Living the Faith

Living the Faith: 2016 Gospel of Luke #66

Exposition of LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 17:1-10. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 23, 2017.

Intro:

How would you describe the Christian life? You’re in a conversation with a coworker and you’re attempting to share your faith and talk with them about the meaning of the Christian life – how would you describe it? What are the requirements of the Christian life? Are there any requirements? What is it you are supposed to do as a Christian? I’m not asking what does it require to be saved, I’m asking what is required of you once you are saved? How are you to live?

I think that is an important question and an increasingly necessary question in our age of self-centered religion. What does it mean to be Christian? How does a Christian conduct himself? What characterizes the life of a follower of Christ? Most often the Christian life is described in terms of personal fulfillment. As if the reason for our Lord’s mission was to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise. He is a means to self-fulfillment. I watched a program the other night about a popular entertainer and in the course of the program they spoke of his drug and alcohol addiction and a near death experience. When he didn’t die the nurse working with him said, “I guess God isn’t finished with you.” That lead to a “spiritual awakening.” He referred to that experience as a turning point in his life. He never referred to an awareness of sin or a need to repent and trust in the grace of God in Christ. But he did refer to his “spirituality” and how the great thing about it is that it taught him to love himself. “If you can love yourself – then you can love others.” What concerns me is that this not the exception – this is the standard understanding of the Christian life. The idea that the Christian life is all about me. My wants, my desires, my happiness. The second person of the godhead – the Lord Jesus is reduced from the sovereign Lord and Savior of the world to the means to an end. A way to get you what you want. That is a far cry from the teaching of the New Testament. Let’s listen in as the Lord Jesus talks with His disciples about the requirements of Christian living. Our text this morning is found in Luke Luke 17.

Text: Luke 17:1-10

Background of Luke
Purpose = evangelistic
In the last 6 months of ministry
Increasing hostility
Lengthy debate with the religious establishment
He has just told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus

Now He turns to His disciples and talks to them about their responsibility. What is required of them as His followers? This is their duty. They are not to do these things in order to be acceptable to Him but rather they are to do these things because they belong to Him. This is what is to mark them as His children. Called out – separated from the world.

In many respects it is a strange message. In fact it seems even contradictory.

Thesis: The Christian life demands a life of exacting obedience fueled by absolute dependence.

In other words the demands made on the child of God are impossible for him to fulfill in his own strength and power. He must depend on the strength of another. The message of the New Testament is that what God commands – He enables. Read the Sermon on the Mount. You can’t possibly live up to that – only Christ can. G. Campbell Morgan said there is only one who ever lived the Christian life and he does it over and over again in us! Now, while I cannot do it in my strength – I am responsible to live in obedience to God’s command through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

As we explore this passage we will discover an impossible demand, an enabling gift and a humble reminder.

  1. An impossible demand. 17:1-4
    1. Requirement #1 – Cause no sin. 17:1-3a
    2. Requirement #2 – Confront all sin. 17:3b
    3. Requirement #3 – Forgive any sin. 17:3b-4
  2. An enabling gift. 17:5-6
  3. A humbling reminder. 17:7-10
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In Torment: The Awful Truth of the Gospel

In Torment: The Awful Truth of the Gospel: 2016 Gospel of Luke #65

This is an exposition of Luke 16:19-31. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 16, 2017.

Intro:

It is not a popular theme. I understand that it is not a pleasant subject and there is a sense in which I understand the lack of discussion. It is unsettling and disturbing, so most folks would just as soon not deal with it. But the fact is death comes to all. Death is the most democratic institution on earth. It allows no discrimination and tolerates no exceptions. The mortality rate is a solid 100%. One in one dies! The Bible is clear – death is not the end of personal existence. Life does not end at the grave. That makes the big question – “What then?” What happens after death? According to Jesus the fate awaiting those who reject the Gospel is as bad and terrifying as can be imagined and everyone needs to be told. Yet the doctrine of hell has fallen on hard times. Baptists who were once known as those “hell fire and brimstone” folks have become too sophisticated to talk of such “old fashion” notions.

