Abraham: Obedient, Resilient Faith

Hebrews #30: an exposition of Hebrews 11:8-16. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 16, 2014.

He is known as the “father of the Jews” and the friend of God.  His name is synonymous with faith.  Small wonder that when the writer of Hebrews wanted to encourage that struggling band of Hebrew believers in Rome he would set before the the example of “Father Abraham.”  The great patriarch’s story is recorded for us in Genesis chapters 12 through 25.  He is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims as a man of faith.  If faith had a poster child – it would be Abraham.  He was not a perfect man.  In fact there are some glaring faults in his character but his life is a shining example of what God can do in the life of a flawed man who yields to God’s sovereign call.  The life of faith is not an easy life.  It’s not always neat and clean.  It is often filled with heartache but it is well worth the trouble as it is the only life that leads to glory.  Many in the church had already abandoned the Way.  The struggle was too much.  The pain unbearable.  Others were on the verge of giving up when the writer took pen in hand to plead with them to continue in the faith.  He assured them Christ was better than the best that Judaism or the world has to offer.  He reminded them of Christ’s entering the sanctuary not made with hands as He enter the very presence of God and atoned for their sin guaranteeing a future glory.  He pled with them to not throw all that away for momentary relief.  Now, in chapter 11, he is setting before them a catalogue of the faithful.  Men and women who exhibit the faith described as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

There was Abel who offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.  Then there was Enoch who was well pleasing to God and thus was taken up so that he should not see death.  Then there was Noah, who had been graced by God and thus walked with Him in persevering obedience.  All of these reminding us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith is the essential ingredient for a life pleasing to God.  Now we turn our attention to Father Abraham.  Our text is found in Hebrews chapter 11 beginning with verse 8.

Text: Hebrews 11:8-16

As we reflect on the life of Abraham we are reminded that…

Thesis: Genuine, biblical faith is an obedient, undaunted and resilient faith.

I want to point out 3 things along the way.

  1. The life of faith produces uncommon obedience.  (11:8-10)
  2. The life of faith dares to believe the impossible.  (11:11-12)
  3. The life of faith enables one to finish well.  (11:13-16)
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Are You Saved?

This exposition of Matthew 7:21-27 from Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 9, 2014.

Do you ever think about the future?  Do you ever dream about where you will be in the next 5 or 10 years?  Some of you have a 5 or 10-year plan.  You’ve got the plan and you’re working it.  But what about the distant future?  You say, “Oh, yeah – I’ve got the 401K and some stock.  My future is pretty secure.”  Well good, but I meant really long term.  I’m talking about eternity.  Have you considered where you will spend eternity?  Have you given serious thought to your soul?  It may make you uncomfortable but it’s well worth considering.  In fact I would suggest you really don’t need to think about anything else until that is settled.  Jesus is coming to the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount.  He has laid out His kingdom agenda.  He has described life in the kingdom.  He has made it clear that He expects certain things from those who would follow Him.  He has made clear the need for genuine righteousness.  In the immediate context he has warned of false teachers and their deceptive doctrines.  Now He turns from false prophets to false professors, from unsound teachers to unsound hearers.  Our text is found near the end of Matthew chapter 7.

Text: Matthew 7:21-27

This is a troublesome passage.  It is not troublesome because it is difficult to understand.  It is troublesome because it is so clear.  According to our text there are many within the church that are living under a delusion.  They live in a false peace.  They rest in a deluded security.  “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Arthur Pink wrote as early as 1969 saying, “Never were there so many millions of nominal Christians on earth as there are today, and never was there such a small percentage of real ones.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned of “cheap grace” during the 1930s and 40s.  Cheap grace involves the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance.  According to Bonhoeffer it is grace “without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

With record numbers claiming a “born again” experience and yet dwindling attendance figures across the board – something is wrong, dreadfully wrong.  According to the most recent statistics we, as Southern Baptist, have 15.8 million members worshiping in more than 40,000 churches in the United States.  One study found that an appalling 67.3% of those members do not bother to show up on any given Sunday!  I wonder how many of them will cry out on that day, “Lord, Lord…” and yet be turned away, “depart from me I never knew you?”

This text is disturbing.  But it is one we must explore.  We cannot afford to turn a deaf ear to such teaching.  My purpose is not to “create doubt” but it is without apology designed to cause you to consider.

