Got Faith?

 

This is a simple outline based on Rom 9:30-10:13

  1. Salvation is not by my EFFORT.
  2. Salvation is by Faith in GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.
  3. Salvation comes when by Faith we “Call on the Name of the Lord.”

I preached this outline this past Sunday at Central. Here is the audio:

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Breaking Out

Yesterday afternoon, Amy and I went with J and Hannah Hall, Mark and Julia Smallwood, breakoutChris and Chandra Clark, one college student, and about 10 youth group members to Breakout Tuscaloosa.

If you are not familiar with Breakout it is a game house where you and up to seven friends are locked in a room and given clues that solve riddles. These riddles help you unlock locks and more clues until you reach a final clue that lets you out of the room. One room had a Bates’ Motel theme, another a School Detention theme, and ours was a classic Who Done It?.

You have an hour.

My group – the adults failed. The Breakout hosts said we had the most difficult room. I believe her, although she may have been trying to make us feel better about failing.

We Failed.😦

Last night I kept thinking about the game and how we could have played it better. I thought about the clues they gave us to help (each room could ask for three free clues). And I thought about life.

Although our group failed – even with a few clues from the staff who are watching via live video feed – we came close. I think we could have succeeded in breaking out if we had followed these simple guidelines:

  1. Follow the instructions more closely. We started out that way, but soon were a little chaotic in our efforts.
  2. Work better as a team. I think we did well, but there was room for improvement. We could have communicated better.
  3. Listen to the room hosts (who also helped design the room) more closely. Sometimes, even when they gave clues, I was so busy thinking, I was not really listening closely enough.
  4. Work the smaller goals (the riddles and locks) but don’t forget the overall goal – Breaking Out!
  5. Have fun!

As I look back at these guidelines, I realize they apply to life and to our aim to break out of sin and live eternally in Heaven.

  • Follow the guidelines – Read God’s Word and apply it.
  • Work as a team – this is what church is about. I need others working with me to achieve our common goal.
  • Listen to the Host (Designer) – He knows this world and where we are going better than we do.
  • Don’t forget the ultimate goal – To be present with the Lord and absent from the body.
  • Have fun! Be content, be joyous, be happy in Christ.

-Scott

 

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It Isn’t Me.

“Who is making that noise?!” Mom asked.

All three of us denied, “It isn’t me!”

It isn’t me.

Let me state that from a different direction and in the form of a question: Am I really me? Am I my own person?

Western society touts the idea of being yourself, finding your own truth, living for you, being your own man or woman (today that include which ever gender you think you want to be – but that is another post). When I ask, “Am I my own person?” or “Are you your own person?” out individualistic society takes pride in answering, “Yes!”

But should we be?

Go with me back to the Garden of Eden. The serpent convinced Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil telling them, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5)

“You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The word “knowing” can carry the idea of being able to determine or choose what is good and evil. This might be the case when you consider the context of the phrase and note that they will be like God. God is the source of morality, what is good and evil – He determines it. Satan could be saying, “You get to choose what you will do and if it is right or wrong. You get to be your own person, your own god.”

Oh the problems that come from man determining his own morality!

God offers many warnings:

  • “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23
  • “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12; 16:25
  • “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

When we set ourselves up as the ultimate moral authority, the one(s) who determine what is right and what is wrong, we set ourselves in the place of God.

May I remind you of what Paul says, ” . . . . You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

-Scott

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His Children

Rom 5-1Paul says that those who have put on Christ are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26-27).

John says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God ‘s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1Jo 3:1).

Christians, we are God’s children, we have that in common and more.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die —  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:6-10).

All of God’s Children have a PAST.

  • We were weak – astheros – infirm, feeble, unable to do what is right.
  • We were ungodly – asebes – showing no respect for God.
  • We were sinners – amaptolos – devoted to sin.
  • We were enemies – echthros – hated, the antithesis of agape love, we hated God.

We were unable or unwilling to do what was right, showing no reverence for God, while committing our existence to sin, living in hatred of God.

Then Christ came!

In Him we are justified by faith. ( Rom 5:1)

All of God’s Children have a PRESENT.

  • We are reconciled to God.
  • We have peace with God.
  • Because of His grace.

