Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sermon notes

Last week I began filling the pulpit of a church that is now without a pastor.  I'll have the opportunity to preach there several times over the next few months.
In the first message, I worked from 2 Tim. 2, beginning with Paul's charge to Timothy in v.2: "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others," and moving on to the well known verse v. 15:  "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
The message title was the Solae, the Self and the Savior.
The Solae (Latin for alone) are the five items of the faith that are crucial to the Reformation.  Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone and glory to God alone.  On these 5 points all the reformers agreed, with faith (sola fide) being considered the central point of the Reformation.
As for Self, it's a matter of personal faith; no one else can have that faith for us.
Looking at the Savior is a reminder that we must look at God as who he is, with the attributes that Scripture tells us.  We cannot make up a God to fit our ideas, desires and perceived needs.
I framed this in the context of their church going into the process of finding a new pastor.  They need first of all to be sure that then next man--yes, I believe it needs to be a man--should have his personal doctrine in order. Certainly there will be points about which they can disagree; but his faith must be within the realm of orthodoxy and firmly held.  They must examine him, check his personal doctrine and look over the statement of faith from whatever school he attended.  It is the responsibility of the leadership of that church to assure that the doctrine Paul entrusted to Timothy--though largely lost for about a thousand years and recovered in the Reformation--be taught in their church.

This morning I preached this morning from Romans 1: 16-end.  It's a long passage and certainly cannot be dealt with completely in one message--probably can't have justice done to it in much less than 6 months, actually--but I gave a teaser for the congregation hoping it would stimulate a few to deeper study and give the better schooled a different view on things they probably had seen before.
The message title was Wrath, Reason and Respectable Sin.  Random thought pulled from the lesson:
God is entitled to His Divine wrath.  He's give us ample opportunities to learn from the events of the past, yet we continue to do that which displeases Him.
We engage in both debasing sins and respectable sins.  We seem to have a hierarchy on that; but for God, all have sinned and fall short of His glory.
Churches have failed to deal with the tough issues of the day.  Paul dealt with the tough issues of first century Rome in that letter, so the Church of today should not shy away from dealing with the same things--nothing has really changed.
The book of Romans is multi-cultural! It was written to a mixed bag of converted Jews, Romans, Greeks and anyone else who had come to the truth of Christ.
These last two points make us better understand that the Bible is a timeless document.  As The Teacher from the book of Ecclesiastes says: "There is nothing new under the Sun."  This, of course is contrary to the like of Piers Morgan who thinks that the Bible needs to be updated.
Another piece of the text speaks of redemption; and that was also included in the message; but adding it to the titled wrecked the flow of the words :-)
Beginning in this lesson, and moving on from here, I am also including an overview of the five points of Calvinism--TULIP.  This week I included the Total depravity of man.

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