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- Insights from a Weeping Prophet: Lamentations #2 (1/14/2018)
This is an exposition of Lamentations 2:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 14, 2018.
No one enjoys suffering, if you do I need to see you immediately after the service and we will see if we can get you some help! No one enjoys it, seeks it out or courts it, yet it is universal. Life in the sin-sick, fallen world is a life of heartache and suffering.
It is not a matter of “if” but rather of “when.” Suffering is a fruit of the fall. Once Adam rebelled sin and suffering entered the world. While it is not sought after it is not wasted on the people of God. In the hand of a loving, sovereign God suffering becomes a refining fire. Suffering in the Hand of Providence becomes a means of purifying. Fundamental to our understanding of God is that He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. This is not a matter of blaming God for suffering but rather recognizing that God often uses evil as an instrument for accomplishing His good purpose. If you doubt that look at the cross.
Consider Acts 4:27-28 - for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
Or Hebrews 12:2 - looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God…
Judas, the religious establishment in Jerusalem, Herod, Pilate and all those involved in death of Jesus acted according to their own conscience and yet did exactly as God had determined in eternity past. They were not “forced” or coerced into acting in this way but rather each did according to his own will. There is no greater evil than that the eternal Lord of glory was abused, tormented, mocked and brutally executed and yet it was the Father’s will. It was, in the words of the writer of Hebrews, “the joy set before him.” My point is, when suffering comes we, the people of God, know that God always has both a plan and a purpose in it.
The year was 586 BC, the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins. Jeremiah wept. He also composed a lament and that lament proves to be invaluable as we consider how we are to respond to suffering. Our text this evening is the second chapter of the book of Lamentations.
Text: Lamentations 2:1-22
Chapter 2 is another funeral dirge or funeral song.
The prophet continues to grieve over the devastation brought at the hand of Babylon.
But like the first chapter he is quick to acknowledge the true source of this sorrow.
God has come in judgement of the nation.
Babylon is the instrument but the devastation has come because God has withdrawn His hand of protection.
As we work through chapter 2 we learn that…
Thesis: The godly respond to suffering with understanding, sorrow, repentance and faith.
In this song we find 4 godly responses to suffering.
- A godly response to suffering understands the devastating consequences to sin and rebellion. (2:1-10)
- A godly response to suffering weeps over the heartache and brokenness of those who suffer even when such suffering is deserved. (2:11-13)
- A godly response to suffering highlights the Hand of Providence in all things. (2:14-17)
- A godly response to suffering urges godly sorrow and genuine repentance. (2:18-22)
Suffering is inevitable, how are we to respond? The godly respond to suffering with understanding, sorrow, repentance and faith.
- Causes of Truth-Blindness: Gospel of Luke #90 (1/14/2018)
This is an exposition of Luke 23:1-25. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 14, 2018.
In 32 years of pastoral ministry I’ve seen all the responses. I’ve seen those who marveled at hearing the Gospel. Those who with wide-eyed joy and enthusiasm jumped at the opportunity to embrace Christ. I’ve witness hostility and bitterness expressed toward that same Gospel. I’ve seen indifference. And I’ve seen those who treat the whole message of God’s love and grace with absolute contempt. I’ve heard the Gospel ridiculed and mocked.
Why such varied responses? Theologically, I know that the difference is the working of the Holy Spirit. But I also know there are other factors at work. It is also important to acknowledge that this is not a new phenomenon. This is not the result of “secular humanism,” modern philosophical thought or our scientific age. These are factors but the problem is less technical. The problem is within the heart of man. At the heart of the matter are issues that have been around since the beginning. In fact the responses I’ve witnessed can all be found in the Gospels themselves. This morning I want us to continue our look at the events leading up to the crucifixion of our Lord and we’ll note some of these same responses.
Text: Luke 23:1-25
Luke’s purpose is to bring his friend Theophilus to faith. Luke trusts that once confronted with the truth of who Christ is and what Christ has done, his friend will embrace the Lord Jesus as Savior.
Luke is now dealing with the events surrounding the crucifixion.
We’ve been witnessing the events of that final week.
We’ve seen the adoration of the multitude on Sunday.
We’ve seen his wisdom silence his critics.
We’ve seen his authority in pronouncing judgement on Jerusalem.
We’ve seen his tenderness and compassion.
We’ve also witnessed his betrayal by one of his own.
We’ve witnessed that sham of a trial before the Supreme Court of the Jews.
And now, in keeping with his own words, he is being delivered into the hands of the Gentiles.
The events described in Luke 23:1-25 provide us insight into understanding why some respond to the Lord Jesus as they do.
Thesis: This passage reveals three common conditions that cause one to miss the true beauty and significance of the Lord Jesus.
Here we find three attitudes that blind men to the truth.
Three attitudes that, in the hand of the enemy, effectively cloud the beauty of Christ.
These attitudes are reflected in the lives of the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod.
- In the Sanhedrin we discover that open hostility refuses to recognize the truth.
- In examining Herod’s response to the Lord Jesus we discover that a seared conscience treats the holy with utter contempt.
- Then there is Pilate from whom we learn that callused indifference shamefully yields to the expedient.
As we survey the events surrounding the death of our Lord we can find many reasons for why men reject the Gospel. But the truth is that in the end the only issue that really matters is what have you done with the Gospel?
- Surrounded by Enemies: Selected Psalms (1/12/2018)
This is an exposition of Psalm 83. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, January 10, 2018.
Do you ever feel like it's you against the world, like everyone is swimming in the other direction? What do we do when God doesn't step in and prevent something bad?
In times like these we need to remember two things:
- That the life of the righteous is a life of constant struggle (vs. 1-8).
- That the righteous faithfully and constantly call upon the lord, seeking deliverance, and the glory and honor of God (vs. 9-18).
In this psalm the primary motivation of the psalmist is not deliverance or revenge, but God's glory.
- Suffocating Grief and Overwhelming Despair: Lamentations #1 (1/7/2018)
This is an exposition of Lamentations 1:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 7, 2018.
At 8:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001 American Airlines flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade City.
News quickly spread about this terrible accident in the heart of New York City. The plane struck between floors 99 and 93 killing 76 passengers and 11 crew members instantly. As local and national news outlets covering the story were trying to determine how such an accident could happen American Airline flight 175 struck the South Tower at 9:03 killing 51 passengers and 9 crew members. Panic set in. This was no accident. At 9:37 flight 77 struck the Pentagon. At 9:59 the South Tower collapsed more than 800 civilians and first responders perished. 10:03 flight 93 went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing 33 passengers and 7 crew members. 10:28 the North Tower collapsed more than 1,600 died. In just 1 hour and 42 minutes 2,996 died; lower Manhattan was in rubble and a nation was shaken. A month later I was walking through ground zero midst the sounds of cranes and large equipment filling tractor trailers with debris. Everywhere you look there was devastation. The fires still burning under the 7 stories of debris that remained. It had been a month. Everyday, around the clock workers worked to clear the rubble. Trucks were lined up in every direction, waiting their turn. Drivers delivered their loads to the waste site and got back inline for the next load. 24/7 for a solid month and it look as if nothing had been done. First responders still search for the remains of victims. I spoke to one firefighter and asked how long he had been at ground zero. “Everyday sense the day it happened. I’ve got a brother, 2 cousins and an uncle buried in there and I’m not leaving until they are found.” The nation mourned, wept and expressed its anger. “We want those responsible to be brought to justice.” Those responsible. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell dared to suggest that perhaps this was a judgment from God. Both were ridiculed and shamed until they withdrew their remarks. Is it such a far-fetched notion? Is it unthinkable that a sovereign, holy and righteous God would allow such devastation? Is it unthinkable that a nation would be held accountable for moral decay and failure to live according to the standards it confesses?
His name was Jeremiah. A man called to serve as a prophet to the nation of Judah. For decades he had warned that God would not be mocked, that nations reap what they sow. He pleaded with the nation to return to God. Turn away from their idols, live and govern according to truth and righteousness. The nation refused. Judgment came at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. The city of Jerusalem was under siege from 588-587. In 586 the Babylonians broke through the city walls and left the city in ruins. The temple was destroyed. The palace ransacked. Judah’s best and brightest were exiled to a distant land. Those who remained were ravished by hunger and loss. The prophet wept. Our text this evening is found in the book of Lamentations, chapter 1.
Text: Lamentations 1:1-22
This book is often referred to as, “the forgotten book.” It’s not an easy book to read. It’s awfully depressing. So, naturally I thought, “What better way to begin a new year than with a series of funeral messages?” The book has 5 chapters. Three of which are funeral dirges or songs. The last chapter is a prayer and chapter 3, the climax of the book is a message of hope. The book is a work of Hebrew poetry. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 are written as an acrostic. Each verse begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus each contains 22 verses. You might say it expresses grief from A to Z. Chapter 3 is a triple acrostic. The first 3 verses all begin with he first letter of the alphabet, verse 4-6 with the second letter and so on, thus 66 verses. While verse 3 also records lament it also stresses the goodness and faithfulness of God in the midst of such suffering and devastation.
Lamentations is written to express grief over loss but also to help God’s people to cope with that loss and deliver them from despair as the prophet reminds them of God’s presence and His rule over them and over all things. It is a work of theodicy expressing God’s goodness and power amid pain and suffering.
There are at least 5 theological themes ruing through the pages of this lament.
- God is sovereign.
- Sin shatters the relationship between God and man.
- Cherished institutions are not exempt from God’s judgment.
- Suffering is real.
- Hope is found in God alone.
Suffering, heartache and pain are inevitable in this fallen, broken world. How are we to respond? How are we to navigate these troubled waters? For some answers we turn to the weeping prophet.
Thesis: Weathering the storm of crushing loss and profound suffering demands an honest assessment of what is lost; the acknowledgment of the root cause of such devastation; and a genuine affirmation of God’s goodness and righteousness.
It is natural to note some similarities between the suffering of Judah and that of Job. Both certain are forced to deal with crushing loss. Both affirm that God has allowed/brought this sorrow. However there are major differences. This is national suffering whereas Job’s was personal. Job was innocent, he didn’t deserve it - Judah brought this on herself. But certain themes overlap.
There are three things I want us to note as we work through this first chapter.
- Suffering’s Suffocating Presence. (1:1-11)
- Confession of National Sin and Pride. (1:5, 8, 18)
There is a third thing that is connected to and ought to accompany this second point…
- A Genuine Affirmation of God’s Goodness and Righteousness. (1:18, 20)
The prophet is reminding the people as hard as this is, God was right to bring judgment. That doesn’t mean the people must “like” it. It doesn’t mean this is pleasant or enjoyable but we must acknowledge God is holy and righteous in all He does. This is why the NT calls us to rejoice in all things and to give thanks for all things. Because we know that God is able to work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.
We are to respond to suffering with humility and patience, quick to confess any sin. Your sufferings are a message to you - do not despise or waste them. Take them as a work of refining grace.
- Who Am I?: 2016 Gospel of Luke #89 (1/7/2018)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:66-71. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 7, 2018.
It’s inconceivable to me. How could that happen? The Lord of glory spit upon, mocked and ridiculed? The creator, the Sovereign of the universe the prisoner of puny, wicked, petty tyrants? He spent his days doing good. He healed the sick. He bound the wounds of the broken hearted. He gave hope to the hopeless. And this is his reward? This is how it ends? Abandoned by his followers, the prisoner of his enemies. Everything in me wants to scream, “No, it isn’t right!”
But it was right. Look at him. Look closely at the Lord Jesus. He is not crying out in protest. He is not resisting. In humility and grace he is enduring. Things are not as they seem. On the surface it appears that corrupt religious officials in Jerusalem have won the upper hand. It appears that they have orchestrated a diabolical plan that has, at last, brought an end to this trouble-making rabbi from Galilee. But in reality they are merely players in a much larger drama. A drama that began in eternity past. God’s eternal plan of redemption was about to reach its climax. But just before it does there is another revelation.
Text: Luke 22:66-71
It was quite a week.
Herbert Lockyer refers to it as “the week that changed the world.”
It was a week of revelations.
It began on that Sunday as our Lord entered the city in dramatic fashion.
There was no mistaking his message – “I am the Messiah.”
His wisdom was revealed in his dealings with his accusers, the religious establishment.
His authority was reflected in his pronouncement of judgement on the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, “Not one stone will be left on another.”
His love and grace was revealed in his tenderness toward his disciples.
His obedience – “Father not my will but thy will be done.”
Following the supper in the upper room Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. There our Lord spent those final moments in prayer before the Father agonizing over what was to come. Then came the arrest, the mocking, and the ridicule.
Our text picks up with what happened early Friday morning.
I want you to picture this scene.
Here we find the high court of the Jews.
The Sanhedrin – the Supreme Court dressed in their finest.
70 of them along with the Chief Priest.
According to Jewish law the procedures of the Sanhedrin were design for mercy.
All charges must be supported by the evidence of 2 witnesses independently examined.
Volumes have been written detailing the legal failures of this so-called “trial.”
This was nothing more than a Kangaroo Court.
They began with a verdict and sought any excuse to justify it.
But there is something I want you to see in all of this.
Thesis: Our Lord’s confrontation with the Sanhedrin undeniably reveals that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
What is the purpose of Luke’s Gospel? To give his friend, Theophilus, an understanding of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished. This revelation is at the heart of that purpose.
So we find the full council gathered in an official capacity dressed in their finest.
In this exchange, Jesus is asked two questions.
Each of the questions is put to him in legal language, in essence putting him under oath.
Now these questions are extremely important.
Your answers to them will reveal your attitude toward the Christian faith.
Question 1 – “Are you the Christ?”
Question 2 – “Are you the Son of God?”
What is the significance of that – what difference does it make?
Give us something practical, something we can use.
Matthew 16:13-18 - Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? 14 And they said, Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 He said to them, But who do you say that I am? 16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
This is the confession of the Christian church.
This is the essence, the heart and soul of the Gospel.
Your understanding and response to these important questions determine your eternal destiny.
- The Real Social Gospel: Selected Psalms (1/3/2018)
This is an exposition of Psalm 82. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, January 3, 2018.
- Arresting Revelations: Gospel of Luke #88 (12/31/2017)
Arresting Revelations: 2016 Gospel of Luke #88
This is an exposition of Luke 22:47-65. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 31, 2017.
H.G. Wells once said that the world is like a great stage production, directed and managed by God. As the curtain rises, the set is perfect, a treat to every eye. The characters are resplendent. Everything goes well until the leading man steps on the hem of the leading lady’s gown, causing her to trip over a chair, which knocks over a lamp, which pushes a table into the wall, which in turn knocks over the scenery, which brings everything down on the heads of the actors.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes God, the Producer is running around, shouting orders, pulling strings, trying desperately to restore order from chaos. But, alas, he is unable to do so! Poor God…he is a very little, limited God. Wells’ sentiment is shared by an increasing number of folks in our culture. While a great number of people profess belief in God – I’m afraid most of them believe in the little, limited God described by Wells.
