Wednesday Sermons

The Pearls of Advent!

Bulletin 12.20-21.14

SERMON NOTES
December 20 –21, 2014
Pastor Chuck Loftis

 

The Pearls of Advent!


Text:
Isaiah 7:13-16a.

Introduction:

Advent simply means coming, and for many corners of our Faith’s household, it is the season when – in anticipation of our cultural observance of Jesus’ birth, Christmas – we recognize His incarnation into humanity.

In days of old, advent meant the welcoming or the arrival of a special king and for those who observe it today, we remember the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth, who is the King of kings.

This is what the Old Testament prophecies foretold concerning Jesus' Incarnation: He would be the Word made flesh for our hope and atonement that would bring us spiritual deliverance from sin (John 1:14; 3:16).

Purpose: To encourage believers that each Christmas season is an opportunity to remember and celebrate God the Son’s purpose in coming to Earth.

I. Hope.

A. What Is hope? To look and long for with surety; eagerly looking forward to what will happen.
B. We can have hope because God not only promised to send His Son but also
demonstrated His faithfulness through Christ’s incarnation to humanity.
C. Our hope comes from God and He will continue keeping His promises (Revelation 13:8; Romans 15:12-13; cf. Isaiah11:10).

II. Preparation.

A. Preparation is the process of making something ready; becoming ready for something.

1. At once, it could be that we are arranging something for others.
2. At another time, it could be said that we are readying ourselves.

B. The pearls of hope and preparation are clearly related. It could be said, then, that preparation is hope in action (Luke 3:1-6; cf. Isaiah 40:1-5).

III. Joy.

A. Joy is a settled state of contentment, confidence, and delight.

1. Happiness is external. Joy is internal (II Corinthians 4:16-18).
2. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is sourced in the Savior (Philippians 4:11).
3. Happiness comes by chance. Joy is a result of choice (Deuteronomy 30:19).

B. Have you ever wanted to have something in common with angels? One does when one abides in and expresses joy in the LORD (Luke 2:8-10; I Peter 1:8).

IV. Love.

A. Love that God has for His people since time’s beginning is sacrificial in nature.

B. And God’s love for His people was first made manifest in His plan made for mankind’s redemption (John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8). 

Conclusion:
Advent season represents our expectation, anticipation, and preparation for who Christ is and what He has done for us. He arrived into the world fully God and fully man. He came to identify as one of us, as the Son of Man, as a baby born in a manger. He came for us; He came for you; He comes into our lives and into our hearts.

Having now invited Jesus Christ to make our hearts His home, we remain expectant that one day He’ll come again in great power and glory to establish His Kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 19:11-20:6).

Please join us Christmas Eve (4 p.m. or 6 p.m.) for Part II of The Pearls of Advent!

 


Love.

Bulletin 12.13-14.14

 

  

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTION
December 13 – 14, 2014
Pastor Chuck Loftis

 

Keeping OBCC on Track... Always:
Lessons from John 15 – Love.

 

Text: John 15:1-17.

Introduction:

Concerning the health and life of our church: while, Jesus Christ, God the Son, the True Vine, is constant in His ability to provide life to us as His branches, unfortunately there are stressors that – if we allow their presence – will always prove a clog to the nourishment Our Lord desires to give us personally and corporately.

Holiness can be defined as the parity between God’s mind and His disciple’s mind and the disparity between the disciple’s mind and a worldly mind. To pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14b) is to willingly participate in the LORD’s work of pruning, as the Holy Spirit convicts in order remove things from our lives that crowd out the life of God in us (John 15:3).

Purpose: To increase understanding that – in order to enjoy abundant life in our church today and forever – we must reduce stressors that choke out God’s nourishment.

I. Jesus taught this inexorable truth: love marks the life of a disciple.

A. The words love as they are used here in John 15 are agape or derivatives.

1. Defined, agape is love which is of a sacrificial nature.

2. It has – at its very heart – the idea of total commitment 100% all in!

B. Vss. 9-17 are rife with references to love.

1. The love God the Father has for God the Son, Jesus Christ;

2. Obedience to Christ’s commands is how a believer abides in His love:

a. Abide in reference to place: to sojourn, tarry; not to depart; to continue; to be present; to be held; kept continually.

b. Abide in reference to time: to continue to be; not to perish but to last; endure; to live; to survive.

c. Abide in reference to state: to remain as one; not to become another or different.

3. Love’s highest expression is defined.

4. We are commanded to love one another.

C. This passage offers us a curious opportunity to connect some dots:

1. In verse 16, we’ve the record of Jesus’ appointing us to bear fruit, and that fruit should remain.

2. It should be no surprise, then, to find that the first fruit in the list of Christ’s character - and that will manifest in us - is love (Galatians 5:22-23).

