The Aseity of God

The Attributes of God #1. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, April 22, 2015.

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He Came

A Gospel message from John 1:11-12. This message by Roy Emmons was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, April 19, 2015.

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Lessons Drawn from Solomon’s Glory

1 Kings #10: an exposition of 1 Kings 10:1-29. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, April 12, 2015.

Intro:
I remember a line from an old Mel Brooks movie.  I think it was History of the World: Part II, Brooks is playing Louis the XIV.  Through that segment of the movie Brooks would look to the camera and say, “It’s good to be king.”  It was always at a point when the king was indulging in some extravagance.  Living well above the level of his people or engaged is something they would never be able to engage in.  Getting away with something they would never get away with – “It’s good to be king.”  I have to admit when I come to 1 Kings 10 and read this account, a part of me says, “Wow.  It’s good to be king.”  The writer is having a hard time controlling his enthusiasm.  One wonders if there is a bit of hyperbole here but the point is Solomon’s reign was glorious.  Israel was in her golden days.  Israel and her king were the talk of the world.  Riches beyond words.  Exotic animals.  Fantastic structures.  It was all very impressive.  Foreign dignitaries coming, bowing before you and bringing exotic gifts.  It’s good to be king.  Now eventually all this notoriety and extravagance will take its toll on Solomon but there is not a hint of that in the text of chapter 10.  The writer will deal with that later but not here.  For now he wants to overwhelm us with the splendor and majesty of Solomon’s kingdom.  We are told of the visit by the queen of Sheba and then we are taken on a guided tour of the government palace.  It is impressive.  Our text is the 10th chapter of 1 Kings.

Text: 1 Kings 10:1-29

As we work our way through the chapter I want us to see that…

Thesis: The Queen of Sheba’s response to Solomon’s wisdom and wealth reminds us of the source of blessing; it serves as a foreshadowing of future glory and a somber warning against arrogant presumption.

Solomon had gain a world-wide reputation.
He had asked God for wisdom to rule God’s people well.
God granted that request and threw in wealth and honor.
Word of the king and his wisdom had reach the kingdom of Sheba.
Some say that was in SW Arabia near modern day Yemen.
Others suggest it was northern Arabia and the land of the Sabeans.
At any rate the queen made a long journey to Jerusalem to test the king’s wisdom.
No doubt she also desired to secure trade agreements which would be essential to her nation’s survival.  This is the backdrop of our text.

I want to point out 3 things.

  1. The Queen’s response to Solomon’s wisdom and wealth reminds us that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above.  (1 Kings 10:9, 23-24)
  2. The fact of the Queen’s visit is a foreshadowing of the future glory coming to Israel’s great King.  (Psalm 72:8-11, 15; Isaiah 60:5-6)
  3. Jesus warns that the Queen of Sheba will be a witness for the prosecution in the final judgment against those who arrogantly refuse to believe.  (Matthew 12:42)
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A Fearful End

The Parables of Jesus #04: an exposition of Matthew 13:47-52. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, April 12, 2015.

Intro:
It used to be standard fare on the revival circuit and in Southern Baptist Churches.  It was heard in brush arbor meetings, tent revivals and even in the stained-glass sanctuaries of downtown churches.  It thundered from makeshift pulpits with a country twang and flowed from the silver-tongued orators from our most respected schools.  It was the message of God’s judgment on the wicked and unrepentant.  Now such a thing is considered unsophisticated.  In our more mature, sophisticated society such a message is considered vulgar, bigoted and an embarrassment.  Few today are asking, “What must I do to be saved?”  It seems there is nothing to be saved from.  There is no need for deliverance.  Such outdated notions were just a means for keeping folks “in line” and controlling the unlearned.  Science is our new savior.  Education will deliver us.  We must get rid of anything that prevents us from enjoying ourselves now and achieving maximum satisfaction in this life because this life is all there is.  Deny it all you want.  The Scripture is clear.  There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.  Our text this morning is found in the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

Text: Matthew 13:47-52

We are returning this morning to our study of the parables of Jesus.
A parable is an earthly story of heavenly significance.
It is the use of the common and ordinary to illustrate the extraordinary.
While Jesus did not invent the parable, he was a master of the parable.

He often taught His disciples great truths of the kingdom by pointing at a familiar sight and saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like that.  A man sowed seed in his field…”

So far we’ve considered the parable of the soils.
A man sowed seed…
Some fell along the path and the birds took it away…
Some fell on rocky soil, there was no depth and when the sun rose the plants withered…
Other seed fell into crowded soil where weeds and thorns choked the life out of it…
Some fell on good soil and produced a crop, some 30, some 60, some 100 fold…

We then considered the parables of the weeds, the mustard seed, and leaven.
An enemy planted weeds – the church grows in spite of being entangled with evil.
Mustard seed – don’t despise small beginnings.
Leaven – the power of the church to transform culture.