To be fair, I can understand why some would view God with such skepticism. Who hasn’t experienced hurt and confusion at the hands of a world that seems out of control? Who hasn’t, in a time of sever crisis, cried out, “God why is this happening to me? God why don’t you do something?” At times it seems as if the world is out of control and no one is at the wheel. That is certainly what it felt like that night in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. A night of feasting and celebrating. A night of remembrance and promise. What a high and holy moment it was when our Lord declared, “This is my body given for you. This is the new covenant in my blood.” The beauty of that moment was overshadowed by talk of betrayal, denial and death. The sweet sound of new life and hope was silenced by the petty claims of greatness and importance by self diluted and glory-hungry followers. In the Garden as our Lord faced the final test before the cross, in the hour of his greatest need, as he cried out in agony and great distress – his friends, a stone throw away – slept. Emerging victorious from the struggle, having been strengthened by an angel, our Lord awakened his drowsy followers and said, “My betrayer has arrived.” Our text this morning is found in the 22nd chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
Text: Luke 22:47-65
It’s been an amazing week.
Just days before, our Lord entered Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!”
In a matter of hours an angry mob will cry, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
The events of the week leave your head spinning in an attempt to make sense of them. Words of power and authority from our Lord as he silenced his critics, confusion and questions in the hearts of his disciples with talk of the temple’s destruction.
Acts of hatred and hostility as the religious establishment plotted his death.
The black-hearted betrayal by one of his own.
An act of love and tenderness as our Lord washed the feet of his disciples.
It was a week of revelation.
Our Lord began the week with an unmistakable revelation of his person.
“I am the Messiah.”
His wisdom was revealed in his handling of his critics.
His authority was revealed in his pronouncement of judgement upon Jerusalem.
The extent of our depravity was revealed in Judas’ betrayal.
Our Lord’s tenderness and compassion was revealed in the upper room.
His beauty and love for his own made abundantly clear in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And now another revelation as we come to the arrest.
Wells my think him a little, limited God. Albert Schweitzer may consider him a well-meaning, diluted visionary but they have failed to grasp the whole picture. He is not the victim in all of this – he is the victor! This is not a sudden turn of events. This began weeks before when our Lord boldly declared, “We must go to Jerusalem” and then set his face as a flint for the holy city. His disciples protested. “Lord not now. It is too dangerous.” “Now is the time,” he replied. But it actually began long before that.
In withstanding the temptation of Satan in the wilderness prior to his public ministry – he said yes to the cross. But even that was a reaffirmation of his determination. It began in eternity past. When, in covenant with the Father our Lord agreed to redeem sinful, fallen humanity. You see he is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world! This is not an unforeseen glitch in the plan. This is the eternal will of God. Look closely at these verses and stand in awe of the glory of our Savior.
Thesis: The arrest of our Lord serves as the perfect backdrop for revealing the essence of his being.
Crises have a way of revealing just what a person is made of. One of the reasons for that is that pretense cracks under pressure. Our Lord is under incredible pressure in these moments and rather than cracking – he radiates with glory. There are three things I want us to note in our text.
- First of all, note his sovereignty in the face of betrayal. (22:47-52)
- Second, note his love in response to weakness and failure. (22:54-62)
- Finally I want us to note his majesty in response to hatred and ridicule. (22:63-65)
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross despising the shame.”
This is our Savior.
This is no mere man.
This is the Sovereign, loving, majestic Son of the Living God!
- Isn’t it Absurd? from Colossians 1:13-20 (12/26/2017)
Isn’t it Absurd? from Colossians 1:13-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 24, 2017
You have to agree…it sounds strange. In fact you might go so far as to say it sounds absurd. Absurd refers to something that is “unreasonable” or “incongruous.” When we consider the birth of the Lord Jesus there are aspects that “seem” unreasonable. There are things that just don’t seem to fit.
Who would dream that the story, of the high, holy, exalted moment when God came to earth, would center around an unwed mother? To say nothing about angels visiting shepherds, strange and mysterious visitors “from the East” and the birth of God in a stable! Is that any way for God to make an entrance?
Because we’ve heard the story so often, because the story seems so “far fetched” many look at the Christmas story the same way they look at Dickens’s Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life. It is a nice sentimental, feel-good story. It’s part of our Christmas tradition and nothing more. But it is something more, something much more. Christmas is the story of God’s invasion of our world. It is the story of God’s great act of liberation. It is the story of how God in love and grace restores broken lives.
Text: Colossians 1:13-20
Christmas is not just the story of an “unusual” birth.
We do not worship a baby born under unfortunate circumstances in an obscure village.
Apart from his life, death and resurrection, his birth is without meaning.
The reason we sing, celebrate and remember is because of who he is and what he came to do. Christmas is about the Gospel. For that reason our text is an appropriate Christmas text.
From it we are reminded that:
Thesis: Christmas marks the arrival of the incomparable Lord of Glory.
This is one of my favorite texts and there are three things I want to note from this text related to the meaning of Christmas.
- The child born in Bethlehem is our conqueror and King. (1:13-14)
- This child in the manger is the sovereign creator of all that is. (1:15-17)
- The one worshiped is our redeemer and Lord. (1:18-20)
Tomorrow is Christmas. We will gather with family and friends. We will exchange gifts and feast. All of that is well and good but meaningless apart from the wonderful, absurd story of a God who so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes would not perish but would have everlasting life.
- A Call to Worship: Selected Psalms (12/21/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 81. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, December 20, 2017.
Psalm 81 can be divided into three stanzas:
- Genuine worship is marked by a spirit of rejoicing (vs. 1-5). Worship is God-centered. This Asaph guy is no Baptist!
- Genuine worship demands we solemnly remember all God has graciously done for his people (vs. 6-10).
- Genuine worship requires honest examination and humble repentance (vs. 11-16).
- In the Garden: Gospel of Luke #87 (12/17/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:39-46. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 17, 2017.
Exhausted, they held one another in unbelief. The last 9 months are a blur. They were engaged. They had entered into that formal period known as the betrothal. Plans were well underway for the wedding. Then an angel appeared to Mary. He came bearing extraordinary news. He was to have a child, a boy. But no ordinary boy, she was to be the mother of the Messiah. This would not be the result of relations with her husband in the normal course of things. This would be the work of God. This child would be conceived supernaturally. She would give birth to the Son of God.
As you can imagine things didn’t go well when she told Joseph the news. He sought to quietly get out of the marriage and do so with as little harm to Mary as possible. Then he had his own encounter with God. It was all true! It hadn’t been easy. The whispers every time they walked down the street. The distance they now experienced from family and friends. Then today. After that long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her precious child in a stable amidst the stench and filth. Then those shepherds arrived with that story of an Angelic visitor and a heavenly chorus. Their heads were spinning. What does it all mean?
Fast forward 33 years. That child, now a man is in a garden just outside the city of Jerusalem. For most of the last few years he’s seldom be able to elude the crowds. Everywhere he went he was surrounded. The believers, the skeptics, the critics all wanting a piece of him. It’s Passover. Jerusalem is crowded with people but he is alone. He is laying prostrate on the ground in a pool of blood in agony crying, “Father if at all possible, let this cup pass from me.” On the night before our Lord’s greatest triumph, at the threshold of history’s pivotal moment, that moment anticipated by our Lord for all eternity, fear grip his heart. This Jesus who with such command and authority silenced the storm and calmed the sea. This Jesus who, with a word, caused demons to flee. This Jesus who, by his touch, opened the eyes of the blind, comforted the afflicted and even raise the dead. This Jesus who repeatedly silenced his critics with his profound wisdom, who consistently amazed the multitudes with his authority – this Jesus now cried out in terror from a lonely spot in the garden of Gethsemane. Our text this morning is found in Luke 22:39-46.
Text: Luke 22:39-46
After his birth, when the time of purification had passed, Mary and Joseph took the child to Jerusalem as required by the law of God. While there they met a man named Simeon who had been promised by the Lord that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ. After seeing the child, he pronounced a blessing and then said to Mary, “This child is appointed for the rising and falling of many in Israel. And a sword will pierce your soul as well.” Again, what did that mean? Mary would soon know.
After the Passover meal and the institution of the new memorial meal Jesus and his disciples walked the familiar path to the Garden of Gethsemane. As they approached the Garden our Lord became strangely silent. As they crossed they Kidron brook he had a strange look in his eye as he stared down at the water now red with the blood of the Passover lambs. Upon reaching the Garden he told his disciples to watch and pray. Taking Peter, James and John a bit further he went on beyond them and threw himself on the ground. Such agony. Such pain. Everything in me wants to look away from this scene. But to do so would be to miss a precious and wonderful revelation. For:
Thesis: Our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane powerfully reveals the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.
Three things are revealed to us in this experience. Three truths that call us to worship and adore our Savior.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the tender compassion of the Savior for his own.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.
Our Lord’s experience in the Garden is a powerful revelation of the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.
It reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
It reveals the tender compassion of the Savior toward his own.
It reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.
The angel said to Joseph, “You are to name him Jesus because he will save his people.”
- The Sinner’s Savior: Gospel of Luke #86 (12/12/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:31-38. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 10, 2017.
Happiness is an elusive thing. The harder you chase it the further away it seems. That’s why C.S. Lewis said, “Happiness is like a cat. If you pursue it, it runs away. If you call to it, it ignores you. If you ignore it, it hops in your lap!” Lewis’ point being, you don’t pursue happiness. You live your life, go about your business seeking to live in obedience to God and happiness will find you.
Of course our real desire is not happiness but joy. Deep, profound and abiding joy. Happiness demands everything is as it should be. Everything must line up. Joy, on the other hand is constant no matter the circumstance. Where does one find joy? Joy is found in Christ.
Our Lord was gathered in the upper room celebrating the last Passover and the first communion with his disciples. During that meal he broke bread and said, “This is my body, given for you.” He took the cup and declared, “This is the new covenant in my blood.” While they were trying to wrap their minds around what he had just said, our Lord stunned them with the announcement, “Behold, the hand of him who betrays me is on the table with me.” Betray him? One of us? Never! Accusations flew around the room as each in turn presented the case for how they could never do such a thing. Then the unthinkable, there talked turned to which of them was the greatest. With sorrow and disappointment our Lord said, “You’re acting like Gentiles.” You’re behaving like those who know nothing of the things of God. They worry about such things. They lord it over others. To them greatness has to do with power, position and prestige, not so with you. Things are different in the kingdom of God. Greatness is a matter of humility and service. Humbled and more than a little embarrassed the talk quieted down. But he wasn’t finished. His next words are both frightening and encouraging. Our text is found in Luke 22 beginning with verse 31.
Text: Luke 22:31-38
It was a very revealing night. Our Lord is revealed as a humble servant as he dons a towel and washes the feet of his disciples. He is revealed as the Passover lamb as he instituted a new memorial meal. He then reminded them of God’s sovereignty, the necessity of a godly perspective and the wonder of his grace. Now, in our text, he is revealed as the sinner’s Savior.
It is in this text we learn that…
Thesis: Our hope, our joy, our peace rests in the atoning sacrifice and on-going prayers of our gracious Savior.
There are two things I want to note as we work our way through this text.
- We are kept safe by our Savior’s effectual prayers. (22:31-34)
- We are ultimately delivered by our Savior’s atoning sacrifice. (22:35-38)
In his saving work, the Savior of sinners took the guilt of our sin upon himself, and once he did that, he was obligated to pay the death penalty that all our sins deserved. He did this for all the sins of all of his people, all of our idolatry, our adultery, our thieving and dishonesty. Whatever kind of sinner we are, Jesus was counted as that kind of sinner on the cross. He of course was not a sinner but he was dying in the place of sinners, therefore he was counted a sinner on the cross. In terms of God’s justice, he died as a lying, lazy, thieving sinner. He did that to pay the debt of your sin. That is the wonder of the Gospel.
He died so that you could live.
Joy, lasting, sustained and abiding joy is to be found in Christ and in Christ alone. Why is that? Because we are ultimately delivered by his atoning sacrifice and we are kept safe by his continual, effective prayers.
Take heart troubled believer Jesus died for you.
Take heart beleaguered saint he is praying for you.
- Hope in Times of Trouble: Selected Psalms (12/8/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 80. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, December 6, 2017.
This psalm has a recurring chorus, found in verses 3, 7, and 19, which is the theme of the Psalm: A plea for God's favor.
Three stanzas make up Psalm 80. In times of uncertainty:
- believers find comfort in a strong shepherding God (vs. 1-3).
- believers are forced to deal with the reality of their sin and its devastating consequences (vs. 4-7).
- believers come to rely on God's tencer, compassionate care (vs. 8-19).
- Faithfulness: The God-honoring Option, from Daniel 1:1-21 (12/3/2017)
This is an exposition of Daniel 1:1-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, December 3, 2017.
They were asked how they had stayed married all those years. After all it is rare to find folks staying together these days. The husband said, “The main thing is that I make all the major decisions and leave the other things to her.” After a brief pause he said, “Funny thing, in 45 years of marriage we haven’t had to make a single major decision!”
Whether a decision is major or minor depends on your point of view. Now we all make decisions every day. A decision is a choice. I remember being in a group of pastors one Monday morning and listening to the “glorious” reports from the day before. “Brother we had church yesterday. The Spirit moved and we had many decisions.” Pastor after pastor spreading their feathers. After a while they looked at me. You know that look that says, “Top that.” I said, “The truth is fellas I lost track of decisions a long time ago. You want to talk about decisions. We have 1200 members. On any given Sunday at least 1000 of those “decide” not to even come to church!” It is a matter of perspective.
How big or how important a decision might be is not always easy to detect. Some are easy. If the doctor comes in and says, “I’m sorry we’ve done all we can do. You have to decide. Do you want to pull the plug or not?” That is a big decision. When that young man looks lovingly into the eyes of that young girl and says, “Will you marry me?” That’s a big decision with long term consequences. In the morning when I decided whether it will be Cocoa Puffs or Fruity Pebbles – not so much. But in between these two kinds of decisions is a large gray area. Some seem big but, in the long run, are not that significant. Others seem to matter very little but prove to be major.
That is why the Scripture puts such and emphasis on our being conformed to the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus and maturing in the faith. That is why we are to be sober minded in all we do and seek to honor God with the choices we make. Because you never know, what seems a “minor adjustment” may prove to be a major correction. What may seem a little compromise might be a total sell out. On the other hand, what might seem to be a nit-picking adherence to detail may prove to be the most important decision you ever made. At least that is the way things worked out for Daniel and his three friends.