II. Life Principle: Greatest Commandments Living (Matthew 22:36-40).

A. This addresses both the vertical and horizontal issues of life: love for God; love for others.

B. That great big complicated thing known as the Old Testament; want to know how to keep every command and fulfill every prophetic utterance given to God’s people? If so, then do these:

1. If you don’t know already, learn what love really is.

2. Then, practice what love really is. Ask the Holy Spirit to train us how to:

a. Consider God before we act, “Does what I’m about to think or do demonstrate love with all my heart, with all my soul, and all my mind for Him?” (Verse 37.)

b. Consider others before we act, “Does what I’m about to think or do demonstrate Christ-like love for others?” (Philippians 2:1-11.)

III. Going forward, what we’re going to increasingly love at OBCC:

A. Love for God will manifest in leadership’s obedience to His commandments.

1. This begins with the love of God’s word; a total and sacrificial commitment.

2. Equivocally, it means we’re committed to integrity in all matters.

B. Love for God will manifest in our love for one another (John 13:34-35).

C. Love for “glocal” missions will abide (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

D. Love for God will manifest in generosity because God loves a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:6-7).

E. Love for where we live because the Black Hills is an area Jesus loves (Psalm 24:1)!

F. When love is the flavor of what comes from our lips; what’s communicated in our actions; what mark’s our lives more than any other thing individually and corporately, there’s no greater guarantor the life of God can flow (and is flowing) from Him Who is the True Vine and we who are His branches!

Conclusion:

Let’s conclude this message series with a few definition reminders:

Stressors. Just because something stresses you doesn’t mean it’s a stressor, in the context of this series. Certain forms of stress (e.g., healthy tension, deadlines, pressure, strain, stretching) aren’t inherently bad. In fact, they should drive us to our God, not from Him. A stressor is a factor that creates competition for spiritual nourishment.

Nourishment. This is the power and life of God. It flows miraculously from God the Son, Jesus Christ.

Clog. Akin to the fungus that eventually kills Ponderosa pine – spiritually speaking – idols, immorality, and natural and worldly inclinations stifle the free-flow of God’s life in us as Christ’s branches.

Fruit. Borne out two ways, fruit is observed in our character’s content and our production in kingdom works (Sea of Galilee v. Dead Sea).

Abide. In reference to place, time, and condition: to continue to be present and to remain as one.

The final series word: righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven. Because Jesus has credited His righteousness to us who believe in Him, and that His death and resurrection are true, we are saved by God’s grace. For His glory, then, may you, me, and OBCC bear much fruit!

 

We encourage you to develop your own Life Group/Family Discussion Questions this week.

 

 

 


Holiness.

Bulletin 12.6-7.14

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

December 6-7, 2014
Pastor Chuck Loftis

Keeping OBCC on Track... Always:
Lessons from John 15 – Holiness.

Text: John 15:1-8.

IntroductionConcerning the health and life of our church: while, Jesus Christ, God the Son, the True Vine, is constant in His ability to provide life to us as His branches, unfortunately there are stressors that – if we allow their presence – will always prove a clog to the nourishment Our Lord desires to give us personally and corporately.

Mankind’s pride – an inflated sense of status or achievement – is our most vulnerable point of temptation (Proverbs 16:18). However, to mitigate that stressor’s competition for spiritual nourishment in us, disciples choose to travel the same path as their Master Jesus: the path of humility (Matthew 11:28-30).

Purpose: To increase understanding that – in order to enjoy abundant life in our church today and forever – we must reduce stressors that choke out God’s nourishment.

I. Jesus taught an inexorable truth: pruning is essential to bearing much fruit.

A. The first step in accomplishing the purposes of pruning—in the context of vineyards—is to determine a training system.

1. Unattended grapevines become unruly and fruit-bearing will be poor due to overproduction of leaves, which divert nourishment.

 2. The system organizes the vines into an orderly arrangement for the vinedresser’s convenience to do necessary annual pruning.

B. The second step in pruning is wisely removing the vegetation.

C. The third step in pruning is that it occurs at seasonally appropriate times.

D. And – though I’m mentioning it last – this is vital to consider from the start: utilizing the proper tools is essential to proper pruning.

 

II. The Great War in believers: Holiness v. Unholiness (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2).

A. Holiness for believers is both present and produces an ongoing work of sanctification.

  1. By definition, it is the instant result of spiritual Regeneration (born again) moving us to a new perspective and pursuit of living standards.

  2. When the LORD told Israel to be holy as He is holy, He was telling them:

    a. To be distinct from all other nations in their beliefs and living standards.

    b. This would be the mark that He is their God and they His followers.

B. Unholiness can be both present and become ongoing.

  1. By definition, it is the departure from God’s standards for living both presently and in one’s lifestyle (habitually).