We saw the great worth of the Gospel in the parables of the hidden treasure and pear of great price.

This morning we come to the parable of the dragnet.

We have to be careful with this parable.  We see the image of the dragnet and catching fish and we are tempted to connect it to evangelism.  After all Jesus said to Peter, James and John, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”  This parable is not about evangelism.  When our Lord interprets a parable for us (as he does in this one 13:49) we must not take it in another direction!  We must not add further elements to it.

It seems very clear our Lord had one truth to make with the telling of this story.  A truth that is foreign to our modern ears.  A truth that is difficult for some to believe.  For many it seems God’s sole responsibility is to love and forgive.  As I visit with people today it seems most believe in salvation by death.  It is assumed that when you die you go to heaven.  It makes no difference how you’ve lived, what you’ve believed, whether you had anything to do with the church or had ever given any serious thought to God or your soul.

The truth made abundantly clear through this parable is that…

Thesis: Contrary to popular opinion, and despite nearly universal denial, there is coming a day of judgment in which the wicked will meet a terrifying end.

I understand that is not popular.
I understand that is not a “feel good” message.
Yet it is the truth!

There are 2 very simple, basic truths in this text.

  1. There is coming a day of Judgment.  (13:47-49)
  2. The wicked will meet a terrifying end.  (13:50)

Conclusion:
Listen, there is coming a day of judgment and the end of the wicked is terrifying but it doesn’t have to be.  God, in grace and mercy has provided the means of escape.  If you will come to Christ.  Admit you are a sinner in rebellion against God.  Admit you are deserving of His wrath and judgment and will repent, turn from your sin and truth in Christ alone – you will be saved.  You will be heading for heavenly bliss and joy unspeakable rather than agony and torment.  What will you do with the Gospel?

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Resurrection Hope

This message from Matthew 28:1-10 was delivered by Pastor Rod Harris at Trinity Baptist Church on Easter Sunday morning, April 5, 2015.

Intro:
Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you?  I remember the last game of the 1976 football season at Webster High School.  I remember it because I was a junior and it was the only game I played in all year!  I got to play because we were down to the final two minutes and we were ahead by 40 points.  The coach thought it was safe to put me in.  We ran a couple of plays (I was a center).  I got called for holding and we lost 15 yards.  We eventually lost the ball and I came off the field.  Coach Black, the defensive coach sent we back out to play nose guard.  The head coach called me back off the field the next play.  When he turned his back – coach Black sent me back in.  This went on for a couple of plays.  Finally coach Gibson said, “I don’t want Harris at nose guard.”  When he walked off coach Black said, “Go in at linebacker!”  “What’s that?  What do I do?”  He said, “Just go out there and stand in the middle.”  That’s just what I did.  I stood there.  The quarterback dropped back to pass.  He scrambled right.  He scrambled left.  I didn’t move.  He throws the ball…right to me!  I made an interception.  I took two steps and someone buried their helmet in my side.  Everyone was screaming.  “Alright.”  “Way to go.”  I finally managed to moan, “I can’t breathe.”  That’s a shock to your system.

On the morning of January 22, 2014 we were rushing around trying to get everything together to head to the hospital to welcome our Andi into the world.  The phone rang and I answered.  “Rod?  This is Wayne, are you setting down?”  It was my niece’s husband.  They never call.  “Ron died this morning.”  I sat down.

Jolting blows.  Whether they come on the football field, over the telephone or in a doctor’s office, take the wind out of you.  One minute there is joy, excitement, laughter and celebration.  The next there is pain, heartache and darkness.  Life is filled with jolting blows.  The physical ones last a few minutes.  The emotional blows can last a lifetime.
The issue becomes ow do you respond when life knocks you down?  How do you respond when things do not go according to plan?  When your hopes are dashed to the ground.  When discouragement becomes your permanent address?

Where do you find hope?  I believe there is hope for the hopeless and it is found at the Garden Tomb early Sunday morning.

Text: Matthew 28:1-10

Today is Easter Sunday.  Granted every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection for the people of God.  We gather week in and week out in celebration of the fact that Christ is alive.  We do not gather to remember a martyr for our cause.  We serve a Risen Savor!

