Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 9) “Christians still Deal with Despair” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Theme:Dealing with issues of despair
Introduction: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is more than an usual command, it seems unrealistic! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see times are changing, politics is changing, people are changing, and morality in our country is changing. While this has been happening since that first bite of the forbidden fruit, it seems to be progressing more quickly now. With technology we see these changes in real-time and it is unsettling and scary. How in this world can anyone be expected to joyful and thankful in all (of these) circumstances? The answer almost seems laughable ridiculous, even. God wants us to rejoice, pray continually, and thank Him. How can He ask this of us? And how can we do this and turn these dark times into light? I want to give us three reminders this morning that will justify God’s command and turn our times of despair into delight!
Conclusion: The sad truth is, often times, we do everything but these three things. We complain, debate, volunteer, give, research, and even turn to men for solutions. When instead we should be rejoicing, praying and thanking our God that He is the One who has the all the power to truly change our hearts, our lives our circumstances and even our nation? We have every good reason to be joyful for a faith that is real, prayerful to a God who will guide us and thankful for a God who is bigger than all our needs!
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 8) “Christians Wrestle with God’s Sovereignty Too” (Romans 11:33-36)
Theme: Dealing with accepting and embracing that God is sovereign
Introduction: Today, I want to make a statement that if you will hear it, receive it, believe it and embrace it. This statement will change your total perspective on your past, present and future. In fact you’re going to want to write this down. God is in control of everything.
This truth is one of the darkest truths in the Bible. I say dark because we really grapple with trying to wrap our brains around this truth. We call this the doctrine of “sovereignty.” And there are a lot of people who claim to believe this. But, we know they don’t really understand it because if doubt, fear, worry and anxiety are a part of your life – you either:
- Don’t understand this truth
- Don’t believe this truth or…
- You have not embraced this truth.
I pray by shedding some light on this truth today, you will be able to better understand what this means and as a result of understanding – we will really believe it and embrace it so that it will completely change our perspective on our past, present and future. This is the very first truth stated in the Bible. (Gen. 1:1) And, this truth is proclaimed throughout the Bible. (Ps 103:19; Ps 115:3; Ps 135:5-6) So, what does it mean that God is sovereign and in control of everything?
Conclusion: Those who know and understand that God is sovereign and in control of everything, rest assured that no matter what happens, yesterday, today and tomorrow are in the very capable hands of our almighty God who loves us, cares for us, and will always do what is best for us.
And they don’t just say it or know it, they trust in it! And they act like it. Like the Psalmist who [has] “…no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Ps 112:7)
Turning the Darkness into Light Part 8 Sermon July 7, 2019 (Due to technical difficulties only the first 10 1/2 inutes were recorded)
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 7) “Christians Have Pivotal Points in Their Lives” (Acts 9:1 – 22)
Theme: Dealing with events that change the course of our lives
Introduction: Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life? That moment that changed everything! I mean one minute life was just going along when suddenly, out of nowhere everything changed! Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t. But you point to it (or them) and say, “that day, that moment, completely altered my life. As believers, we are not immune to those moments. Christians have pivotal points in their lives too. And it is what we do in and with these moments that can turn the darkness into light for us. Saul had one of those moments. Saul was a devout Jew – and one who was highly educated and respected He was passionate about what he believed which was his ancestors Judaism …but he was passionately wrong. It was because of this passion Saul had such a hatred for Christians and the church. And it was so strong, that he sought to punish, persecute even stone (like Stephen (Acts 7) as many as he could find. Now Saul has obtained letters of extradition for any Christians he might find outside of his jurisdiction who had fled persecution to Damascus, some hundred and forty miles away. These letters were orders to arrest them and drag them back to Jerusalem for punishment, sentencing or worse. On Saul’s way to Damascus, he would have what we would call a pivotal point in his life – something that would change him and his whole life forever. Notice this morning some things we can learn from Paul’s pivotal moment that can help us with ours.
Conclusion: Everyone’s life has pivotal points. And they’re not all quite this dramatic as this was. But, they are life changing! We need to know how to handle them. We have seen what the Lord did for Saul, who would become the Apostle Paul. (Who would become a great missionary, plant churches spread the gospel far and wide and give us over a third of the New Testaments writings.) Just imagine what He wants to do for you if you will trust in Him today.
