responsibility of only those who are so “gifted” it is the privilege of every child of God. In fact, according to Jesus, if you have been born again you are a witness, an evangelist. When speaking about the coming of the Spirit Jesus said to his followers, “You will receive power after the Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses; in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).” You, child of God, are an evangelist. The only question is, “Are you an effective evangelist or an ineffective evangelist? Are you a good witness or a poor witness?” People are watching and listening. Your life speaks. What are you saying?
To be an effective evangelist you need to know the Gospel. You need to know who Jesus is and what he accomplished with his life and death. You need to understand what it means to be saved and how one enters into relationship with God through the Lord Jesus. Just what is salvation? Saved from what? Saved how? These questions serve as a backdrop for our text this morning. A text that grows out of our Lord’s response to the questioning of John the Baptist. You remember John was imprisoned for his boldness. John came to prepare the way for Messiah. In preparation he preached a message of repentance along with a call to holiness. Once while baptizing new converts in the Jordan he noticed some of the Scribes and Pharisees had come to observe. Without missing a beat John turned toward the leaders and declared, “What are you doing here you bunch of snakes? Who warned you to turn from the wrath to come?” He wasn’t one to back down and that’s why he was in prison. Herod Antipas seduced his brother’s wife, divorced his own wife and married his sitar-in-law. John called him on it. John called on the king to repentant of such wickedness. Thus, John languished in prison. While there, hearing the various reports about Jesus, John’s faith began to waver. He sent word to Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Are you the Christ or not? I don’t want to waste my life. I don’t want to live in vain. Are you the Messiah?
Jesus told those who came with the question, “Go back and tell John what you’ve seen and heard.” Answer, “Yes, I’m the one. John have faith.” Then Jesus gave a glowing endorsement of John to those gathered. It is the response of those gathered that serves as our text this morning. We are going to work our way through Luke 7:29-35.
Text: Luke 7:29-35
This is a bit of an obscure passage but I think there is something important here for us. I’m convinced there is a truth about salvation highlighted in this text that is crucial in our day. In our “pluralistic, anything and everything is okay provided you are sincere world” we need this truth.
The message from Luke 7:29-35 is that…
Thesis: Salvation demands that you abandon any and all delusion of self-sufficiency or innate goodness and trust in Christ alone.
There are two (2) things I want to point out in this text.
Ultimately such people want to dance to their own tune or worse yet, want God to dance to their tune. Nothing pleases the heart that feels no sin. But what a grace to feel your need of Christ. What a grace to stand still as you mourn your sin with a dirge, confessing them to God and the dance to the music of heaven’s grace!
Listen friend, there is only one way of salvation and that is through repentance of your sin and faith in the person of the Lord Jesus. You must abandon any delusion of your own righteousness and trust solely in Christ. To cling to your own righteousness is to abandon any and all hope of salvation.
Won’t you come to Christ?
An exposition of Psalm 26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 10, 2016.
This is an exposition of 2 Kings 6:8-23. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 7, 2016.
As Baptist we are a “grace” people. After all, “Amazing Grace” is our national anthem! We understand that we are saved by grace alone. Salvation is not earned or deserved, it is the gift of God. A gift given not because He sees something in us that draws out or encourages Him to be gracious toward us but because He is gracious. Of course it is not merely our salvation that is of grace – the whole of life is a matter of grace. All that we have and all that we are we owe to the grace of God. Often this truth is overlooked in our daily experience. Oh, we affirm it if we discuss it. Should we be asked about it we easily credit God’s grace but I’m not sure we consistently view all of life from the vantage point of God’s grace. Just as we affirm that our God is sovereign over all things we must affirm that His sovereignty is a gracious sovereignty. His grace is at work daily preserving, protecting and perplexing His people. This is a truth borne out in our text this evening found in 2 Kings 2 Kings 6.
Text: 2 Kings 6:8-23
Some time has passed since the cleansing of Naaman and relations between Syria and Israel have deteriorated. Our text opens with, “Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel…” Interestingly neither the king of Syria or the king of Israel is named. Only Elisha is named. The reason is likely due to the author’s intent to emphasize God’s deliverance of His people through His prophet. Israel is not saved by the power and might of her military. It is not owing to the brilliance of her king it is due the grace of her God and this in spite of her unfaithfulness!
As we work our way through this text we are reminded that…
Thesis: As the people of God we are assured of His preserving, protecting and perplexing grace.
God has promised us His abiding presence and along with His presence comes His power to preserve and protect His people. Remember God promised that through it all there would be a believing remnant. God has determined that He would have a people. Thus by His word and power there has been and will be a people for His glorying until the Lord Jesus returns and this age comes to its end.
Though there is ample reason for concern.
Though we may wonder what is in store for the church in the near future.
