The Life of the Trusting Saint

The Life of The Trusting Saint

The PsalmsThis is an exposition of Psalm 91. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 19, 2016.

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Lessons from a Precarious Yet Secure Kingdom

Lessons from a Precarious Yet Secure Kingdom: 2 Kings #15

Exposition of Second KingsThis is an exposition of 2 Kings 11:1-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 16, 2016.


I don’t consider myself a “nervous Nelly” but I don’t like uncertainty.  I don’t like close games if my team is involved.  I don’t like close calls if it involves the car I’m riding in.  I don’t want to hear, “You passed…barely!”  Thus I find great comfort and encouragement in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.  I like knowing that His will is going to prevail.  I like knowing that the purposes of God cannot fail.  I’m comforted in knowing that my future is secure in Christ.  I can sing with great gusto, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!”  That’s why I meet passages like 2 Kings 11 with mixed emotions.  On the one hand greatly encouraged and confirmed in the power and grace of God to perform His word and yet wondering how could failure have been that close?

Back in 2 Samuel 7 God promised David a son would sit on his throne forever.  “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (7:16).  Yet that promise was to be worked out in the turbulence and upheaval of human history.  David died and his son Solomon assumed the throne in the midst of turmoil and struggle.  Following Solomon’s death the kingdom divided.  Ten tribes gathered in the formation of the Northern Kingdom of Israel while David’s heir ruled over the postage stamp sized kingdom to the South, Judah.  Then there came a day in about 840 BC when it looked like there would be no king from the royal linage of David.  The future of the Davidic Kingdom, the eventual arrival of the Messiah and the salvation of the world hung on a single infant hidden away in the house of the Lord!

Our text this evening is the 11th chapter of 2 Kings as we learn some lessons from a precarious yet secure kingdom.

Text: 2 Kings 11:1-20

As I read through and consider the message of 2 Kings 11, it seemed to me the writer was saying in the midst of all the secrecy, assassination, and intrigue, “Do not despair, God ensures the future of His people.”

That really is our hope.  No matter how dark the night, regardless of how precarious the future may seem, God is in control.  He is responsible for the fulfillment of His promise.  He will see to the future of His kingdom and the well being of His people.  This doesn’t mean we have no role to play.  It doesn’t mean that we are mere spectators.  We are responsible for our obedience.  We are to remain faithful and diligent to the task assigned but the burden is on Him, not us.  I, for one, am grateful.

We have in 2 Kings 11 a historical narrative to bring us up to speed on what is happening in the southern kingdom of Judah at the time of Jehu’s coup.  You remember Jehu was anointed king and told to bring an end to the house of Ahab.  He relished this task as he seized power in the North.  He killed Joram and had his body tossed in Naboth’s vineyard.  He went ahead and took out Ahaziah king of Judah since he was there.  Jezebel was tossed out the window and eaten by dogs.  Jehu then called for the heads of the 70 sons of Ahab living in Samaria.  There was the slaughter of the 42 relatives of Ahaziah; followed by the destruction of all who remained from Ahab’s house in Samaria.  He then slaughtered the worshipers of Baal along with their priests and destroyed the temple of Baal.  Jehu then took his seat on the throne of Israel.  But he was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel with all his heart.  He continued the calf worship of Dan and Bethel.  Though he was promised by God that 4 generations would occupy the throne God began to cut off parts of Israel (10:32).

the 11 could have the heading, “Meanwhile back in Judah…”
What is happening back in Judah given this leadership vacuum?
The king is dead, members of the royal family have been wiped out?
It is a story of a lust for power, cruelty, cunning, deception and redemption.

As we work our way through the text I just want to make some observations.  I want to draw from this tragic tale some lessons that to inform our faith and our living the life to which we’ve been called.

  1. Compromise of the things of God always proves disastrous.
  2. The godless go to great lengths to disrupt the will of God. (11:1)
  3. Our God delights in using the obscure and unknown to accomplish His purpose.  (11:2)
  4. Returning to God demands turning away from any and all competing deities.  (11:17-20)
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Five Loaves, Two Fish and Twelve Baskets

Five Loaves, Two Fish and Twelve Baskets: 2016 Gospel of Luke # 33

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 9:10-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 16, 2016.


The task of preaching is an intimidating assignment to say the least.  It is a task that is filled with both joy and frustration.  While there is never a lack of material for one can never exhaust the subject, there is the frustration of knowing you are not adequate for the job!  There is a level of presumption if one thinks he can adequately express great eternal truths.  There is something absurd about a man standing to say, “My subject this morning is God, the universe and related topics.”  To try and capture the character and nature of God in a sermon is a bit like attempting to capture the Pacific Ocean in a thimble!  While I feel wholly inadequate there was One who perfectly revealed Him.

