Responding to Devastation

Responding to Devastation

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 79. This message byPastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 28, 2016.

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The Comforting Side of the Terrible Swift Sword

The Comforting Side of the Terrible Swift Sword: 2 Kings #13

Exposition of Second KingsThis is an exposition of 2 Kings 9:1-37. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 25, 2016.

Intro:

It is basic to human nature.  It is part of our being created in the image and likeness of God.  We desire to see justice done.  No one wants to see evil triumph.  When people are wronged, when people are violated, we want to see the perpetrator held accountable.  This is true in our lives individually and its true as a society.  Thus we cheer when oppressive dictators fall.  We breathe a collective sigh of relief when wrongs are righted.  It is also why we are angered when “nothing” happens!  It’s why we are impatient, at times, with God especially when we think He has forgotten His promise.  Back in 1 Kings 19 God outlined His policy and ordained the instruments of His judgement upon Israel but we come to 2 Kings 1 Kings 8 and it hasn’t happened yet.  “LORD, where are you?  What’s going on?”  Things begin to start rolling in 1 Kings 8 but it is here in 1 Kings 9 we reach the shouting point!  I don’t consider myself hardened or bloodthirsty but I will admit there are times when I’m watching a movie or tv show and that character who has just been so cruel and so conniving finally gets what is coming to them, I cheer.  There is no question about their guilt.  They know they are guilty, the hero of the show knows they are guilty – everyone watching knows they are guilt – when they are shot or killed there is that part of me that says, “Justice!”  That’s how I feel reading 2 Kings 1 Kings 9.  It’s been a long time coming but we are finally able to say, “Justice!”  I mentioned back in our study of 1 Kings R.G. Lee’s sermon, Payday Someday.  In that sermon Lee masterfully deals with the whole saga of Naboth, Ahab and Jezebel.  The thrust of Lee’s sermon is that there is a payday.  No one gets away with anything.  The sovereign Judge of the heaven and earth will ultimately see that justice is served.  In 2 Kings 1 Kings 9 we witness the justice of the terrible swift sword.

Text: 2 Kings 9:1-37

As 2 Kings 9 unfolds we are reminded of the fact that…

Thesis: The picture of God as a consuming fire ought to strike fear in the hearts of those who stand outside of His grace and yet bring comfort to His afflicted children who long to see justice served.

There are three (3) things I want to call to your attention out of this text.

  1. Our God governs the rise and fall of nations.  (9:1-16)
  2. When He comes in judgment nothing will detour Him and judgment will be thorough and terrifying.  (9:14-22, 23-37)
  3. Judgment delayed is not judgment denied.  (9:25-26)
        (Yahweh is vigilant to avenge His suffering people.)
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He is Lord

He is Lord: 2016 Gospel of Luke #30

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 8:26-39. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 25, 2016.

Intro:

Jesus Christ.  Today these words are most frequently used as swear words.  They are uttered in order to vent anger or frustration.  Just a few years ago that would have been considered blasphemy – today it is commonplace.  Michael Green observed, “It is remarkable that the name of the Man who founded the world’s largest religion should be most familiar as a term of abuse.  That doesn’t happen to Muhammad or Buddha.”

But who is this Jesus?  To some He is a good moral teacher.  A bit misguided, somewhat delusional but on balance a good moral teacher.  Others say He was a revolutionary seeking to liberate his homeland from the oppression of Rome.  Some are willing to grant him the status of a prophet.  But the clear, unmistakable testimony of scripture is that He is Lord.

He is the unquestioned Sovereign.
He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
But what evidence is sited to support that claim?
That is the focus of our text this morning.

Text: Luke 8:26-39

Luke is writing to Theophilus.
Purpose = evangelistic.  Aimed at the heart as well as the head.
Luke pulls together stories, events, miracles, and teachings from the life of the Lord Jesus and offers them as proof that he is indeed the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world.

A couple of weeks ago we witnessed the power of Jesus over nature.  He, along with the 12, took a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee.  As they crossed the Sea a violent storm erupted.  The disciples, in a panic, woke Jesus up and said, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  With a word, He calmed the Sea.  The disciples wondered, “Who is this man that even the wind and the waves must obey him?”  This morning we witness again the power of the Lord Jesus.  Let’s look beginning with the 12:26 of the 8.