Our text serves as a gracious warning.  It serves to remind us that:

Thesis: Your eternal destiny depends upon an active, practical obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

For several years now a controversy has raged.
The issue has been the nature of salvation.
Some have dubbed the controversy “Lordship Salvation.”
Must Jesus be Lord or can he be merely savior?
Can a person be saved and then, if they so choose, make Jesus Lord at a later date?

Another question involved in the debate is what is meant by eternal security or once saved always saved?

What about those who have made “a profession of faith” but have left the faith or show no real interest in the things of God at present?

Is there such a thing as a “carnal Christian” or is that a contradiction of terms?
I’m convinced that an honest look at this passage serves to clear the air.
The bottom line to all of this is what does it mean to be “saved?”
What serves as my assurance of salvation?

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

  1. Our text clearly reveals that a mere verbal profession of faith accomplishes nothing.  (7:21-23)
  2. According to our text, mere intellectual knowledge falls short of saving faith.  (24-27)

I said at the beginning my purpose is not to create doubt but to cause you to consider.  I don’t want you to play games with your soul.  This issue is salvation.  “What must I do?”

First of all, stop!  Listen for the voice of the Savior.  That voice may come through your circumstance, through fear or hurt or anger.  It may come through a hunger for more out of life.  It may come through the voice of a friend, a preacher, a book.  But you must listen.  You must hear God’s call.

Second, when God calls you must acknowledge what he is saying is true and that he alone is the answer to your need.  Our Lord is kind and gracious but he doesn’t pull his punches.  When he reveals your sin and your lack of righteousness – “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” – you must not make excuses or try to deny it.  Instead you must acknowledge the truth of it.

And you must act upon what he has revealed and open your life to him.  In other words you must pass through that narrow gate.  You must enter upon the narrow road that leads to life.

Are you a Christian?  That is the question.  Is it real?  The answer is not based upon your intellectual beliefs or upon your good works, but upon your relationship with Christ.

There are three elements of saving faith.

  1. Knowledge – you know the facts of the Gospel.
  2. Belief or assent – you believe those facts are true.
  3. Trust or commitment – you give yourself to that truth.

So what lies ahead for you?
What is your future?

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Noah: Persevering Faith

Hebrews #29: an exposition of Hebrews 11:7. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 9, 2014.

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about role models.  We are asking, “Who are our role models?”  “Is it right to expect those who live public lives to live lives worth imitating?”  Few seem to live the kind of lives that inspire confidence and esteem.  There is a famine of heroes.  Values are warped and perverted.  Comic book heroes once fought for truth, justice and the American way.  Good always triumphed over evil.  Now, it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.  Good is not so good and evil is not all that bad, it depends on how you look at.

Then we have to add to the mixture the fact that some question the validity of even having heroes.  “You shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on anyone.  No one can live up to other people’s expectations and it is wrong to demand that.”  “I’ll live my life – you live yours and leave me alone” seems to be the attitude of most these days.  Well meaning Christians warn us of the danger of putting “confidence” in any person.  We are warned of the danger of putting anyone on a pedestal.  I know that we don’t put our trust in any man.  Our faith is in Christ alone.  But we also need godly examples.  Paul didn’t hesitate to say, “Be imitators of me as I am an imitator of Christ.”  If you’re looking for a hero the Scriptures are full of them.  One of the great things about the heroes found in the Scripture is that they are flawed like us!  Men and women of flesh and bone.  Frail children of dust who struggle as we do yet are shinning examples of what God can do in and through those who yield to His sovereign will.

This morning as we continue our study of the 11th chapter of Hebrews.  We are going to look at one of those flawed heroes.  His name is Noah and his story is told in Genesis chapters six through nine.  Our text is found in Hebrews 11:7.

Text: Hebrews 11:7

We must not forget the context of Hebrews 11.
Their world had been rocked.
Many have turned from the faith others were considering do so.
The biblical writer pleads with them to continue in the faith.
The immediate context is a call to faith.

The kind of faith that enables you to joyfully accept the plundering of your property (10:34).
The kind of faith described in 11:1-2.
“The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

What follows in chapter 11 is a catalogue of the faithful.  These are folks who lived lives of faith.    Who in the midst of great struggle and heartache knew the peace of the Lord’s abiding presence and His great comfort.

We will start reading in verse 1 of chapter 11 but our focus will be on verse 7.

As we work our way through this text we discover that…

Thesis: Genuine, saving faith produces a life of faithful obedience and ensures a glorious inheritance.

