The Anatomy of Sin

The Anatomy of Sin: Selected Psalms

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

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

Our Great Salvation

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


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

Text: Romans 5:1-11

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

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

All of this serves to remind us that…

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

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

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

Invitation/Preparation for the Table
Observance of the Table

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Trusting in the Rock

Trusting in the Rock: Selected Psalms

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

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Great Lessons from a Miserable Pagan

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

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


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

Text: Luke 16:1-13

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

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

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

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

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

Recount the details.

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

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

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


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

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

Gospel Marriage: Study of 1 Peter #8

This is an exposition of 1 Peter 3:1-7. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, June 11, 2017.


You know what they say, “Marriage is a great institution…but who wants to be institutionalized?”  The Arabs have an interesting proverb describing marriage.  They say, “Marriage begins with a prince kissing an angel and ends with a bald-headed man looking across the table at a fat lady.”  While that may not be a flattering image – there is a great deal of truth to it.  The proverb is simply saying, “A wedding is one thing, a marriage is something altogether different.”  Chuck Swindoll says that, “Courtship and the wedding are a romantic, moonlight sleigh ride, smoothly gliding over the glistening snow.  Living together after the honeymoon turns out to be a rough backpacking across the rocks and burning sand!”  Even the casual observer has to acknowledge that the institution of marriage is in trouble today.  Divorce rates are staggering.  Divorce rates have more than quadrupled since 1970.  Today 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Four out of ten do not make it 10 years.  Second marriages are failing at a rate of 60%.  Here in the great state of Oklahoma, the buckle of the “Bible Belt” – where 1 out 5 citizens claim to be Baptist – we are a national leader in divorce.  Add to these said statistics the fact that marriage is no longer the exclusive union of a man and woman but 2 men or 2 women and some would argue any combination of people in a “loving, committed relationship” – and there is only one conclusion – we are in trouble!

That fact is harmony within a marriage, over the long haul, is work.  It demands give and take.  Along with joy, happiness and fulfillment come heartache, pain and sorrow.  It must be acknowledged that marital stress is not a new phenomenon.  It is not the result of our fast-paced society.  It is the natural result of two people learning to relate to one another on an intimate basis.

What do we do about this sad state of affairs?  What is the answer?  If our marriages and our homes are to be what God intends, then we must be willing to follow biblical models.  We must be willing to conform our lives to biblical standards.  Peter, in writing to those scattered, persecuted believers in the first century addressed the issue of harmony within the home.  When you look at it – it’s pretty good advice.  Our text this evening is found in 1 Peter 1 Peter 3.

Text: 1 Peter 3:1-7

Thesis: Genuine harmony within a marriage requires that both husbands and wives adhere to biblical principles.

In other words you understand that marriage is a laboratory in which we live out the Gospel.  For too long Christian people have compartmentalized their lives.  This area over here is my work life.  Over there is my family.  Here is my spiritual life (that’s very important to me).  These cannot be separated!  Your faith is to inform every area of your life.  Every relationship.  Every decision.  Your whole life is to be lived for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.

Marriage was God’s idea.  As the creator He knows how it best functions.  When we yield to His will we find great delight and a fulfilling relationship.  If we neglect His commands marriage becomes a drudgery!

  1. Some sound advice for women.  (3:1-6)
    I’m convinced that Peter lays down three powerful principles.

    1. Wives are to model biblical faith – 3:1-2
    2. Wives are to exhibit genuine beauty – 3:3-4
    3. Wives are to honor their husbands – 3:5-6
  2. Strong commands for Husbands – 3:7
    Three things are demanded of men in this verse.

    1. Husbands are to live with their wives
    2. Husbands are to know their wives
    3. Husbands are to honor their wives

You may be in the prince and angel stage or you may already be in the bald-headed man and fat lady stage – love, harmony and success comes to your marriage when you adhere to biblical principles.  Happiness comes from living the truth of the Gospel.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:31-33

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The Lost Brother

The Lost Brother: 2016 Gospel of Luke #62

This is an exposition of Luke 15:25-32. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 11, 2017.


He had been working out in the fields and was approaching the house when he heard laughter and music.  There was obviously a large crowd, what was this?  It sounds like a party but there was nothing planned, at least nothing he knew about.  The closer he got the more upset he became.  He called a servant over and demanded an explanation.  “Haven’t you heard?  Your brother is back.  He’s lost weight, he’s been through a lot but he’s home.  Your father is overjoyed and he’s called everyone to come and celebrate.  He’s home.  Your brother is home.”  That was not welcome news.  “So, my worthless brother has returned.  As far as I’m concerned this is no time for celebrating.  What in the world is my father thinking?”  It is here we discover there were 2 lost sons.  One obviously lost the other just as lost, perhaps even more lost, but not so obvious.  Our text this morning is found in Luke’s Gospel, Luke 15 beginning with Luke 15:25.