[Read Text]
Luke gives us some insight in our text this morning that can profoundly alter your life if you grasp the truth of it.  We sing, “He is Lord, He is Lord – He is risen from the dead and He is Lord” but what does that mean?  What is the significance of that?

Thesis: Jesus’ encounter with the demon-possessed man unquestionably demonstrates his lordship over evil and his power to deliver.

This is “gospel” truth.  This is good news.  We live in a fallen world.  This is not the world as God created it.  This is a world dominated by sin and thus infected with evil.  I know there is a reluctance to use moral language today.  We see the affects of sin all around us.  Daily we witness the fruit of moral corruption but we hesitate to refer to the existence of evil.  We are quick to label it something else but evil exists.  There are evil people and they do evil, wicked things.  The gospel declares there is One who has overcome.  There is One who came to destroy the work of the evil one.  He has conquered sin and death and the devil.  One day all will be made right and paradise will be restored.  Until then witness what His power can do.

Our text unfolds in a four-act drama.

  1. The presence of a tortured soul – (8:26-29)
  2. The arrival of a Sovereign Savior – (8:30-34)
  3. The response of stubborn resistance – (8:35-37)
  4. The command to evangelize – (8:38-39)
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A Prayer from the Devastation

A Prayer from the Devastation

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 74:1-23. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 21, 2016.

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Betrayal

Betrayal

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 54. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 14, 2016.

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A God Worthy of Our Trust

A God Worthy of Our Trust: 2016 Gospel of Luke #29

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 8:22-25. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 11, 2016.

Intro:

How big is your God?  What is He capable of?  Is He bigger than your problems, burdens and concerns?  Oh yes, He is Lord, but what does that mean?  What power, what authority goes with the title?  Isaiah says, “He holds the waters of the earth in the hollows of His hand.”  The water area of the earth is 139,950,284 miles or 320,000,000 cubic miles of water volume.  The prophet says He cups it in the hollow of His hand.  He further declares that God “Marks off the Heavens with the breadth of His hand.”  The nearest star is 3.5 light years from earth.  That means traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would take you 3.5 years to get to the closest one.  Yes, He is a big God.  He spoke and this glorious, gigantic, complicated and fantastic universe came into being just by the power of His word.  He is a powerful God but all of that is “out there”.  It is distant and unrelated.  Sure He created all of this but how does that relate to me where I am right now?  How is he lord in my world?

That is a fair question.  This morning we are going to consider an event from the lives of the apostles.  An event that brought them face to face with the Lordship of Jesus in dramatic fashion.  We will consider that encounter and draw some conclusions for our own lives.  Our text is found in the 8th chapter of Luke’s gospel.

Text: Luke 8:22-25

The person of the Lord Jesus is at the very heart of our faith.  I know it is amazing what a seminary education can do for a person.  Four years of college and three years of seminary and I’ve discovered that Christ is the heart of Christianity.  The truth is, I didn’t learn that in college or seminary.  I think I’ve really just begun to understand that.  The trappings of Christianity have so clouded the picture that Christ is often the last thing we notice.  You know that I’m a firm believer in the necessity of doctrine.  What we believe matters.  But doctrine is not the heart of our faith – the Lord Jesus is.  The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians – “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  The early church preached Christ.  Christ as the source of life.  Christ as the meaning and purpose of life.  Our faith is in Jesus Christ.  His person, his life, his work.  So the question before us this morning is, “Who is Jesus?”

After a long and wearisome day of ministry our Lord turned to the 12 and said, “Let’s take a boat ride to the other side of the lake.”  They climb into a boat and set out across the Sea of Galilee.  It was a beautiful day for a boat ride.  The quiet of the lake and the gentle rocking of the boat was the perfect respite for the weary band.  But things were about to change.  We begin at the 12:22

As we look at this encounter we discover that…

Thesis: As Creator, Sustainer, and the Goal of all things our Lord can be trusted whatever may come.

I say this is what we discover because of the question the 12 raise in the 12:25, “Who then is this that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

There are 3 principles I think we can draw from this encounter.