According to a nation wide survey in 1968, 70% of Americans believed there was a literal hell. Eleven years later, in 1979, Newsweek conducted another survey and found that only 58% believed in a literal hell. A 1988 survey found only 39% thought hell might exist and a year later; a Gallop poll found only 24%. In 20 years the numbers fell from 3 out of 4 to only 1 in 4. Martin Marty, in preparing a series of lectures on the subject of hell for a presentation at Harvard, surveyed the major theological journals of the past 100 yeas and failed to find a single entry dealing with the subject of hell.

There has been a disturbing trend within the church in the past 30 years. Groups of scholars gather for dialogue and inevitably they manage to “talk away” any doctrine they find disturbing or troublesome. They take the Scriptures and look at each story, each event and determine whether or not it fits their view of God. If it doesn’t fit into their system it is excluded. “This must be something added later rather than a part of the original.” I’m thinking that maybe it’s time for less dialogue and more monologue, and let’s let God do the talking.

Text: Luke 16:19-31

This is a familiar passage. There has been a great deal of discussion as to whether this is a parable or an actual account. The text does not say it is a parable. Some argue if it is a parable it is the only one containing a name. I’m convinced that it is a parable. And that Jesus used it to punctuate his discussion with the Pharisees that took place earlier in Luke 16. Keep in mind a parable is meant to be heard. It is intended to drive home a point. It is not intended as exhaustive theological teaching. It serves to illustrate basic truths concerning the Kingdom of God. The thrust of this story is to drive home the point that:

Thesis: In the life to come, there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain.

Jesus, with the skill of an artist paints for us a moving portrait of the life to come. The drama is played out in three acts.

  1. As the curtain rises on act 1 we discover a stark contrast. (16:19-21)
  2. Act 2 – A startling reversal. (16:22-24)
  3. Act 3 – A frightening reality. (16:25-31)

Conclusion:
Your future life is dependent upon your relationship with God not your works. Not how good you are or what you try to do. The issue is what have you done with Christ? Is this a message of despair? No. You’ve heard the message of the Gospel. The door is open. If you are not a believer. If you have not trusted in Christ and Christ alone, I urge you for the sake of your soul – come to Christ!

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How the New Covenant Fulfilled the Old Covenant

How the New Covenant Fulfilled the Old Covenant

This message by guest preacher Jesse Johnson was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, July 9, 2017.

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Out with the Old, and in with the New: God’s Redemptive Plan through Covenant

Out with the Old, and in with the New: God’s Redemptive Plan through Covenant

This is an exposition of Jeremiah 31:31-34. This message by guest preacher Jesse Johnson was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 9, 2017. Jesse grew up at First Baptist Prue. He graduated from OBU and then Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

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Why Don’t You Grow Up?

Why Don’t You Grow Up?: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #9

This is an exposition of 1 Peter 3:8-12This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, July 2, 2017.

Intro:

You’ve heard it said a thousand times. You’ve no doubt said it to others. Others have said it to you. “Why don’t you grow up?” But growing up is not an easy thing to do! I mean of course we all get older. That is the natural result of not dying. But growing up, that’s something else. You can get older and not grow up. Gray hair is no assurance that you have maturity. How do you determine whether or not you are maturing? How do you know if you are more mature now than you where a year ago? Has living another 12 months made any difference?

Growth/maturity is the natural course of life. If I have a plant and it is not growing – I know something is wrong. Without sickness or disease growth must come. Growing up is a stated objective in the Christian life. If you are a child of God – God intends that you grow up. How do I know that? He said so – Hebrews 5:11-6:3.

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits…

God intends that we grow up and in fact, appears to be miffed if we do not!

Chuck Swindoll said, “Few things are as pathetic to behold as those who have known the Lord for years but still can’t get in out of the rain doctrinally and biblically.”

