Touching Lepers

August 13, 2017
Luke 5:12 – 17
John McKeel

The Disease That Made You an Outcast

There are many terrible diseases: shingles, arthritis, stones of all kinds, but in the ancient world of the Bible one stood out, leprosy. Not only was it hideous and painful, but it made you an outcast.

 A Painless Hell

“The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp,” (Leviticus 13:45–46).

Leprosy or Hansen’s disease as it is known today, destroys the nerves. The results of uncared for injuries leads to horrible disfigurements. When this man came to Jesus (Luke 5:12 – 17), he was truly a man in need.

The Leper Comes to Jesus

As if the disease wasn’t bad enough, leprosy represented punishment for sin (Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah had been judged by God with leprosy. See Numbers 12:6–10; 2 Kings 5:25–27; 2 Chronicles 26:19 respectively).

Notice when the leper comes to Jesus, he doesn’t say, “Lord, you can heal me.” Rather he pleads “Lord, you can make me clean.”

Like the leper, before we can be forgiven, three things must happen:

  1. We must become aware of our condition.
  2. We must realize Christ is our only hope.
  3. We must have real faith.

Show Yourself to the Priest

Why did Jesus send him away? Because it was time to celebrate.

“In Biblical times the rare deliverances from leprosy were certified by an elaborate and uniquely joyful ceremony that extended over eight full days in fulfillment of the directives of Leviticus 14. … Imagine the joy of the healed man and his family—and the communal celebration that accompanied that great eighth day. It was as if a resurrection had taken place. Very likely there was feasting and singing long into the night.

For us Christians, the Old Testament’s description of these ancient ceremonies elicits incredible joy not only because the Scriptures speak of Christ (cf. Luke 24:27; John 5:39), but also because this elaborate ritual specifically speaks of the atonement through Christ and his power to deliver. This is precisely what Jesus’ healing of the leper in Luke 5 is all is about.” R.K. Hughes

Some Things to Think About

Knowledge

  1. Do we have any diseases today that carry a social stigma as leprosy did so long ago?
  2. Read the parallel accounts of this healing and think about what each one adds to our understanding.
    1. Matthew 8:2 – 4
    2. Mark 1:40 – 45
    3. Luke 5:12 – 17
  3. Why did Jesus tell the man to show himself to the priest?

Attitude

  1. Jesus didn’t have to touch the man. Why did the Lord do that?
  2. What did the leper feel when Jesus touched him?
  3. How important is touch?

Action

  • Who do you know that needs a hug?

Belief: From Baby Steps to Triumph

First Sunday/First Principles

Sunday Morning Sermon
August 6, 2017
Genesis 12:1 – 9
John McKeel

 

Introduction

In the movies, there are “freeze frame” moments.

  • Rocky dancing at the top of the stairs,
  • when the bone becomes a space ship in 2001: A Space Odessy;
  • Casablanca when Rick and Ilsa part at the airport;
  • Taylor finds the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes;
  • Gene Kelly singing in the rain;
  • Indiana Jones shoots the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In the story of Abraham, the Freeze Frame moment is Abraham on the mountain top re-united with Isaac (Genesis 22), but that moment, the triumph of Abraham’s faith began many years before; when God called him to leave Ur and journey to the Promised Land.

Open your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 11

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for …” v. 1

  • Faith and belief translate the same word.
  • Faith is different from hope.

Verse 6 tells us what to believe:

Hebrews 11:6 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.

  • God exists
  • He “rewards us” with what?
    • Purpose: Life is a school
    • Heaven: the Final Reward 

Abraham’s Journey

  1. It began with the call, Genesis 12:1 – 3
    1. A Command: leave
    2. A Promise: I will
    3. A Blessing
  2. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness,” Paul, Romans 4:3 (Galatians 3:6; James 2:23) quoting Genesis 15:6.
  3. Notice that Abraham believed, even though he didn’t have all the answers. Can you imagine the conversation he had with Sarah?

 

  1. Where? Hebrews 11:8 – 10
    1. He didn’t know where
    2. But he traveled with his
      1. Tent – Marked him as a pilgrim
      2. Altar – Marked him as a believer
  2. How? Hebrews 11:11, 12
    1. He didn’t know how the promise was going to be fulfilled
  3. When? Hebrews 11:13 – 16
    1. “Are we there yet?”
    2. “How much longer?”
  4. Why? Hebrews 11:17 – 19
    1. Why is God doing it this way?