Text: Luke 15:25-32

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die.  To give his life a ransom for sin.  Along the way great crowds are following him.  Tax collectors and sinners are flocking to him while the religious establishment seethes with resentment.  He was invited to the home of a Pharisee for dinner.  This was not a social occasion it was a trap.  They had hoped to force his hand and cause he to do or say something that they could use against him.  These religious leaders were confident in their plan, after all Jesus was just some country bumpkin traveling preacher.  They were wrong of course and his popularity grew.  As he continued on his way to Jerusalem they Scribes and Pharisees said, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Thus he turned to them and Spoke a parable.  Luke 15:4-32 is one parable containing three stories.  The whole parable is focused on the attitude and actions of God toward the lost and dying.

The religious leaders were outraged at the thought of his welcoming sinners.
They were repulsed by the idea that he would share a meal with them.
The parable was told to reveal how little these religious experts knew about God.

In contrast to their attitude of shunning and pushing away sinners, God lovingly welcomes repentant sinners into His presence and shares life with them.

The lost sheep reveals our God’s persistent pursuit of the lost and dying.
The lost coin reveals His diligent determination is finding the lost and dying.
The lost son reveals His joyous reception of the repentant sinner.

We often call the story of the lost son the story of the “Prodigal Son.”  The word prodigal means wild, extravagant and wasteful.  That is a term that might more properly be used to refer to the Father’s love for the lost son.  This son hated his father.  Rejected his father.  Demanded control of his share of the father’s estate only to waste it all on reckless living.  Then, having hit bottom he had the nerve to come home.  He returned to find his father waiting, longing for his wayward son to return.  While he was still a long way off the father saw him, had compassion for him, ran to him, embraced him and kissed him repeatedly.  Then he called for the finest robe, a signet ring and a barbecue.  This son, once dead, was now alive.  The one who was lost had been found.   But not everyone rejoiced.  There was an older brother.

What is the context of this parable?
Who was our Lord addressing?
What was the specific concern?
Now our Lord brings the Scribes and Pharisees into the story as he brings it to a close.

Here we learn…

Thesis: The biblical gospel joyously proclaims the wild, extravagant love of God even for the cold-hearted, self-righteous, and morally upstanding sinner.

Before the apostle Paul comes to the conclusion in Luke 3 of Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, he builds his case by first talking about the “Saturday Night” sinners in Luke 1.  These are those folks who are far way from God.  The thorough going sinners involved in every form of immorality and showing no regard for God at all.  Then in Luke 2 he deals with the “Sunday Morning” sinners.  Those who give the appearance of righteousness.  Those who claim to love and obey God and yet are just as rebellious and sinful as that crowd spoken of in Luke 1 – just in more respectable ways.

This is what is at the heart of our text this morning.
There are three things I want us to note as we work our way through this brief text.

  1. It is entirely possible to be lost without ever leaving home.  (15:25-28)
  2. The devastating soul-sickness of “good” lost people.  (15:29-30)
  3. The love of God for morally upstanding sinners.  (15:31-32)Conclusion:
    You notice it ends there.  There is no conclusion.  Luke doesn’t say, “In a moment the result of that parable.”  It’s left open.  Why?  Because you must write the ending of your own story.  My hope and prayer is that you will enter into the party and experience the father’s grace for yourself!
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The God Who Reveals Himself

The God Who Reveals Himself: Selected Psalms

The PsalmsThis is an exposition of Psalm 19. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, June 7, 2017.

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Our Exclusive Gospel

Our Exclusive Gospel: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #7

This is an exposition of 1 Peter 2:21-25. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, June 4, 2017.


Have you noticed how open-minded and understanding we have become?  In our sophisticated, compassionate and tolerant world it is the height of arrogance to declare someone is wrong or some belief is not valid.  Truth is an ever-changing commodity.  Truth is what we make it.  Black and white is sometimes purple!  What is true and right for you may be false and totally wrong for me.  What was true yesterday may not be true today and may be heretical tomorrow.  While such a view of truth is, to say the least, confusing, with regards to faith, it is devastating!  Once respected and conservative theologians are now arguing that God does not know the future.  He has no way of knowing what man will do so God “rolls the dice” and hopes for the best.  Others question whether anyone can claim to “know” the will of God.  “Christian” theologians now claim it is wrong to say that Christ is the answer to man’s sin.  After all how can you limit God to only one option?

So-called “progressive Christian scholars” promote an understanding of Christianity that leads to a greater concern for the way people treat each other than for the way people express their beliefs.  What matters is that we accept all people, and respect other religious traditions.  The Center for Progressive Christianity released a statement declaring, “We are opposed to any exclusive dogma that limits the search for truth and free inquiry.”  In other words there are many paths to God and who are we to limit God?  Yet an honest reading of the New Testament cannot deny the exclusive claims of Christianity.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by me.”  Luke records the words of Peter before the Sanhedrin, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.”  This exclusive nature of the Gospel is at the heart of our text this evening found in 1 Peter 1 Peter 2.