Normally we take time on Easter Sunday to give evidence of the empty tomb.
We focus on the cross.
And that is entirely appropriate.

The fact is:

  • Christ said we would rise
  • The New Testament records His resurrection
  • The empty tomb declares it
  • The transformation of the disciples proves it
  • Our experience confirms it

But I want to take a moment this morning and talk about the fruit of Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection assures our redemption.  It affirms God’s approval and acceptance of Christ’s life and death.  By His blood we are redeemed.  Because of Christ we are saved.  And what does that salvation include?

I want to share one very practical implication of Christ’s resurrection.

Thesis: The God of resurrection power inspires hope in the face of discouragement and despair.

I want you to discover two powerful truths revealed in this text about dealing with discouragement.  Two truths that I believe are critical to your winning the war with despair.

  1. Discouragement is born out of unfulfilled expectations.  (28:1)
  2. Discouragement vanishes in the light of the resurrection.  (28:2-10)

Conclusion:
But I don’t want to leave things there.  For to end there is to leave out the true wonder of our Gospel hope.  You need to understand that what happened that week 2000 years ago was not a tragic miscarriage of justice.  It was not another black chapter in the history of rogue religion.  It was the eternal plan and purpose of God.  It was the apex of a story that began not in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  Not even with creation but long before, in Eternity past when God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit agreed to redeem a people.  He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
Adam rebelled and plunged the entire creation into sin and ruin.  Fellowship with God was broken.  Man in his sin was alienated from a holy God.  Yet God called, “Adam!  Where are you?”  In shame Adam and Eve sought to cover their nakedness.  God himself covered them through the death of an innocent one – foreshadowing what was to come.  God continued to reach out to the human family through Noah, Abraham and the nation of Israel.  Yet man continued in sin.  God continued His loving pursuit.  Until ultimately He came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  After 33 sinless years, perfectly obeying the will of God, he was betrayed, beaten, mocked, scorned and executed.  But this was no tragedy.  This was the will and purpose of God.  No one “took” his life from him – he gave it.  He gave it in payment for our sin.  Then, on the third day, he rose triumphantly from the grave.  Therein is our hope.  Listen to the words of the apostle Peter…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

This whole section from verse 3 through verse 12 is one sentence.  In English it has been made into several so that it makes sense – but in Greek it is one sentence.  English grammar may consider that a nightmare but this is one gloriously eloquent statement of salvation.  Image piled upon image.  Truth stacked upon truth.

God took the initiative because of His love and grace.
Man rebelled, God reconciled.
Man hid, God came searching.
Why?  Because He is merciful, kind and loving.

The message of Easter is that there is hope for you because God in grace and mercy has made provision for your sin.  There is life and hope if you will acknowledge your sin.  Repent/turn away from your sin.  And trust in Christ alone.  The Bible is clear apart from Christ you are without God and without hope in this world.  Come to Christ and find hope.  Find in him forgiveness and life both now and forevermore.

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Living Before the Face of God

1 Kings #09: an exposition of 1 Kings 9:1-28. This message by pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 29, 2015.

Intro:

We hear it often, “His personal life is none of our business.  How he choses to live has nothing to do with his job.”  We most often hear that in connection with politicians.  Doesn’t matter what his lifestyle is, that’s separate from his job in the congress.  We may hear, “He’s not much of a human being but he’s a fine actor.”  There is truth to that.  When I take my car to the mechanic I don’t need to know his politics or what is his stance on same sex marriage – I want to know does he know anything about transmissions?  Can he fix what is wrong with my car?  On the other hand it is, at best naive, to think that one’s personal life, politics, beliefs and behaviors have nothing to do with how he conducts his business.  We often hear from those who disagree with our faith and or moral stance, “Faith is a private matter.  You need to keep that to yourself.  That’s fine down at the church but it has no place here in school or the public arena.”  Really?  Can you separate things that neatly?  Can you divorce your deeply held, cherished beliefs from other areas you can about?  Just from a purely practical, pragmatic point of view is that even possible?  Am I to believe a thorough going secularist leaves his personal beliefs out of his politics?  Am I to believe his beliefs never influence the way he does business or the decisions he makes?  Such thinking is nonsense.  Of course beliefs influence practices.  By necessity what you believe influences how you live, choices you make and the way you interact with others.  That’s true for everyone.  Further as the people of God we are commanded to order our lives according to our faith.  We are not to be those who are hearers of the word only.  In other words it is not enough to know what Scripture says, we are to live out those truths.  I’m supposed to act like a Christian on Sunday and on Thursday afternoon.  I’m supposed to order my life according to Scripture when I’m leading that Bible study and when I’m meeting with that customer, closing the deal on Tuesday evening.  My faith is to determine how I respond to my supervisor and that foolish new system she insist on putting in place.  To give your life to Christ is to give your whole life to Christ.  To be a Christian, a follower of Christ is a full-time job.  I am to live my faith 24/7.  I sometimes joke with people when I’m having a meal with them.  They will say, “Pastor would like like to ask the blessing on the meal?”  I say, “No thanks.  I’m off the clock.”  There is no time “off the clock” as God’s child.  There are no areas of life that are excluded from influence.  Our text this evening is 1 Kings chapter 9.