Too often we think of saving fact as a single act.  We think that at some point in time you become convinced and convicted of the truth of the Gospel and you, in faith, believe on the Lord Jesus.  You give yourself to Christ – you trust in Christ and him alone for salvation.  But then every subsequent act of obedience or faith is an “add on.”  Rightly understood saving faith receives Jesus in order to go on trusting Him!  Saving faith is a life of faith.  Listen to Hebrews 10:39: But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.  Saving faith believes and keeps on believing.  That belief is demonstrated by obedience.  We are saved by faith alone but it not a faith that is alone.  That faith is accompanied by action.  What does saving faith look like?  That’s what Hebrews 11 is all about.

Noah is for us an example of persevering faith.

There are 4 things I want to point out from our text and his life.

  1. Genuine, saving faith inspires a confident assurance.
  2. Genuine, saving faith produces steadfast obedience.
  3. Genuine, saving faith enables a dynamic witness.
  4. Genuine, saving faith results in a glorious inheritance.
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The Demands of the Gospel

This exposition of Matthew 7:13-20 was delivered by Pastor Rod Harris at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 2, 2014.

In October of 1985 our family moved to the thriving metropolis of Masham to begin service in our first church.  Rheadon and I had made our first trip to Masham in September of that year.  I had been asked to come and supply at the church with the possibility that they would ask me to serve as their pastor.  Masham is located between Pawnee and Ralston 3 miles west of highway 18.  Now I’m not sure that “small” is the right adjective for describing Masham but like the man said, “I passed through Masham the other day but I didn’t see it.  There was a pickup parked in front of it!”  Masham was once a thriving boomtown complete with a school, boarding houses and stores.  By the time we arrived all that remained was the church, a few houses and a quiet country cemetery.  Masham was a bit off the beaten path.  You traveled at least three miles down a dirt road no matter which direction you came from.  That means no one “happens through” Masham.  You have to make a point to go there.  To borrow from the King James, one has to come to the conviction, “I must needs go to Masham” or you’ll never get there.

In the 7th chapter of Matthew our Lord makes it clear, no one just happens to end up in heaven.  No one stumbles across it on their way to somewhere else.  We enter into the life of faith by choice.  We knowingly chose to follow him.  This comes near the end of his “Sermon on the Mount.”  He had gathered his disciples on that hillside to instruct them about life in his kingdom.  This is life as he intends his followers to live.  This is what he demands of them.  A life of genuine righteousness.  Righteousness that flows from a character transformed by the grace of God.  A righteousness that begins as an inside work.  It is not an exterior make over but a spiritual transformation.  The first great summary statement of the sermon is found in Matthew 5:48 – “Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  In chapter 7 verse 12 we find the second great summary statement – “do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Then from verse 13 through the end of the sermon is series of warnings designed to reinforce the significance of the message.  Our text this morning is found in chapter 7 verses 13-20.

Text: Matthew 7:13-20

The issue = genuine righteousness
This is about kingdom living
Character – conduct
It is about who we are

As our text unfolds the message becomes clear:
Thesis: A life of genuine righteousness demands that we embrace the truth of the Gospel and guard against false teaching.

There are two great demands that I want you to note from our text.

  1. The truth of the Gospel demands a clear-cut choice.  (7:13-14)

    Let’s bring this down to a practical level, which means:

    No one can come to God through nature.
    It also means no one can come to God through pious thoughts or religion.  Neither can man find God through morality, either by attempting to live up to

  2. The truth of the Gospel demands vigilance against false teaching.  (7:15-20)

    How do I know a false teacher?  There are some “tests” in our text:

    There is no “narrow gate” in the teaching of the false prophet.
    False prophets do not have disturbing doctrines in their messages.
    There is the test of “good works”

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Encoh: A Life Well-pleasing

Hebrews #28: an exposition of Hebrews 11:5-6. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 2, 2014.

He is a mysterious figure in the Old Testament.  We only know him through a genealogy.  There is no narrative.  No heroic story.  No rousing sermon or political movement.  Just the passing word that he “walked” with God.  Oh, and that he didn’t die God just “took” him.  “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).  It’s stated just that way.  Very matter of fact.  In the list of these folks who lived and begat – “he walked with God and was not because God took him.”  That’s it?  What did he do?  What did he say?  Surely there was something extraordinary about this man.  Everyone else’s story in the passage ends the same, “…and he died.”  Enoch was “taken.”  Was he just walking along and poof, he was gone?  Was it a whirlwind, a chariot of fire like Elijah?  We don’t know.  The only other thing we know about him is found in our text in Hebrews chapter 11.

