Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder
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by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 23, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/23/16
A Personal Defense of the Gospel
INTRODUCTION: Apologetics is an attempt to defend and explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to critics outside the Christian faith. Polemics is a theological debate within the church to defend the faith from errors in doctrine and belief. Paul begins the Letter to the Galatians with a strong polemical argument to keep the faith from doctrinal error. Paul denounces those who have tried to redefine the gospel of Jesus Christ. He describes the true gospel and then gives a personal testimony that he received the gospel by revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1). Paul now begins to argue that the true gospel has apostolic approval and historical support. He then reaffirms the true meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the difference it makes in a believer’s life. We are not justified by keeping the law but by faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16).
THE TRUE GOSPEL HAS UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE.
*The gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles was the same as the gospel that the apostles of Jerusalem preached to the Jews. Proof: Titus a Greek was not made to be circumcised (1-5). Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain (Gal. 2:1-2).
*The gospel was the same but the focus of the ministry was different. Paul was called to preach to the Gentiles and Peter was called to preach to the Jews. Proof: the apostles gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas (6-10). James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me (Gal. 2:9).
The first church agreed on the meaning of the true gospel.
THE TRUE GOSPEL IS OFTEN COMPROMISED.
*The gospel has vocal opponents within the church. They create division by introducing false doctrines and ideas about the gospel. The Judaizers said that Christians had to have faith in Jesus but also keep the Law of Moses. The gospel has to be strongly defended from those who would change its meaning. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you (Gal. 2:4-5).
*The church is often undermined by hypocrisy. Hypocrites have to be confronted and corrected. Paul called out Peter for his duplicity. When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. (Gal. 2:11-13).
The church must stand against any form of compromise or hypocrisy.
THE TRUE GOSPEL IS ALWAYS BY FAITH NOT BY WORKS.
*No one is made right with God by observing the Law of Moses. A person is made right with God, justified, by faith in Jesus Christ. We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (2:15-16).
*The Law reveals to us that we are sinners and cannot keep the Law of God. The Law points out that we need a different way of being made right with God. The Law showed me that I am dead to God because my sins have separated me from God. I must turn in faith to Jesus who loved me and died on the Cross in my place. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:19-20).
*Salvation is by God’s grace through faith in his Son Jesus Christ. If we go back to the old system of trying to keep rules and regulations to win God’s favor, then we have made a mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. When we become Christians, Jesus comes to live inside of us and make us right with God and gives us the power to do what God wants. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Gal. 2:20-21).
We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and not by the works of the law.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 16, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/16/16
INTRODUCTION: The Letter to the Galatians is an angry letter. After a terse introduction, Paul launches into a defense of his authority, his message, and his ministry. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was at stake. False teachers had undermined Paul’s ministry and misrepresented the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul defends the gospel by giving his personal testimony. No one can deny your personal testimony about how Jesus changed your life. They may question it, they may refute it, they may even accuse you of lying, but a transformed life silences those who oppose the gospel. Galatians 1:11-24 gives us Paul’s witness to the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul begins testifying that the gospel is not of human origin but of divine revelation: “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11).
Paul describes how he received the gospel revelation by telling his personal story and testimony.
WHAT WAS YOUR LIFE LIKE BEFORE YOU RECEIVED CHRIST?
*Before he became a Christian, Paul was an exemplary model of Jewish scholarship and dedication. He was so convinced that Christianity was wrong that he persecuted the church and imprisoned Christians (Acts 9). He even participated in the stoning death of Stephen (Acts 7). He sincerely believed he was right but in reality he was wrong. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers (Gal.1:13-14).
What was your life like before you received Jesus Christ as your Lord?
HOW DID YOU RECEIVE CHRIST AND BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
*Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher. He had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ that changed his life. He saw his conversion as something totally arranged by God and given by undeserved grace. “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being”
*Paul had a dramatic “Damascus Road” conversion experience but others have become Christians in quiet simple acts of faith and belief. The important point is that you have willingly placed your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples… As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do”… Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 9:1-20).
At what time and place did you become a follower of Christ? Or, how and when did you become a Christian? Are you a follower of Jesus?