  1. Storms are inevitable in this fallen, sin-cursed world.  (8:22-23)
  2. When storms arise our hope rests in a Sovereign Savior.  (8:24)
  3. His deliverance creates unrest but ultimately leads to the deepening of our faith.  (8:25)

    Conclusion:

    Life in this sin-cursed world is filled with heartache and struggle.  Storms, emotional, physical and spiritual are inevitable.  Being God’s child does not excuse you from such storms.  There is no opt out.  By the way, they were following Jesus when they got in that boat and set sail.  They were in the “will of God.”  In fact, they were being taken to school to learn that their hope rested in a Sovereign Savior with power sufficient to deliver.  For the child of God, storms are God’s way of reminding us that the one in the boat with us is worthy of our trust.

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A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 46. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 7, 2016.

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Live It!

Live It!: 2016 Gospel of Luke #28

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 8:16-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 4, 2016.

Intro:

What does it mean to truly believe?  What kind of life is required of those who genuinely possess life in Christ?  Is it merely a matter of what one accepts and confesses as the truth?  Is it as simple as confirming ones convictions concerning the claims of the Christian faith?  I believe Jesus is the Son of God.  I believe that He died on the cross and rose from the dead.  I believe I’m a sinner.  If I check enough boxes or the right boxes, am I in?  Or is it a matter of living the right way?  I don’t cuss, smoke or chew and I don’t hang out with girls who do?  Right doctrine or orthodoxy is no guarantee of spiritual life.  You can be straight as an arrow doctrinally and as lifeless as a corpse.  As for moral behavior, you may appear as pure as the driven snow and be filled with death.  Salvation is not the result of your spiritual knowledge or the product of your moral character it is the gift of God’s grace.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone.  But as Luther said, “It is by faith alone but not a faith that is alone.”  We are not saved by our works but saving faith always has accompanying works.  Genuine life always expresses itself.  That’s the focus of our text this morning found in Luke 8 beginning with Luke 8:16.

Text: Luke 8:16-21

In Luke 7 Jesus attended a dinner party at the home of a Pharisee named Simon.  There He confronted Simon for his lack of hospitality and his lack of understanding of grace.  You remember Simon refused Jesus even the basic signs of respect.  Yet a notorious woman from the street bathed His feet with her tears, kissed His feet and anointed Him with costly perfume.  When our Lord explained the reason for this difference in attitude He told a story about 2 people being forgiven a debt.  “Simon, which would love him more?”  Simon said, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the larger debt.”  Our Lord then said, “You’re right Simon.  This woman loves much for she has been forgiven much.”  She was forgiven not because she loved much – rather she loved much because she was forgiven.  Her actions were the evidence of what had already happened to her.

In the opening verses of Luke 8 our Lord tells a parable about a sower, some seed and some soils.  His point being that when a heart is open and receptive to the Word of God/the gospel it springs to life and produces fruit.  While the hardened, shallow and crowded hearts show no sign of life.  Our text this morning continues this same line of thought.  Admittedly these verses are puzzling.  Why would anyone light a lamp and then cover it with a jar or slide it under the bed?  And what are we to make of Jesus response to the arrival of his family?  Seems a bit out of place but I’m convinced this is further application of the parable of the soils.

[Read Text]

As we work our way through these proverbs or mini parables we see that…

Thesis: Our Lord, lovingly yet firmly, admonishes believers to live out their faith warning of the implications of failing to do so.

Note the end of Luke 7:15“…They are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

Those who genuinely believe cling to the word and live it.
Those who are converted live out the truth of the Word, the gospel.
That is the focus of our text.

I want to point out three principles as we work our way through this text.

  1. Genuine life, of necessity, must express itself.  (8:16)
  2. Our Lord graciously warns of the judgment that awaits false professions.  (8:17-18)
  3. Faithfully living the truth of the Gospel demonstrates the genuineness of your profession.  (8:19-21)

Conclusion:
What does it mean to truly believe?  It means to embrace and live the truth of God.  It means to order your life according to the teaching of Scripture.  It means to let the light of God’s truth shine through you for the world to see.  No one lights a lamp and then shoves it under the bed.  Live the truth to the glory of God.

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Entitled to Grace?

Entitled to Grace?