But beyond the fact that maturity should be the natural result of walking with Christ, is the fact that maturity is essential to life in this fallen, broken world. That is Peter’s point in our text this evening.

Text: 1 Peter 3:8-12

Peter is writing to hurting, frightened people.
The first great wave of persecution has begun.
People are dying for their faith – others will suffer the same fate.
Peter writes to encourage but also to strengthen their resolve.
After laying the doctrinal foundation he begins to apply the Gospel.
Pointing out, we have been called to a life of radical holiness.
We are a peculiar people – set apart for God’s glory.
Our relationship with Christ is to impact every area of life.
Our relationship towards authority.
Our relationship with our spouse, children, and our employers.
Our faith is to inform our decisions and our lifestyles.

But don’t remove this from the context – the context of living out the faith in a hostile environment. Living the faith in less than ideal circumstances. Living the faith when others don’t follow the rules. When others don’t play fair. Peter reminds us in this passage that:

Thesis: Maturity is essential to survival in a hostile environment.

There are three things about Christian maturity I want us to note in our text.

  1. Christian maturity exhibits genuine grace. (3:8)
  2. Christian maturity is marked by a spirit of forgiveness. (3:9)
  3. Christian maturity is characterized by purity and peace. (3:10-12)

Conclusion:

So, you’re growing older. Are you growing wiser? You’ve gotten gray-headed, but have you grown up?

Maturity is essential to survival in a hostile environment.
Christian maturity exhibits genuine grace.
Christian maturity is marked by a spirit of forgiveness.
Christian maturity is characterized by purity and peace.

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The Uncomfortable Truth of the Gospel

The Uncomfortable Truth of the Gospel: 2016 Gospel of Luke #64

This is an exposition of Luke 16:14-18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 2, 2017.

Intro:

“Can’t we all just get along?” Isn’t that what we all want? I think most of us are adverse to controversy. Oh, we all know those folks who live to argue but most of us would be content to “live and let live” but is that possible if truth really exists? If there is such a thing as “truth” with a capital “T,” that is something that is always true at all times and in all places can we say, “Live and let live?” Particularly if we are talking about spiritual matters. If what we believe is true, salvation is found in Christ and in Christ alone, and we’ve been commanded by our God to take that message to the world, can we peacefully coexist with those who reject and outright deny that truth? I’m not talking about “armed rebellion” or legislative action, when I say peacefully coexist I’m simply asking, “Can we remain silent and let folks believe and think as they wish without our saying something?” Granted it is clear our position has been losing ground for at least 20 years. The moral tide has shifted so radically in the last 5 years it makes one’s head spin but this has been coming for a lot longer period of time. In a culture that refuses to accept absolutes, that demands that truth is relative and self-defined it is considered an unpardonable sin to suggest that someone is wrong or that a belief is false. For too long for fear of being labeled a fanatic or branded a troublemaker believers have remained silent. In an attempt to be loving we instead committed a cruel act of hatred by not telling the truth. Crying, “Peace” in a time of danger is not love. It is at best cowardice and at worst hate. Love demands we speak the truth even if it is uncomfortable. Love demands we risk being misunderstand. Love demands we speak the truth of the Gospel as the only means of rescuing the lost and dying. Yes, we speak it in love and with compassion but we speak it. We declare the truth with humility and grace but we declare it. For an example of this we need look no further than to our Lord himself. Our text this morning is found in Luke Luke 16 beginning with Luke 16:14.

Text: Luke 16:14-18

The context is that our Lord is on his way to Jerusalem to die.
Back in Luke 9 he set his face for Jerusalem – he steadfastly determined to go there.
There is no turning back, the time set by the Father in eternity past has now come.
He is marching to the cross.
Along the way he is teaching and preaching.
He is, at various points, drawn into conflict with the Religious Establishment.
The Scribes and Pharisees have been plotting on how to be rid of this trouble-making rabbi.
There was that dinner party in the home of a Pharisee.
There was subsequent instruction about the cost of discipleship.
There was that rebuke of the RE’s impure motives.
He spoke of the darkness of their hearts in the parable of the Great Banquet.
There was the parable of lost things – contrasting the love of God with the coldness of the RE.
Then at the beginning of Luke 16 that strange parable about the shrewd manager.