Text: Hebrews 11:5-6

Hebrews 11 records for us a catalog of the faithful.
These are folks who were living examples of the kind of faith described in 11:1-3.

The kind of faith that enables one to “joyful accept the plundering of their property because they knew they had a better possession.”

These struggling believers in Rome needed some encouragement.  A key component to that encouragement is the example of those who have gone before.  Those who have experienced hardship and intense struggle yet lived to tell about it.  They had their world rocked and yet they knew the peace and comfort of God’s abiding presence.  These Hebrew believers needed to know that others had survived and that they could too!

Don’t lose sight of the context.

It is stated for us in 10:35-36:
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

This is a call to faith, a call to believe.

As we work through our text we discover…

Thesis: We are called to a life of faith and our faith is to be radically God-centered.

There are two things I want us to note.

  1. The life of faith is well pleasing to God.  (11:5)
  2. The faith that is well pleasing to God is focused exclusively on Him.  (11:6)

There are 2 parts to this faith.

  1. Those who draw near to God must believe that He exists.
  2. Those who draw near must believe that God rewards those who seek Him.


  • God is pleased when we affirm and delight in the fact He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
  • Faith is focused on His existence, His nature, His person.
    Biblical faith is dependent on what God is like – not on what our faith is like.
  • We are called to a life of faith and our faith is to be radically God-centered.
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Abel: The Fruit of Biblical Faith

Hebrews #27: an exposition of Hebrews 11:4. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 26, 2014.

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The Golden Rule

An exposition of Matthew 7:12. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 12, 2014.

How am I to respond to my fellow man?  What are my obligations?  What are the ground rules?  Just what am I supposed to do with the old “crank pot” next door that thinks my backyard is his trashcan?  And while I’m on the subject what about that old busy body down the street who thinks it is her job in life to know everybody’s business?  Then there is that guy at the office who hangs around my neck like an albatross – do I have to take that?  I just don’t like him.  Can I punch him in the nose?  We’ve got all kinds of questions when it comes to dealing with folks.  In fact we even have some answers!  But are they legitimate answers?  Are they godly answers?

And if you are not happy with your own answers there are a whole lot of folks lined up to give you their sage advice.  But as with all questions, we are better off to come to the Book and allow God to speak to the subject.  As we allow the Scripture to speak we will find God has a lot to say about the way we are to relate to one another.  There you will find some answers to your questions.  Now I can’t promise you that you will like the answers you find there.  But I can assure you that they are the right answers.

Jesus is setting on the mountainside instructing his disciples in kingdom living.  He has talked about the necessity of godly character.  He has emphasized the fact that character precedes conduct.  He has talked about genuine acts of righteousness.  He has revealed the proper attitudes toward things.  He has warned about a critical, judgmental attitude toward others.  And now we turn our attention to one of his most famous expressions.

It has been called “the Mount Everest of Christian ethics.”  Bishop Ryle said, “It settles a hundred difficult points…it prevents the necessity of laying down endless rules for our conduct in specific cases.”  We find this jewel tucked away in the heart of Matthew chapter 7.

Text: Matthew 7:12

SOM – key Mt. 5:20 & 48
True and genuine righteousness
Specific context = our relationship toward:
Others 7:1-6
God 7:7-11
Our fellow man 7:12

Thesis: The genuinely righteous person treats his fellow man, not as the law allows but as love demands.

Here we find a simple, concise summary of the law and the prophets.
This is an extraordinary teaching – it is a revolutionary concept.
We know it as “The Golden Rule.”

Of course our modern interpretation of this rule is a bit different.
Now it seems that the golden rule is “he who has the gold makes the rules.”
Or perhaps it is “do unto others before they get the chance to do it unto you!”
Or even “do unto other as they have done it unto you.”

There are those who would say, “This is one of those concepts that is common in religion.”  It is true that Plato and Confucius taught similar things – but the words of Jesus are different.

The great rabbi Hillel, founder of the Pharisees, was asked by a young proselyte to sum up the whole law while standing on one leg.  Hillel replied, “That which is hateful to you, do to no other.  That is the whole law, the rest is only commentary.”

Rabbi Shammai was asked the same question and he chased the questioner from the room with a stick!

Hillel’s concept was in keeping with Plato’s and Confucius.  But look carefully.  It is not the same thing Jesus taught.  They may sound the same but they are radically different.