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE LIKE AFTER YOU HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST?
*Paul’s life was totally transformed by Jesus. He did not learn the gospel from Peter or the other apostles. He learned it from Jesus Christ and took time to process his new relationship with Christ. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie (Gal. 1:17-20).
*The difference Jesus made in the life of Paul was visibly evident to other people around him. What difference has Jesus made in your life?
Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me (Gal. 21-24).
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 9, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/09/16
The True Gospel
INTRODUCTION: The Letter to the Galatians is an angry letter. After a terse introduction, Paul launches into a defense of his authority, his message, and his ministry. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was at stake. False teachers had undermined Paul’s ministry and misrepresented the gospel of Jesus Christ. Normally Paul would have said encouraging things about his readers and their walk with Christ. Not here. Paul was concerned that they had fallen into error and had embraced another gospel. Truth must be boldly and zealously defended. Paul does that here in Galatians 1:6-10.
THE GENUINE GOSPEL VERSUS A COUNTERFEIT GOSPEL (6-7).
*The nature of the Gospel defined: Are we saved by grace through faith or are we saved by grace plus works? “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7).
*The true gospel says that we are made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. A false gospel says you are justified by your own good deeds or religious systems. A “person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:15-16).
Ephesians 2:8-9 is the classic statement of the Good News of salvation: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
A TRUE SOURCE VERSUS A FALSE SOURCE (8-9).
*Origins of the Gospel questioned: Who is the source of the gospel teaching? Can they be trusted? Do they have legitimate credentials or authority? “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8-9).
*Christians must constantly be on guard against false teachers and errors of doctrine. If Satan cannot keep you from becoming a Christian, then he will try to get you to believe and follow teachers that are wrong. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
*The Apostle John warned believers about false teachers and challenged them to test their teachings: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
HONEST MOTIVES VERSUS DISHONEST MOTIVES (9-10).
*Motivations of the teachers revealed: Why are the teachers teaching what they are teaching? Who gets the glory – God or men? “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:9-10).
*Paul is a “bondslave” of Christ. Slaves do what their masters tell them to do. They don’t do it for praise from other people. False teachers either seek approval for economic gain or personal ambitions or they try to advance the agenda of their group or organization. “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain” (Titus 1:10-11).
Truth must be boldly and zealously defended. Know the truth of the Good News. Examine the motives and teachings of all teachers. Stand up for what is good and reject that which is wrong.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 2, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/02/16
Grace and Peace
INTRODUCTION: The Letter to the Galatians is an angry letter. After a terse introduction, Paul launches into a defense of his authority, his message, and his ministry. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was at stake. False teachers had undermined Paul’s ministry and misrepresented what the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is. How can we have a right relationship and peace with God? Is it by God’s grace alone or is it by God’s grace plus something else (like keeping the Jewish rituals)? The true gospel affirms that we have right standing with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings the true freedom of grace and peace with God. Paul has been called by God as an apostle to share this Good News (Gal. 1:1).
THE GENUINE GOSPEL BRINGS US GOD’S GRACE AND PEACE.
*Grace is the “unmerited favor” from God. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father…” (Gal. 1:3). Grace is the merciful kindness of God toward people who did not deserve it. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
*Peace is a state of harmony between two individuals and an inner sense of contentment, quietness and rest in the face of any circumstance. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:3). We can have peace with God and peace within through faith in Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
GRACE AND PEACE COME FROM GOD THE FATHER.
*God is our Provider. It was the Father’s will and desire to provide the way of salvation for each one of us. Jesus Christ “gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…” (Gal. 1:4-5).
*Jesus died for our sins on the cross but it was God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead providing us with a living Savior. “Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).
GRACE AND PEACE COME FROM JESUS CHRIST.
*Jesus Christ voluntarily gave his life in sacrifice on the cross so that we could have forgiveness of sins and a life worth living. “The Lord Jesus Christ…gave himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:3-4). Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).
*Why would Jesus give his life for us? Because he is the Rescuer. We are hopelessly in danger and unable to deliver ourselves from sin and evil. Jesus not only forgives our sins but he rescues us from dangers of the world and the eternal danger of separation from God. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age” (Gal. 1:3-4).