This was a word to his “disciples” (1) about the proper use of material blessing for the kingdom purposes, the need for faithfulness and the folly of trying to serve 2 masters.

That bring us to our text. The religious establishment has been listening to all of this. They can contain themselves no longer. There is an interruption and some subsequent words. We begin with Luke 16:14

[Read Text]

From this brief exchange we are reminded that…

Thesis: Heaven is not gained through meticulous adherence to rules and regulations but by simple faith and trust in the Gospel.

There are 3 things I want us to note in our text.

  1. The unrighteous mock and readily dismiss the plain truth of Scripture when it contradicts their sinful desires. (16:14)
  2. Our Lord rightly rebukes any and all attempts at self-justification. (16:15)
  3. The only way to enter the kingdom is to understand the right use of the law and the absolute necessity of grace. (16:16-18)
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The Anatomy of Sin

The Anatomy of Sin: Selected Psalms

The PsalmsThis is an exposition of Psalm 53. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, June 28, 2017.

  1. Sins nature (v. 1-3): It is corrupt and universal. Sin is born in unbelief.
  2. The Fruit of Sin (v. 4-5): It brings spiritual death, making the sinner unable to understand, and fills him with dread.
  3. Contrast of those who believe (v. 6): This is the great hope of the Christian: deliverance, peace, life, and the ability to overcome.
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Our Great Salvation

Our Great Salvation

This is an exposition of Romans 5:1-11. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 25, 2017.

Intro:

It was a great sermon. I had heard E.V. Hill on several occasions and had never been disappointed but the sermon I heard that year in Dallas was exceptional. He told of preaching a sermon one evening in Los Angelus when an angry young black man approached him after the service. He told Dr. Hill that he was a member of the Black Panthers and had listen to him call for people to “trust in Jesus” but he wanted to know why he should trust Jesus. The young man said, “After all, what do you have when you have Jesus?” For the next hour Dr. Hill held the crowd spellbound as he told us what he had told the young man many years before. He had just finished the third thing you receive when you receive Jesus – it had been over an hour – and he said, “I’ve got 12 of these!” A year later, I was in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute for their annual pastor’s conference. E.V. Hill got up to preach and he said, “Last year when I was here I spoke on the subject What do you have when you have Jesus…number 4.” I heard points 4, 5 and 6! It was just as good and the sermon I had heard in Dallas the year before. I never did here the other 6 points but I’m sure they were worth hearing. The apostle Paul has been laying out his argument. He has hammered home the point of man’s sin and guilt before God. That we are fully deserving of His wrath. That we are depraved and stand condemned but that God has made provision for us in Christ. That there is a righteousness outside of us that is accepted by faith. This righteousness enables us to stand before God loved and accepted. This is God’s gift to us by grace through faith. We cannot earn it. We do not deserve it. We do not work for it but rather trust God who justifies the ungodly. In Romans Romans 5 Paul begins to speak to believers about what happens to us as a result of God’s gracious gift. Our text this morning is found in Romans 5:1-11.

Text: Romans 5:1-11

This morning we gather around the Lord’s Table. We gather in remembrance and celebration of what our God has done for us in Christ. What is it our Lord accomplished on the cross? What did he secure for us? What happens when we believe? What changes when we trust in Christ?
Please don’t read this section like a laundry list. I believe Paul is emphasizing that God’s gift of salvation is fixed and settled. That the life and hope given to us cannot be shaken. It cannot be lost regardless of what is thrown at us. Regardless of what trials and troubles hound us. It is fixed and settled because it is rooted in the love of God and secured by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Keep that in mind as we work our way through the text.

There is a hymn like quality to this text.
Paul makes a strong statement about what God has done for us in Christ.
There is such an air of confidence in what he says – to the extent that we “rejoice in our sufferings” (5:3).