In fact we are told that God spoke to man in various ways, through various means in times past but He has spoke His final word in this Man.  This one was called the exact representation of the eternal God.  In fact He was God made flesh.  John tells us that as we behold the Lord Jesus we behold the glory of the only begotten Son of God.  John goes on to say that no one has ever seen God but this one makes Him known.  This one reveals Him, unfolds Him, and explains Him.  This is why Jesus said; “If you’ve seen Me you have seen the Father.”  What is God like?  Look to the Lord Jesus.

This is important because there are so many false pictures of God circulating.  False notions of what God is like and how He acts.  These false notions are often promoted by the way believers live and act.  We must strive to accurately reflect the character and nature of our God, yet we must also realize that we are, at best, a flawed, imperfect representation.  We must constantly point to Christ.  Keep that in mind as we consider one of the great miracles of our Lord, as it is recorded in Luke Luke 9.

Text: Luke 9:10-17

Luke the careful historian is presenting his friend Theophilus with an accurate account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus.  His purpose is evangelistic, aimed at the heart as well as the head.  Here we find Luke’s account of the feeding of the 5000.  This is one of two miracles found in all 4 Gospels, the other being the resurrection.  It is a very familiar story.  We’ve all heard it since we were children but there is a great truth to be found in it.
For this passage reminds us that:

Thesis: The miracles of Jesus provide profound insight into the character of our God.

This is what God is like.
This is how He responds to need.
This is how He handles interruptions.

There are three things I want you to note from our text.

  1. The feeding of the 5000 reveals the wonder-working power of the Lord Jesus.
  2. The feeding of the 5000 demonstrates the tender, compassionate heart of the Savior.
  3. The feeding of the 5000 displays the abundant generosity of the Sovereign One.

What does all this mean to us?

The God we serve is a God of great power who intervenes on behalf of the hurting and does so with great generosity.

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A Somber Warning

A Somber Warning: 2 Kings #14

Exposition of Second KingsThis is an exposition of 2 Kings 10:1-36. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 9, 2016.


A unique thing happened during the first presidential debate between Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton.  There was no reference to God by either candidate.  There was no appeal to God, Divine Providence, personal faith or even reference to “civil” religion so common in the American political process.  That signals a change.  It is further evidence that we are losing ground as far as religion’s seat at the political table.  Oh, there is still the effort to reach out and court the church’s vote but no longer the need to speak of God’s hand guiding or God’s favor on us.  While that is troubling in the sense that we are becoming increasingly secular in may not be all that bad when you consider the danger of faux faith or pretend commitment expressed merely to court the vote of a particular group.  If you take faith seriously, if you believe God actually exists, pretend faith is never a good thing.  To pay lip service to God while having no intention of living out the truth of such claims is to invite the judgment of God.  If you need proof of that just read the Old Testament.  In fact our text this evening could easily serve as exhibit A.  Our text tonight is the 10th chapter of 2 Kings.

Text: 2 Kings 10:1-36

In 2 Kings 9 Jehu is anointed king of Israel.  You remember he was sitting with his council when the young prophet burst into the room.  The prophet insisted on a private meeting and anointed Jehu and said he was to annihilate Ahab’s family.  As he approached Jezreel the watchman announced someone was coming.  I rider when sent out to see if he came in peace.  Jehu made it clear he had not come in peace and for the man to get in line and join him.  A second rider is sent and the same thing happens.  Finally Joram and Ahaziah go out themselves.  Joram is killed and his body dumped in Naboth’s vineyard.  Ahaziah is then struck down.  Jezebel is then tossed out of the tower and trampled.  Later the dogs ate everything but her head, hands and feet.  In 2 Kings 10 the butchery continues.

It is not easy reading.

Troubling questions arise.

How is this advancing God’s agenda?

How does this serve the Kingdom?

There are summary statements in 2 Kings 10:11, 17 and 28.

10:11 – So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab…

10:17 – …Till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the LORD…

10:28 – Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel…

It is easy to get caught up in the details of the chapter and miss the larger point.  So we need to back out a bit and ask what does this tell us about God, about our service to Him, about how we relate to Him?  When we do so a message begins to shine through…

Thesis: The life of Jehu serves to warn us of the danger of ambition wedded to half-hearted religious devotion.

The word God gave to Elisha to give to Jehu just happened to fit nicely with Jehu’s own longings and desires.  For me there is no other explanation for why he engages in this task with such zeal.  As we walk through the passage it is clear he goes above and beyond the call in his dealings with the relatives of Ahaziah.  We also must note his comment to Jehonadab, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD” (10:16).

As we work our way through this text we will note a somber warning, a sobering revelation and a frightening realization.