Text: Daniel 1:1-21
Daniel’s life could be described as a series of Choices. In the 605 BC king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Egypt at the battle of Charcemish making Babylon the dominant world power. Shortly after that victory Nebuchadnezzar’s army marched on Judah. Following the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonians took captive the brightest and most promising of Judah’s young men. Daniel and his three friends were included in that first group of exiles. Daniel was taken to Babylon where he spent the next 7 decades. As we explore the first chapter of Daniel we learn a valuable principle related to our choices.
Thesis: Faithfulness is the only God-honoring option for the people of God.
When we are faithful to God, when we walk in obedience to His commands we have His smile and that is enough.
Three things we must note.
- The Dilemma. (1:5-7)
- A Difficult but God-honoring Choice. (1:8-14)
- God Granted them Unusual Favor. (1:15-21)
Everyday we are faced with choices.
Everyday our choices affect our lives for good or bad.
Solomon warns, “The little foxes spoil the vineyard.” (Song of Songs 2:15)
A compromise here.
Looking the other way there.
Over time it’s the small and insignificant that can destroy a life, a testimony or undermine your faith. Faithfulness, it’s the only God-honoring option for the people of God.
- Response to Treachery: Gospel of Luke #85 (12/3/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:21-30. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 3, 2017.
There is nothing worse. There is nothing that compares with the awkward, tense, impassioned silence of a holiday meal gone bad. Now, by “gone bad” I don’t mean the undercooked turkey infected everyone with salmonella. I mean something was said that touched off deeply held hostility and that hostility just exploded! Accusations are flying. Nursed grudges have fought their way to the surface. The evening has become a free-for-all.
It was supposed to be a night of solemn remembrance; an evening of celebration and thanksgiving, a time for praising God for his gracious salvation. Instead it was a pathetic display of petty bickering and self-serving delusion. If you have ever doubted that those first followers of Jesus were Baptists - doubt it no more. I present exhibit A, the “Last Supper.” It’s hard to look at but look at it we must for there is much to be learned. The grace, beauty and grandeur of our Lord shines bright against the foolishness of those gathered with him than night. For months he has told them that he must go to Jerusalem to be rejected, to be handed over to his enemies, to suffer and die. That time has come. He had already been betrayed by one of those in the room. Soon they all will abandon him. He has shown great love and humility as he has served them and they want to argue about which of them is the greatest. How could he possibly love this bunch? It is so disappointing, so discouraging to witness such ignorance. But honesty forces me to say, “How could he love me?” I’m every bit as petty as those gathered that night. I am often filled with my own importance and just as delusional about the honor due me. So the question is really, “How could he possibly love us?” The answer is, the Gospel. The answer is that he, out of the goodness of his own heart and not in any way dependent upon us, chose to love us. God proved his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Come with me to the upper room and witness the grace and wonder of our Savior.
Text: Luke 22:21-30
It is Passover.
The night of our Lord’s betrayal.
He is at table, celebrating the Passover meal with the 12.
We are on holy ground.
All of history has been focused on this moment in time.
Salvation has come.
Redemption is about to be paid.
The Passover is at hand.
He has just instituted the new memorial meal.
The meal commemorating the new covenant.
This is my body…this is the new covenant in my blood…
What happened next is both tragic and glorious…
[Read the Text]
Thesis: In response to treachery and bitter disappointment our Lord reminds us of God’s unquestioned sovereignty, the necessity of a godly perspective and the wonder of God’s grace.
There are three things I want us to note as we work through this text.
- A troubling, yet remarkable word about betrayal. (22:21-23)
- A disappointing display of selfishness and a new definition of greatness. (22:24-27)
- An astonishing promise of future greatness and glory. (22:28-30)
Yes, it was quite an evening as our Lord in response to treachery and bitter disappointment reminds us of God’s unquestioned sovereignty, the necessity of a godly perspective and the wonder of God’s grace.
- Finding Peace in God’s Strong Presence: Selected Psalms (11/29/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 76. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, November 29, 2017.
- The Upper Room: Gospel of Luke #84 (11/26/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:7-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 26, 2017.
It was a time for feasting and celebrating. It was a time for remembering the deliverance of God. A time for families to gather about the table as the head of the family retold the old, old story of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage.
Special foods had been prepared and arranged for the celebration. A thick paste of dates, raisins and apples reminded them of the mortar and bricks of Egypt. Bitter herbs reminded them of the bitterness of slavery. The Paschal Lamb was the symbol of the blood that caused the death angel to “passover.” Yes, this was a night of solemn remembrance and a night of rejoicing.
A small group of men gathered with their master in an upper room to celebrate the Passover meal. For the past three years they have traveled with this rabbi. They have been amazed at the power and the beauty of his message. They stood in awe of his authority to command the winds and the waves. Through wet eyes they watched as he opened the eyes of the blind, made the lame to walk and even raised the dead. Now with troubled hearts and minds they are trying to make sense of the events of the past week. Increasingly he has talked of his coming death. Excited and frightened, thrilled and horrified they gathered. They gathered to partake of the Passover ritual. The centuries old tradition of recounting God’s deliverance of his people. From their earliest days they have gathered on this night to remember. Year after year recounting the same story. Each of them knew, instinctively, that this night was different – yet they were unprepared for what was to follow.
Our text this morning is found in Luke’s gospel chapter 22 beginning at verse 14.
Text: Luke 22:7-27
These are sacred moments.
Our Lord is in the Holy Place fast approaching the Holy of Holies.
God’s eternal plan of the ages is approaching its climax.
There is a sense in which I feel the urge to speak in hushed tones.
I get the sense that I am intruding on a sacred spot.
Yet by God’s design these events are recorded for us and given as a sacred treasure.
A treasure revealing the breadth and the depth of our Savior’s love.
Our problem is that we are too familiar with this passages and yet, at the same time, we seem to know very little of their beauty and value.
We can tell the story and repeat every detail. We glibly recount the story and go through the motions when celebrating the Lord’s Table but do we stop and meditate? Do we take the time to contemplate the significance of that table? Do we consider the ramifications of the events in that room 2000 years ago?
Do me a favor, do yourself a favor, and look at this passage with new eyes. See it as if you have never seen it before. Experience what these men experienced that night.
If you do then I think you will discover that:
Thesis: That night in the upper room reveals the depth, the wonder, and the glory of our gracious Savior and His great work.
As our text unfolds it falls into three parts.
- A loving act. (22:14-16)
- A precious gift. (22:17-20)
The Bread of Remembrance
The Cup of the New Covenant
- A personal attachment.
This is for you.
It is to be apprehended by faith.
You must come to Christ and trust in him alone!
- Why Should I Attend the Ordinances of the Church? (11/19/2017)
This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 19, 2017.
If you hear on Sunday morning that Sunday evening there will be a baptism or we will be observing the Lord’s Supper, does that make any difference to you? If you had not planned on coming Sunday evening would that cause you to change your plans? How important is it to attend the ordinances of the church?
Would it make a difference if you knew the person being baptized? You see I think there is a danger in Baptist life. Because we do not view baptism and the Lord’s Supper as sacraments we tend to view them as optional or not that important. A sacrament dispenses grace. We do not hold that grace is dispensed but rather that they are symbols or memorials of God’s gracious acts in Christ. It is a mistake however to think of them as “mere” symbol. As if that is all they are. Yes, they are symbols but not merely symbols.
We, as Baptist, refer to baptism and Lord’s Supper as ordinances. What are ordinances and how many are there?
A Christian ordinance is a ceremony that the Lord Jesus has commanded to be permanently practiced by the church. In the New Testament we find two ordinances given to the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These were ordained by the Lord himself, they are not the result of a church council or traditions handed down through the history of the church.
Ordinances are distinct ceremonies not just general actions or attitudes. Christ commands us to love. Love in fact is to be a hallmark of the church but love is not an ordinance.
Some groups add “foot washing” as an ordinance based on what happened on the night when our Lord instituted the Supper. However we do not find it indicated as a practice in the New Testament and there are no direct commands to practice it.
It is also important to recognize that the ordinances are given to the church not to individual Christians. That is why we don’t encourage people to baptize their children in the bathtub or to take the Lord’s Supper in small groups apart from the rest of the church.
Why should I attend the ordinances of the church?
I. Why should I attend the ordinance of baptism?
Let me give you some reasons for why you should make it a point to be present every time there is a baptism.
- By being present at baptism you demonstrate your commitment to the Great Commission.
- By being present at baptism you show commitment to the importance of baptism.
- By being present at baptism you accept a new member into the family.
II. Why should I attend the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper?
Why should you make an extra effort to be present at the table of the Lord?
- You should be present at the Lord’s Supper because it is commanded by Jesus.
- You should be present at the Lord’s Supper because it is loved by Jesus.
- You should be present at the Lord’s Supper because it is a spiritual participation in the body and blood of Jesus.
- You should be present at the Lord’s Supper because it is a memorial to Jesus.
- You should be present at the Lord’s Supper because it is a proclamation of the death of Jesus.
Both baptism and Lord’s Supper are treasured ordinances of the church. Both proclaim the gospel. Both celebrate the saving work of our gracious God. Both are necessary for our spiritual growth and development. Whenever given opportunity we ought to joyfully participate.
- Betrayal: Gospel of Luke #83 (11/19/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 22:1-6. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 19, 2017.
It was a quiet evening. They visited, laughed and enjoyed one another’s company. There was even a bit of a festive mood around the table. It was a welcome relief from the hectic events of the week. Little did they know that murder and betrayal were on the menu that night.
Most of them had no idea that in the midst of their love, fellowship and comradery lurked the dark, twisted heart of a betrayer. In a matter of hours the fruit of this betrayal would lead to the horrifying murder of their leader. The laughter and noise of the dinner was silenced as their master declared, “One of you will betray me.”
“Betrayal” is there an uglier word? The very word conjures up images of treachery, seduction and deception. Betrayal is the ultimate violation of trust. And is there any greater betrayal than the betrayal of love? Our text this morning is found in Luke chapter 22.
Text: Luke 22:1-6
As we approach this section of Luke’s Gospel we are entering into the Holy Place.
On Sunday he entered the city in Triumph – “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The next morning he cleansed the temple and established himself as Lord of the Temple. He met with the people daily in the temple – the temple’s last and greatest glory. He silenced his critics and walked away from their traps unscathed.
While his critics were silenced, they were not finished.
Their hatred and hostility raged.
They continued to meet together determined to see to his demise.
Jesus withdrew from the multitudes and began to prepare his followers for what was to come.
He warned of the judgement to come upon Jerusalem for their rejection of the Messiah.
And he spoke with them about the coming of the kingdom and of his return.
From this point on in Luke’s account we are dealing with our Lord’s final hours.
He is entering in behind the veil to secure our redemption.
These are holy moments.
This has been the focus of history from eternity past.
This has been the focal point of Luke’s Gospel.
Now, our problem with this text is that we know what’s coming.
We know the story.
We know that Judas betrayed the Lord.
We’ve rehearsed the story year after year at Easter.
But try to set it in its context.
Try to imagine the impact of such a thing on those gathered that night in the upper room.
A careful analysis of the text reveals that:
Thesis: Judas’ betrayal of the Lord Jesus vividly reminds us of the depth of our depravity and the extent of God’s mercy and grace.
There are two things I want us to note in connection with this text.
- The heart that is hardened by sin utterly despises the Lord Jesus. (Luke 22:1-6)
- The Lord Jesus graciously returns kindness and compassion for hostility and hatred.
Pastor, I’m no Judas. How does this apply to me? Consider the words of the apostle Paul:
That sums it all up. Every man, woman boy and girl outside of Christ, in their natural state: “…alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.”
And yet, “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
That’s the gospel and it is for you!
- God’s Sovereignty: The Basis of Genuine Worship: Selected Psalms (11/15/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 75. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, November 15, 2017.
- Does Baptism Matter? (11/12/2017)
“Does Baptism Matter?” by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 12, 2017.
I have to confess I don’t get it. You’re watching a football game on TV and the camera pans the crowd. Here is a group of guys, in freezing weather, with no shirts on, their bodies painted purple to match the team’s colors – their faces painted, strange things on their heads, screaming at the top of their lungs – and we respond with a sense of admiration – “There’s a real fan.”
Or how about the case of Giles Pellerin. An avid fan of the University of Southern California football. “Avid” is not a strong enough word. He didn’t miss a USC football game – home or away – for 73 years! He made it to 797 consecutive games before he died at age 91. One year he had an emergency appendectomy just 5 days before a game. Still in the hospital on Saturday, he told the nurses he was going for a walk and instead went to the stadium! When asked about his fanaticism, he responded – “It’s just all part of being a fan.”
Here is what I really don’t get. In light of such commitment to an athletic event – why is it some Christians hesitate to boldly, publicly identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ through Christian baptism? There are people who claim to honestly, legitimately love Christ who consider baptism insignificant or at best something to think about “tomorrow.” How important is baptism? Why should anyone seek baptism in a local church?
There is a real danger in Baptist life of cheapening baptism. This is strange given that many of our forefathers died for their convictions concerning this ordinance of the church. But I’m afraid that our insistence that baptism is a symbol has been interpreted, as baptism is not important. In our insistence that salvation does not, in any way, depend upon our baptism, we have implied that baptism is optional.
I was reminded of this a few years back when I received a phone call one afternoon from a man who taught a high school Sunday School class at a local Church of Christ. He asked if I would consent to a telephone interview on a Sunday morning with his class. They were studying what other groups believed and taught and would I agree to give the Baptist perspective on baptism. In the course of the interview I was asked if I believed Christ commanded us to be baptized. I said, “Of course the scripture leaves no doubt about that.” The response was – “So is it your position that Christ’s commands are insignificant or unnecessary?”
I would expect such a response from a person whose perspective differs so dramatically from mine. What concerns me is that so many Baptist seem to justify such a false portrayal.
Baptism is very significant. I believe baptism is necessary – not for salvation but for obedience.
If one refuses to be baptized, I want to know why? Why does a lover of Christ not want to be publicly identified with Christ? Why is one who is not ashamed of Christ embarrassed to participate in such a public demonstration? Why refuse to perform this act of obedience?
Let me give you three biblical reasons for why baptism is necessary for the genuine believer.
- Baptism openly identifies you as a follower of Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Although baptism is never equated with faith or salvation it is closely associated with both.
For instance. Acts 2:41, Acts 9:18, Acts 16:30-33
Baptism was – and should be – the first public expression of faith by those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Baptism openly obeys the command of Christ.
Baptism is not a ritual created by the ancient church and passed down through the ages. Baptism is a practice ordained by Christ Himself.
