Sermon Notes: Salvation Through Christ!

Salvation is a birth (3, 23). This is the spiritual birth Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus (John 3). When you put your faith in Jesus Christ (vv. 5, 7, 9, 21), you are born from above. You receive hope (vv. 3–4, 13, 21) and love for Christ (v. 8) and His people (v. 22). Because we are God’s children, we want to obey Him (vv. 14–16).

About Salvation Romans 10:9‭-‬11 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

1 Peter 1:10‭-‬16 NIV10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

Note: (the clearest example is Daniel and his visions [8:27; 12:8] and his study of other prophets [9:2.]).

  • Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
  • Hebrews 11:6 NIV And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

  • Hebrews 11:13 NIV All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

  • Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Note on Holiness The basic idea of holiness in the Bible is that of separation from all that is profane. The developed sense of holiness includes various meanings translated into English as “purify,” “sanctify,” “separate from,” “dedicate,” etc. The simplest definition of holiness is that of conformity to God’s commands and to his Son (cf. 1Jn 2:4–6).

Remember: Romans 10:9-11

Sermon Notes: The New Life

The theme of the first letter is the grace of God (5:12), and Peter tells us how to live as aliens in a hostile world. Peter opens his first epistle by reminding his readers of what God’s grace has done for them in saving them (1:1–2:10). He then points out that God’s grace helps them in various relationships of life (2:11–3:12)

Intro: Where James addressed the Jews, Peter is addressing the Gentiles.

1 Peter 1:1‭-‬2 NIV Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (bih-thin-ee-uh) (Modern day Turkey), who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

1 Peter 1:3‭-‬9 NIV 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

  • John 3:3 NIV. Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”

Note: The new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit not human will (see Jn 3:3–8).

6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  • Philippians 4:4‭-‬5 NIV Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Note The “soul” (GK 6034) is used in the Semitic biblical sense of “self” or “person.” Therefore the thought of this section closes with the believers’ total enjoyment in this present age of their future salvation.

  • Romans 8:24‭-‬25 NIV For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
  • Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Living Hope Men’s hopes are dead hopes. Like cut flowers, they bloom awhile and then fade and die (1 Pet. 1:24–25). The Christian’s hope is fresh and fruitful because it is a “living hope” (v. 3), purchased by the living Christ (v. 3) and promised in the living Word (v. 23).

Sermon Notes: Always Pray

Power of Prayer (13–18). Many kinds of prayer are named here: prayer for the sick, prayer for forgiveness, prayer for the nation, even prayer about the weather. There is no need that prayer cannot meet and no problem that prayer cannot solve.
Personal concern (19–20). Once again, James emphasizes ministry to individuals

James 1:27 care for widows and orphans

James 2:1–4 not favoring the rich

James 2:14–16 having a working Faith

  • Can you detect when a fellow believer starts to stray?
  • Are you truly concerned?
  • Will you try to help? Will you wait too long?

James 5:13‭-‬20 NIV

We Should Always Pray

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Care for the Sick

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

Note In the larger context of always praying in God’s will, as 1 John 5:14 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (emphasis added). The condition of praying according to God’s will is like the instruction to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Jesus. Desiring things apart from God’s will do not honor Jesus.

Forgiving One Another

16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 

  • Colossians 3:13 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Restoring the Lost

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

  • Galatians 6:1‭-‬2 NIV Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Prayer and Healing

At first, James 5:13–16 would seem to guarantee healing every time, but we must consult the whole of Scripture. There are other passages about prayer that, when taken in isolation, also seem to offer a “blank check” from God:

Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Matthew 21:22: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

John 14:13: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

John 15:7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

John 15:6: “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
These verses need to be understood in the larger context of always praying in God’s will, as 1 John 5:14 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (emphasis added). The condition of praying according to God’s will is akin to the instruction to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Jesus. Desiring things apart from God’s will do not honor Jesus.

Jesus provides an example of praying in God’s will. In Gethsemane, He prayed that “this cup” (the crucifixion) could be avoided, but “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not avoid the cross, for it was God’s will that He suffer through it.

A Morning Reflection: Help!

I  remember as a child my mother saying, “…no man is an island.” What she was saying is that everyone needs help sometimes.

If you think about it, you seldom see anyone successful that is not surrounded by others to help them. The band has its road crew, the surgeon has their attendants, executives have their staff. In all cases, success is based upon help. The list could go on and on…

Likewise, I have seen others fail or struggle when they simply refuse to ask for or allow others to help. For some reason we buy into the lie that asking for help is weakness. However, that is far from being accurate.

Jesus is an ever-present help in our time of need. If we are struggling with challenges in life, sometimes we need to swallow our pride, lift up our hands, and ask for His Divine help or openness to accept help from others.  Because “…no one is an island…”

Psalms 46:1 NIV. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Sermon Notes: Patience

Patience (7–12). If you have sown the right seed, you will eventually reap a harvest of blessing, so be patient. If others have exploited you, be patient; the Judge is at the door. If you are going through trials, be patient; God is still on the throne.