This is certain – the church will remain.
The church will triumph.
We may lose our tax exempt status.
We may lose our seat at the political and cultural tables but the church will persevere!
We may face hardship, heartache, even persecution.
We may face economic ruin, imprisonment and even death but the church will march on.
Because God has declared He will have a people for His own glory.
There are three things I want to note from our text…
The grace of God was extended even to His enemies.
This brought a temporary peace (I wish I could say, “Great sweeping revival” but I can’t).
Why did God bring an end to them right then and there?
Because He is gracious.
They were given another chance.
His ways are not our ways…and aren’t you glad?
Dale Ralph Davis says, “This almost makes me want to sing, ‘Come ye Syrians weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, love and power.’”
If only they had responded in such a way to the grace of God.
This is an exposition of Luke 7:18-26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 7, 2016.
It is part of who we are. We can’t help it. We are by nature curious. Don’t you find yourself wondering and questioning things? I mean, why do people without a watch look at their wrist when they ask you what time it is? Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle? If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat? Questions we all wrestle with them everyday. Some are important, others are not so important. Some mold or alter our lives, other have little or no lasting effect. This morning I want us to consider one of life’s vital questions. Webster defines vital as concerned with or necessary to the maintenance of life; fundamentally concerned with or affecting life. So that means, in my case, a vital question might be – “Is this going to be okay with Rheadon?” That would have a definite bearing on the kind and quality of my life. We can agree that there are some questions that are of vital importance. I would suggest that life’s most vital question has to do with the Lord Jesus, is he indeed the Messiah? Is he the Savior?
We are going to look this morning at a crisis point in the life and ministry of John the Baptist. John found himself imprisoned for his faithfulness in declaring the truth of God. He had faithfully and consistently pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. As reports reached him about the ministry of Jesus, John came to a crisis of faith. Through John’s story we learn something about the response of the Lord Jesus to the questioning heart. John’s story is recorded in Luke Luke 7 beginning in Luke 7:18.
Text: Luke 7:18-26
There is that part of us that thinks faith eliminates all questions and struggles. Sometimes we get the idea that it is “wrong” to question or wonder why. But Christianity welcomes honest questioning. Truth always invites investigation. The Gospel is not afraid of someone asking too many questions. Given the background of John the Baptist, this is a fascinating text to me. This is a remarkable question coming from this man. Yet it is a question that each of us must deal with. It is a matter of life and death. It is a “vital question,” a vital issue. “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?” “Are you the Christ? Are you the Messiah? Are you the long awaited Savior of the world?” This question is at the heart of the Christian faith. Mark it down. Underline it. Circle it in red. Christianity is not primarily a teaching. It is not primarily a philosophy. Neither is it primarily a way of life. It is a relationship with the Sovereign God of heaven and earth, through the person of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is the story of the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God left the glory and splendor of heaven and was born on this earth. His purpose in coming was to redeem fallen and broken humanity. He and He alone is the savior of the world and there is no heaven apart from Him. If that is true, then the most important question in this world is “What about Jesus of Nazareth?” If He is who the Bible claims that He is, then there is no more important question. The question then before the house is, “What are you going to do with Jesus?” “How are you going to respond to Him?”
These are the issues/questions surrounding this snapshot out of the life and ministry of John the Baptist. From this story we learn something about the questioning heart and the search for assurance. In fact we discover that:
Thesis: The questioning heart finds assurance in the person of the Lord Jesus.
As this drama in the life of John unfolds before us we find three acts.
This is an exposition of 2 Kings 6:1-7. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, July 31, 2016.
The Scripture admonishes us to “pray without ceasing.” We also know, from Scripture, that we should pray about everything. But aren’t there times when you feel uncomfortable praying about certain things? Aren’t there things that you think, “Oh, it would be silly to pray about this. This is no big deal how could I ask God to do something about this?” I mean of course you pray about cancer and job interviews and the other “big” things in life but aren’t there things that are just too trivial to pray over? It seems to me common sense would tell you that. God is busy maintaining the universe and dealing with world hunger and political upheaval. Surely He can’t be bothered by trivial matters. Then you come across 2 Kings 2 Kings 6. A man borrows an axe, is in the process of cutting down a tree when the axe head flies off and lands in the river. He cries out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” He is in despair because he lost a borrowed axe head and the prophet of God performs a miracle in getting it back. Again I ask, “Paul did you read 2 Kings 2 Kings 6?”
Text: 2 Kings 6:1-7
Why is this passage in the Bible?
It seems trivial.
It seems senseless.
It is unnecessary.
It is outlandish.
It’s been a source of scorn and ridicule.
What deep and glorious truth can we possibly learn from such a tale?