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Family Friendly Worship Service

Sunday Morning Sermon
August 6, 2017
Daniel chapter 6
John McKeel

God Rewards Faithfulness

The book of Daniel opens as Daniel and his friends are led into captivity. They are to be educated in the ways of the Babylonians.

We all know the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, but have you ever thought about how Daniel’s faithfulness in chapter one prepared him for the lions in chapter 6?

Predictability

Daniel became a victim of jealousy and his enemies tricked King Darius issuing a silly decree that would ultimately see Daniel thrown to the lions. When Daniel learned of the king’s order, he “knelt down as usual” and prayed three times a day “just as he had always done.” Talk about being cool under pressure!

What Would You Pray About?

Did you notice the last part of verse 10? What would you pray about if you were in Daniel’s position? He “gave thanks”! Our prayers pale in comparison. How did his attitude help him through the crisis?

Saved Through Not From

Even though Daniel was faithful, he was thrown into the lion’s den. This is a critical principle every disciple must recognize: God saves us through troubles, not from troubles.

Some Things to Think About

Knowledge

  1. There are many different kinds of prayers. Prayers of adoration are ways of telling the Lord why you love him. Prayers of confession are a first step towards growth and overcoming the barriers in our lives. An “attitude of gratitude” is the foundation of worship and prayers of thanksgiving cultivate personal growth. The most common prayers are requests when we ask God to help us endure trials and tribulations. Can you think of other types of prayer?
  2. If you were in Daniel’s situation, what would you pray about? Why?
  3. How did Daniel’s commitment in chapter one, prepare him for the trial in chapter 6?

Attitude

  1. How do good habits help you in times of crisis?
  2. Why did Daniel “give thanks” in the midst of his trial? (6:10)
  3. Why didn’t the Lord save Daniel before Daniel was thrown to the lions?

Action

  • How can Daniel’s story help you face the lions in your life?

 

 

Confession: Coming Clean

Sunday Morning Sermon
July 23, 2017
Psalm 32, 51

John McKeel

Aachen’s Story

Aachen was part of the army of Israel that conquered Jericho. Unfortunately, he disobeyed God and tried to cover up his sin with disastrous results for him and his family (Joshua 7:10 – 26).

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:9, 10

Confession is Part of Discipleship

  1. Part of the people’s response to John the Baptist’s message was confession, (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5).
  2. The Christians in Ephesus confessed their addiction to magic (Acts 19:18).
  3. James, the brother of Jesus, urges us “5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Let the Poison Out

What is the value in confession?

  1. Everyone has experiences to share – that you need to share!
  2. The more we share, the deeper the understanding between us.
  3. Everyone faces situations where talking with people who “just get it” can be incredibly powerful.

Some Things to Think About

Knowledge

It is interesting to look up the number of places in the Bible where someone confesses, “I have sinned.” Read and think about these passages:

  • Exodus 9:37-30
  • Joshua 7:10-26
  • 1 Samuel 15:13-26
  • 2 Samuel 12:7-14
  • Matthew 27:3-5
  • Luke 15:11-24

Attitude

  • After looking at those passages, it seems sometimes confession led to forgiveness (David and the Prodigal Son) and sometimes it didn’t (Aachen and King Saul). What makes the difference?
  • What is the difference between true confession and “Hand-Caught-in-the-Cookie-Jar” confession?
  • Why is confession such an important part of the Christian experience?
  • Why don’t we practice it more?
  • There are two ways to become aware of sin and our need to confess. The first is to become aware of the transgression: “I’ve done a terrible thing” and the other is to become aware of God, which causes us to contrast his holiness with our own sinfulness. (How white is this paint? If you have a standard white paint chip to compare it to, the job is easy.) When is it appropriate to use each method (pointing out sin or pointing someone to God)?

Action

Sometimes the first step in learning to confess is learning to admit to ourselves that we are sinners. Try writing your confession on a slip of paper and then offer it to God by burning it.

 

 

Metamorphosis

Sunday Morning Sermon
July 16, 2017
Romans 12:1, 2
John McKeel

 This is the third and final part of a three part series on Romans 12:1, 2 entitled, “The Pilgrimage to Beauty.”