Note again – Matthew 28:19-20.
The King of the universe – the Eternal One – the Judge of us all has commanded it. What do you think? Is it optional?
- Baptism openly expresses your faith in many truths.
Baptism is symbolic of many things. To submit to baptism says that you believe what baptism represents.
- Baptism expresses your faith in the doctrine of the Trinity.
- Baptism expresses the fact that your sins have been washed away.
- Baptism declares that you have been united with Christ in His death and resurrection.
- Through baptism you declare that through Christ God has given you new life.
- Baptism openly identifies you as a follower of Christ.
- Answers that Raise More Questions: Luke #82 (11/12/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 21:5-36. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 12, 2017.
I’m one of those people who likes things simple. I like things to be yes or no. I like certainty – uncertainty drives me crazy. That’s why I hate going to a doctor and he says, “Well the test show things are clear.” I respond, “Good so there’s nothing wrong.” “Well I wouldn’t say that.” Or you’re setting in a classroom and the teacher asks a question.
One of the class answers and the teacher says, “That’s a very good answer.” You make sure you write that answer down since it is the “right” answer and then the teacher says, “Would someone else like to try and answer the question.” What do you mean? You just said that was a very good answer! What’s with this try another answer bit? Either it is the answer or it is not.
It is my dislike for uncertainty that makes me uncomfortable in dealing with certain passages of Scripture. One of the reasons I preach through books is that it forces me to deal with passages I wouldn’t deal with if I had the choice. One area of difficulty in biblical interpretation is the area of eschatology or last things. There are some things that are absolutely certain. Jesus is coming again. He is coming visibly, physically to this earth. Of that there is no question. The details and events surrounding that return are not so clear. I think one point of confusion is that we think of “last things” only in terms of the return of Christ. Actually the “last days” began with the ascension of Christ. From the time he was received into the cloud the church has anticipated his return. We are living in the last days…and we have been for the past 2000 years!
Contrary to some popular preachers and writers, the interpretation of prophecy is not an exact science. The Scriptures are infallible, interpreters are not. We are all influenced by various biases and prejudices as we approach any given text. Any time we approach a text we bring to it certain assumptions and it is extremely difficult to hold those assumptions at arm’s length and allow the text to stand on its own. I have done a lot of reading through the years as I’ve tried to sort out my views. At various times I’ve found myself in agreement with most of the major millennial views. I’m still, to this day, not certain as to which pigeonhole I should be put in. I’m not as concerned about which view I hold, as I am about whether I properly understand whatever text I’m working with. I’m not interested in defending a particular view or proving one over the other. I am interested in hearing from God on the subject.
I think it just might be possible that in our zeal to understand the details surrounding the return of Christ we’ve lost sight of the message. After all if a passage is dealing with the return of Jesus does that mean it has nothing to say to those believers who lived and died before his return?
As we are walking through Luke’s Gospel we come this morning to Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet discourse is found in Luke 21, Mark 13 and in Matthew 24-25. This passage is one of the most talked about and disputed passages in all the Gospels. When seeking to unravel the message of this passage one has to deal with events reaching from the first century to the end of time. Did the disciples ask one question? Two? Or perhaps even three questions? Is Luke 21 Luke’s version of the Olivet Discourse or is it simply related material? What is meant by “this generation” in this passage? These are but a few of the questions scholars have debated through the centuries. With all that in mind let’s turn to John 3:16 and deal with something less controversial! I’m kidding our text this morning is found in Luke 21:5-36.
Text: Luke 21:5-36
Luke is dealing with the events of the Passion Week.
That final week in the earthly life and ministry of our Lord.
He entered the city in triumph.
He cleansed the temple and assumed his rightful place as Lord of the temple.
He was teaching the people (the temple’s greatest glory).
He met his enemies face to face in the temple as they sought to trap him.
He silenced them with his great wisdom.
Now Jesus and his disciples are leaving the city of Jerusalem and his disciples look back at the temple and marvel at its beauty. Jesus’ simple, direct statement shook them to the very core of their being. And prompted them to ask him a question that serves as the backdrop of our text.
I’m convinced this is central to understanding what Jesus is saying in this text.
The question is specific.
There are two parts but they are dealing with the same thing.
Mark 13 records the question the same way Luke does.
Matthew’s version is slightly different.
He adds, “…and what will be the sign of the end of the age or the end of the world?”
One of the difficulties in interpreting this passage is its use of apocalyptic language.
Apocalyptic language is cartoon or figurative language.
There are images in this text that mirror certain OT passages dealing with the “day of the Lord.”
Jesus is predicting the future in this passage. He is declaring in advance certain things that are going to take place in the future. While I believe this prophecy deals specifically with the destruction of Jerusalem, I also believe aspects of it speak to the return of Christ at the end of world history.
There is a “telescoping” of ideas in the passage. Language that speaks specifically to a certain event but also to an event beyond that time. Here is my concern. It is possible to get so involved in arguing the details you miss the message. In seeking to catalogue the individual trees you fail to notice the forest. Let’s back off just a bit and see if we can take a wider view and grasp a principle to live by. If we take that approach I think we can see that:
Thesis: In the midst of tumultuous times believers are made sober by the terror of God’s judgement, while at the same time, they are comforted by the tenderness of Christ’s loving concern.
I’m convinced these two elements are essential to understanding our Lord’s intent.
Both aspects are true; there is coming a judgement and Christ lovingly warns of the dangers to come.
There are two things I want to call your attention to out of our text.
- As the righteous judge, the Lord Jesus sovereignly declares the coming judgement.
- As the gracious Savior, the Lord Jesus prepares his followers for the horrors to come.
Are we living in the last days? Yes!
When will Christ return? I have no idea.
What about all the unrest in the world – changing weather, disasters – are they signs of his coming? Yeah just as they have been for 2000 years.
It closer today then it was back then!
It may be tonight or it may be 1000 years away.
The message of the Scripture is clear – “No man knows the day or hour – therefore live each day in anticipation of his return.”
Wake up and realize that judgement is coming.
Be encourage by the fact that Christ has prepared us for his return.
How are we to live? 21:34-36.
“Take heed, watch and pray.”
- A Prayer from the Devastation: Selected Psalms (11/10/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 74. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, November 8, 2017.
Even when we are devastated we turn to God to plead our case. Note the honesty of the psalmist.
Note in this psalm:
- A painful lament (vs. 1-2).
- A passionate plea (vs. 3-8).
- A pregnant pause (vs. 9-11).
- The turning point (vs. 12-17).
- Coming round full circle: God is Faithful to his promise (vs. 18-23).
- Delay, Denial and Certainty: 2017 2 Peter #04 (11/5/2017)
This is an exposition of 2 Peter 3:1-18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 5, 2017.
Are you any good at waiting? How are you at handling “delayed gratification?” I’m not good at it. I don’t handle it well at all. When I want something – I want it yesterday. When I have to wait I can get ugly. I get cynical. I moan, whine and complain.
Oh, and if I’m going somewhere I can’t stand to be late. If I’m not there 15-20 minutes early I think I’m late. I got that from my dad. When I’m waiting in the car for Rheadon…I find myself saying, “She’s never coming. We should already be on the road. I told her what time we were leaving. She’s not ready. She’s not here. We’re late!” They say confession is good for the soul but I’ve got to tell you I’m getting upset just thinking about this!
Imagine what it was like for those early followers of Jesus who just knew he was coming back any day. Who were just certain that at any moment he was coming in power and glory. With the each passing day – their hope burned a little less bright. It had now been some 30 years since he said he would be back. Some were saying he would never come. Others were suggesting that they had misunderstood everything Jesus said. They were calling for a new kind of faith. Peter wrote to that struggling bunch of believers and said, “There are some things you need to be certain about. Make sure you are a Christian. Make your calling and election sure. Examine your life for the evidence of ever increasing holiness. Mark it down, there will be false teachers. Be sober. Be on your guard. Stand against those who seek personal gain through ministry. Beware the arrogant and over confident. Stay clear of those blatantly carnal teachers of the word and rest assured God will bring his enemies to justice. God’s judgment is certain. Now there is one other certainty – our Lord is coming and when he comes there will be a reckoning.”
Our text this evening is found in the 3rd chapter of Peter’s second letter.
Text: 2 Peter 3:1-18
We said in our first study you can outline the book Holiness (1) Heresy (2) and Hope (3) or Cultivation of a genuinely Christian Character, Condemnation of False Teachers and Confidence in the Return of the Lord. Tonight we deal with that 3rd category.
In exploring this final chapter we will discover two over-arching concerns that drive, motivate and guide the Christian in living in light of the Lord’s return. I’m more convinced than ever that Bible study is to be practical. That it is not a matter of storing up knowledge for knowledge’s sake. There must be a practical working out of the truth learned. It impacts us in some practical way. This book is given to us that we might know God. It reveals God to us and gives us insight into how we are to relate to him and live in a manner pleasing to him. So, any time we study this book and we walk away failing to understand him better or how we are to live – we’ve misread it. We’ve misunderstood its message.
Doctrine must have its practical side.
And the doctrine of last things isn’t just a matter of learning to set dates.
It is not about putting a chart together so that we can know what’s going to happen out there someday that really doesn’t apply to us in anyway! Rather it is to give us hope, it is to inspire us to faithfulness, it is to motivate us in service – it is to cause us to be the people he has called us to be.
Two things I want us to note.
- Believers cling tenaciously to the promise of our Lord’s return in spite of delay and denials. (3:1-10)
- The thought of the Lord’s return motivates the believer toward holiness. (3:11-18)
Will you be at peace with God?
Peter never asks, “Do you remember the time you believed?”
His question was always, “Are you believing now?”
Be certain you are in Christ.
Be certain false teachers and false teaching abound.
Be certain he is coming and judgment comes with him.
- Gifted Giving: 2016 Gospel of Luke #81 (11/5/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 21:1-4. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 5, 2017.
The star of the circus astonished the crowd with his feats of strength. He concluded his act by squeezing an orange dry. Then he would challenge the audience to produce anyone who could extract even one drop of juice from the squeezed fruit. Night after night local strongmen where humiliated before the hometown crowd.
One night a little old man with wire frame glasses stepped up to accept the challenge. The crowd roared with laughter at the thought of this little old man attempting the impossible. The old man grasped the orange in his right hand and began to squeeze. His concentration was great. Every eye was on him. Electricity filled the air. After a few seconds, a tiny drip formed on the edge of the orange and then dropped to the floor. The crowd exploded! Astonished at the strength of the old man, the circus performer asked him how he had managed to develop such strength. “There’s nothing to it,” said the old man. “I just happen to be the treasurer of the local Baptist church!”
I know, it is one of those touchy subjects that the preacher has no business getting into. Why is it that when E.F. Hutton talks about money people listen and the preacher talks about money and folks get mad? It may surprise you if you haven’t considered it or studied it – but God has a lot to say about money and our giving. The fact is the Scripture is consistent in talking about our “stewardship.” Everything we have, we have because of His grace. We are His servants – it belongs to Him, we merely manage it. If that indeed is true, then He can take whatever He wants, whenever He wants. It also means that every spending decision is a spiritual decision. With that in mind we are going to learn some timeless lessons about giving as we explore Luke 21:1-4.
Text: Luke 21:1-4
Luke is nearing the end of his account of Jesus’ life and ministry.
We are in the final days.
Jesus has made his dramatic entrance into the city.
He has cleansed the Temple.
He has been teaching in the Temple – its last, greatest glory.
We’ve witnessed several attempts to trap him.
Traps set by the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and the Herodians.
Jesus has handled them with wisdom, grace and strength.
His critics have been silenced – for the time being.
It is against the backdrop of these intense encounters that our Lord takes a break.
He situates himself across from the treasury and watches as the people come by and drop in their gifts.
I want you to picture this as a miniature drama that plays out before you.
The drama consists of two acts and then I want to add an epilogue.
- Act 1: “An everyday act.” (Luke 21:1)
- Act 2: “A surprising response.” (Luke 21:3-4)
- An Epilogue: some timeless lessons on giving.
What are we to make of this?
What are we to take away from this account?
I think there are at least 3 timeless principles we can take from this passage.
- When it comes to giving to God, motivation makes or breaks the gift.
- When it comes to giving to God, the value of the gift is nothing while the cost of the gift is everything.
- When it comes to giving to God, little becomes much in His hand.
It all comes down to this…
Thesis: Giving that honors God is motivated by love, sacrificial in nature and trusts God with the return.
- Lessons from a Doubting Believer: Selected Psalms (11/4/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 73. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, November 1, 2017.
This Psalm has four stanzas:
- Faith Questioning (v. 1-15)
- Awakened Faith (v. 16-17)
- Faith Rebuilding (v. 18-26)
- Reaffirmation of Faith (27-28)
- Some Thoughts on Reformation Day (10/29/2017)
This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 29, 2017.
Growing up in a Baptist church in the heart of the “Bible Belt” I hadn’t thought much about it. I went to school with, played ball with, ran the neighborhood with kids who were Catholic, Methodist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God and other normal kids - you know, Baptists.
I don’t remember why or where but I remember the first time I saw a form that asked for religious preference and listed was Catholic, Protestant, Jew or other. I remember thinking, “Is that it? Am I other or should I write in Baptist?” Later, in college, I remember coming across the little book by J.M. Carroll, “The Trail of Blood.” Carroll claimed that we Baptist were not Protestants we were part of a heritage that went back to Christ himself and were not tainted by the Catholic church. I kind of liked that idea. It seemed so pure. The more I studied and looked into the matter, I came to the conclusion I’d rather be identified with the Catholics then some of the folks referenced in Carroll’s book! Later in college I came across some writings that were very anti-Catholic. Some written by people I greatly admired and respected for their theological knowledge and insight who spoke of the pope as the antichrist. This sounds serious. I guess I really need to understand what the differences are and why they matter.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In fact it was 500 years ago this coming Tuesday, October 31 that Martin Luther struck the match that ignited the Reformation. The groundwork for the Reformation was laid by the various reform movements of late medieval Christianity, by the increased interest in learning that marked the renaissance, and by the printing press. Europe was ripe for Reformation. All it needed was a spark. That came when Luther, a German monk, nailed his 95 thesis to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. The door was a public bulletin board. The thesis were written in Latin. It was a call for scholarly debate within the church. The 95 thesis were not focused on great doctrinal issues as much as some of the errant practices within the church. Front and center was the selling of “indulgences.” Johann Tetzel was touring Germany at the time, collecting money in return for the promise that the pope would release dead relatives from purgatory. Indulgences are a release from temporary punishments that the Roman Catholic Church said that people receive for sins they commit, sins which were not bad enough to send people to hell. Martin Luther argued that the pope had no such power, and if he did, then he ought to use it—without monetary return and as an act of love—to remit all temporal punishment.