Yet, there it is – in India ink on onion skin paper and leather bound – but why?
Some approach this story and say flat out this is a myth and has no basis in fact. This is an invented tale to build the reputation of Elisha as God’s prophet. It never happened. Of course we would reject such an interpretation because we believe this book to be the revelation of God. This is God’s word. Others say, “Yes, this is God’s word but this story is not to be read supernaturally. What actually happened was that Elisha poked around in the water until he located the iron axe head and then drug it into shallow water where they man saw the axe head and retrieved it. Others say the best way to understand the story is to read it as an allegory. It’s not really about an axe head – the axe head represents something else. One version says the axe head represents a man’s soul. That soul is lost in the river of God’s judgment. The stick naturally represents the cross and the man reaching to retrieve the axe head represents faith laying hold of salvation through the cross. Of course there is nothing in the text or the surrounding text or anywhere else in Scripture that would indicate that this story should be read in that way! Still others say that we just need to draw some moral lessons from the story. Don’t borrow someone’s tools or don’t cut wood down by the river.
I thought it would be fun to “google” this and see what folks were saying.
I came across the name of a rabbi who had written extensively on the miracles of Elisha.
He had 5 chapters on this story.
The whole story is just 7 verses, he wrote 5 chapter on it!
I’ve got a crazy idea.
What if its just about what it says its about?
The Son’s of the prophets decided to enter into a building project.
They go to cut some wood and one of them loses an axe head – that was borrowed.
He’s upset about it and asked Elisha to do something.
God miraculously causes the iron axe head to float and the tool is restored.
What if it is just what it says it is?
Why is the story told and what do we need to learn?
Thesis: God is faithful in all our emergencies whether they be great or small.
Let me point out three things just briefly.
This is why we sing:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
Jesus What a Friend to Sinners, J. Wilbur Chapman
Our God is faithful in all our emergencies whether they be great or small.
This is an exposition of Luke 7:1-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 31, 2016.
They were from two different worlds. One a man of position, power and influence in a large metropolitan city. The other a widow from a small rural village, poverty-stricken, destitute and mourning the loss of her only son. Yet they had one thing in common. Their only hope was to be found in a traveling preacher with a reputation for the miraculous. Both received their miracle. Both have their stories recorded in the New Testament. Neither was ever heard from again. Their stories are powerful and instructive. They serve as object lessons in grace. For both individuals experienced the touch of sovereign grace. Our text this morning is found in the seventh chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Dr. Luke Luke 7 and Luke 7:1-17.
Text: Luke 7:1-17
Luke is writing to his Gentile friend – Theophilus.
He wants to make sure that his friend has an accurate account of the life of Jesus.
He wants Theophilus to know that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of the Jews but He is also the savior of the world!
Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has put together a selective history designed to tell the story of Jesus in such a way as to cause his reader to put his faith and trust in Jesus.
With that in mind Luke includes the stories of two very different individuals in great need who experienced the touch of Christ. One of them a Gentile.
According to the language of Luke, these two incidents happened close together and both happened soon after His calling the 12 and instructing them and the gathered disciples on a level plain about life in the kingdom. Kent Hughes describes that sermon with a play on words. He calls it “The Sermon on the Level” because our Lord is so straightforward in his language. He pulls no punches. This life is a demanding life. Shortly after that sermon we have these two encounters. Together they serve to teach us a great lesson about the love and grace of God. They remind us of how:
Thesis: The sovereign grace of God responds to human need.
I’m convinced this is a much-needed message in our day.
It is needed because of a faulty view of faith that is common in our world.
Whole systems of theological thought are founded on this faulty premise.
We have what might be called “vending machine” theology.
You go to the machine – find what you want – see what it requires – put that in the machine pull the lever and you’ve got your miracle! This view says there are spiritual laws operating in the universe and you just need to plug into them. One leading preacher in the movement has even suggested you do not have to be a Christian for this to work. Just follow the system. God has set the system up and He is bound by it. If God is to be God He cannot violate His system.
As outrageous as that notion sounds thousands upon thousands, if not millions believe it!
Biblical faith is not about laws and principles and formulas – it is about a personal God who is involved in the lives of people! And the biblical God is sovereign. He is in charge. He is in control. He is not at our beck and call. He is not bound by our faith or by some formula He established. One of the subtle threats of this “vending machine” faith is that it makes God impersonal.
Let’s examine these two incidents and learn something about the God we serve.
First the account of the Centurion where we learn that:
Let’s make sure we have this straight.
The gracious touch of God is not about whether or not you are worthy – it is about Him.
It’s not about your fervent praying or your dynamic faith – it is about Him.
Are you in need of the touch of God’s grace today? Embrace Christ. Trust in Him. Believe on Him. Find in Him your all in all.