 

12 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

Don’t Let the World Squeeze You In!

Anyone who has walked through a casino in Vegas understands peer pressure. In a thousand subtle (and not so subtle) ways they are pressuring you to gamble.

The world around us, Paul says, is also trying to squeeze us – and our families – into its mold.

Living Inside Out

So how can we resist? By being transformed – changed from the inside out. The word Paul used to describe this process is the same one we use to describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly: metamorphosis. It’s not a matter of looking the part. It means staring with our hearts and being transformed from the inside out.

Paul reminded Titus, the Holy Spirit renews our minds (Titus 3:5) and he told the Corinthians our vision of God transforms us (2 Corinthians 3:18).

A New Mind

A renewed mind requires the special work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and it requires a vision of God (2 Corinthians 3:18) to put things into perspective.

You see the problem is, sin – especially repetitious sin – corrupts our vision (Romans 1:18 – 32). Here is an important principle: you are no greater than the god you worship, because our vision of God gives us a perspective on life. For example, if you worship money, or “success,” or power, or beauty – all of these “little g gods” – you will be ultimately disappointed.

Think about it with me for a moment. Your so-called god makes great promises and will require certain sacrifices for their worship. For example, what sacrifices are you required to offer on the altar of beauty? And even if you make those sacrifices, in the end you will only be left with a beautiful corpse.

What we need is a new mind, a new way of thinking, a new vision of God.

The Goal of Transformation

When we can see the world through God’s eyes, we become “discerning” (dokimazo). That is, we learn to make judgements based on our understanding of God’s standards.

A transformed Christian will be able to make judgements about:

  • What is truly Good
  • That which is Pleasing to God
  • The Perfect, what meets the highest standard

Some Things to Think About

Knowledge

  1. What are some of the ways our culture tries to make us conform?
  2. How can we fight back?
  3. The Holy Spirit renews our mind (Titus 3:5), but we have a role to play too. How can we cultivate a new way of thinking?
  4. At the conclusion of Romans 12: 2, Paul says the result of renewing our mind is we will understand God’s will for us, then he describes God’s will for us with three attributes. What are they?

Attitude

  1. What are some ways you can tell that a person is a conformist?
  2. What are some ways you can tell that a person is living from the inside out (transformational living)?

Action

  • Here are some frightening statistics concerning our children:
    • The Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base reports that right around 30% if teens are offered drugs in middle school and high school.
    • According to the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 74.3% of high school students have tried alcohol.
    • 3.1 million teenagers smoke, according to the American Lung Association.
    • The Kaiser Foundation reports that about 50% of teenagers feel pressured with regard to sex in relationships.

What suggestions would you give to a teenager on how to resist peer pressure?

25 Ways to Resist Negative Peer Pressure

  1. Walk away.
  2. Ignore the person.
  3. Pretend that the person must be joking. (“What a riot! You are so funny.”)
  4. Say no-calmly but firmly.
  5. Say no and give a reason. (“No. Cigarette smoke makes me sick.”)
  6. Say no and state a value or belief that’s important to you. (“No. I’ve decided not to have sex until I get married.”)
  7. Say no and warn about the possible consequences. (“No way! We could all get expelled.”)
  8. Say no and change the subject. (“No, I’m not interested. Say, what did you think of that stunt Clarisse pulled in math class today?”)
  9. Say no and offer a positive alternative. (“No thanks, I’ll pass. I’m going for a bike ride. Want to come?”)
  10. Say no and ask a question. (“No! Why would I want to do that?”)
  11. Say no and use humor. (“Forget it. I’d rather go play on the freeway; it’s safer.”)
  12. Say no and apply some pressure of your own. (“No. Say, I always thought you were smarter than that.”)
  13. Share your feelings. (“I don’t like being around people who are drinking.”)
  14. Use your parents as an excuse. (“My dad would kill me if I ever did that.”)
  15. Stick up for yourself. (“I’m not going to do that. It wouldn’t be good for me.”)
  16. Confront the person. (“I can’t believe you’d ask me to do that. I thought you were my friend.”)
  17. Call another friend to help you.
  18. Always have an out — a Plan B. (“Sorry I can’t come to the party. I promised my sister I’d take her to a movie.”)
  19. (“Gotta run. I told my mom I’d clean out the garage.’)
  20. Hang out with people who don’t pressure you to do risky things.
  21. Ask a peer mediator to help.
  22. Tell an adult.
  23. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.
  24. Avoid the person from then on.

from What Teens Need to Succeed by Peter Benson

A Living Sacrifice

Sunday Morning Sermon
July 9, 2017
Romans 12:1, 2
John McKeel

 This is the second of a three part series on Romans 12:1, 2 entitled, “The Pilgrimage to Beauty.”

