Sermon Blog - Entries from October 2012

    SunSundayOctOctober28th2012 Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
    byMitchell Neldon Tagged Romans 0 comments Add comment
    Sinning is a really hard thing to abstain from. Sometimes it seems that we are messing up every time we turn around. Sometimes our mistakes get so overwhelming that we want to justify them. That is what Paul is addressing in Romans chapter 6. People justify their sins, and this keeps them from addressing them. We should not justify our sins, but we are to become "dead to sin." 

    Just like Christ died and was raised to life, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. However, most of us don't live that way. We keep sin very much present in our lives by giving parts of our lives to God but keeping some parts for ourselves. Whether it be our careers, certain relationships, or academics, we are called to give all of our life over to God to be used by Him. This is what it means to be alive in Christ.

    Romans 6
    Audio Pathway_2012_10_28.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober21st2012 Samson: Starting Over
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Judges 0 comments Add comment

    ** AUDIO MISSING – Will provide transcript soon **

    Today we’re going to finish up our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  As we get into chapter 14 we started to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential.  But even through his mistakes, God was able to begin delivering Israel from the control of the Philistines.  Last week we saw that when Samson relied on God’s power, he was able to defeat any enemy.  But when Samson began taking the credit, God removed His supernatural protection and Samson’s body almost collapsed under the strain of being on his own.  The strength we can receive from God is usually tied directly to our reliance on Him.  Once Samson cried out to God, he was restored and for the next 20 years was judge over this part of Israel

    As we finish up today in Judges chapter 16, we see the final events of Samson’s life.  We’re not sure of much that went on during his 20 years of being a judge, but we do know the Philistines were kept from pushing further into Israel.  What thousands of Israelites were unable to accomplish because of their lack of faith in God, one man was able to do through God’s power.  And that, even though he had many personal flaws.  The difference was he still held onto his faith and we must remember that God can use faith compared to the size of a small seed to move mountains.  In the end however, our continued disobedience can result in God removing His protection over us.  Why?  Because as James said, faith without works is dead.  That doesn’t mean your faith in God is gone or you’re not a child of God, it simply means that when our lives stray so far from our words, eventually God has to do something to get our attention.  Sometimes God acts and other times as in this case, God simply removes Himself from the situation when His people have removed God’s influence from their actions.  And once Samson falls, he has to make the choice to stay defeated or to start over with his reliance on God.

    Judges 16: 1-31

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    1 John 1: 6-9

    SunSundayOctOctober14th2012 Samson: Misplaced Assurance
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Judges 0 comments Add comment

    This sermon continues our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  Last week as we get into chapter 14 we started to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential.  But even through his mistakes, God was able to begin delivering Israel from the control of the Philistines.  But today we see that the Israelites didn’t really appreciate the risk.  And in the life of Samson, he didn’t appreciate the source of his power.  You have both the nation God is delivering and the person God is using, both missing the fact that if they simply had faith in God, the LORD would fight every battle for them.

    Background

    ·      The Philistines inhabited the area of Gaza.  At this time in history they pushed into Israel and took over the inheritance of Dan along with some of Judah and Benjamin.  Dan moved to the north.

    ·      Right before we see Samson come on the scene, there was a huge Philistine victory over the Israelites, the Ark of the Covenant was captured (but later returned), and for the next 20 years the Israelites accepted Philistine rule over the area.

    ·      Last week we saw in Judges 14 where Samson decided to marry a Philistine woman, broke the Mosaic law, broke his Nazarite vow just to eat some honey, picked a fight at his wedding feast, and killed 30 men out of anger once he lost his own bet.  And then he left his wife and went back home since she was the reason he lost his bet.

    ·      So what we have is a man with physical strength from God but his ego, pride, and decision making abilities were all too human.

    As you get towards the end of the sermon we will use scripture from Jeremiah 9.  In the middle of a passage warning Israel of their coming destruction, God tells them the attitude they should have, the attitude that would please Him and keep all of the bad from happening.  But Israel had too much pride.  God was begging them to simply admit that He was God.  God is only asking us the same questions today:  are we ready to rely on Him so God can fight the battles for us?

    Judges 15: 1-20

    Jeremiah 9: 23-24

    Acts 4:12

    Audio Pathway_2012_10_14.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober7th2012 Samson: Confident Mistakes
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel Judges 0 comments Add comment

    ** AUDIO MISSING – Will provide transcript soon **

    Last week we began our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  Samson is one of the more well known Old Testament characters even though his recorded life consists of only 4 chapters and half a dozen short stories.  But it’s his overwhelming power that makes him noticeable.  And it’s his utter failure and redemption that makes him memorable.  In chapter 13 we saw the announcement around his birth and studied up on the Nazarite vow.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  Today as we get into chapters 14 & 15 we start to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential. 

    To understand the culture Samson was raised in you need to know a little bit of historical background:

    ·      For a period of a couple hundred years between the death of Joshua and the reign of king Saul, God raised up a series of Judges to keep Israel from being completely overrun.

    ·      But because of their disobedience, God allowed other countries to invade and conquer portions of their land.

    ·      The Philistines inhabited the area of Gaza.  At this time in history they pushed into Israel and took over the inheritance of Dan along with some of Judah and Benjamin.  Dan moved to the north.

    ·      The confusing thing about the Old Testament is that we expect the books of the Bible and the stories in them to be in chronological order, but that isn’t always the case.  If we want to find out what happened between the birth of Samson and the time when our story picks up in Judges 14, we first need to look at 1 Samuel chapter 4.

    ·      The high priest Eli died

    ·      Samuel had already been recognized as one who had authority but now is the only spiritual leader

    ·      For 7 months the Philistines had the ark but it caused death and outbreaks of tumors on the inhabitants of any city it resided in.  They took it back to Israel with an offering in tow.

    ·      For the next 20 years, the tribes of Israel accepted the rule of the Philistines over the SW portions of their land until Samuel leads them to defeat the Philistines in 1 Samuel, chapter 7.  It was around the time of the Philistines defeating Israel and capturing the ark that Samson’s adult life of a one-man insurrection begins.  And after his death and after he weakens their rule, the Israelites are able to rise up against them and drive them out.

    Now with quite a bit of history concerning the state of Israel at the time of Samson, we need to take a look at his choices along his life as a one-man insurrection.  In reading Judges, chapter 14, we’re going to see a few stories that illustrate the pride & arrogance of a man that was still used greatly by God.  Outside of Him telling us it’s so that God is glorified rather than man, we can’t completely understand why God chooses to use us – sinful, flawed people – to accomplish His will.  What we do know is that even when we make bad choices in life, God can still make good come from them.  Sometimes the good comes because of our repentance and sometimes completely in spite of ourselves.  The final question for each of us today is whether or not we want God to work through us in obedience or in spite of our sin.

    1 Samuel 4: 3-11

    Judges 14: 1-14

    Judges 14: 17-20

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