I am going to start posting my notes of the Sunday messages at my church. My hope is that some of you will find the brief outline helpful, and maybe even prompt some of you to go to the download site, or even cause you to subscribe to the podcast and actually listen to the messages my pastor preaches. In any case I hope you will enjoy it. Drop me a comment to let me know what you think. Listen to the audio and find out how well I take notes. Please don’t correct my spelling, though; that is why I got married. The links to the podcast, download page, and auto-iTunes subscriber are in the sidebar toward the top.
Sunday Morning Message
Pastor Harris describes his first pastorate, as he introduces this message on The Demands of the Gospel, from Matthew 7:13-20.
“When we moved from Fort Worth to the metropolis of Masham, Oklahoma, it was an adjustment. We got up and watched every car come down the road. There weren’t that many of them. People would say “I went through Masham once, but I missed it. There was a truck parked in front of it.””
1. The truth of the gospel demands a clear-cut choice. Christianity begins with a choice.
This passage lists the choices as two, which are two ways to salvation, one true, one false.
There is but one way to salvation and life. It is a narrow way.
Jesus puts the difficulty at the front of the gospel. That is not the way we evangelize. We make it sound nice and simple and easy, and then make the disclaimers: “Now, the Christian walk is difficult at times.”
Jesus didn’t con anyone into the kingdom. That is the way we need to be.
The narrowness of the Gospel lies in the fact that there is only one way to God. That is greatly hated in our pluralistic society. The SBC, some years ago, put out a series of prayer guides showing Christians how to pray for the salvation of peoples of other faiths. This set off a fire storm. We were accused of hate crimes. All we were conveying in this practice was that there is only one way to God, through faith in Christ. I still love the definition of religious liberty given by Donald Gray Barnhouse: “You are absolutely free to go to hell any way you choose, or you can go to heaven God’s way.”
2. The truth of the gospel demands diligence against false teaching.
There are false prophets, on tv and behind pulpits. It doesn’t matter how often they quote the bible. We have an obligation to judge every message, and test every word we hear.
Here’s a test for false prophets: 1) There is more than one way to God. 2) There are no disturbing doctrines in their message. 3) What kind of fruit does it produce?
3. Conclusion: “All have sinned”. The road we are naturally on is that wide path. Has there ever been that time that you have gotten on that narrow way? No one just happens by that way. You have to make a choice. God, by his Holy Spirit, has to save you. The narrow road calls us to both embrace and reject.
Sunday Evening Message
Future Faithfulness, from Joshua 23
1. Future faithfulness is built on a grateful past.
To confess that God is sovereign is to say that He providentially works so that what ever goes on around me, God’s hand is in it. We should not trust our feelings, but what He has said in His word. Joshua pointed the people back to the things God had done on their behalf to preserve them and in conquering the people around them. Emotions should play a part in our faith, but they should never be the basis of our faith in God. Biblical faith is not a leap in the dark. We have reason to believe because of what God has said in His word.
2. Future faithfulness is established by personal obedience.
Because God has blessed, we are obligated to joyfully obey Him. These charges by God were not racial in nature, but rather religious. See in verse 16: “if you . . . go and serve other gods and bow down to them. . .” God was not concerned with mixed marriages, but rather the people of God marrying unbelievers.
3. Future faithfulness is reinforced by a solemn reminder.
Joshua reminds the people that God’s faithfulness is a two-edged sword. The God who is faithful to bless when you obey, is the same God who is faithful to punish when you disobey.
God has called us to faithfulness. May we be found faithful.