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)

Old and New

The rule of the Old Testament was law. It was about keeping commandments – “Thou shalt not …” – and we all know the New Testament is about salvation by grace, but there are many other differences as well. The Old had a system of priests and temples and sacrifices. The New changes that. Now we are all priests and Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.

However, in our text this morning, Paul urges us “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” Let’s think about that for a moment together.

The Right Sacrifice

In this verse, Paul uses the language of the temple: “present … sacrifice … worship.” That sacrifice is our bodies as a whole and it is to have three attributes:

  1. Living – Are you fully alive?
  2. Holy – I like Young’s translation: “sanctified.”
  3. Pleasing to God, See Hebrews 13:15, 16. “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

“Present Your Bodies”

In the western world, under the influence of Greek civilization, we tend to think about our souls apart from our bodies. That’s why the Athenians laughed at Paul in Acts 17 when he preached a bodily resurrection.

Yes, Jesus talked about ““heart, soul, mind and strength” in Mark 12:28-34, and Paul asked God to bless the Thessalonians completely: soul and body, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, but they were referring to different facets of our humanity and not different parts.

How many people are tormented by body image issues? In a world without God, perfection is a cruel standard, but God is alive and He makes us perfect!

Consider the case of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 4:1 – 10). The Old Testament called for perfection and he was not allowed to go into the Temple.

By the power of Jesus, Peter and John healed him and by the power of Jesus, we need to put to death these ridiculous standards of “beauty” too. Praise God for gray hair because it isn’t gray – it’s silver! Praise God for those stretch marks because they represent new life. It’s time to see the inner beauty that God sees!

1 Peter 3:3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

 

If you have any questions about today’s lesson, or if you would just like to talk, please contact John McKeel, John@GrotonChurch.org.

Some Things to Think About

Which First Lady would you rather invite to dinner? Eleanor Roosevelt or Melania Trump? Why?

Knowledge

  1. Can you separate your soul from your body and still be human?
  2. Why did the Greeks on Mars Hill find Paul’s message so funny? (Acts 17:16 ff.)
  3. We are to offer our bodies as a “living sacrifice.” What is the difference between a living sacrifice and a dead sacrifice? Does it seem like most Christians are living or dead?

Attitude

  1. Why do people spend so much money and time on cosmetics, exercise, fashion and plastic surgery?
  2. Should Christians be concerned about these things? 1 Peter 3:3, 4; 1 Timothy 2:9.
  3. How can Christians become a living sacrifice? The ancient preacher, John Chrysostom, said:

“How can the body become a sacrifice? Let the eye look on no evil, and it is a sacrifice. Let the tongue utter nothing base, and it is an offering. Let the hand work no sin, and it is a holocaust. * But more, this suffices not, but besides we must actively exert ourselves for good; the hand giving alms, the mouth blessing them that curse us, the ear ever at leisure for listening to God”

*Holocaust here means “a sacrifice wholly consumed by fire.”

Action

  • Is Paul asking us to give something up, or to live our lives differently, if we are to be “a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God?”

 

The Mercies of God

Sunday Morning Sermon
July 2, 2017
Romans 12:1, 2
John McKeel

 This is the first of a three part series on Romans 12:1, 2 entitled, “The Pilgrimage to Beauty.”

New Birth/New Beginning

What do princesses kissing frogs and ugly ducklings have in common? Yes, they are fairy tales, but they both describe the “Pilgrimage to Beauty.”

In the New Testament, Paul describes a pilgrimage to beauty as we are transformed into the image of Jesus in Romans 12:1, 2. This is the first of a three-part series.

The Basis of Paul’s Encouragement

The pilgrimage to beauty is only possible because through the “mercies of God.”