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 41. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 31, 2016.

Three points:

  1. The righteous look to Christ in times of trouble. (vs. 1-3)
  2. The righteous recognize their need of grace and mercy. (vs. 4-10)
  3. The righteous confidently rest in God’s merciful hands. (vs. 11-13)
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The God of Scripture

The God of Scripture: 2 Kings #11

Exposition of Second KingsThis is an exposition of 2 Kings 8:1-15. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 28, 2016.

Intro:

The crowning moment of creation was when God created man in His own image and likeness.  Male and female, created in the image and likeness of God.  Created to be in relationship with God.  Made to fellowship with God.  Image bearers.  With the fall came consequences.  Man was separated from God.  Fellowship was broken.  Intimacy was replaced with distance.  Love and transparency was replaced with enmity and cover-up.  Yet man retained the image and likeness.  Granted the image of God was now marred but not eliminated.  Man was an imperfect reflection of God.  Salvation begins the reversal of all that damage.  The one who was estranged is reunited.  The alien is brought near.  The one declared righteous is now in the process of being made righteous.  As redeemed sons and daughters of Adam we are now to accurately represent our heavenly Father.  As we seek to live and declare the Gospel we are to seek to make God known.  We are to reveal the God of Scripture.  God as He is not as we think of Him.  Not as we image Him but as He is.  This is especially relevant in our day.  A day in which people surf the internet and have access to every imaginable religious teaching not to mention some you would never imagine!

As we speak to our friends, neighbors and families we must make certain the God we present is the God who reveals himself in Scripture.  The true is, the God of Scripture is far more interesting, surprising and shocking than any you could image.  Our responsibility is not to make Him desirable, or palatable, or acceptable to modern thinkers – our responsibility is to declare Him as He is revealed.  He wants to be known and He has given us this book in order to reveal himself.  Scripture is God’s revelation.  It is God saying, “This is who I am.”  Keep that in mind as we approach our text this evening found in the 8th chapter of 2 Kings.

Text: 2 Kings 8:1-15

This is not exactly a spellbinding narrative.
I could easily skip over it.
After all, why should we care about a woman involved in a land dispute after a 7 year absence?
What interest is there in this conversation between a prophet’s servant and a king?
Who cares about another coup in the ancient near east?
What does any of this have to do with me seeking to live my faith in the 21st century?

We should care because it is a revelation of God.  We should care because God makes himself known through these various encounters.  It is here we learn of the character and nature of our God.  Whenever we approach Scripture we must view the narrative through a God-centered perspective.  We are not looking for historical trivia or seeking interesting tidbits concerning world players.  We are in search of the living God.  We are pursuing the knowledge of God.  What does this passage reveal about our God?  What can we glean from these encounters?

I’m convinced that as we work our way through this text we learn that…

Thesis: The God of the Bible holds men accountable and dispenses righteous judgment yet is endowed with incredible kindness and exhibits remarkable compassion.

Our God is holy and Our God is merciful.
He does what is right and He is compassionate.
He slays and He revives.

This text is yet another reminder to me that our God refuses to be pigeonholed.
He just doesn’t fit neatly into our categories.
Just when you think you have him nailed down – He wiggles.

There are three things I want to note quickly from this text.

  1. The Bible reveals a God who shows kindness to the nameless and helpless.  (8:1-2)
  2. The Bible reveals a God who holds accountable those who have heard the truth.  (8:3-6)
  3. The Bible reveals a God who mixes tears with brimstone.  (8:7-15)

Conclusion:
God is holy and righteous and so will do what is right but there is a note of divine sadness in his judgment.  There is no fiendish delight in God’s judgment.  Andrew Bonar saids, “Jesus wept as he said, Depart, ye cursed.”  Bonar went on to say of the judgment of God, “I think that the shower of fire and brimstone was wet with the tears of God as it fell, for God has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.”

The God of the Bible holds men accountable and dispenses righteous judgment yet is endowed with incredible kindness and exhibits remarkable compassion.

He is a God who shows kindness to the nameless and helpless.
He is a God who holds accountable those who have heard the truth.
He is a God who mixes tears with brimstone.

This is the God we worship and serve.
This is the God of Scripture.

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