Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pastor's Sermon Notes (Walk In The Light) & Carryout Challenge

Series Title: Hope: Seeing light during intense darkness
December 21st (3rd Sunday) Title: Walking in the Light

Key Verses

The Lord guided them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. That way they could travel whether it was day or night. 22And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from their sight. Exodus 13:21-22 (NLT)

Sermon Theme: God didn’t save Israel from the wilderness-experience, however; God did provide light…and company!

Sermon Aim: To remind FOL partners that light in the midst of darkness is God’s assurance that we’re on the right track.

God doesn’t remove darkness---- He gives light!

The pillars never left their sight. (It is the Lord’s responsibility to direct us. He has obligated Himself)

· God equips us to travel @ night as well (Or, when conditions are less than favorable)
· He led over a million people out of Egypt and led them through wilderness territory)
· Light clarifies & helps us to judge correctly
· Light helps us to recognize our Source & our enemies
· Light helps to keep us from stumbling

Why would God, Who, gave Israel all the miracles of Egypt MERELY give pillars and not just airlift them to the safety of the Promised Land??

· The light was God’s essence! It was His very presence manifested (made clearly obvious and understandable) before Israel’s eyes.

· He revealed Himself in a very practical manifestation

What steps were taken right light was revealed

· God had a strategic plan that Israel followed
· God moved them to a place of total reliance upon Himself (an usual route)
· God moved them to a place of no return
· They began to remember the covenant (Gen 50.25/Gen 47:29-30) and carried Joseph's bones
· Then the Glory came!!

►Light=The Glory of the Lord
►We often crave God’s light (direction) but not His glory
►When we honor God--- His light shines all around us.
►If we want direction---we must seek to honor God.
►We don’t nee light to disobey. We need light in order to see and follow God correctly

Luke 1:78-79 (NLT) Because of God's tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace."

John 1:1-5 In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. 4Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. 5The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)
You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. 15Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

John 12:46 (NLT)
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness.

Scriptures about walking in the Light

Psalm 56:13 (NLT) For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.

Psalm 89:15 (NLT) Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

Isaiah 2:5 (NLT) Come, people of Israel, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Isaiah 50:11 (NLT) But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon lie down in great torment.

Ephes. 5:8 (KJV) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

1 John 1:7 (NLT) But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.

Carryout Challenges & Application:

  • Using prayer & reflection, determine how prone you are to walk in your own light or the light/direction of other trusted people, rather than walking in the light of scripture or the voice of the Holy Spirit?

  • Do you believe that God wants to direct (not dictate) every area of your life?

  • Israel (Exod 13:17-22) had to follow God's wild winding path so as to keep Israel from the temptation of returning to Egypt. How has God done this in your life?

  • God is obligated (not to us, but to His own promise) to direct us; how obligated are you to obeying?

  • The light and glory of the Lord are synonomous. Are there things in your life that hinder the glory/honor of God? If so, the likelihood of receiving God's full light is greatly diminished. Think about it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Hope That Lasts (Follow up to Light-hearted sermon)

Scripture does not merely suggest that Jesus is Messiah, it proves it! If people were going to have hope that would endure 1300 years of disaster, wars, ruin, poverty and exile...the Lord would surely need to make the promise clear. (I have added a link below that I used for today's sermon so that you could study Old Testament scripture that foretold the Messiah's arrival. God made it crystal clear!!


What actions are you taking to keep the Lord's promises to you in front of you?

Do you expect to have hope if you don't nurture it in your heart?

What can you do when hope seems to be fading from your heart?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Difference between Faith and Hope

Here is some great background information that influenced my sermon this past Sunday (Jesus, The Light of The World, Dec 7th 2008. This is an except from John Bunyan's book, Israel's Hope Encouraged.)

I look forward to sharing more sermon background information as well as life application challenges in this new blog. Jump on in and start and lively discussion!!!!

The difference between faith and hope
18 August 2007 by

John Bunyan (author of the Pilgrim’s Progress and other classics) wrote a treatise on the text in the Psalms which calls on its readers to ‘hope in the Lord.’ Here I’m quoting an excerpt from right at the start of the book, where he differentiates between faith and hope, two graces which are in some ways quite similar.

“[In the text in question ('Let Israel hope in the Lord,' Psalm 130: 7)] that which is preadmitted is Faith. For when we speak properly of Hope, and put others distinctly to the duty of hoping, we conclude that such have faith already; for, no faith, no hope. To hope without faith is to see without eyes, or to expect without a ground: for ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for,’ as well with respect to the grace [of faith] as to the doctrine of faith. … He that never believed, never hoped in the Lord. Wherefore when he saith, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord,’ he presupposeth faith, and signifieth that he speaketh to believers.

“That which is … [implied] [in the text] is, that Hope has in it an excellent quality to support Israel in all his troubles. Faith has his excellency in this, Hope in that, and Love in another thing. Faith will do that which Hope cannot do; Hope can do that which Faith doth not do; and Love can do things distinct from both their doings. Faith goes in the van, Hope in the main body, and Love brings up the rear; and thus now abideth Faith, Hope, and Charity.

“Faith is the mother-grace, for hope is born of her; but Charity floweth from them both. But now we are upon Faith and Hope distinctly, to let you see a little. Faith comes by hearing, hope by experience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God; hope by the credit that faith has given to it. Faith believeth in the truth of the word; hope waiteth for the fulfilling of it. Faith looks through the word to God in Christ; hope looks through faith, beyond the world, to glory.

“Faith lays hold of that end of the promise that is next to us, to wit, as it is in the Bible; hope lays hold of that end of the promise that is fastened to the mercy-seat. For the promise is like a mighty cable, that is fastened by one end to a ship, and by the other to the anchor. The soul is the ship where faith is, and to which the hither end of the cable is fastened; but hope is the anchor that is at the other end of the cable, ‘and which entereth in to that within the veil.’ Thus faith and hope getting hold of both ends of the promise, they carry it safely all away.
“Faith looks to Christ as dead, buried, and ascended; and hope looks for his second coming. Faith looks to him for justification; hope for glory. Faith fights for doctrine; hope for reward: faith for what is in the bible; hope for what is in heaven. Faith purifies the heart from bad principles; hope from bad manners, 2 Peter 2: 11, 14.

“Faith sets hope on work; hope sets patience on work. Faith says to hope, ‘Look for what is promised;’ hope says to faith, ‘So I do, and will wait for it too.’
“Thus faith saves, and thus hope saves. Faith saves by laying hold of God by Christ. Hope saves by prevailing with the soul to suffer all troubles, afflictions, ans adversities that it meets with betwixt this [world] and the world to come, for the sake thereof [ie for the sake of the world to come]. … Hope has a thick skin, that will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things, if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it.”

John Bunyan, Israel’s Hope Encouraged, excerpt from the first section.