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 6) “Christians need to Embrace the Promise of Life” (Acts 2:22 – 39)
Theme: The life giving and changing impact of Christ’s resurrection on believers
Introduction: A little over 2,000 years ago history claims something happened that had never happened before or since. A man named Jesus from a place called Nazareth, who claimed to be God in the flesh was crucified and died. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. And three days later, He rose from the dead, never to die again! On the Day of Pentecost, Simon Peter (one of Jesus followers) stood up before a crowd of Jews from around the world and in the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed this message and it literally changed the lives of 3,000 men that day. This same message has continue to echo down the halls of time and is as fresh today as it was 2,000 years ago when it was first delivered and it’s still changing lives to this day! The message Peter preached that day was God’s perfect plan of Salvation and the promise of life to all who believe it and receive it. In just a few verses, Peter was able, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to declare the message that can change the life of everyone who hears it and receives it. Today, I would like to share this message with you once again.
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 5) “Christians Have to Deal with Death Too” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
Theme: Dealing with the issue of death as a Christian
Introduction: The great Solomon is known for many things. But, what he was most famous for was his God given wisdom. One of the first things Solomon did as king was to go to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to the Lord. God appeared to the new king at night and asked him, “What shall I give thee?” Solomon asked for wisdom, an understanding heart to judge the people of Israel and the ability to tell good from evil. God not only granted Solomon’s request, but He also promised him riches and honor if he would walk in the steps of his father, David (1 Kings 3:4-15). The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s auto-biography. In this book He summarizes all he discovered about life. He concluded, There is a time… for every activity under heaven (Eccl 3:1) The list begins with a reference to the beginning and end of a person’s life. And this is the unfortunate reality; even those who live a long life will eventually face death.(Gen 3:19; Ps 89:48; Heb 9:27; Js. 4:14) Death’s obvious inevitability is difficult for most to accept. But, this is why we need to talk about it. We want to bring light to this dark subject because believe it or not – it is not all doom and gloom! There is a bright side to death and if we know it, we can be prepared for it and live fuller lives! The truth is, the way we see death often determines how we live. Over the centuries man has developed their own versions of…
Conclusion: The way we live has a lot to do with our view of death. The very wise Solomon tells us, there is a time to be born and there will be a time to die. I want to live this life according to God’s wisdom and not man’s philosophies. I want to live this life shining a light on the dark subject of death letting everyone know exactly where I am when I leave this world! While Christians have to deal with death too, my prayer is we can all deal with it like this because we have brought the light of God’s word to this dark subject.
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 4) “Christians Need Spring Cleaning Too” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Theme: Cleaning our lives of hidden or ignored sins that hinder us
Introduction: We have an amazing God! We love to see the glory of God displayed in the beautiful colors of a sunset or flowers. We love to see the glory of God displayed in the great mountains. But, God’s glory is on display in other places besides the mountains and the trees flowers and the sunsets and the oceans. Have you ever wondered how God displays His glory among people and communities? One way is through His Church. God uses His church to display His glory as we serve others in the name of Jesus. Most importantly, when we preach the Gospel we are glorifying God by sharing the most important message of all time. The Church shows the world through our commitment to God that He is worthy of our devotion, and as God works in and through us He shows Himself to His creation. The Church, then, is an instrument of God’s glory on earth. And It should be our desire that our community see God’s glory through our lives and witness! This was to be the case with the Christians and the church at Corinth. But, something wasn’t right and Paul wanted them to turn the darkness that had overtaken them into light! Sin was interrupting their message and the glory of God from being displayed properly and it was time to clean it up! The apostle Paul uses a familiar illustration to point out the problem and show them what needed to be done to fix it.
Conclusion: We love to see God’s glory on display! And we do see it in sunsets, flowers, and mountains as God paints such pretty pictures. But, we must never forget God chooses to display His glory through the Christian and the Church the most. And we must never allow anything in us to rob His glory, harm His name, or hurt the reputation and witness of us as a Christian and His church in our community! So, every one of us, needs to stay on guard and do the necessary spring cleaning in our own lives, daily!