  1. First, the somber warning: The judgment of God is both terrifying and thorough.  (10:1-17)
  2. Second, we note a sobering revelation: Zeal for God and even faithful service to His cause is no guarantee of genuine devotion nor a sign of true spiritual life.  (10:16, 18-29)
  3. Finally a frightening realization: It is possible to be greatly used of God in the accomplishment of His will and yet suffer His righteous judgment yourself for your half-hearted devotion.  (10:30-33)


The frightening revelation being that one can be used by God and judged by God.

You can be used by Christ and rejected by Christ – Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?  23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Just because you have in some way been used by God in the past does not mean you are viewed with His pleasure.  That, is a frightening realization.  May the story of Jehu haunt us and cause us to fear God and seek to remain faithful.

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Called to Ministry

Called to Ministry: 2016 Gospel of Luke #32

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 9:1-6. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 9, 2016.


What a world, what a world.  It doesn’t take a social scientist or a brilliant scholar to recognize we live in troubled times.  Rampant immorality, open promiscuity, blatant perversion characterize today’s world.  We proudly flaunt that which we once tried to hide.  The traditional family is disintegrating.  Life has become so meaningless that 64% of those surveyed approved of physician assisted suicide.  I few years ago 70% of the 6000 deaths that occurring daily in the United States are “timed” or “negotiated.”  In other words we are living in a mess!

“Thanks pastor – we know we can always count on you to bring the good word.  To pick up our lagging spirits and to inspire.”  I’m talking about this because it is important for us to recognize that we live in a hurting world.  We live in a world that is wrapped in spiritual darkness.  All around you are those who are lost and dying.  They are crying out for something real, something of substance, something to give them hope.  They are groping for an answer and we have it!  You and I have been given the responsibility of dispensing the cure for the world’s woes.  We have been entrusted with the antidote to this world’s spiritual and moral sickness.  We have been given the Gospel.  Once we have experienced the truth of the Gospel, once we have been made alive in Christ, we have a responsibility to take that Gospel to the world.  Ministry is not the sole responsibility of the pastor, the deacons, the church staff, or the Sunday School worker – it is the responsibility and the privilege of every child of God.  How does that work?  How do we go about the task assigned?  That is the focus of our text in Luke the 9.

Text: Luke 9:1-6

Jesus was a master teacher.

A master teacher knows that experience is the best teacher.

You do not become a expert seamstress by watching a video about sewing.  That may help but at some point you must take needle and thread and work with material and learn the skill.  One does not become an expert chef by merely reading cookbooks.  You have to cook.  You learn to love people by…well…loving people!  You learn to share you faith by sharing your faith.

Our Lord has been instructing the 12 in the great truths of the kingdom of God.

He has talked to them about faith and learning to trust in Him.

Now it was time to put some “shoe leather” to the Gospel.

Now it is time to put into practice some of what they have been learning.

Here in the opening verses of the 9 Luke records the disciple’s first training mission.

From which we can learn some valuable lessons.

Granted this text is about our Lord sending the 12 out on mission.  This is an apprenticeship for their ultimate mission after His ascension.  But from their commissioning we draw principles that apply to our work as the church.

What is clear from this text and the balance of Scripture is that…

Thesis:  As followers of Christ we are called to effectively minster to the lost and hurting through the power of the Gospel and with the blessing of God.

The Scripture is clear, we are all called to ministry.

Some are called to “vocational ministry” but all are called to minister.

Implied in the call is that we are to minister effectively.  That is we are to minister in such a way that our ministry makes a difference in our community.  How is southwest Tulsa different because Trinity Baptist Church is at the corner of 41st and Union?  In what ways are we impacting the lives of the folks who live here?  We are called to be effective ministers of the Gospel of Christ.

The task can be overwhelming.  At first glance the mandate is impossible.  Who are we?  How can we make a difference?  There is so much to do, where do we begin?  Well, we need to begin with a basic understanding.  God hasn’t called you or me to “win the world to Christ.”  God has called us to be faithful and walk in obedience to His word.  Be faithful in sharing the Gospel of Christ with our friends, neighbors and associates.  Live our convictions.  Remain true to the principles of His Word and God will reach the world through us!  It isn’t that we are doing the great work and we pray and ask God to give us a hand.  God is working and we do what He tells us to do.

Luke gives us three principles of faithful, effective ministry in this text.

  1. We minister as those who are called and commissioned by Christ, the Lord of the Church.  (9:1-2, 6)
  2. As we minister we are to rely on the power and provision of our God.  (9:3-4)
  3. God honoring ministry is focused on ministry and not on results.  (9:5)


As you and I go out to minister to our community and to the world.  We are going to a world wrapped in spiritual darkness.  We are not looking for another notch in our spiritual gun belt.  We go seeking to minister to the hurting.  We go offering life and hope to those who are dying.  This is the ministry we have been given.

To be effective we need to recognize that our ministry:

Originates in the call and commission of Christ.

Relies solely on the power and provision of our God.

Focuses on ministry rather than results.

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Looking Back to See Ahead

Looking Back to See Ahead

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Psalm 85. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 5, 2016.