Now we can presently rejoice in suffering and in God’s love (Rom 5:3-5). We can walk with God and rejoice in our present state and our future.

All of God’s Children have a FUTURE.

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:2).

We have access to heaven, we rejoice in hope. Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is anticipation of an expected outcome. Our hope resets in the Spirit’s guarantee (Eph 1:13-14).

If you claim to be God’s child, do you look like the Father? Can people see in you a family resemblance to Christ?

– Scott

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Been Tempted Much?

Temptation is a fact of life!

There, I said it. The statement is true. We each face opportunities to do what is wrong, and IMG_1494many times we have the desire to see it through. Temptation! Even things that are for good purposes can become a snare toward evil. For instance, the desires that God placed within us for man and woman to love each other and to bring children into the world can also lead to premarital and extramarital affairs. The temptation is there to misuse what God created for our good. But all is not lost, we do not have to give in to temptation. God gives us ways to face temptation and walk away unscathed, even stronger by reason of resistance.

  1. Be Aware of Temptation. Paul tells us to “take heed” in 1Cor 10:12, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Temptation overtakes us when we least expect it, so try always to be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Pray for Deliverance. Seek God’s help as you face what tempts you. You know what pulls at you the most, ask for God’s help. You do not have to face temptation alone. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt 6:13).
  3. Know that you Can Overcome. Seeing the victory before hand gives strength to stand. You are strong enough, with God’s help! “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
  4. Self-Control is Key. Paul says, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:27). We must learn self-restraint. We must learn to move away from what tempts us.

It is 7:45 a.m. CST breakfast was almost an hour ago. Time for chocolate! But just ONE Hershey’s Nugget, not the whole jar.

-Scott

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Why Don’t You . . . ?

 

Not too many years ago he and I were watching our sons at football practice.  We started Quitting-Drinkingtalking about work and football, specifically how the Jr. High Team, the High School Team, and Bama were going to do that year. As we continued to talk, my new friend invited me over for the season opener. He said they always had a group over and during half time the kids could swim while we sat on the deck having “adult beverages.”

“I love coffee,” I replied with an air of sarcasm, he knew I was a minister.

He chuckled, and answered, “That’s not what I meant.  Why don’t you drink?”

Why don’t I drink?

I don’t remember exactly what I said. I probably said, “If children can’t drink it, neither should I.”  Thinking back, I know what I could have and maybe should have said.

I could have told him about a man who was so intoxicated that he was threatening his wife. She left and hid at her daughter’s home. He found her. He threatened to break in and hurt anyone who tried to stop him. I could tell you about his granddaughter crying, frightened, while hiding in a dark closet as her mom tried to calm her grandfather down.

I could have told him about one who would as a college student go out with friends to somewhere like the lake or river to fish and drink all night. I could tell him about the time this young man came close to losing his life on the road home. After a few close calls, he turned his life around.

I could talk about a high school senior on graduation night, going out with friends to the beach with others and “celebrating” the end of high school. I could tell his story of not remembering the next few days until he woke up in a puddle of vomit three days later still feeling sick to his stomach.

I could have told about an event 30 years ago and that friend who talked with me about church, God, and Christ but jokingly said he was not ready to quit drinking “screwdrivers.” Days later the highway patrol found his VW van after it rolled over a few times. He was pronounced dead on the scene. They found and empty carton of orange juice and an empty vodka bottle among the debris.

Yes, there are reasons from scripture I do not get drunk;

Romans 13:13 – “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”

In Galatians 5:21 the works of the flesh include, “envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.”

1 Peter 4:3, “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.”

I know, you don’t drink to get drunk. You drink to take the edge off, to calm your nerves, and to help you relax. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:5-6). Helping you relax, calming your nerves, and  taking the edge of is the God’s job through Christ and the Spirit. “Casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). Using alcohol to do God’s job is replacing God with an idol.

But what are the reasons I don’t drink?

  1. It is not necessary
  2. I have seen too many people I know (all of the stories above) hurt or killed by alcohol.
  3. Oh, and Sweet Tea or Coca Cola tastes a whole lot better.

-Scott

image via: Why You Should Quite Drinking Alcohol.

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Why Baptism?

I am trying something new.  I created a SoundCloud account and will occasionally upload sermon files.

Call this an “audio blog.”

 

-Scott

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