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 3) “Christians Should Respect Life” (Psalms 139:13-18)
Theme: Christian stance of life from the womb on
Introduction: I believe we are living in dangerous times of darkness today! One author stated: “the most dangerous place today is not in some distant battle field dodging bombs and bullets. It is not in (some) low income or some inner city neighborhoods ruled by violent gangs. It’s not even in the overcrowded prisons…” No, life’s most dangerous place today is in the womb of a woman who doesn’t want her unborn child. In this country, we are literally and legally seeing thousands of lives a day destroyed! Since its legalization in 1973 – The abortion industry has taken more lives than all than all the combat–related deaths in America since the revolutionary war. This makes the womb the most dangerous place to be in America today.
Now, some argue – developing babies are not a living person, but just fetal tissue. But is that true? According to God, all human life is sacred and should be respected! (Gen. 1:27) This issue has certainly been politicized and debated. So, what does God say on this issue? Politics aside,… If we are going to turn this darkness into light, we must ask: “What does the Bible say about human life?” For that we turn to Psalms 139 where we get God’s perspective as expressed by David. (Here we see three things…
Conclusion: As believers, we are not out to change minds – we are out to change hearts. We do that by bringing people to Jesus!
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 2) “Christians Struggle with Pride” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Theme: Putting away pride as a Christian
Introduction: We are all, all too familiar with (and can even quote (Prov 16:18) even if you may not know the actual biblical address: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (or at least the jest of it.) We know pride is wrong, but it is still a part of the dark side of all of our lives. Pride is something that manages to time after time slip into our lives and create problems or us (in words, attitudes, pursuits). Pride can at times be subtle and unannounced. And at other times our pride is more obvious. Pride is listed among the seven most deadly sins. While all sin is wrong, some are more damaging than others. While all sin is wrong, not all sins are as deadly. While all sin is wrong, not all sins can make others as miserable as they make us. And one of the marks that we are healthy in our relationship with God is in how sensitive we are to sin and how quickly we want to rid our life of it when it enters. This is called “Turning darkness into light” In order to turn the darkness of pride into light, we must see it for the evil it really is and strengthen our resolve to resist it and rid it from our lives. To do this we must see…
Conclusion: Hannah Sabata ended her criminal career because of boasting pride. The mighty king Nebuchadnezzar was transformed into a wild beats because of boasting pride. God hates pride, opposes and resists the proud. And we know, pride leads to our fall. Because we know this we certainly don’t want it in our lives. However, God gives a warning in Jeremiah 9:23-24 But, it is not to abstain from boasting, but rather to boast in the right thing. In fact God directs us to focus on the One who is the Giver of every and anything we might have to boast about. We should boast God says, that we know Him!
Listening Guide Turning the Darkness into Light Part 2 Christians Struggle with Pride
Turning the Darkness into Light (Part 1) Christians Still Sin! (Eph. 2:1-3)
Theme: Dealing with the battle with sin as a Christian
Introduction: Many of us admire the faith and remarkable accomplishments of the Apostle Paul. The Lord used him to be a great missionary, preacher, church planter, author, and in most of our minds – “a super saint!” But the apostle Paul had a dark side. Listen to his confession (Rom 7:15-21). As we read this, most of us groan, “I can relate!” We all have a dark side! Every one of us wrestles with this everyday! If you thought you were alone (or the only one), rest assured, you are not! So, what do we do with this dark side, these struggles we all have? First, we must expose them. Simply ignoring them or trying to pretend they don’t exist is not the answer! Second, we must learn to deal with them. If we never force ourselves to see the reality of sin’s destruction, we will never be able to fully appreciate the depth of God’s love and forgiveness. This is called “Turning darkness into light” So, over the next few months, we want to take a more specific look at some of our struggles (like Paul’s ), so that we can Expose them and learn how to deal with them and have victory over them. In spite of Paul’s struggles, he was able to overcome and be used mightily for the Lord and we can too! Let’s begin with our struggle with sin. We best deal with this struggle by asking and answering four questions… As a Christian,
Conclusion: Many of us admire the great Apostle Paul for all he was as a saint. But, like us, he had a dark side. And like us, Paul had to expose his darkness, and deal with it in order to have victory over it. And he did! And we can too. By bringing light to our darkness, we can be able to more fully appreciate the depth of God’s love, forgiveness and power in our lives.
Let’s take a minute this morning, and ask, “Has sin gained a foothold in my life, or is there some practice taken control of me?
Confess that to the Lord today and begin taking the steps we outlined above today to allow the Lord to set you free and give you the victory.
Turning the Darkness into Light Part 1 April 28, 2019 Sermon (Due to technical difficulties only the last 14 minutes were recorded)