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- 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)