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Sunday, September 02, 2018

 

O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

If you want to know God's will for you, the two most important things to remember are:

  1. The Bible is the first place to look for wisdom and guidance
  2. Prayer is essential.

Then keep in mind that God's will is more like a game plan than a blueprint. We follow God's will using general principles and values, with occasional specific instructions from the Lord.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

 

Legalism can be defined as "Thinking we're accepted by God by keeping rules, and expecting others to keep the same rules."

But obeying a list of rules doesn't create Christ-followers. It creates self-righteousness.

Jesus offered a prime example of self-righteousness (i.e. legalism) in Luke 18:9-14:

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (New Living Translation)

We shouldn't use other people as a way to gauge our righteousness in God's eyes. Because God doesn't compare us with other people - he compares us with Jesus.

And that is why "everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23 NLT)

That standard is Jesus.Thankfully, He loves us, and gave himself for us! (See Galatians 2:20.)

"God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit." (Romans 8:3-4 NLT)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

 

It's critical to read the Bible to find out what God actually says, not to make it say what we want him to say! There are even theological terms for these different approaches:

Exegesis: to draw or extract meaning out of the text.

Eisegesis: to read meaning into the text.

In today's message Pastor Dave shows how the Temperance movement of the late 19th / early 20th centuries was a mostly American phenomenon. Its leaders emphasized only those verses that seemed to support their zero-tolerance attitude toward alcohol, while ignoring the many verses that did not support their position.

For example, Psalm 104:15 tells us God has given us wine to make us glad! And remember that Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding.

What the Bible actually speaks against is excessive consumption of alcohol, to the point of drunkness, which can lead to addiction, disease, and death.

The Temperance movement, and others like it, are based on checklists of things they say are appropriate or inappropriate for Christians.

But our standing with God is not based on our performance or our righteousness; it is based on Jesus himself, and his righteousness.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

 

Note: This is the third message in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2). 

The Bible says we're ALL broken, and for some people, brokenness shows up as homosexuality.

So our response to homosexuality should be no different than the way we respond to other sins: with love and compassion.

There's a popular (and true) statement: We should love the sinner, but hate the sin.

That's what God does for us! It may help to think of him like a doctor, who loves his patients but hates the disease (sin) that afflicts them.

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. (Romans 5:20)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

 

Note: This is the second in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2). 

In today's message Pastor Dave illustrated the corrosive and progressive nature of sin, and described how far unbridled passion can go when left unchecked. 

The focus was on homosexuality, though the lessons can be applied to other areas of our lives as well.

When we choose to do things that defy God's instructions, those actions have a damaging effect on the soul. And when people do things that damage them internally, that damage will eventually affect the external world.

"No man is an island…" John Donne (1572 - 1631)

To download the audio for today's message, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

 

Note: This is the first in a three-part sub-series on human sexuality. Please remember as you listen that Pastor Dave and Grace Bible Church are fully aware that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that we must in all humility be mindful of our own sinfulness as we attempt to make anyone aware of theirs (Matt 7:3-5). But it is our biblical duty to speak the truth (Ezek. 33:2-7) and to do so in love (Eph. 4:15), whether the message is a popular one in our time or not (Eph. 5:16, 2 Tim. 4:2).

Pastor Dave continues the "Got Questions?" series with a three-part answer to a question submitted by a member of our congregation: "What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?"

In western culture today, confusion reigns supreme in the areas of marriage, sexuality, the value of human life and the human body, and morality in general. The very existence of absolute truth is being questioned, not only in areas of morality but also in previously established areas of science.

To find truth we need to listen to someone who knows truth, as the blind men did when they listened to the wise man in the story about the elephant.

God is the source of all truth. His perspective is infinite and eternal, and it is far more certain than the ever-shifting opinions of culture.

And when God calls something a sin, it is indeed a sin. 

"A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." – Pastor Dave Zierenberg

We are all stained by sin and are not worthy to stand in God's presence (Romans 3:23). Thankfully our sins can be washed away through accepting God's free gift of salvation through Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

To download the audio for today's message, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

 

Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only in relation to some particular culture or historical period.

But there are some problems with that view:

  • It is self-defeating: it is a moral judgment itself, yet it makes an absolute claim that moral judgments are always relative to culture or history.
     
  • There are variations in some areas, but all cultures throughout history have some form of the statement "treat others the way you want to be treated." (Source: the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
     
  • The denial of moral truth can lead to an abandonment of scientific truth. This is an increasingly common phenomenon in the 21st century.
     
  • It destroys the concept of basic rights. Slavery, killing your newborn, human sacrifice, all could be considered "true for the people in that culture / historical period."
     
  • It can lead to what C.S. Lewis termed "chronological snobbery": the assumption that what we believe is automatically superior to what people used to believe.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12 NIV)

Angels are God's servants, or messengers. Demons are angels who rebelled against God.

The Bible teaches us that our world is caught in the crossfire of a spiritual war between God and the angels who rebelled against him, including Satan.

Right now, God is allowing the battle to continue, because he is building his church. 

Jesus gave his followers authority over demonic spirits. That's the good news.

The bad news is that sin attracts evil spirits. We open doors for Satan when we compromise on truth and righteousness.

For example, see Ephesians 4:26-27, where Paul tells the church in Ephesus that even a seemingly harmless sin like anger can give the devil a foothold.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

 

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

 

In the book of Acts (chapter 2) the Holy Spirit kickstarted the Christian church by enabling Jesus' disciples to speak in languages they had never known before, and as a result thousands of people from many countries heard the truth about Jesus and became Christians in a single day.

This God-given ability to speak in a language unknown to the speaker is also called "the gift of tongues." And one of the questions submitted for the "Got Questions" series was "Is it possible to speak in tongues (still)?" 

There are denominations that consider speaking in tongues to be a cornerstone of their theology, a litmus test as to whether a person is truly a Christian or not.

But then what are we to make of passages such as Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 12:13, etc?

To download to the audio of today's message, click here.

To download a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

 

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. (John 14:16a NLT)

Jesus sought to assure his disciples that even though they would face many hardships after he returned to the Father, that they would not go through them alone.

The same is true of those who have surrendered their lives to Christ through the ages, and it is still true today. The Advocate of whom he spoke, the Holy Spirit, will:

  • Be in you
  • Never leave you
  • Guide you into all truth
  • Be the representative of Jesus
  • Remind you about what Jesus taught

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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