The pope got word of the thesis, he sent a representative to debate Luther in the hopes of silencing this “wild boar loose in the vineyard of Christ.” The hope was to get Luther to deny the authority of the pope thus Luther would be discredited and excommunicated. Luther obliged. The pope sent the paper declaring Luther was a heretic and was excluded from Christ’s church. Luther burned the announcement and the Reformation was on. That is a very condensed version of the story. The whole tale is fascinating, full of intrigue, political wrangling, kidnapping, charges and counter charges and is worth your time in studying.
Frequently the Reformation is described as a movement that revolved around two pivotal issues. The so-called “material” cause was the debate over sola fide (“justification by faith alone”). The “formal” cause, sola Scriptura, that the Bible and the Bible alone has the authority to bind the conscience of the believer. Luther had no desire to start another church - he sought to reform the church from within. From Luther and later Calvin and the other reformers, at issue was the gospel. How are we saved?
Out of the debate came the 5 solas of the Reformation:
- Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone
- Sola gratia - grace alone
- Sola fide - faith alone
- Sola Christo - Christ alone
- Soli Deo gloria - glory of God alone
The Roman Catholic Church taught that the Bible was the Word of God and that the Church was its interpreter. Church tradition, the teaching of the church was thus, in practical terms, on equal par with the Scripture. They also taught that salvation was by grace but not grace alone. This is where the issue of justification comes in.
The Roman Catholic Church taught then and still does today that righteousness is infused - we become righteous through faith and the sacraments of the church. Luther and the reformers taught that righteousness is imputed to us. Abraham believed God and it was counted or credited to him as righteousness. We need an alien righteousness, a righteousness outside of ourselves. The word “justification” in Scripture is a forensic term. We are declared righteous. We are declared justified in the sight of God because of Christ.
You may think this is a matter of theological hair splitting - it is not! Rome understood that and at the council of Trent 1545-1563 declared the teaching heretical and anathematized it - damned it. To this day, according to Rome, we who believe in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone are outside of the Church and believe a damnable doctrine.
What we see in the Reformation is a recovery of the biblical gospel. What Rome sees is the abandonment of the biblical gospel. We believe a different gospel. We can’t both be right. If we are to take Paul seriously in Galatians 1:6-9 this matters!
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The question is not sincerity. It is not simply - really believe what your believe, be genuine in it. What you believe matters. What is your authority? The Word of God or the Church? There are other differences but this is the core, the heart of the matter.
I’m a Baptist by conviction. I’m convinced that as a Baptist I’m a child of the Reformation, I’m a Protestant. I believe Baptist have our roots in English Separatism that grew out of Anglicanism that grew out of Catholicism through the Reformation. The other stream into Baptist life are the Anabaptist or the “Radical Reformers.” They thought the Reformers didn’t go far enough.
I’m convinced by Scripture that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone. And I’m grateful for Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox and their heirs. I’m grateful for the recovery of the biblical gospel and I believe the church must be always reforming in that we are to constantly bring our lives inline with Scripture. Further, I’m convinced that the church, the visible church, the local assembly will always be a mixed people this side of eternity. The tares will grow alongside the wheat. The “perfect church” does not exist. Thus in humility and grace we strive to live godly lives. We strive to order the church according to the Word of God.
What is to be our attitude toward the Church of Rome? How are we to think of our Roman Catholic friends? I think the Church of Rome is a false church because, as a church, it denies the biblical gospel. I believe there are genuine Christians who are members of the Roman Church and they are genuine believers in spite of what their church teaches not because of what their church teaches. By the way, I don’t believe all Baptist are genuine believers. I think there are many false professors in the Baptist church. There will be some Baptists among that crowd saying, “But Lord we did all these things in your name” and He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation we should pray as we do every day, "Lord be merciful to me, the sinner.” We are saved by the grace of God and to him alone belongs the glory.
- A Question of Resurrection: Gospel of Luke #80 (10/29/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 20:27-41. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 29, 2017.
They were relentless in their pursuit. For months they planned and schemed. Now they had him in their midst. They could not let him escape. It is now or never. There was only one problem – they needed a reason to get rid of him! They couldn’t very well go to the authorities and say, “We don’t like him – kill him for us.”
For months they have dogged his trail seeking to find something – anything. They were left with nothing. They could build a case for blasphemy but that would not interest the Romans. They would most likely laugh at such a charge and send them packing. No, they would have to claim some threat to Rome. If they could just cause a disturbance in the city and pin it on him. If they could just get him to say something that could, in any way, be taken as anti-Rome. Nothing. But they were persistent. They were united. And it was an interesting coalition. Hate has an incredible ability to unite. Hatred brought together the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians a most unlikely trio. Each group took their best shot. Each failed.
We are in the final days of the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. Throughout his ministry he has been careful about what he has revealed and when he revealed it. It was obvious, from the beginning, that he was moving according to a predetermined schedule. He moved at his own pace and acted according to his own agenda. Now the time had come to make himself known. Now was the time for the unveiling. There had been glimpses here and there – now the time had come for the full unveiling. Thus he entered Jerusalem in dramatic fashion just days before – openly declaring himself to be the Messiah. He cleansed the Temple and assumed his role as Lord of the Temple. This hardly seems appropriate for a man with a price on his head! Some might goes as far as saying it is foolish. No, it is not foolish; the time for redemption has come. The kingdom of God is now arriving. Our text this morning is found in Luke chapter 20 beginning with verse 27.
Text: Luke 20:27-47
Herbert Lockyer calls it the week that changed the world and that it is. On Sunday the miracle-working rabbi from Galilee rode into town on a donkey declaring himself king. Claiming that he is in fact the long awaited Messiah of the Jews. He entered to shouts of “Hosanna” – “Save Us.” The next morning he caused a major disturbance in the Temple. For the next couple of days he moved about the Temple teaching. His teaching amazed the multitudes and enraged the establishment. By Thursday evening he was gathered with his disciples and at the Passover meal instituted a new memorial meal that would mark the beginning of a new age. Thursday night, late, he was arrested on fabricated charges. Through a series of illegal hearings and trials he was condemned and by Friday morning an angry mob was crying, “Crucify him! Crucify Him!” He was taken just outside the city wall and nailed to a cross where he bled and died. The shout of “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” had barely died down before his lifeless body was placed in a borrowed grave. A lot had happened in six days but it wasn’t over yet. Early Sunday morning – just 1 week after his entrance into the city – his followers arrived at an open grave. They were the first to learn – He has risen! No, it was no ordinary week.
Thesis: Our Lord’s encounter with the Sadducees underscores the certainty and significance of the resurrection.
There are three things I want us to note in the passage that is before us.
- The Question Raised. (20:27-33)
- A Thorough and Authoritative Answer. (20:34-38)
The theological response (34-36)
The exegetical response – 37-38
- Silence! (20:39-40)
Yes, there is an after life. Yes, the dead will be raised. This has been the plan of God all along. Sown corruptible and raised incorruptible. Sown in weakness raised in glory. Raised to be like the angels - immortal, obedient, constantly engage in the worship of God; sons of God (both male and female sons in that both share in the inheritance); sons of the resurrection.
- Christ Our Hope: Selected Psalms (10/29/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 72. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 25, 2017. We are sorry but the last third of this message failed to record.
- Beware!: 2 Peter #3 (10/22/2017)
This is an exposition of 2 Peter 2:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 22, 2017.
How discerning are you when reading or listening to preachers? How careful are you about the Bible teachers you put confidence in?
What criteria do you use when judging? Are there some doctrines more important than others? How “right” does a teacher need to be before you “trust” them? I think these are important questions, questions deserving of your attention. We suffer an embarrassment of riches today when it comes to Bible teaching. Anyone with a computer and access to the internet has access to thousands teachers 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When you add to that the availability of whole libraries and special study tools – the possibilities are without limit. That is both wonderful and frightening. Here is why it is frightening – to a large degree we’ve lost the ability to be discerning. Because we’ve accepted modern notions of truth we are slow to say someone is wrong or that some teaching is heretical. “Oh well I don’t think I agree with you but if it works for you…” seems to be the normal approach when discussing theological differences. We have a very caviler approach to truth and that stands in direct conflict with the attitude of the apostle Peter. Our text this evening is found in 2 Peter chapter 2.
Text: 2 Peter 2:1-22
Peter says there are some things you need to be certain about – at the top of the list should be that you are certain that you are “in the faith.” Be certain you are a Christian. “Be diligent to make your calling and election sure.” He went on to say that you need to make sure you understand that salvation is the work of God, and then you need to search your life for evidence of increasing holiness. Make sure that virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, brotherly affection and love are ever increasing. Not that you are perfect, none of us are or ever will be this side of glory but you are growing. You are not what you used to be.
And don’t beat yourself up over what you are not supposed to be!
A shrub can’t be an oak.
You need to consider growth in your character etc.
Recognize that assurance is not determined merely by experience.
Rather our assurance is based on historical fact and the word of God.
1:19-21 – …we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This emphasis makes perfect sense when you reach chapter 2.
Another thing you can be certain of is the presence of false teachers.
And that has always been the case.
Paul warned the folks at Ephesus to be on guard against false teaching - Acts 20:29-30: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Within 4 years of his founding the church false teachers were leading!
It happened in Galatia – 1:6 – “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…”
Peter is addressing the same concern in this passage.
And he does so in plain, strong and direct language.
Why so strongly worded?
Why such passion?
Because the Gospel is at stake and the souls of men hang in the balance.
This passage serves to remind us that…
Thesis: The integrity of the Gospel demands a sober and watchful church.
We must ever be on our guard against false teaching and false teachers.
I’m not suggesting that our faith is a dead, lifeless, static accumulation of facts. Of course we grow in our knowledge and understanding and at times the church has been wrong on some issues – there are times we adjust our thinking but we must guard and maintain the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.
- Watchfulness demands an awareness of the characteristics of a false teacher. (2:10-22)
Let me point out the two chief characteristics according to Peter.
First, they are Spiritually Confident. (2:10-13)
But also note they are Blatantly Carnal. (2:14-16, 18-22)
Like the recipients of this letter we must learn to detect false teaching. We must be ever on our guard for these two warning signs – false teachers despise the authority of God and his Word, and they live according to their own carnal desires. If you see a teacher who looks like this, you can assume you are looking at a false prophet.
There is one other thing I want us to note before we finish.
- Watchfulness demands we be unmistaken about God’s sure and certain judgment. (2:3-6, 9)
The destruction of these false teachers is as certain as three past acts of judgment. God will judge them just as he judged sinning angels, the ancient world of Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sinning angels – 2:4, Jude 6, Genesis 6:2, Rev 12:7
The Flood – 2:5, Genesis
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – 2:6
Peter says to the church – be certain of your calling and election.
Be certain of the truths I’ve given to you.
Be certain false teachers will come.
Be certain they will be destroyed.
- Watchfulness demands an awareness of the characteristics of a false teacher. (2:10-22)
- Good Answer! Good Answer!: Gospel of Luke #79 (10/22/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 20:20-26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 22, 2017.
I hate being put on the spot. I don’t mind answering questions but I hate the feeling of being on trial. That is the thing I dreaded about my ordination service.
I knew there would be a questioning – a “trial.” I had handled the question and answer time when I came to Masham in view of a call. No problem. That went smoothly. I wasn’t really nervous about that questioning – but ordination was different. I had been around preachers enough, even at that age, to know you can’t trust them! One of them was bound to try and make a name for himself at my expense. “He’s the one that made that Harris kid cry at his ordination.” I just didn’t know who it would be. Would it be the old man who makes it clear at the associational meeting he doesn’t trust anyone born after 1930? Or will it be one of the young guys trying to make a name for himself as a tough-nosed conservative?
It was an uncomfortable feeling as a 25 year-old kid being “examined” by the ordination council. The congregation, family and friends watching as you are put on the hot seat. It is that experience that causes me to have a profound appreciation for what happened to the Lord Jesus during the last days of his earthly life and ministry. On Sunday he entered the city of Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna” – “save us, save us!” The next morning he assumed his role as Lord of the Temple when he drove out the money changers and the animals. He began meeting with the people and teaching in the Temple. The religious establishment was furious and was determined to kill him. They had to find something. Something that could be used to bring him before the Roman authorities. The Jews did not have the power to execute. That remained in the hands of the Romans. So they had to find something that would be sufficient grounds for the Romans to execute. They came up with a plan. And that is were our text begins.
Text: Luke 20:20-26
There is nothing like the power of love to bring folks together except of course the power of hate! The religious establishment hated the Lord Jesus so much they were willing to join forces with anyone who shared their passion. Politics makes strange bedfellows. In their efforts to get rid of the Lord Jesus the Pharisees joined forces with the Herodians. You could not find two groups who had less in common than these two. The Pharisees were the religious right. The Herodians were the political left. The only thing they had in common was that they despised the Lord Jesus. Thus they joined forces to bring him down. Luke records their encounter with our Lord in our text.
As the drama unfolds before us I want us to notice three things.
- An ingenious plan. (20:20-22)
- An amazing reversal. (20:23-26)
- An abiding principle. (20:25)
Thus we are left with an abiding principle:
The child of God owes his respect to the state and his allegiance to God.
Ancient coins were actually understood to be the property of the person whose picture and inscription were on them. By carrying the coin and using it in commerce you reveal an indebtedness to that government or that power. You are obligated to that government. They provide peace and protection. They provide law and other support. You are responsible before God to live in obedience to that authority. Give them their due. It bears Caesar’s image – give Caesar what already belongs to him.
In the same way – you “bear” the image of God. Give to God what is rightfully his. The state is deserving of respect and obedience – God is deserving of your very being!
- The Prayer of a Seasoned Saint: Selected Psalms (10/20/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 71. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 18, 2017.
- Be Certain: 2 Peter #2 (10/15/2017)
This is an exposition of 2 Peter 1:12-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 15, 2017
How important is assurance? We sing, “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, o what a foretaste of glory divine…” But how important is assurance in the Christian life?
By assurance I mean knowledge or certainty of salvation. How important is knowing that you are a Christian? Apparently the apostle Peter thought it was very important. That is the thrust of the opening chapter of his second epistle. 2 Peter chapter 1 is all about assurance. “See to it you make your calling and election sure,” he said to the scattered church. The word translated “sure” in 1:10 means stable, steadfast or certain. He makes it very clear that this matter of assurance is foundational to the Christian life. This is vital in our “decisionistic” culture. It is crucial that we wrestle with the issues of salvation. That we struggle and work through what it means to believe. A hallmark of our Baptist faith is assurance of salvation. But here is the danger – there is such a thing as “false assurance.” I’ve met people who are absolutely sure they are saved. You would never convince them otherwise. They can show you the certificate they got when they were baptized. They remember with vivid detail the service when they “got saved.” But they haven’t set foot in a church in years except to attend a wedding or funeral. They have no interest in spiritual things. They care nothing about the Scripture or joining with the people of God in worship. They have no interest in the church. They do not contribute financially to the church or the work of the Gospel. But they know they are saved – just ask them.