Before Jesus – all of this type of teaching was negative.  They all dealt with “do not do…”  They were relatively easy to keep.  You could avoid doing things to others that you did not want them to do to you.  But look again at what Jesus said.  It is positive.  “Do unto others what you would like for them to do to you.”

The former is “self-centered” while the latter is “others-centered.”
That is a tall order.
There is no easy fulfillment to this requirement.

As we consider what this requires of us I want you to note three things.

  1. This commands requires a new perspective on life.
  2. This command not only requires a new perspective but it requires a new principle in action.
  3. Obedience to this command results in a new person.
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Biblical Faith & Endurance

Hebrews #26: an exposition of Hebrews 11:1-3. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 12, 2014.

The old man pulled over to the side of the road.  Slowly walked to the middle of the bridge.  He stared into the water below for several minutes.  He took a deep breath as he looked toward the heavens.  With a sense of resignation he climbed over the rail and was about to jump when he heard a voice, “Don’t do it!”  The old man turn and a young man was running toward him.  “Sir, I’ve been watching.  You don’t want to do this.”  The old man looked back toward the water below, “No, life is just not worth it.”  The young man in desperation pled with him, “Take just five minutes and tell me why you think life’s not worth it.  Then give me five minutes to tell you why it is.  If you still want to jump I won’t stop you.”  The old man took five minutes to rehearse the miseries of the world.  The young man passionately spoke of the goodness of life.  After his five minutes the old man, smiled and held out his hand.  The young man took it.  Together they jumped off the bridge!  Sometimes life stinks.  This world is often filled with heartache and sorrow.  Sometimes life is just so overwhelming you cannot see the goodness of life.  Sometimes the pain is so great you can’t imagine going on.  During such struggles you need something greater than a pep-talk.  You need something more powerful than a stranger’s assurance things are going to “turn around.”  You need assurance born of the word and Spirit of the Living God.  You need faith.

Not wishful thinking, sentimental, brainless faith but faith that is born of an experience with the God who is.  A faith that is the result of God’s faithfulness, that is the fruit of a genuine encounter with God.  The biblical writer is pleading with these Hebrew believers to remain faithful when everything around them says, “Run!”  He pleads with them to remember their past experience of grace and to expect that same grace in the future.  Hebrews chapter 11 is the great “faith chapter.”  The chapter begins with a description of faith and then links that faith with hope and then goes on to show how this hope gave power for all kinds of radical obedience.  That is what Hebrews 11:4 and following is all about.  It is a catalogue of people who demonstrate the kind of faith described in 11:1-3.  How do we remain faithful when the days get dark?  How do we go on when all seems lost?  We follow the command of chapter 10 – we live by faith.  We become those who have faith and thus preserve their souls.

Text: Hebrews 11:1-3

Look back for a minute at 10:32-34
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,
33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

This is an incredible description of this little church in Rome.
They lived extraordinary lives.
We looked at this last time – “Joyfully accepted the plundering of their property?”
Extraordinary, yet this is the aim of the entire book of Hebrews.
Bringing us to live this kind of life.

How were they able to do it?  “Since [because, for] you knew you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding hope.”  By faith.

This brief text serves to remind us that…

Thesis: Biblical faith inspires hope and engenders perseverance.

3 characteristics of biblical faith.

  1. Biblical faith is absolutely certain of the truth of God’s promises.  (11:1)
  2. Biblical faith is confident of God’s power to keep and commend.  (11:2)
  3. Biblical faith enlightens our understanding.  (11:3)
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Keys to Christian Hope

Hebrews #25: an exposition of Hebrews 10:32-39. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 5, 2014.

Often our view of the Christian life is shallow.  By that I mean we think faith in Christ solves everything.  Some are guilty of implying if not declaring, “If you just trust in Jesus you will not have any problems.”  You’ll not find chapter and verse on that because it is not a biblical teaching.  Faith in Christ certainly solves your greatest problem in that your sins are forgiven and you have passed from death to life but that does not ensure smooth sailing through the rest of your journey.  Life in this sinful, fallen world is filled with heartache and trouble.  Life is a mixture of joy and sorrow of victory and defeat.  The promise of God is not that we will not encounter trials and tribulations but that we will not face them alone.  We are not left to fend for ourselves and ultimately we will prevail by the grace of God.  Along the way we will struggle.  We will be hurt and we may very well suffer.  Truthfully we, in the American church, know very little about that.  While our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face hardship, persecution and even death we’ve enjoyed a life of ease.  That’s beginning to change.  Our views are no longer dominant.  The teaching of the church is questioned with a greater degree of skepticism and unbelief the result is we are losing our cultural standing.  In some areas our views are not just considered wrong or outdate they are considered dangerous.  The day is approaching when some of what we’ve have always taught will be consider a crime.  I’m not an alarmist.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist.  I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet but I know dark days are ahead.  How do we continue on when the tide turns?  How do we remain faithful when faithfulness becomes costly?  How do we maintain our Christian hope when the outlook is not so hopeful?  For some help we turn again to the book of Hebrews.