Text: 1 Kings 9:1-28

1 Kings 9 is…well…interesting.
At first glance there seems to be this coherent statement (9:1-9) followed by mass confusion.
9:10-28 just seems to be a bit of this and a piece of that.
The section reads to me like a draw of newspaper clippings.
Little snips out of Solomon’s life as king.
Not in any particular order and totally unrelated.

I will admit to being a little confused and wondering if this was the chapter I would skip over.
But as I read over it several times considering each section something focused for me.
It is clear from the construction that there are two sections.

9:1-9 and 9:10-28.
Each begins with a statement about Solomon’s building.
Again, I don’t want to “spiritualize” the message.
But I do want to draw from it principles that relate to us.
After all Scripture is written for our benefit and all Scripture is profitable.

The message for us is that…

Thesis: We are called to a life of devotion and a pursuit of excellence as an expression of our faithfulness to God.

We are not Solomon.  I don’t believe that any of us have been called to be king of Israel but the principles stated in this chapter apply to all of us.  I want to point out a couple of things from our text.

  1. As the people of God we are to live each day before the face of God.  (9:1-9)
  2. As the people of God we are to pursue our vocation as an expression of our faithfulness to God.  (9:10-28)

20
What you must not lose sight of is that 9:10-28 happens in the shadow of 9:1-9.
The call to faithfulness, integrity and uprightness is to dominate the pursuit of our vocation.
All of life is to be lived before the face of God.

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Behold Our God: Sovereign, Savior & Servant

This message from Luke 22:14-27 was delivered by Pastor Rod Harris at Trinity Baptist Church on Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015.

Intro:

It was a time for feasting, celebrating and remembering the deliverance of God.  A time for families to gather about the table as the head of the family retold the old, old story of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage.  Special foods had been prepared and arranged for the celebration.  A thick paste of dates, raisins and apples reminded them of the mortar and bricks of Egypt.  Bitter herbs reminded them of the bitterness of slavery.  The Paschal Lamb was the symbol of the blood that caused the death angel to “passover.”  Yes, this was a night of solemn remembrance and a night of rejoicing.

A small band of brothers gathered with their master in an upper room to celebrate the Passover meal.  For the past three years they have traveled with this rabbi.  They have been amazed at the power and the beauty of his message.  They stood in awe of his authority to command the winds and the waves.  Through wet eyes they watched as he opened the eyes of the blind, made the lame to walk and even raised the dead.  Now with troubled hearts and minds they are trying to make sense of the events of the past week.  Increasingly he has talked of his coming death.  Excited and frightened, thrilled and horrified they gathered.  They gathered to partake of the Passover ritual.  The centuries old tradition of recounting God’s deliverance of his people.  From their earliest days they have gathered on this night to remember.  Year after year recounting the same story yet each of them knew, instinctively, that this night was different but they were unprepared for followed.

Our text this morning is found in Luke’s gospel chapter 22.

Text: Luke 22:1-27

These are sacred moments.
Our Lord is in the Holy Place fast approaching the Holy of Holies.
God’s eternal plan of the ages is approaching its climax.
There is a sense in which I feel the urge to speak in hushed tones.
I get the sense that I am intruding on a sacred moment.
Yet by God’s design these events are recorded for us and given as a sacred treasure.
A treasure revealing the wonder and glory of our Savior.

Our problem is that we are too familiar with this passage.
We can tell the story and repeat every detail.
We speak dispassionately about the betrayal.  We glibly recount the details of the meal and the establishment of a new memorial.  I have to ask, “Do we stop and meditate?  Do we consider the ramifications of the events in that room that night 2000 years ago?”

Do me a favor, do yourself a favor, and look at this passage with new eyes.
See it as if you have never seen it before.
Experience what these men experienced that night.

In looking at this text we discover that:

Thesis: As the drama of redemption unfolds a clear picture of our Lord emerges as sovereign, savior and servant.