Text: 1 Peter 2:21-25

Peter, the aged apostle shortly before his death is writing to scattered believers.
Persecution has begun.
Many have died – others will follow.
Peter announces the glorious message of the Gospel.
Strong doctrinal basis for hope and assurance.
A new birth, to a living hope, through the resurrection to an inheritance that cannot fade.
All because of God’s grace!
Then Peter applies the truth – “so what?”

In the middle of the “so what” as he refers to Christ’s suffering – Peter cannot help but speak again of the glory of the Gospel.  Tuck away in the middle of this argument for Christian living is a profound statement concerning the Gospel.  As we consider the meaning of this passage we are again reminded that:

Thesis: Jesus Christ alone is worthy of our love and adoration.

There are three reasons for why we should love him exclusively.

  1. Because He alone lovingly stood in our place.  (2:24a)
  2. Because He alone graciously secured your deliverance.  (2:24b)
  3. Because He alone compassionately cares for your soul.  (2:25)

He alone is worthy of your love and adoration because he alone lovingly stood in your place, He alone graciously secured your deliverance and He alone compassionately cares for your soul.  

Is it arrogant to say that Christ is the only way?
Let’s consider the whole picture.

  • Creation
  • Rebellion
  • God did not owe us anything but death
  • God chose to love
  • Suffered and died himself in our place
  • All that is asked in return is that we come his way

It is the height of arrogance to demand another solution!

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The Lost Son

The Lost Son: 2016 Gospel of Luke #61

This is an exposition of Luke 15:11-24. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 4, 2017.


Lost things.  We’ve all known the heartache of losing something we cherish.  As a child you lost a favorite toy or a treasured memento.  You thought there could be nothing worse than losing that thing you loved this until you lost that friend who moved away.  As you grew older you learned that things come and go and that friends move away.  Lost things are part of life.  That knowledge really didn’t help when you lost that friend, not because he or she moved away but because they no longer wanted to be friends.  Nothing hurts more than continually running into that thing which is lost yet remains physically close.  As painful as it is to lose something or someone, there is no greater joy than finding that which was lost.  There’s that ball glove.  I should have known it was in the bottom of my closet.  Oh, there’s that doll.  It fell behind the dresser.  She’s been there all along waiting to be found.  “Hey, guess who just moved back to town?”  Or one day you ran into each other at lunch.  There was a bit of small talk and before you knew it the distance between you had somehow vanished.  Whatever it was doesn’t matter anymore.  All that matters is that your relationship has been restored and your heart is full.  What was lost has been found.  What was broken is now restored.

It is the most famous of our Lord’s parables.  The parable of lost things.  It’s all one parable yet told in three parts; three stories telling of the pain of loss and the joy of finding.  Luke 15:4-32 is one parable.  The focus of the parable is on the attitude and actions of our God toward the lost.  Three stories yet one theme.  One melody played by three different instruments.  It is the same music yet each with a distinct sound.

Our text this morning is Luke 15:11-24.

Text: Luke 15:11-24

Two weeks ago we considered the story of the lost sheep emphasizing the persistence of our God in His loving pursuit of the lost and dying.  A man had 100 sheep and 1 came up missing.  He left the 99 and went in pursuit of the 1 lost and remained at the task until it was found.

Then last week we considered the story of the lost coin.  A woman had 10 silver coins (her life’s savings) and 1 came up missing.  There we learned of the diligent determination of our God in pursuing the lost and dying.

This morning we consider the story of the lost son.  This is one of the most famous stories ever told.  It is famous because it is told by our Lord.  It is famous because it is so perfectly told (not a single detail is wasted).  It is famous because when we hear it we cannot help but sense it is really our story.  We pity the sheep, we value the coin but we identify with the son.

In this, the climax of the three stories, we again are reminded of the attitude of our God toward the lost.  In this story we are reminding that…

Thesis: The biblical gospel powerfully proclaims the love of God in His joyous reception the repentant sinner.

That has been our Lord’s focus – 15:7 & 15:10
Now we have a powerful picture of that truth in this story.
There are 3 things I want us to note as this drama unfolds.

  1. The Lost Son (15:11-16)
  2. The Journey Home (15:17-19)
  3. An Astounding Acceptance (15:20-24)

Do you know how much the Father loves you?
He sent the Lord Jesus to be your Savior.
He is calling you back from the far country of sin.
He is looking for you – longing to receive you.

Will you come home to the Father’s love?

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A Grateful Heart

A Grateful Heart: Selected Psalms

The PsalmsThis is an exposition of Psalm 138. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, May 31, 2017.

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