The benefits of love

1 Cor 16.14

  1. The purpose of love brings fulfillment. Even menial and unpleasant tasks become meaningful when done in love. The worst job is redeemed by love. Every activity holds the potential as a channel to express love.
  2. The work of love produces usefulness. Nothing is wasted when love is at work. “Every work performed by love is beneficent, it has a brightness in it to enlighten, a balm in it to soothe, a music in it to charm, an aroma in it to please” (D. Thomas).
  3. The force of love creates unity. Love binds everything in life into a coherent whole. It brings oneness to the self and to the community. If God is love, then love embraces all of one’s existence.

This outline was inspired by one by D. Thomas in J.S. Exell’s Biblical Illustrator, on the Bible text above.

Baptismal benediction

“In closing his epistle Paul says, ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion (fellowship) of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.” [2 Cor 13.13] I use this most of the time in a baptismal service. As the candidate arises from the watery grave to a new life in Christ, I say, ‘And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.” I believe that is a benediction. At least, that’s my intention.” —Nelson M. Smith, Agape Study Manual, 300.

War won by privates

General Eisenhower once rebuked one of his generals for referring to a soldier as “just a private.” He reminded him that the army could function better without its generals than it could without its foot soldiers. “If this war is won,” he said, “it will be won by privates.” In the same way, it is the common, servant-like believer who becomes the very backbone of the body of Christ. We are often overly impressed by our great evangelists and superstar Bible teachers and leaders who stand before large crowds, but if the glorious message of the person and work of Christ is to reach the world, it will be done by a church that functions as bondslaves of the Savior (cf. Luke 12:15; Luke 12:32; 2 Peter 2:19; 1 John 3:17). —J. Hampton Keathley

‘Christian’ means persecution

1 Pet 4.12-19

Introduction

  1. This passage is the third and final time that the word “Christian” appears in the New Testament.
    • The first in Acts 11.26 focused on Christians as Christ’s people.
    • The second in Acts 26.28 focused on persuasion for becoming a Christian.
  2. The context of today’s text is suffering because of persecution and the need for faithfulness.
  3. Peter begins this passage by addressing his readers as “beloved” v. 12. They are precious to him, because their faith is precious to them.

What does it mean to suffer as a Christian?

Continue reading

God’s model for the church’s prayers

  1. Content — Jesus gave what we rightly call the “model prayer” Mt 6; Lk 11, as a guide for what should be included in our prayers, as Paul did in 1 Tim 2.1-7;
  2. Candidate — We talk about the right candidate for baptism, but there is also a right candidate for leading prayer as well, 1 Tim 2.8:
    (a) Males;
    (b) Not just any male, but one who is holy and not angry;
  3. Comprehension — People must be able to understand the prayer, 1 Cor 14.13-16.

Outline from randalmatheny.com.

Topical sermons are legit

So says Rick Kelley:

… context should not be abandoned altogether, and expository preaching/study is an excellent form of communicating the text – perhaps the most excellent form; but remote and immediate context doesn’t always need to be explored deeply to make a valid biblical point in a presentation.

The article is short, and makes use of two good illustrations, one biblical, another Shakespearian, in favor of topical sermons. Read the entire post here.

Last-minute preparations

A service station attendant was swarmed with last-minute customers on a holiday weekend. He shook his head and said to a preacher who was in the line, “It is funny to me that people always wait until the last minute to prepare for a trip they know they are going to take.”

“I know,” said the preacher, “I have the same problem in my business.”

See Matthew 25.1-13; 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11

Same is good, when it’s Jesus

This earthly life changes constantly. Many like variety. But in Christ sameness is a wonderful quality.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!
Heb 13.8

Here are four comforting truths that arise from this affirmation:

  1. Jesus is divine and eternal. He is God, and his work remains.
  2. Christ’s teaching never changes. His truth continues the same.
  3. His promise never fails. Our hope is firm.
  4. His constancy gives security to those who are in him.

What other points can you draw out from the sameness of Christ?

What can keep us from God

By John Henson, Dibrell congregation, McMinnville TN

Psalm 70:5

  1. Pride keeps us from God (Psalm 10:4; Proverbs 16:18).
  2. Possessions can keep us from God (Luke 18:18ff).
  3. Arrogance can keep us from God (James 4:13-16).
  4. What can bring us closer to God?
    • Psalm 70:5 “I am poor and needy.”
    • Matthew 18:3-4 Become as little children.
    • Psalm 51:17 “Poor, contrite heart.”
    • Isaiah 66:2 God can save the humble.

If you have been raised up

By John Henson, Dibrell congregation, McMinnville TN

Colossians 3:1-4

I. KEEP SEEKING (Verse 1)

a. The Things Above

b. Where Christ is in a Special Place

II. GIVE YOUR MINDS TO THINGS ABOVE (Verse 2)

a. The Practical Pursuit of Heavenly Goals.

b. THINK Heaven!

III. WHY FOCUS ON HEAVEN (Verse 3)?

a. Your Life Exists in God now!

b. Your Life is in a Safe Place Now!

IV. WHEN CHRIST OUR LIFE APPEARS (Verse 4)

a. Our Lives Hidden In Him, With Him

b. You Will Be Revealed in Glory (NASB)

c.  Is your life hidden in Christ?

d. If not, obey the gospel now.

The effects of sin and of holiness

  1. Sin wastes time. Holiness redeems the time, Eph 5.7-15; 1 Pet 1.14-17; 4.1-2, 7.
  2. Sin ruins relationships. Holiness establishes loving relationships, Col 3.12-13; 1 Pet 1.22; Jude 19-21.
  3. Sin leads to a frustrated life. Holiness leads to a life of peace, Phil 4.7-9; 1 Tim 2.2; Heb 12.14.
  4. Sin separates from God eternally. Holiness sees God, Rom 3.23; 6.23; Heb 12.14.
  5. Sin brings sadness, sooner or later. Holiness causes joy, from start to finish, Rom 14.17; 15.13; Jude 24.