How will you respond when things go wrong? Not if, but when things go wrong. To rise above, two things are necessary:

  1. Glance backward and remember.
  2. Gaze into the future.

This Psalm is divided into four stanzas:

  1. Psalm 85:1-3: To overcome discouragement, the psalmist remembers God’s mercy in the past, and considers His goodness towards you.
  2. Psalm 85:4-7: Once the psalmist has remembered, he then prayed for continued grace. The psalmist asked for two things: restoration and revival. The basis for these two petitions, found in Psalm 85:7, is God’s stedfast love.
  3. Psalm 85:8-9: Having remembered and prayed, the psalmist patiently awaited God’s response. This is the most difficult part of the process (in our instant generation).
  4. Psalm 85:10-13: The psalmist then anticipated His blessings. This is an active waiting.
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An Exposition of Colossians 3

An Exposition of Colossians 3

cropped-theplowman512x512.jpgThis is an exposition of Colossians 3:1-11. This message by Guest Preacher Don Donell was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 18, 2016.

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Desperate, Uninformed and Shattered Faith

Desperate, Uninformed and Shattered Faith: 2016 Gospel of Luke #31

LukeThis is an exposition of Luke 8:40-56. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 2, 2016.


People mean well.  I know they are trying to help but sometimes people say really dumb things.  You can have one of those days when everything goes wrong.  You backed over your dog pulling out of the drive way in a hurry going to work.  In spite of your desperate attempts to save him and that $3000 vet billed, he died.  You finally get to the office and you’re told despite reports to the contrary the company is having to lay off some of its employees and your boss needs to see you right away.  On your way back home having lost your job you’re passed by a firetruck running with lights and sirens.  You get home to see your house in flames.  Your neighbor greets you with a sympathetic hug and says, “How are you doing?”  “How am I doing?  Really?  How do you think I’m doing Einstein?”  Worse yet one of your friends from church calls to encourage you.  They urge you to, “Have faith.”  Despite the fact that apparently you and Job have the same friends, you recognize that there is truth to what your church friend said.  There is the need for faith.  There is the need to trust in God.  To rely upon Him and trust His grace is sufficient.  But how are you supposed to have faith in the midst of such tragedy?

Just how are you to believe when your world is rocked you are lucky if you can stand let alone exercise faith?  You cannot read the Scripture and not be struck by the fact we are called to have faith in every circumstance.  We are called to believe and trust no matter what because our God has shown himself able to deliver, able to supply all our needs.  He has promise to never leave us or forsake us.  He has proven that His power is great, His love is limitless and promise is true.  But what faith can I muster when I’m beaten down?  What faith can I muster when my world is turned upside down?  How am I to believe when I, due to shock, feel nothing?

Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains.  Well, that’s encouraging.  I mean a mustard seed is tiny.  It seems insignificant.  But sometimes I’m not sure I’m able to accomplish even that.  This is when we need to be reminded that, biblically, it is not the strength of our faith but the power of the object of our faith.  It is not how much we believe but the one in whom we believe.  Your confidence does not rest in the strength or power of your faith but in the strength and power of God.  We find some encouragement in our text this morning.

Text: Luke 8:40-56

Luke is giving us some snapshot of our God in action.
You remember Jesus and the 12 are crossing the Sea of Galilee when a violent storm arises.
With a word he calmed the wind and the waves.
As Lord of creation the winds and waves must obey him.
Then, landing on the other side they were confronted by a man possessed by a legion of demons.
With a word He brought peace to that tormented soul.
As Lord of heaven and earth even evil spirits must obey him.
Our text continues the story…

Thesis: Our God is mighty to save even in the midst of desperate, uniformed and shattered faith.

In our text we are confronted by two desperate people both in great need.  One of them is wealthy, powerful and influential.  The other is poor, neglected, isolated and alone.  Both encounter the sovereign power of God in the person of a loving Savior.  Neither is ever the same.

There are 3 things I want to point out along the way as we work through this text.

  1. Our God graciously responds to the feeble pleadings of desperate faith.  (8:40-42)
  2. Our God mercifully corrects ignorant, superstitious and simplistic faith gently directing toward a more mature faith.  (8:43-48)
  3. Our God lovingly restores shattered faith by the working of His mighty power.  (8:49-56)

This is the capstone of a series of events displaying the power of our God.  In the midst of a raging tempest he said, “Be still.”  There followed an eerie calm.  Confronted by a demon-possessed man he said, “Be gone” and a tormented soul was at peace.  By his touch a woman was made whole and with a word a dead girl was brought to life.  Our God is sovereign.  Our Savior can do anything.  He can save your soul.  He can restore your life.  He can supply your most desperate need.

Our God is mighty to save even in the midst of desperate, uniformed and shattered faith.

Won’t you come to him now?

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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.


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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