How do you know that your assurance is genuine assurance?
As we saw last time – you start with understanding that salvation is God’s work not yours. It is the work of his grace. Then you make certain your calling and election by wrestling with spiritual matters and looking for evidence of genuine faith and spiritual life within.
Where is the evidence for an increasing holiness?
- Brotherly affection
Now, we can’t put it on a grid. There is no worksheet, but there must be growth. There must be change – when there is no change – there is no life.
This evening we pick up with verse 12 and follow along until the end of the chapter.
In this section we are reminded of a very important truth…
Thesis: Biblical assurance is based not on experience alone but on the sure and certain word given by a holy, righteous and always faithful God.
Notice – experience alone is not the determining factor.
I’m not saying “experience” does not enter the equation.
I am saying it is not the determining factor.
Experience often lies!
Let’s look at three things as we walk through this text.
- Given our human frailty and tendency to judge everything by our emotions or our perspective, we must be reminded again and again of the centrality of the gospel itself. (1:12-15)
- Biblical assurance rests securely in historical fact. (1:16-18)
- Biblical assurance is anchored by the sure and certain word of God. (1:19-21)
- A Question of Authority: Luke #78 (10/15/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 20:1-19. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 15, 2017.
You can’t argue with it. We all know that it is true. We have more information available to us today than ever before.
Information about every subject under the sun. Newspapers, books, magazines, newsletters, special reports, television, radio, the Internet all bringing us “vital information” that we must have. You name it – we probably have a cable channel specifically dedicated to that very subject! This explosion of information has opened a whole new industry – “expert analysts.” Suddenly we are inundated with these so called “leading authorities” on every subject telling us what we ought to be thinking and how we ought to be responding to what’s happening around us. You can’t turn around without running into one of these authorities and their expert analysis. Of course the experts don’t always agree – if fact most of the time they contradict each other. One group produces conclusive scientific evidence that we are the victims of global warming. Another group emerges from a 15-year study in the Antarctic and informs us we are well into another Ice Age! “Well, my authority says this.” “Well, my authority says that.” Back and forth we go with this voice shouting at that voice and that voice contradicting this voice and to borrow a line from William Shakespeare, “They are full of sound and fury signifying nothing!” For all the increase in our knowledge we are, sadly, none the wiser.
In the midst of all the noise and confusion don’t you wish there was a clear and distinct voice? An authority that could really be trusted? One who’s words have the unmistakable ring of authenticity? There is such an authority and he speaks to the deepest needs of life. He deals in truth that relates to meaning and purpose. To life and death issues. Not everyone agrees with him. In fact some violently disagree. But he is endorsed by the Leading Authority.
I want you to see him in action. So come with me to Luke chapter 20 and verse 1.
Text: Luke 20:1-19
It was the week that changed the world, “The Passion Week.” During the Passover season – the time for celebrating God’s deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egyptian bondage – the Lamb of God came to secure the ultimate deliverance. Attitudes toward the Lord Jesus were mixed. He was loved by the multitudes and yet despised by the establishment. One thing was certain, you could not remain neutral about Jesus of Nazareth.
For years the religious establishment sought his death. Hostility mounted with each passing day. Even in the joy and celebration of the Passover the tension was obvious.
The crowd who shouted, “Hosanna,” as he entered the city on Sunday never dreamed of what would happen on Friday. But he knew.
His time had come, the time determined by his Father in eternity past. The time had come for the fulfillment of the promise made to Adam & Eve in the garden, portrayed in the events of the Passover, rehearsed in every sacrifice ever made, sung about by the psalmist and boldly proclaimed by the prophets.
And so he came to the holy city to reveal himself as the Messiah. There was no mistaking the meaning of his entrance on that Sunday. It was no subtle message he declared the next day upon his entrance to the Temple. “I am here. I am the Messiah, the Great King – the Lord of the Temple.”
His actions raised the question of his authority – a question dealt with in our text.
Thesis: The events of Luke 20 unquestionably demonstrate the sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus, an authority that demands a response.
The authority of the Lord Jesus is demonstrated three ways in our text.
- The authority of Jesus is reflected in the fact that he cannot be intimidated. (20:1-8)
- The authority of Jesus is made manifest in his stern rebuke of the religious establishment. (20:9-16)
- The authority of the Lord Jesus is solidly based on his role in redemption. (20:17-20)
Where does he get his authority?
On the basis of who he is and what he has accomplished.
And that authority is reflected by the fact he cannot be intimidated and his rebuke of those who are supposedly in authority.
So, what is your response to this Jesus?
Will you fall on him in brokenness and humility and experience peace and blessing?
Or will he fall on you in crushing judgment?
Eternity hangs in the balance.
- Be Certain You’re In: 2 Peter #1 (10/14/2017)
This is an exposition of 2 Peter 1:1-11. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 8, 2017.
I’m not sure what all has led up to it but I’ve been overwhelmed lately with the fact that I’m aging. I guess it was that notice an email recently announcing my 35th class reunion from OBU! With that came the realization that as of this next spring I’ve been out of high school 40 years. Natalie Narrin asked me not long ago about a certain church in Shawnee. I said, “Natalie I don’t know, I lived in Shawnee about 1000 years ago.”
That’s the other thing, I’ve turned into one of those “cranky old men.” I’ve even found myself, on occasion saying, “Well in my day…” It’s official get me my walker and my bottle of Metamucil.
But really, things have change through the years. For instance have you noticed we are no longer certain about what we used to be certain of and yet we are confident of what we used to be unsure of? People used to wrestle with the question of God’s acceptance. “Would God accept me? With my sin and my track record? What does the Bible say about God’s love for sinners?” Now, when you ask someone if they are a sinner they will laugh and say, “Yeah, but hey nobody’s perfect.” Today, it never enters their mind that they would not be accepted by God. That’s His job. He is supposed to forgive and forget.
In academics today we debate whether or not we can “know” anything. We are not sure that truth even exists. The same attitudes have even found their way into the church. We don’t want to be dogmatic because after all, can we really know anything? Some are even questioning God’s ability to know things. God doesn’t know the future. He can’t – the future hasn’t happened. He can predict, He is very smart but He cannot possibly know what’s going to happen because it hasn’t happened. We live in a different world. To get our bearings we need to return to the Scripture and allow God’s sure and certain Word guide us. Our text this evening is found in the opening verses of 2 Peter.
Text: 2 Peter 1:1-11
We are going to spend a few weeks walking through Peter’s second letter to the believers of Asia Minor. Written by the apostle Peter, probably from Rome sometime between A.D. 64 and 66. It is just three chapters long and if you wanted to outline it in three big chunks it could be Holiness, Heresy and Hope. Chapter one calls for the cultivation of a genuinely Christian character. Chapter two condemns false teachers. And chapter three expresses confidence in the return of the Lord.
This evening I want to us to consider the first 11 verses of chapter 1.
In this passage the apostle calls on every believer to make his calling and election sure.
From this we learn that:
Thesis: It is foundational to the Christian life for every child of God to wrestle with the question of salvation and come to the settled conviction that you are, in fact, in the faith.
The key to this section of 2 Peter is found in verse 10: …Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
Peter is saying the same thing Paul said when he wrote, “Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:2)
Make sure you are a Christian.
Give careful attention as to whether or not you are in the faith.
Now that sounds so strange to us.
We are children of a “decisionistic” faith.
You walk an aisle.
You say a prayer.
You shake a hand.
There is a pronouncement.
It is a done deal.
But the truth is you can do all of that plus be baptized by immersion, attend services faithfully, give to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong and still be lost as a goose! Why do you suppose that there are 17 million Southern Baptist and we can only find about half of them? The truth is that group missing in action is inching towards 2/3.
Now, stay with me and hear what I’m saying.
My desire is not to create doubt.
My desire is to lead toward assurance.
But here is the thing – I can’t give anyone assurance.
Only God can grant assurance.
I know a lot of Southern Baptist preachers who think they are Roman Catholic priests. For they love to absolved people. They love to pronounce salvation. I’ve come to understand I can’t do that. But while I can’t – God can and does! And when he does – it sticks. When I used to do it – it wore off.
How do we find assurance?
Understand this is not an easy thing and there are no shortcuts.
Notice the wording of verse 10: Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure…
Diligent = labor earnestly, strive
I want to share three (3) things with you from this text.
- Assurance begins with understanding that salvation is the gracious work of God. (1:1-4)
- Assurance is bolstered by the presence of Christ-like virtues. (1:5-7)
- Assurance is confirmed by a fruitful, godly life. (1:8-11)
1:9 - those who do not have these qualities - nearsighted or blind
May indicate they are lost.
Is it possible to be saved and fall into great sin and be ineffective and unfruitful? Yes.
But such a person cannot be given assurance.
Thus the call of verses 10 and 11.
Therefore it is foundational to the Christian life for every child of God to wrestle with the question of salvation and come to a settled conviction that you are, in fact, in the faith.
- Seeker Sensitive? How About God Sensitive?: Luke #77 (10/9/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 19:45-48. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 8, 2017.
Have you ever gone to church and been disappointed in what you experienced? I mean that church was less than what you hoped it would be or less than what you needed? Let’s take it a step further. You weren’t disappointed, you were angry! You were fed up. You had had it! Well, you’re not alone.
This morning we are going to see what happened one morning when the Lord Jesus went to “church.” What happened that morning may surprise you. In fact it may shock you! But there is a valuable lesson to be learned from what happened that morning in the Temple at Jerusalem. Our text is found at the end of Luke chapter 19.
Text: Luke 19:45-48
We are dealing with the events of the last week in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus.
The Passion Week, the week that Herbert Lockyer described as, “the week that changed the world.” Luke is nearing the end of his labor of love. He set out to write to a dear friend to set the record straight regarding Jesus’ life & work. His purpose was evangelistic – his aim was the heart and not just the head. He hoped his friend, and all who would read his account, would trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation.
Luke has been careful to show that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world. Throughout Luke’s account we’ve seen the crowds hanging on Jesus’ every word and the religious establishment bent on destroying him. The early rumblings have now gathered into a raging storm. Last time we looked at an extraordinary event. During the Passover season, at a time when the Roman authorities where already on edge. When the religious establishment was expecting some kind of move on Jesus’ part or that of his followers Jesus seemingly played right into their hands.
With his bold, public entrance into Jerusalem he was declaring to all the world, “I am the Messiah. I am the Great King!” The result was pandemonium. People singing, shouting, dancing and celebrating. One thing is certain everyone knew he was in town! If that entrance was any indication this was going to be an interesting Passover. If you needed further proof you didn’t have to wait long because early the next morning Jesus made his way to the Temple.
The Passover season was the busiest season of the year. Passover was one of the three mandatory feast. People from all over the world would gather in Jerusalem for the celebration of God’s deliverance of his people. It is estimated that the population of Jerusalem swelled to over 2.5 million during the Passover celebration. During that time, the Temple was the center of activity. As Jesus approached the Temple that morning righteous anger began to consume him. As he walked into the Temple instead of the quiet reverence of prayer he found the noise and confusion of a busy market along with the stench of a feed lot and all of this in the Temple!
As we consider what Jesus did and why we discover that:
Thesis: Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple reveals both the passion and the purpose of His life and ministry.
A careful reading of Scripture reveals this is not the first time Jesus is angered by this activity in the Temple. John 2 informs us that Jesus cleansed the Temple at the beginning of his ministry as well. It is important to see this event as a further revelation of who he is and what he has come to do. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we have noted a keen awareness of timing. Jesus instructed some of those healed to tell no one for his time had not come. When angry mobs tried to harm him they were unable, for his time had not come. Now, his time had come. Now was the time for the Father’s plan to reach its climax and the table is set by this bold, sweeping display of Jesus’ power, position and authority.
What we have in the text before us is nothing short of the coming of the Lord to his Temple describe in Malachi 3:1 - Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
The Sovereign has come demonstrating that he is Lord of the Temple. As the story unfolds I want us to note three things.
- A violent act. (19:45)
- A stunning rebuke. (19:46)
- A mixed review. (19:47-48)
Jesus the Messiah and our Savior, is everything the temple with its gorgeous imagery and ascending sacrifices ever was or signified.
He is the presence of God.
He is the only access to God.
He is the atoning sacrifice.
He is our mediator.
His cleansing of the temple reveals both the passion and the purpose of his life and ministry. He was consumed with a passion for the glory of God and he came to seek and save the lost.
- Quickly, Lord!: Selected Psalms (10/4/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 70. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 4th, 2017.
Timing is everything:
- The Righteous prayerfully seek God's intervention in times of trouble (vs. 1-4).
- The Righteous base their hope on their own weakness and God's great provision (v. 5).
- Thriving in a Hostile Enviornment: 1 Peter #16 (10/1/2017)
This is an exposition of 1 Peter 5:5-11. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening October 1, 2017.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or hiding in a cave somewhere far from civilization you are aware that we are a very divided country. Perhaps not as divided as some in the media and various special interest groups would have us believe but we are divided. Go back, not that long ago, and most Americans looked at the world from a shared perspective.
I’m not saying we have always been united about everything but we had shared values, we held to the same basic understanding of the world and they way things were. Sure we came from different nations and different backgrounds but America was the great melting pot where we blended and we were un-hyphenated. That is no longer the case. The melting pot has been replaced by the salad bowl. We now retain our individual tastes and distinctives. That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Diversity can be a wonderful and beautiful thing. It does mean however that there are multiple worldviews. There are varied belief systems. Add to this the cultural shift away from faith-based to an increasingly secular world and you the makings of a world far different from the one most of us grew up in. Different is not necessarily a problem except that different in this case also means hostile.
If you look up “hostile” in a dictionary here is what you find:
- of, relating to, or characteristic of an enemy
- opposed in feeling, action, or character; antagonistic:
- characterized by antagonism.
- not friendly, warm, or generous; not hospitable.
An honest assessment of today’s culture would have to admit that is an accurate description of society’s general attitude toward traditional, orthodox Christian faith. To stand today for biblical truth of topics such as the sexual revolution (including all of the related LGBTQ issues), marriage, family, salvation and a host of others is to be labeled bigoted, hateful and dangerous. It seems we are the problem. We are divisive. We must be silenced.