Text: Hebrews 10:32-39

The writer has just spoken clearly about the consequences of unbelief.
Hebrews 10:26-31 is a hard passage.
Hard because it deals with a hard truth.
He pulls no punches – abandon the Gospel and you abandon all hope.
He ends on an ominous note, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

But of course that was not the “end” of it.

He goes on to say, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (10:39).

It is here in verses 32-39 we are given insight into how we maintain hope in the face of dark and difficult days.  These verses serve to remind us that…

Thesis: Genuine Christian Hope is anchored by the past experience of God’s grace and fueled by faith-filled confidence in future glory.

Two keys are given to us: We are to remember the past and we are to respond in faith.

  1. The past experience of God’s grace inspires future hope.  (10:32-34)
  2. Faith in God’s sovereign promise fuels perseverance.  (10:35-39)

It is interesting Paul quotes this same passage in Romans 1:17 to say salvation is by faith.
Now the writer of Hebrews quotes it to say the whole of the Christian life is by faith.

Genuine Christian Hope is anchored by the past experience of God’s grace and fueled by faith-filled confidence in future glory.

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You Be the Judge

This is an exposition of Matthew 7:1-5, and was delivered by Pastor Rod Harris at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 28, 2014.

Can you believe the number of those courtroom programs that are on TV?  It all started with the People’s Court.  Do you remember judge Whopner?  Later he had a courtroom program on Animal Planet!  Then there was Judge Joe Brown, Judge Miles Lane and of course Judge Judy.  We even have an entire cable network – Court TV.  CNN, Fox News, all the networks and their cable affiliates have “legal correspondents” who bring you to latest on high profile court cases.  Turn on any news program on any given night and you will find any number of people sitting in judgment of others.  And it’s no wonder that there is so much of it on TV – they are giving us what we want.  Sitting in judgment of others is one of our favorite pastimes!

None of us like it when others sit in judgment of us and yet that does not seem to detour us from sitting in judgment of others.  Is it always wrong to sit in judgment?  Is there ever a time in which it is appropriate for me to make judgment on another?  If so when and where?  Folks are quick to cry, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” as if to suggest that it is never appropriate to make any judgment of anyone under any circumstance.  But is that what the Scripture teaches?  If you will pardon the pun – you be the judge as we consider the teaching of our Lord in the opening verses of Matthew chapter 7.

Text: Matthew 7:1-5

Context of the SOM
Genuine righteousness 5:20,48
Our Lord has dealt with our dealing with things 6:19-34
Now our dealings with others

The passage before us is one of the most recognized and probably one of the most misinterpreted passages in all the Gospels.  I have heard this quoted on numerous occasions and almost always out of context and in clear opposition to the teaching of the Lord Jesus.  Look carefully at this passage.  Note its context and let it speak for itself!  I’m convinced that an honest straight forward interpretation of this text informs us that:

Thesis: Our Lord commands His followers to exercise judicial discernment.

Far from telling us we are never to judge – this passage instructs us in how we are to judge.  This is not a prohibition against passage judgment but rather making sure that our judgment is godly.  Making sure than we exercise godly discernment and that our conclusions are reached in a godly manner.

There are three principles of godly judgment I want us to note in our text.

  1. Godly judgment understands the difference between faultfinding and discernment.  (7:1-2)
  2. Godly judgment avoids the subtle trap of hypocrisy.  (7:3-4)
  3. Godly judgment deals first with one’s own sin and then seeks to serve others in humility and grace.  (7:5)

There is a time and place to use godly judgment.  We are to exercise judicial discernment.  But in a way that understands the difference between faultfinding and discernment.  In a way that avoids the trap of hypocrisy.  In a way that deals with our own sin before presuming to deal with the sins of others.

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