  2. Focusing in on just the 10 Commandments portion of Old Testament Law, note that departure from the first four constitutes the sin of idolatry while departure from rest constitutes sins of immorality.

  3. Here’s a very practical way of understanding this battle: sin’s practice certainly stifles the practice of prayer in believers while the practice of prayer will certainly stifle sin’s practice!

 

III. Life Principle: Pursue Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-21; Hebrews 12:12-17).

A. The pursuit of holiness begins in discovering, believing, and then living according to the truth of God’s word. It is His training system for us branches!

B. Unholiness (by way of idolatry, immorality, or any combination) serves as a major clog to the nourishment and blessing of God flowing freely into us; unholy practices choke the life of God out in the believer.

1. Selfish motives (James 4:3);
2. Abandoning the Bible as our guide for living(Proverbs 28:9);
3. Unforgiving hearts (Mark 11:25);

4. Discord (Proverbs 6:19b; I Peter 3:7);
5. Unconfessed sin (Joshua 7; Psalm 66:18);
6. Doubt (James 1:5-7).

C. When these areas of our hearts and minds are confronted by God’s word and we choose His way of believing and living by them, it is then we’ve been pruned and made clean as Jesus’ branches (John 15:3).

Conclusion

There’s good news for Christians in The Great War of Holiness v. Unholiness. This is a war that Christians are commanded to fight, and we’ve a responsibility insofar as we are called to resist temptation. Here’s that good news: when we do, the Holy Spirit delivers the victory in our spiritual life in Christ (Romans 6; Galatians 6:7-8).

We encourage you to develop your own Life Group/ Family Discussion Questions this week.

 


Thanksgiving: 365 - The Gratitude Attitude!

Bulletin 11.29-30.14

 

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS
November 29 -
30, 2014
Pastor Chuck Loftis

  Thanksgiving: 365 - The Gratitude Attitude!

 

Main Text: I Thessalonians 5:18.

Introduction: You likely have fairly moderate-to-strong opinions on many topics the world faces today. Over time – whether instantly or by process - we develop attitudes about everything, and these attitudes influence our beliefs about it all as well as our behaviors.

Purpose: To demonstrate the glory it brings to God when disciples’ lives are marked by a grateful spirit.

I. Defining Attitude.


A. Attitude can be defined as one’s orientation to all things experienced.

1. This includes evaluating people, issues, objects or events.
2. Such evaluations are often positive or negative, but they can
also be uncertain at times (e.g., one might experience mixed feelings about a particular person or issue or event).

B. Some researchers suggest that attitudes are comprised of three elements:

1. Emotional element: the way one feels about something or someone.

2. Cognitive element: one’s thoughts and beliefs about everything.

3. Behavioral element: how attitudes affect one’s conduct.

C. Also, researchers suggest attitudes form as a result of:

1. Direct (personal) experience;
2.
Roles defined by social norms;
3.
Learning;
4. Conditioning: emotional appeal (classical) or peer pressure (operant);
5.
Observation of others.

 

II. The attitude God unequivocally calls us to have: I Thessalonians 5:18.

A. The “micro-call” is inseparable from the “macro-call.”

1. Most often, many confuse the call of God as strictly vocational when – in reality – it’s always His will that the micro-issues manifest in a disciple’s character formation first.

2. People who extend in ministry past the edge of their “micro-call” development implode (Matthew 7:24-27).

B. What many may consider the small things regarding their relationship to ministry fitness (e.g., thankfulness, holiness, righteousness, etc.) God considers to be essential.

C. More of scripture’s call and biblical examples of living gratefully:

1. In the midst of hardship, be grateful for the Lord’s deliverance (Psalm 28, 30).

2. Because His love and mercy are enduring, give God thanks (Psalm 136:6).

3. It was Jesus’ example (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-38; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 24:13-16, 30-31; John 11:41-42).

4. Though heavily persecuted, Apostle Paul was thankful (2 Corinthians 2:14).

III. Results of living with “The Gratitude Attitude.”

A. If II Timothy 3:2 is true, then so is the reciprocal: gratitude is the mark of godliness.

B. This attitude prompts all sensory perceptions to be alert to things for which to be thankful.

C. Expressing gratitude throughout one’s day turns it into a pattern.

D. The humility it requires of one to be grateful is reinforced by its expression.

E. And, Christian, the light of God in you is magnified greatly in the thanks that comes from you!

Conclusion:

Famed Christian author Max Lucado wrote these words concerning living with An Attitude of Gratitude”:

“The grateful heart is like a magnet sweeping over the day, collecting reasons for gratitude. A zillion diamonds sparkle against the velvet of your sky every night. Thank you, God. A miracle of muscles enables your eyes to read these words and your brain to process them. Thank you, God. Your lungs inhale and exhale eleven thousand liters of air every day. Your heart will beat about three billion times in your lifetime. Your brain is a veritable electric generator of power. Thank you, God.

“Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse God’s accomplishments is to discover his heart. To discover his heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up.”

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-20).

 

We encourage you to develop your own Life Group/Family Discussion Questions this week.

 


Humility.

bulletin 11 22 23 14

Keeping OBCC on Track… Always:

 

Lessons from John 15 – Humility.

 

 Text: John 15:1-8.

 

Introduction –

 

While Jesus Christ, God the Son, the True Vine, is constant in His ability to provide life to us as His branches, unfortunately there are stressors that – if we allow their presence – will always prove a clog to the nourishment Our Lord desires to give us personally and corporately.

 

Part of God’s design for this is found in how that nourishment is observed and enjoyed through the practice of the New Testament’s “one-anothers.” It results in our church’s essence being a community and not a country club.

 

 I. Jesus taught an inexorable truth: what’s in Him is what’ll

be in His disciples. 

 

   A. Take care to note that vss. 4-5 teach this great truth.

 

        1. Before being fruitful, we must abide in Christ and that connection with Him is by faith and not by works.

 

        2. It’s disciples of Christ’s greatest concern to constantly maintain dependence upon Christ, and communion with him.

        3. By experience, true Christians find that interruption in the exercise of their faith        

            causes:

 

             a. Their love for Jesus and others waxes cold (Matthew24:12);

 

             b. Their fleshly nature begins to revive (Galatians 5:16-19);

 

             c. And their spiritual comforts begin to wilt (Hebrews 4:1-6).

 

         4. Christians who refuse abiding in Jesus – though they may flourish for awhile in outward profession – are of nothing to Him (vss. 2, 6).

 

   B. The traits of a plant are genetically consistent.

 

   C. His qualities become His disciples’ qualities.

 

 

 

II. The struggle against a stressor.

 

   A. Stressors are factors that create competition for nourishment.

 

   B. Mankind’s pride – an inflated sense of status or achievement  – is our most vulnerable

           temptation point; our greatest stressor (Proverbs 16:18)

 

        1. It was enticed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5);

 

        2. Its guidance was King Saul’s downfall (I Samuel 15);

 

        3. Satan appealed to it unsuccessfully with Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).

 

        4. The world system is still trying to feed pride’s way into us today (I John 2:15-17)!

 

   C. Take note of vss. 2-3 and what they teach us about pruning:  internalizing scripture so the Holy Spirit can guide us or convict us when needed is His pruning exercise that aids most in the struggle against the stressor pride  (Psalm 119:9-16; John 14:26).

 

 III. Life Principle: Matthew 11:28-30.

 

A.   Because Christ’s qualities become the qualities of His disciples, consider that by His     

example, then, we are taught how to think, thus, live… and Jesus lived humbly before the Father that His disciples would, too (Matthew 11:28-30).

 

B.    Humility is seen in one who values the counsel of the Six Trusted Advisors concerning who should be in the driver’s seats of our lives:

 

        1. Who? Jehovah God… and not self (Galatians 2:20).

 

        2. What? Let His instructions on life guide us

 

(Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

        3. When? Today (II Corinthians 6:2)

 

        4. Where? Every facet of our lives: heart, soul, mind and body (Mark 12:30).

 

        5. Why? For the glory of our Heavenly Father (John 15:8)

 

        6. How? By communing with Jesus daily (John 15:4).

 

 

 

Conclusion –

 

Let us take care to remember: the moment we forget to Whom all glory and honor is due for our church’s history, present, and future quality, we’ve stepped back into the stressor of pride; when we stubbornly refuse to step out in faith the way we’re clearly being called, we’re in prideful competition with God for the steering wheel.

 

To live humbly, as Jesus did, is allowing His great quality to flow through us individually and corporately and bear much fruit (Micah 6:8; James 4:1-8).

 

 LIFE GROUP/FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Discussion Starter: 

 

What does dependence on Christ look like in your life?  Give specific examples of how you’ve

modeled dependence and communion with Christ.

Can you think of a time when pride caused you to stumble in your faith?  How did you get

through that time?  Are you still stuck there?

 

Digging Deeper: 

 

Study the life of Sampson, Judges 14-16.  What do you see about Sampson’s life that got him into trouble?  What does this have to do with his dependence on God?

 

 Read Philippians 2:1-11.  What do you learn about humility through this passage?

 

 

Taking it Home (Application): 

 

Consider where in your life humility needs to gain a foothold.  Do you need to be prostrate before the Lord?  Are you unrepentant in your sin against your spouse or another?  Do you lack submission to your boss?  Identify and take action to apply humility in the places where pride has caused you to stumble. 

 

 

 


Fall Chapel Class - Evolution pt2