  1. Mercy: This word is rare outside of the Bible. We might see other’s pain, but most of us have learned to ignore it. “Mercy” means “sympathy that is ready to help.” (See Luke 6:27-36.)
  2. The story of Jesus and Blind Bartimaeus illustrates mercy. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite might have had compassion, but they didn’t have mercy. Let’s study the story: Mark 10:46 – 52

How do we learn to be merciful?

  1. As the Children of God, we need to learn how to be merciful too.
  2. Paul gave very clear instructions to the Colossians:

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Note Our Standing with God:
  1. Elect – chosen
  2. Holy
  3. Beloved
Now Follow the Five Steps:
  1. First, we need to soften our hearts.
  2. Kindness
  3. Humility
  4. Meekness
  5. Patience

Some Things to Think About

Knowledge
  1. Define each of the following words:
    1. Pity
    2. Compassion
    3. Sympathy
    4. Mercy
  2. Mercy in the Bible is defined as “sympathy that is ready to help.” How is mercy like sympathy and how is it different?
  3. What does “God is merciful” mean?
  4. In Romans 12:1, Paul is encouraging the Romans on the basis of God’s mercy. Can you explain?
  5. What would God be like if He wasn’t merciful?
Attitude
  1. Can you help someone who doesn’t want your help?
  2. Why should we be merciful?
  3. Give an example of mercy in action.
Action
  • Read Colossians 3:12, 13 and outline a plan for becoming merciful.

Be a Blessing

Sunday Morning Sermon
June 25, 2017
John McKeel

My grandmother once told me: “Everyone makes you happy…. Some people make you happy when you see them coming and some people make you happy when you see them going, but everyone makes you happy.”

God calls us to be blessed and to be a blessing to others.

God promised to bless Abraham “so that you will be a blessing,” (Genesis 12:2). We don’t use the word “bless” very often in daily discourse – unless someone sneezes! What does “bless” mean? Fortunate. Happy. Originally it was reserved for the gods. “It denotes the transcendent happiness of a life beyond care, labor and death,” (TDNT). In other words, they don’t worry.

“Without time, there can be no worry.” Therefore, we need to strive to live in the now.

God Blesses Us

How does God bless us? We don’t need to worry because:

  1. God is in control.
  2. Everything belongs to God. We are just trustees.
  3. We know how the story ends.
  4. Death has lost its power.
  5. We are never alone.

The Blessing is Counter-Intuitive (Christianity is Revolutionary)

We count someone blessed who is rich, fortunate, etc. but Christianity turns the world upside down. Matthew 5:1-10.

5  Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying:

3     “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4     Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5     Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6     Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7     Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8     Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9     Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poor – We say the rich are blessed. They don’t have to worry, but the truth is the poor must trust in God. We grow in the hard times!

  • Mourn – We say the happy are blessed because they are content, but those who mourn are blessed because God dries their tears.
  • Meek – We tell our children to “Be proud,” but “pride goes before the fall.” Strength under control is a blessing!
  • Hunger – Hunger is a desire. The blessing comes to those who desire righteousness!
  • Merciful – We praise justice, but pray for mercy.
  • Pure in Heart – Are chumps. They are easy prey for the shrewd, but the Christian values purity because of its power: the power of a single, unified, balanced, whole life.
  • Peacemakers – are stuck in the middle, but their self-sacrifice blesses the world.

The Blessing Requires Faith

There are two requirements of faith:

  1. Faith requires trust
  2. Faith requires growth. Monkey-bar faith v. sailing over the horizon. Monkey-bar faith is like the playground. We swing from one bar to the next. It might be hard but we can always see the next step, but when you sail over the horizon, you lose sight of land. That kind of radical faith takes us out of our comfort zone!

This Week: Be a blessing!

If you have any questions about this week’s lesson, or you’d just like to talk, please call John (619-313-7997) or drop him an email:

John@GrotonChurch.org

Authentic

Sunday Morning Sermon
June 11, 2017
John McKeel

A World Full of Fakes

It seems artificial everything fills our modern world. There are faux furs, artificial meats, and surrogates without number. That may be true all around us, but it should never be true in church. When I mention “hypocrite,” the first synonym to come to mind shouldn’t be “Christian”!

What About Me?