All of this serves to remind us that…

Thesis: Our assurance of God’s glory rest securely in God’s gracious provision in Christ.

There are three things I want to point out from our text.

  1. The love of God secures for us a glorious standing before God. (5:1-5)
  2. Such a glorious standing was secured at great cost. (5:6-8)
  3. Our standing assures us a glorious future. (5:9-11)

Prayer
Invitation/Preparation for the Table
Observance of the Table

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Trusting in the Rock

Trusting in the Rock: Selected Psalms

The PsalmsThis is an exposition of Psalm 18:1-24. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, June 21, 2017.

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Great Lessons from a Miserable Pagan

Great Lessons from a Miserable Pagan: 2016 Gospel of Luke #63

This is an exposition of Luke 16:1-13. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning June 18, 2017.

Intro:

It had been an interesting couple of days. Jesus, exhibiting the grit and determination of a street fighter, had been slugging it out with some of the religious establishment. Animosity and hostility had been building for months. The Scribes and Pharisees were determined to destroy the trouble-making rabbi from Galilee. In an attempt to trap him in a compromising situation they invited him to a dinner party. At the dinner they placed a man who was terminally ill. This was no accident. They knew of Jesus’ reputation for compassion and healing. They knew that he did not feel bound by Sabbath regulations. So they set the trap. Jesus obliged by healing the man. But rather than being trapped – he trapped them! They found themselves on the ropes. He then jabbed them with a stern word concerning their pride and arrogance in seeking out the places of honor. And then hit them with a rebuke of their impure motives. Jesus then proceeded to address the darkness of their hearts in failing to respond to the Gospel, in the parable of the Great Banquet. A large crowd gathered around and Jesus spoke of the cost of following him. As all involved were reeling over what they’ve heard Jesus spoke the parable of Lost Things revealing the depth of the love and grace of God. About this time I’m sure the crowd felt as if they’ve heard everything but they were not prepared for what came next. Our text this morning is found in Luke Luke 16 beginning with Luke 16:1.

Text: Luke 16:1-13

Dr. Luke is writing to his good friend Theophilus.
His purpose is to present and accurate account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
The goal is to bring his friend to faith in Christ.
We are in the closing months of our Lord’s earthly life and ministry.
He is determined to go to Jerusalem.
The time appointed in eternity has now come.
The moment of redemption has at last arrived.

This parable is one of those that caused a double take.
There is that part of you that says, “I’m not sure I heard that correctly.”
It is important to note that Jesus spoke these words to his disciples.
This is a word to the “faithful”.
This is intended to instruct those who have committed themselves to following him.
The reason this parable is so unusual is the character of the central figure.
He is a thief. A rogue. A white-collar criminal.
Yet his master commends him for his shrewdness.
The story is called “The Parable of the Shrewd Manager” but I prefer to call it “Lessons from a Miserable Pagan.”

This is one of the reasons why I’m convinced that Jesus was a master storyteller.

Thesis: For only Jesus could use a miserable pagan to teach his followers the importance of diligence, faithfulness and loyalty.

Take a look at this story. Remember the context of a parable, it is a story to be heard. It is intended to leave you with an impression. We must be careful and not read things into it but allow it to speak for itself.

Recount the details.

This lying, scheming thief pulled off another scam. Now, what’s the great lesson our Lord wants his followers to come away with?

As our Lord applies this parable we find three valuable lessons.

  1. The shrewdness of this pagan challenges the believer to diligent planning for the future. (16:8b-9)
  2. The irresponsibility of this pagan reminds us of the necessity of faithfulness. (16:10-12)
  3. The self-serving attitude of this pagan warns us of the danger of trying to serve two masters. (16:13)

Conclusion:

Now that I think about it, I guess you can learn a lot from a miserable pagan. We need to thank him for:

  • challenging us to consider the future.
  • reminding us of the need for faithfulness
  • warning us of the danger of trying to serve two masters.
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