How are we to respond? First, don’t be so surprised! The apostle Peter told marginalized believers 2 millennia ago, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
Don’t be surprised and don’t play the victim. This is not a time to go sulk in the corner and whine because “they don’t like us.” Rather we are called to boldly live out our faith. We are called to love our enemies, love our neighbors, preach the gospel and build up the body of Christ until He comes to take us home!
Persecution drove the church out of the land of its birth to the corners of the known world. Rather than put out the fire, persecution fanned the flame and spread it far and wide. Within 3 centuries Rome was gone but the church marched on. Here we are 2000 years later and despite what you might think - the church is still thriving. Our Lord meant what He said when He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Thesis: The goal of the Christian life is not merely to survive this sin-cursed world while we long for heavenly glory but to thrive in our faith as we confidently march on to victory.
This is not wishful thinking. This is not “pie in the sky” optimism this is biblical faith. Read the book - we know how this is going to end! Our text this evening is found in the 5th chapter of 1 Peter.
Text: 1 Peter 5:5-11
Peter is writing to those saints who have been scattered.
He writes to remind them their great salvation.
In the face of hardship, trial and heartache he reminded them of great doctrinal truths.
He reminded them that fiery trials are inevitable in this fallen world.
Yes, this world is opposed to Christ and His kingdom so be prepared.
Live for Christ, bring glory to His name.
Grow in your faith.
Chapter 5 begins with that all important word…“so” or “therefore.”
Chapter 5 is about how to live in this hostile environment.
I want to focus this evening on three demands for thriving in a hostile environment.
- Thriving in a hostile environment demands a life of humble submission and confident faith. (5:5-7)
- Thriving in a hostile environment demands a life of careful vigilance and active resistance. (5:8-9)
- Thriving in a hostile environment demands a life of enduring hope. (5:10-11)
But here is the point - after you have suffered for a little while - suffering will end.
Suffering will not last forever but glory will!
After you have suffered…God himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Suffering last the night but joy comes in the morning.
These light, momentary afflictions do not even begin to compare withe the glory that awaits us.
Child of God be encouraged. Live a life of enduring hope because He that began the good work in you will, himself bring it to completion.
- I Love a Parade: Luke #76 (10/1/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 19:28-44. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 1, 2017.
“It just didn’t make sense. It was not in keeping with what had been going on for the past three years. And it was dangerous. This was a time for laying low. This was a time to play it safe. Why take the risk? Why now? You know they are going to be looking for something like this. It’s suicide.”
That must have been the confused reasoning of the disciples as our Lord made his approach to Jerusalem on the first day of that infamous week.
Weeks before, he had “set his face as a flint for Jerusalem.” He resolutely determined to go there. Nothing could stop him – nothing would stand in his way. The time had come. That time established, by the Father, in eternity past, had now come. God’s eternal plan of redemption was now reaching its climax. For weeks Jesus has been preparing his disciples by focusing on the Kingdom. He has talked about its requirements – you must have the faith of a child, a simple, dependent faith. You must be willing to lose everything in order to obtain it. Jesus taught them that such a thing is impossible with man but possible with God. He taught them to look up for the Kingdom of God was near. That they would see it come and yet it is still coming. The Kingdom is here now and coming later. He’s taught them about living in the “not yet” of the Kingdom. History’s greatest drama is about to be played out as the Sovereign Creator of the universe mounts a donkey colt and makes his way toward Jerusalem. Our text this morning is found in Luke chapter 19.
Text: Luke 19:28-44
Luke, the careful historian, has crafted his story to reveal Jesus as the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world. His desire is that those who hear his Gospel might come to place their faith and trust in Jesus and Jesus alone for salvation. Throughout his Gospel he has made it clear that the people responded favorably toward Jesus while the establishment despised him. Nowhere is that any clearer than in this passage.
Remember the context. Hostility has been mounting for years by this time. The more popular Jesus became with the crowd – the more threatened the establishment felt. He had to be silenced. They had to get rid of him – but how? Numerous meetings have been held. Various plots had been developed but none of them seemed to get off the ground. If only they could get him to come to Jerusalem. If they could just have him on their home turf. A few weeks earlier they tried to get him to come to Jerusalem (Luke 13:31). It didn’t work.
That’s why it didn’t make sense to his followers. Why go to Jerusalem? Why now? He would be playing right into the hands of his enemies. And it appears as if he did. Albert Schweitzer the 19th century theologian described the Passion Week in terms of the Lord Jesus being “crushed in the wheels of history.” What Schweitzer failed to realize was that it was the Lord Jesus, himself, who was turning the wheel! To Schweitzer the death of the Lord Jesus was the tragic end of a noble man who died before completing his great work. The fact is that his death was his great work!
As we explore this incredible story we will discover that:
Thesis: Luke’s account of the Triumphal Entry dramatically reveals the ultimate significance of Jesus’ life and ministry.
There are three things I want us to note in our text.
- A surprising revelation. (19:28-36)
- A prophetic celebration. (19:37-40)
- A shocking declaration. (19:41-44)
I don’t believe it is possible to overestimate the significance of what happened that day in Jerusalem. The Triumphal Entry dramatically revealed the ultimate significance of Jesus’ life and ministry.
He is reveled as the Great Servant King.
He is seen as the Great Priest reconciling the world to God.
He is seen as the Great Prophet lamenting the coming judgment.
Behold the Lord Jesus – Prophet, Priest and King.
- Righteously Responding to Tribulation: Selected Psalms (9/29/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 69. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 27, 2017.
- The righteous seek God's strength in times of trouble.
- The righteous freely acknowledge their sin and failure.
- The righteous bare shame for doing right.
- The righteous trust themselves to God.
- The righteous commit their enemies to God
- The righteous praise God in the midst of trial.
- Meditations for the Lord’s Table: “The Garden” (9/24/2017)
This is an exposition of Matthew 26:36-46. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 24, 2017.
There are many things about the Passion of our Lord that are difficult to look at. The scene of his being mock, spit upon and struck repeatedly in the face; the thought of the scourging and his back ripped to pieces. Finally his being nailed to the cross and publicly exposed to humility and shame.
It is unthinkable that the eternal Lord of glory should endure such pain and humiliation and for what purpose? To redeem sinful, fallen wicked folks like you and me. But in my own mind there is a more terrifying scene. A scene that unnerves me. It is that scene of our Lord laying prostrate on the ground in a pool of blood crying, “Father if at all possible, let this cup pass from me.”
On the night before our Lord’s greatest triumph, at the threshold of history’s pivotal moment, that moment anticipated by our Lord for all eternity, fear grip his heart. This Jesus who with such command and authority silenced the storm and calmed the sea. This Jesus who, with a word, caused demons to flee. This Jesus who, by his touch, opened the eyes of the blind, comforted the afflicted and even raise the dead. This Jesus who repeatedly silenced his critics with his profound wisdom, who consistently amazed the multitudes with his authority – this Jesus now cried out in terror from a lonely spot in the garden of Gethsemane. Our text this morning is found in the 26th chapter of Matthew.
Text: Matthew 26:36-46
It has been quite an evening. Our Lord met with his disciples in an upper room to celebrate the Passover. As they gathered our Lord assumed the role of servant and washed the feet of his disciples. During the supper he introduced a new memorial meal, one that would look back to the cross. “This is my body given for you. This is my blood poured out for you.” He spoke of betrayal, denial, death and resurrection. After singing a hymn they went out into the night. They walked the familiar path to the Garden of Gethsemane. As they approached the Garden our Lord became strangely silent. As they crossed they Kidron brook he had a strange look in his eye as he stared down at the water now red with the blood of the Passover lambs. Upon reaching the Garden he told his disciples to watch and pray. Taking Peter, James and John a bit further he went on beyond them and threw himself on the ground. Such agony. Such pain. Everything in me wants to look away from this scene. But to do so would be to miss a precious and wonderful revelation.
Thesis: Our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane reveals the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.
This is the heart of Christian worship. Christian worship, I don’t want to lose you on this, is about Christ! It is about the beauty of his character, and the glory of his work on the cross.
Three things are revealed to us in this experience. Three truths that call us to worship and adore our Savior.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the tender compassion of the Savior for his own.
- Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.
Our Lord’s experience in the Garden is a powerful revelation of the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.
It reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
It reveals the tender compassion of the Savior toward his own.
It reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.
This is the One we love.
This is what he has done for us.
This is the essence of the Gospel.
- Kingdom Investment: Luke #75 (9/24/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 19:11-27. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 24, 2017.
They had waited so long. Generation after generation, for thousands of years, had anticipated the arrival of the great King. For centuries they had been dominated by foreign powers. Myths, legends and songs had grown up around the mysterious figure of the Messiah.
No doubt when he came the yoke of bondage would be broken. The people of God would take center stage and the whole world would acknowledge the greatness of Israel’s God. The crowd was ecstatic. Jesus was “the Son of David” thus he could reestablish David’s throne. He was calling himself “the Son of Man,” that awesome, divine being of Daniel chapter 7. They saw him open the eyes of the blind. Unstop the ears of the deaf, loose the tongues of the dumb and even raise the dead! Messianic expectation had reached a fevered pitch among his followers. Jerusalem was only seventeen miles away, and the Passover was at hand, the setting was perfect for the arrival of the kingdom of God.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, told them a parable reminding them once again that the kingdom of God is here now and coming later. This is a common theme in Luke’s account – “the Kingdom Now and Not Yet.” We are about to enter the events in the last week of the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus has just opened the eyes of a blind beggar and brought salvation to the home of a reprobate tax collector. He’s on his way to Jerusalem for a divine appointment. The battle of the ages is about to be waged on a rocky hillside just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Yes, the kingdom is being ushered in but the kingdom in its ultimate fulfillment is in the distant future. It is here now and not yet.
Text: Luke 19:11-27
Luke’s purpose is that his readers might come to see Jesus as he really is - the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world. That seeing who he really is - they might put their faith and trust in him. Thus his purpose is evangelistic. It is a proclamation of the “evangel” the gospel. This is what Jesus is about to accomplished on our behalf. Yes, he came to bring a kingdom but first he must establish that kingdom through his death, burial and resurrection.
Throughout the latter half of Luke’s Gospel Jesus has talked more and more about the kingdom. He has talked about the qualifications for entering the kingdom. He has talked about the necessity of childlike faith as a condition for entering the kingdom.
Now in our text the unfolding of the kingdom of God takes a surprising turn.
From this parable we discover that…
Thesis: Life in the “not yet” of the kingdom demands that believers actively engage in the task assigned living out the gospel graciously granted to them by their great king.
This parable must be put in context. Luke’s focus in the last few chapters has been on the kingdom. Our Lord’s earthly life and ministry is coming to a close. He is about to enter Jerusalem for the last time. The significance of that was laid out in chapter 18:31-34.
The immediate context is found in 19:11. Our Lord, because they were convinced that the kingdom of God was going to immediately appear, and because he knew that they had a mistaken idea of what the kingdom was all about, told the parable recorded in our text.
A careful study of the parable reveals an entrusted treasure, a definite reckoning and a rude awakening.
- An entrusted treasure. (19:11-13)
- There is coming a definite reckoning. (19:15-26)
- A rude awakening. (19:14,27)
The Lord Jesus will one day return. When he does those who have invested well will receive great reward. Those who have not invest will experience great shame. Those who have rejected him will receive death.
We are at the final hour. He is coming. How are your investments?
- A Missionary Psalm: Selected Psalms (9/20/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 67. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 20, 2017.
Why are we so passionate about missions? We desire to display the glory of our God to the world. In this message we are going to take a look at a great missionary text from the Old Testament. Psalm 67 shows us the undeniable link between worship and missions. There are three stanzas to this short Psalm:
- The people of God seek his blessing in order to bless the peoples of the earth (vs. 1-2).
- The people of God long to see others come to a saving knowledge of Christ (vs. 3-5).
How do the lost come to Christ?
a. by seeing the power of God in His people.
b. in God's Word working in the lives of His people.
- The people of God desire God's glory above all else.
- Shepherding the Flock of God: 1 Peter #15 (9/17/2017)
This is an exposition of 1 Peter 5:1-5. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 17, 2017.
It is something of an acquired taste. But is a favorite of many. Most often it is served up on Sunday afternoons but it’s a treat anytime. Roast preacher. It’s a particular favorite on those rare occasions of a preacher going overtime with his sermon. Churchgoers have enjoyed healthy helpings of roast preacher for a long time now.
Spurgeon wrote about it over a century ago: “Dinner is over. Bring the walnuts, and let us crack the reputations of a preacher or two. It is a pious exercise for the Sabbath.” I’m not upset about that, for after all, I’ve been known to partake of it myself on occasion. Besides, you ought to hear what preachers say about church members. I was setting in a meeting of preachers a few years ago and we were discussing church life and ministry in general. I heard a pastor make a comment that broke my heart. He said, “I grew up in churches that hated their pastor and with pastors that hated their churches.” My heart sank when I heard that. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and yet I knew those words were too often true.
One of the fastest growing movements within Christendom today is a movement aimed at ministering to people who have been abused by churches and church leaders. Websites are dedicated to healing “wounded sheep.” Good people whose lives have been wrecked by church leaders who thought the biblical model was to rule with an iron fist. At the same time record numbers of pastors and staff are fired every year. The vast majority of seminary graduates today will be completely out of the ministry within ten years. Certainly some of them need to leave the ministry. Some where not qualified to serve having been called by someone other than the Sovereign Lord of the church. But others were the victims of a hostile takeover. Some were run out of town for refusing to “play ball” with influential members of the church or community. My purpose this evening is not to point fingers or to choose sides. As far as I’m concerned there is plenty of blame to go around.
My concern has to do with the fact that there is a great work to be done. We have been called by God to take the glorious Gospel of Christ to a dying world. We have been called to declare and to live the truth of the Gospel in a hostile environment. As aliens and strangers in a foreign land we need each other if we are to accomplish the task. If our message is to have any validity – we must be able to demonstrate the truth of its power through our love and devotion to Christ and to one another. Beloved, we are co-laborers together. We are called to walk arm in arm - to work shoulder to shoulder for the sake of the kingdom of God.
What is to mark or characterize our ministry? How are we to work together? For some answers we turn to 1 Peter chapter 5.
Text: 1 Peter 5:1-6
Peter is writing to the scattered church.
Those victims of intense persecution.
He has reminded them of the glorious truths of their salvation.
In the face of hardship, trial and heartache he reminded them of great doctrinal truths.
In the immediate context he said, “Don’t be surprised when life stinks.”
That of course is my paraphrase!
Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
Fiery trials are inevitable in this fallen world.
The world system is opposed to Christ & His kingdom – therefore life will often be hard.
Don’t be socked or caught off guard – be prepared.