The drama unfolds in three parts.

  1. An act of unspeakable betrayal.  (22:1-6, 21-23; John 13)
    The Gospel portrays the Lord Jesus not as the hapless victim but as the sovereign Lord.
  2. The price of redemption.  (22:7-20)
    The Gospel sets forth the Lord Jesus as the gracious Savior willingly laying down his life for his own.
  3. A shocking reality.  (22:24-27)
    The Gospel reveals the Lord Jesus not as some petty authority demanding recognition but as a gracious servant serving the ignorant and underserving.

In the passage before us we find the institution of the Lord’s Supper but it is much more than that.  It is a revelation of the Lord Jesus as Sovereign, Savior and Servant.

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The Greatness and Glory of Our God

1 Kings #08: an exposition of 1 Kings 8:1-66. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 15, 2015.

Intro:
What is your understanding of God?  How do you picture Him?  When you think of God what dominates your thinking?  I cringe at what I hear people say.  There seems to be such a flippant attitude.  It is not always that the person making the remark means it in a flippant way but the attitude is too casual.  Their God is too small.  I heard it this last week.  “Well, it’s in His hand now.  No one knows but the ‘man upstairs.’”  The man upstairs?  You mean the eternal God?  The one who spoke and the entire universe came into being?  The one who put the stars in their place who holds all things together by the power of His might?  That’s the man upstairs?  Or the thinking is that the Eternal One is my buddy.  Yes, God is loving, merciful and kind.  He is gracious and He relates to us on a personal basis but He is not your buddy.  Or an individual, a church or a denomination feels they have perfectly identified Him in their doctrinal statement or confession of faith.  He doesn’t fit in any of our boxes!  There is no adequate statement.  Yes, He has revealed himself in Scripture.  He has made himself known in history.  He has ultimately shown himself in the person of the Lord Jesus but you cannot define Him.  No words do Him justice.  There is profound mystery surrounding our God.

It was an impressive sight.  Not only the build itself but the pomp and circumstance surrounding it.  It was the seventh month.  It was the Feast of Booths, a time of commemorating the wilderness wandering.  This was the appropriate time for dedicating the temple for this marked the end of Israel’s wandering.  They were now established in the land that had been given to them.  The symbol of God’s presence was now completed.  God would dwell in the midst of his people in a permanent house.  The Ark of the Covenant is brought along with the holy vessels.  The king offers a dedication prayer and the glory of God fills the temple.  As we look in on this event we witness something of the glory and greatness of our God.  There is no mistaking – He is the focal point of this chapter.  He is front and center in this drama.  Our text this evening is 1 Kings chapter 8.

Text: 1 Kings 8;1-66

This is a long chapter and we are not going to go into great detail.  Rather I’m going to pull out a few things for us to consider.  As I’ve look at the chapter I’m convince that…

Thesis: Solomon’s dedication of the temple celebrates the greatness and the glory of our God.

When you consider the structure of the chapter it becomes clear that Solomon’s prayer is the heart of the chapter.

Structure of the Chapter (Dale Ralph Davis)
Celebration and Sacrifice – 8:1-13
Blessing Israel and Yahweh – 8:14-21
Solomon’s Prayer – 8:22-53
Blessing Israel and Yahweh – 8:54-61
Celebration and Sacrifice – 8:62-66

I want to explore the chapter under the heading of the greatness and glory of God.

I will call you attention to three things.

  1. First, as the chapter unfolds we are struck by the profound mystery and yet the exact clarity of our God.  (8:1-13)
  2. We are greatly encouraged by the unflinching faithfulness of our God.  (8:23-24)
  3. We are humbled by the immensity and yet intimacy of our God.  (8:27-61)
    • 8:27-30 – The heavens cannot contain him yet he hears our prayers.
    • 8:31-53 – He is absolutely holy yet merciful.
    • 8:41-43 – He is Israel’s God yet He loves the entire world.
    • 8:54-61 – He is moving all things to His predetermined end yet provides each day’s necessities.

Conclusion:
Here is a biblical view of God:

  • He is one who is profoundly mysterious and yet very clear.
  • He is one who is incomparably faithful to His word and to His people.
  • He is one who is transcendant and yet intimate.

He won’t fit into your box no matter how big you make it.
He alone is God.

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The Publican and the Pharisee

This exposition of Luke 18:9-14 was delivered by Brother Roy Emmons at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 22, 2015.

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The Best Meal You’ve Ever Had

This exposition of John 21:9-13 was delivered by guest preacher Bobby Reid at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 22, 2015.

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