James 5:7‭-‬12 NIV7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 

  • Ephesians 4:2 NIV Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!  

  • James 4:1‭-‬2 NIV What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.  

Jeremiah certainly stands out as one who endured mistreatment with patience. He was put in the stocks (Jer 20:2), thrown into prison (32:2), and lowered into a miry dungeon (38:6); yet he persisted in his ministry without bitterness or recrimination. Such men constitute an “example” for believers who are oppressed and mistreated.

  • James 1:12 NIV Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Christians should let their “ ‘Yes’ be yes,” and their “ ‘No,’ no.” That is, they should be honest in all their speech so that when they make an affirmation or denial, people will know it is unquestionably the truth. In the careless use of oaths people are in danger of taking God’s name in vain, for which they will come under judgment (cf. Ex 20:7).

  • Isaiah 40:28‭-‬31 NIV Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  • Micah 7:7 NIV But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord , I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

A Morning Reflection: New Stuff

Very seldom have I met someone who did not like new things. I can remember as a child watching The Price is Right, and seeing the couple jumping up-and-down in a frenzy as Bob Barker would say “…and here is a new car!”

Likewise, God is always into doing new things in our lives. We often rob ourselves by wanting to see the same things happening in our lives uninterrupted.  The most we “may” ask is to make the same things better – a kind of “upgrade”.

However, God is always into doing something new!  He likes new things. 

Isaiah 43:19 NIV See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

A Morning Reflection:The Master Craftsman

I remember as a little boy going next door to cousin Milton’s shop and watching him build. I can still see the fresh saw chips all over the floor and would ask, “…what are you building?”

You see, you never enter into the craftman’s shop giving orders in regards to what you want built. You always enter intrigued, and asking him what he is building.

The same holds true with God. Too often we are the ones giving directions and frustrated when we don’t see results. However, we should remember that we are His workmanship created to do good works in Christ Jesus.

Maybe we should wake up more often asking Him what He is doing in our lives versus our trying to direct Him. He is the Master Craftsman…

Ephesians 2:10 NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Sermon Notes: What Matters Most

Priorities (1–6). To live only to get wealth is to rob yourself of true riches (1 Tim. 6:6–10, 17–19). It is to worry instead of worship (Matt. 6:19–34). God knows you have needs, and He will meet them if you practice Matthew 6:33.

James 5:1‭-‬6 NIV1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 

Note There are significant differences between 5:1–6 and the rest of the letter. These individuals are not addressed as “brothers”  . Furthermore, they are not called on to repent and change their ways but only to “weep and wail” because of the judgment they are going to undergo

However Believers:

  • Matthew 6:2 NIV “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
  • Matthew 6:19‭-‬21 NIV Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Matthew 6:25‭-‬27 NIV “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?

4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.  6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

  • Matthew 6:33 NIV But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  • Philippians 3:10-11 NIV I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Sermon Notes: Take Nothing for Granted

Selfishness (1–3). The wars among us are caused by the wars within us. We want to please ourselves, even if it hurts somebody else. If we are not careful, even our prayers can become selfish!

Worldliness (4). Because Abraham was separated from sin, he was the friend of God (2:23); but Lot was the friend of the world (Gen. 13:1–13). Ponder 1 John 2:15–17.

Pride (5–10). Satan knows how to use pride to defeat you as he defeated Eve (Gen. 3:1–6). Are you laughing when you should be weeping over your sins? Are you resisting the devil or resisting the Lord?

Boasting (13–17). Life is short and the future unknown, so do the will of God today. When you make plans, always say, “If the Lord wills” (Prov. 27:1). 

“It is right for the church to be in the world; it is wrong for the world to be in the church. A boat in water is good; that is what boats are for. However, water inside the boat causes it to sink.” Harold Lindsell “

A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept’ Christ without forsaking the world.” A. W. Tozer

James 4:13-17
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 

The plan:

(1) “go to this or that city,” (2) “spend a year there,” (3) “carry on business,” and (4) “make money.” The starting time is arranged (“today or tomorrow”); the city has been selected; but God has no place in the plans.

Proverbs 3:5‭-‬7 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

” In the morning it covers the countryside; before noon it is gone. But some of James’s readers had been planning as if they were going to be here forever!

  • Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Luke 12:35‭-‬36 NIV “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,  like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.

A Morning Reflection: Immanuel

This morning’s devotion evolved around the awareness that Jesus is “always” with us! He is Immanuel (God with us).

Specifically, I was reminded of the promise that Jesus is always with us. Think about it. In both the good times and the bad times, He is with us. He is not just with us on holidays such as Christmas or Easter, but “always”.

You see, that is what makes it Good News, that brings Great Joy, to All People! (Luke 2:10)

In reflection, the name Immanuel came to mind, and I was reminded of a scripture we often only reference during Christmas (the Birth) or Easter (the Resurrection) as an example. (Matthew 1:23).

However, it is a promise that continues – always – for every hour, of every day, of our entire lives!

So, I guess while we say “…Merry Christmas…” once a year, we could also say “…Merry Christ Day…” each and every day!

Because He is Immanuel!