See in it the opportunity to glorify God and to mature in your faith.
There is a very important word at the beginning of chapter 5 – ESV – “So…”
NASB – “Therefore…”
In light of the fact that you’ve entrusted yourselves to God in the midst of suffering…
“I exhort the elders among you…”
The ministry Peter describes is ministry conducted in a hostile environment. It is ministry in light of the fact we need one another to survive. It is ministry conducted by those who are a “holy nation” and a “royal priesthood.” Fundamentally we are all sheep. On one level we are all equal in the sight of God – sheep dependent upon Him for our very existence. On another level we are all priest before God – responsible and accountable to God. On yet another level God has established order within the church and there are those who have, by God’s grace, been placed into positions of leadership. Peter gives us some insight in this passage concerning how all that comes together.
As we explore this text I think we’ll find that:
Thesis: Authentic ministry in the midst of an alien environment demands pastor and people understand God’s pattern for ministry and purpose in their hearts to live lives of genuine humility.
There are two (2) things I want to point out from our text.
- I want you to notice first, God’s pattern for ministry. (5:1-4)
Peter then proceeds to tell these pastors how they are to exercise oversight.
Their ministry is to be driven by devotion rather than duty – 5:2b
“Not under compulsion but willingly…”
Their ministry is to be motivated by delight rather than personal profit – 5:2b
“Not for shameful gain, but eagerly…” - love your workTheir ministry is to be accomplished by character rather than command – 5:3
“Not domineering over those in your charge but rather being examples to the flock…”
This is God’s pattern for ministry – not a CEO but a loving shepherd. Not a professional, but a servant. A servant whose ministry is characterized by devotion, delight and character.
- Now let’s consider – the need for humble submission. (5:5-6)
What do we “do” with all this?
Powerful, authentic ministry in our hostile culture is going to demand our best. Together we must seek to follow the biblical pattern. We’ve both got our work cut out for us. I have no desire to be your CEO. I do long to shepherd you, laying before you as faithfully as I can to the truth of God’s Word. Doing my best to model for you the Christian life. Seeking to curb my arrogance and my pride. As you have seen this evening God’s pattern for ministry – pray for your pastor. I can tell you he needs it!
- I want you to notice first, God’s pattern for ministry. (5:1-4)
- Of Camels and Needle Eyes: Luke #74 (9/17/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 19:1-10. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 17, 2017.
“Shocking. Just shocking.” “Why I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t been there and seen it and heard it myself – I never would have believed it. The nerve!” “Well, something is going to have to be done. This cannot go on. He’s gone too far.” That was the talk around town the night of the big scandal.
Now he had irritated them before. But this was just the final straw. They were enraged. Even the people of the city were shocked at this display. It was so public. So blatant. Even his supporters were scratching their heads over this one. Imagine, making himself at home in the house of that lying, thieving Zacchaeus. That was the reaction of the crowd in Jericho the day the Savior met the tax collector. The story is found in the 19th chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
Text: Luke 19:1-10
Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, builds a compelling case to prove that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world. He has demonstrated his wisdom, power and compassion. For no man ever taught like this man. No man ever performed the kinds of miracles this man performed. And yet Luke is careful to give insight into the love and compassion of the Savior. This is another of those insights.
Zacchaeus was a despised man. We are told that he was the chief tax collector.
There were three tax regions in Palestine: Capernaum, Caesarea and Jericho. Jericho was a wealthiest tax region due to the major trade routes that came through. Jericho was at the heart and center of a vast trade network. Jericho was famous for the balm derived from the balsam tree. A balm noted for its fragrance and its healing qualities. All of this combined for a lucrative tax business. Zacchaeus was the kingpin of a large tax cartel. He no doubt had the scruples of a modern-day crack dealer. This hardly seems like a candidate for the loving touch of God. No wonder he was despised. But this hated and despised reprobate is about to be transformed as salvation comes to his house.
This story serves as a contrast to the preceding story.
At the end of chapter 18 a blind beggar is transformed by the Savior.
Now a rich and powerful official is transformed by the touch of this same Savior.
Set this story in its context – Luke 18:24-27 how hard it is for the rich to be saved.
Like a camel going through the eye of a needle.
What is happening here in Luke 19?
A camel is about to pass through the needle’s eye!
The impossible is about to become the possible.
Thesis: The story of Zacchaeus provides us with marvelous insight into the nature of our great salvation.
There are three things I want us to note about Zacchaeus and his encounter with the Savior that shed light on our salvation.
- Salvation is marked by a radical transformation of a person’s essential nature. (Luke 19:8)
- Salvation redirects a person’s passion and interest. (Luke 19:8)
- Salvation begins with God. (Luke 19:9-10)
God orchestrated their meeting that day on the road through Jericho.
Is God seeking you?
If so you will know it by the unease you are feeling. Nothing satisfies. You’re never really comfortable. You lack wholeness. You lack a clear conscience. You lack peace. Christ is seeking you – he is calling you to come down.
- A God Worthy of Praise: Selected Psalms (9/13/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 66. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 13, 2017.
Q: What is the chief end of man? A: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Greatness must be praised. Worship is the response of who God is. That is why we are a singing people.
This Psalm has two movements:
- From the great, big picture to the individual.
- From declaring praises to calling on others to do likewise.
This Psalm has three stanzas:
- "Come and see"– Our God is worthy of the praise of the entire world (vs. 1-7).
- Our God is worthy of the praise of his people (vs. 8-12).
- Our God is worthy of your praise (vs. 13-20).
- A Bible Study on the Humanity and Impeccability of Christ (9/13/2017)
This message by guest preacher Jesse Johnson was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 10, 2017.
- Blind Sight: Luke #73 (9/10/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 18:31-43. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 10, 2017.
It was a day like any other. He got up before dawn, as was his custom. It takes him a little longer to get moving these days – he’s not as young as he used to be. Sleeping on the sidewalk is difficult for a man his age. Wrapping his dirty, greasy robe around himself and running his fingers through his matted hair he picks up his cane and starts tapping his way down the familiar streets on his way to the city gate. He’s well known in Jericho.
Oh, they don’t know his name they just know he’s the blind beggar that sets at the North gate of the city. Along the way he begs a few pieces of bread from a couple of venders. The city is beginning to wake up. The sound of donkey hooves striking the stones, of carts moving along streets. The sounds of various street venders setting up shop. It’s Passover season – so today maybe a good day for a beggar. There will be large crowds passing through on their way to Jerusalem.
When he reaches the gate he settles into his normal spot. He knows the routine. It’s a day just like the hundreds of days that preceded it. Little did he know that it was not just another day. Today he would meet a man who would dramatically and eternally alter his life. His story is found in the 18th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
Text: Luke 18:31-43
The storm clouds are swirling.
Murderous plots are being hatched in Jerusalem.
Jesus is more determined than ever.
The disciples feel the intensity but still do not understand.
History’s pivotal moment is here.
Redemption is nigh.
The door to the Kingdom is about to open.
Our Lord pulled the twelve aside and talked to them about what was about to unfold (31-34). He has been discussing these things for months now. As the time approaches he gets very specific. Note the details. “Everything written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The apostles are stunned and confused. Luke says they did not understand any of this. What’s not to understand?
The problem is that their system had no room for a suffering and dying Messiah! How is the Son of God – the Messiah – spit upon, flogged and killed? They just could not accept it. For the last three and a half years they have walked with him. They have set at his feet. They have seen his miracles. They themselves did miracles in his name. Yet they did not see.
As we explore his story we learn a valuable spiritual lesson.
Thesis: The heart of the Savior graciously responds to the desperate cry of the needy.
What is Luke’s purpose in writing?
Luke wanted his friend to understand who Jesus was and to believe/trust in him.
He wants Theophilus to understand Jesus is the holy one of God and the gentle, loving savior.
There are three things I want us to note in this text.
- Genuine faith is born out of desperation. (18:35-37)
- Genuine faith refuses to be silenced. (18:38-39)
- Genuine faith touches the heart of the Savior. (18:40-42)
This is the heart of the Savior responding to the heartfelt cry of the hurting.
This is the heart of the Gospel.
This man was not deserving of this great miracle.
He had no right to expect or demand anything from the master.
He cried out for mercy and his faith touched the heart of the Savior.
Regardless of what you stand in need of this morning – I want to encourage you to call out to the Savior. Call in faith, believing, trusting in the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus. Call out in faith – confident that the Savior can be trusted to do what is right and good and perfect. Trust in Him for the Heart of the Savior graciously responds to the desperate cry of the needy.
- Peace in the Storm: Selected Psalms (9/6/2017)
"Peace in the Storm" from Selected Psalms.This is an exposition of Psalm 64. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, September 6, 2017.
- Poor Little Rich Man: Luke #72 (9/3/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 18:18-30. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 3, 2017.
It is a difficult sight. It is hard to watch regardless of the circumstances. No one likes to witness it. Only the most perverted wants to see another human being’s spirit crushed. He was young, promising, the kind of young man who had the world by the tail. He wasn’t arrogant – on the contrary he was humble.
Unlike so many of his contemporaries he exhibited genuine compassion and great concern for those around him. He is the kind of guy everyone wanted to see succeed. That’s what made it so difficult to watch. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to; you could see it in his eyes. Those dark, penetrating eyes said it all. That face that seconds before was bright with excitement now revealed the pain and sorrow of his heart. He didn’t say a word. He simply turned and walked away. A deafening silence fell across the crowd. And the Master declared, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Our text this morning is found in the 18th chapter of Luke’s Gospel beginning with the 18th verse.
Text: Luke 18:18-30
The cross is within sight.
Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon as the hostility mounts.
In a matter of days an angry mob will be shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
History’s pivotal moment is about to arrive.
Galilee’s rebel rousing rabbi and his “blue collar” disciples are making their way toward Jerusalem.
This is a moment of high drama.
The focus of the Lord Jesus in these last days, before the cross, is the Kingdom of God.
The fact that it is a present reality and a future hope.
He has talked about life in the “not yet” of the Kingdom.
As we live in the “not yet” we are to live lives of confident, persistent prayer.
He has made it clear that a man is made right with God by throwing himself on the mercy of God.
A man is justified in the eyes of God when he cries out from the depth of his being, “God, have mercy on me the sinner.”
As he held those infants in his arms he said to those gathered, “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” You either enter the kingdom of God as a helpless dependent or you do not enter it at all.
That great truth is amplified by what happened next.
What follows is Luke’s account of the “Rich Young Ruler.”
This is an encounter that is found in all the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Matthew lets us know he was young.
Luke informs us that he was a ruler.
All three make it plain that he was rich.
I’m convinced that a careful reading of the text serves to remind us that:
Thesis: Receiving eternal life demands that you abandon self-effort and confidently trust in Christ.
There are two things I want us to note as we explore this passage.
- Receiving eternal life demands an honest acknowledgement of your helpless state. (18:23)
- Receiving eternal life demands absolute confidence in Christ and Christ alone. (18:24-30)
The point is everyone’s salvation is a miracle.
Hebrews 7 makes it clear:
7:25 - Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
7:27 - He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Complete, absolute, total, eternal salvation is ours because of the miraculous work of Christ and Christ alone.
10:27 = salvation is the work of God and not a work of man.
- Portrait of a Worshipful Heart: Selected Psalms (8/30/2017)
This is an exposition of Psalm 63. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, August 30, 2017.
From the passage we find four marks of a worshipful heart:
- A passionate dsire to know God's presence. vs. 1-2
- Praise to God for his abundant grace. vs.3-5
- Rejoicing in God's constant care. vs. 6-8
- Resting in the assurance of God's deliverance. vs. 9-11
To have a worshipful heart in the first place one must:
- have a personal relationship with God.
- must earnestly pursue God.
- Entrance into the Kingdom: Luke #71 (8/27/2017)
This is an exposition of Luke 18:15-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 27, 2017.
It is a legitimate question. How much does a person have to know in order to be saved? What information is necessary in order to have saving faith? Is there a test? If so what is the passing grade? What if you do really well on the sin section but struggle with the theology portion?
Or is the test more like a driving test? Sure there is a basic written test but the real issue is the driving portion – how well you handle the car. Is that the way salvation works? Is it a matter of living a certain way or avoiding certain things? There are some interesting answers to these questions if you go by what you can hear on the television, the radio or even from some pulpits. But ultimately we must come to the Word of God for our answer. Who is a proper candidate for salvation? What is required for entrance into the Kingdom of God? That is the focus of our text found in Luke chapter 18 verses 15-17.
Text: Luke 18:15-17
Hostility is mounting.
The cross is on the horizon.
The disciples are confused, while Jesus is determined.
These are interesting days in the life and ministry of our Lord.
18:15 – Here we find that great crowds of people are bringing their small children to Jesus in order for them to be blessed. This was a common thing in Jewish culture. When a famous rabbi was in the area parents often brought their children for a blessing. It is obvious from the Gospels that our Lord loved children. Frequently he is pictured holding them in his arms and using them as illustrations.
The disciples are a little miffed at the crowd for their intrusion.
It is easy to rag on the disciples at this point but remember the circumstance.
They are on their way to Jerusalem.
They don’t want Jesus to go.
He keeps saying he has to go.
They are sure that the end result will be disastrous.
He keeps talking about death and going away.
They don’t know what is going to happen but they are certain he doesn’t need to be bothered by a bunch of nagging parents and screaming children. So they rebuke these parents for their actions. “Leave the rabbi alone.” “Get that snotty-nosed kid out of here. The rabbi has important things to take care off he doesn’t have time for this now.” They were trying to protect him. They know that crowds regularly take advantage of his kindness.
“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘ let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.’” Now Luke leaves out something that Mark says about Jesus’ response. In Mark 10:14 we learn that Jesus was “indignant” with his disciples. He was furious with them because of their actions. It is interesting to note when Jesus gets angry and what sets him off. “How dare you hinder their coming to me” – that was our Lord’s response.
Then he seized upon the opportunity to instruct them about life in the Kingdom.
Thesis: “Entrance into the Kingdom of God demands simple, childlike faith.”
Now be careful, we are talking about childlike faith not childish faith and there is a vast difference. Childish is a simplistic, silly immature believing. Childlike suggests attractive and admirable qualities of childhood such as innocence and trust.
In fact I think there are two characteristics of childlike faith reflected in our text.
- Childlike faith is a helpless, dependent faith. (18:16)
- Childlike faith is an unpretentious, accepting faith. (18:17)
Pastor Kent Hughes suggests four characteristics of childlike receiving.
Such receiving is one of unbelievable trust.
Second there is genuine humility.
Then there is a ready receptivity.
Finally there is unabashed love.
What does it require to enter the Kingdom of God?
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
- The Joy of Jesus (8/24/2017)