I am sure that every true child of God will sometimes wonder, if he or she isn’t really a hypocrite, so this morning we’re going to look at the marks of hypocrisy, take a moment to count the cost of hypocrisy and then we’ll close with a biblical cure for hypocrisy.

The Marks of Hypocrisy

No one talks more about hypocrisy than Jesus. He devoted a major part of the Sermon on the Mount to warnings about hypocrisy (Matthew 6) and the most caustic chapter in the gospels contains the Lord’s condemnation of hypocrites (Mathew 23).

The first mark of hypocrisy is the contrast between a hypocrite’s words and his deeds.

Matthew 23:1 – 3

Seven Kinds of a Pharisee:

  1. Wait-a-little Pharisee
  2. Humped Back Pharisee
  3. Shoulders Pharisee
  4. Ever-reckoning Pharisee
  5. Bruised and Bleeding Pharisee
  6. God-fearing Pharisee
  7. Son of Abraham

The second concerns his motivations for goodness: whenever he does right, it is done to be seen by others.

  1. Matthew 6:1-4
  2. A corollary to this concern is the hypocrites’ religion depends on time and place.

Finally, hypocrites “major in minors.”

  1. Strain out a gnat, Matthew 23:24
  2. They are generally more severe with others than they are with themselves.

The Costs of Hypocrisy

Have you ever considered the advantages of being a hypocrite? They generally have honor and respect – all the advantages of being a good Christian man or woman – until the truth comes out (and it will).

  1. Fear of being found out.
  2. The “Disquietude of Conscience.”
  3. The Anger of God

“Mr. Hypocrite, I see an item here which you usually forget, it is this—that despite of your profession God abhors you, and if there is one man more than another who stinks in the nostrils of Jehovah, it is such as thou art—thou miserable pretender. There shall be a special place reserved for thee amongst the damned.” — Charles Spurgeon (1859)

The Cure for Hypocrisy

The sad thing about hypocrisy is that it is the last sin we suspect ourselves of, and yet it is one of the easiest to fall into.

Note: it is not our task to look around and spot the hypocrites! That is God’s business.

The only way you can play the hypocrite is by forgetting this one fact: God is watching.

  1. Is God watching to catch us in the act?
  2. Or is God watching to praise us?

Be authentic!

  1. Humility
  2. Obedience
  3. Transparency

 

Simple

John McKeel
Sunday Morning Sermon
June 4, 2017

When did the world become so complex?

“God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising,” (Ecclesiastes 7:39, JB).

  • Duplicity: Our lives are made complex by trying to hold on to two competing values.
    1. Like Lot’s wife, we can’t decide where we want to be or what we want.
    2. James coined the term dipsuche to describe that pitiful state (James 1:2-8).
  • The results of duplicity are:
    1. Worry
    2. Confusion
    3. Helplessness

The Virtue of Simplicity

  • Don’t reduce simplicity to a set of outward actions, James 4:8.
  • We find the virtue of simplicity by becoming single-minded.
  1. Single-minded devotion to Christ, Matthew 6:25-33.
  2. Single-minded conviction based on God’s Word, John 9:25.
  3. Single-minded ministry, Philippians 3:13.
  • People who are committed to the simple life will…
  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction.
  3. Develop the habit of giving things away.
  4. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  5. Develop a deeper appreciation of the creation.
  6. Beware of “buy now, pay later” slavery to credit.
  7. Cultivate simplicity of dress and speech and life.

Simple Church

The church is not immune from complexity. There are over 9,000 denominations in the world today and I find that terribly disturbing!

So how can we simplify things? Perhaps we need to discover the cause of our divisions.

  • Our traditions divide us.
  • Our written creeds divide us.
  • Our un-written creeds divide us.
  • So-called “new revelations” divide us.
  • What we need to do is go back to the source!
    1. In 2005, Israeli scientists announced to the world, a Judean Date Palm – a tree long thought extinct – had just germinated.
    2. The Apostle Peter reminds us, 1 Peter 1:23 – 25,

You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Some Things to Think About

  1. What keeps us from living our dreams?
  2. When does something go from being an entertainment to becoming a distraction?
  3. Why makes life so complicated anyway?
  4. Why is it so hard to say “No”?

John@GrotonChurch.org