God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have done everything possible to show their eternal love for us and to give us peace with God and peace within.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 25, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 09/25/16
Be the Church
INTRODUCTION: Jesus asked his disciples, “’Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it’” (Matt. 16:15-18). Jesus established his church on the confession that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. All who put their faith and trust in Jesus as Savior become part of his church. The writer of Hebrews has stressed the uniqueness of Jesus above and beyond any other system or person. We are to embrace the mission and message of Jesus and tell the world that He is Lord. We are to be the church. How do we do that as community of believers? Hebrews 13:7-19 gives us some final and practical instructions.
PATTERN YOUR LIFE AFTER GODLY LEADERS (7-8).
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (7-8).
- Look for faithful and consistent pastoral leaders to be your example.
- Jesus never fails. You can trust him. He is eternally consistent and faithful.
GUARD YOUR DOCTRINAL BELIEFS (9-14).
“Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat” (9-10).
- Get a right view of Jesus and God’s grace to avoid wrong ideas about God and faith.
“The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (11-14).
- We are not to be ashamed of Christ and his Cross.
- We are to embrace the blood of Christ for our redemption and live our lives in his service (Romans 12:1-2).
- This world is not our home; we are just passing through (Heb. 11:16)
WORSHIP GOD IN WORD AND DEED (15-16).
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (15-16).
- We worship God with our praises and testimonies.
- We worship God through our service to others.
- We worship God through our contributions and gifts for ministry.
SUPPORT YOUR LEADERS (17).
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (17).
- Jesus Christ is the head of the church but he has given leaders to oversee the church.
- Respect your leaders and cooperate with them because they have to give an account to God on how they do their work and care for God’s people.
- When everyone works together, the church experiences joy.
“Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon” (18-19).
- Pray for your leaders.
- Pray for integrity and unity in the church and truth to be revealed.
- Pray for personal concerns.
The church is the alternative to a lost and dying world system. Be the church that Jesus built.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 18, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 09/18/16
INTRODUCTION: All of us have legitimate intimacy needs. Adam was living the American Dream but he was lonely. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18). God made us for relationships. We have intimacy needs that can only be filled in the context of relationships. God designed marriage (Genesis 2), the family (Genesis 4) and the Church (Matthew 16) to minister to our loneliness and other intimacy needs. Satan viciously attacks these areas of relationships where genuine care, grace and love are practiced. That is why the writer of Hebrews affirms the importance of protecting and honoring marriage and family. He writes, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).
TREAT MARRIAGE WITH HONOR AND RESPECT.
*Marriage is designed by God to minister to our loneliness and provide companionship. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
*Marriage is divinely ordained to be between and man and a woman.
- Genesis states it: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).
- Jesus confirms it: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-5).
*Marriage forms a new home and the promise of children. The married couple breaks with their family of origin and creates a new family. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).
GUARD THE SACREDNESS OF MARRIAGE INTIMACY.
*Intimacy is sharing one’s life with another person. Marriage is one way God has made to meet our intimacy needs. Friendship, family and the church are other ways our intimacy needs can be met. God wants us to live life without guilt or games. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25).
*How do we reach this place of intimacy in our relationships and our marriage?
- Leave the past. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother…”
- Live in the present. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife…” (Gen. 2:24). Literally, the word is “clings” to his wife. Abundant living is lived in the present (John 10:10). You must empty the cup of sin and damaged emotions so you can live in the present. Face your hurt. Understand the Truth. Forgive the offender.
- Learn to practice intimacy. Intimacy is closeness, becoming one. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Be vulnerable and know the other person’s hurts. Healing takes place when we experience God at the point of his word (see handout). You must speak words of comfort to heal hurt.
*Sexual intimacy flourishes within the context of marriage. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25).
- Marriage allows physical intimacy without guilt or shame (25).
- Healthy marriages enjoy and protect sexual intimacy. “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. Do not deprive each other…” (1 Cor.7:2-5).
- Marriage intimacy can produce children.
KNOW THAT GOD PUNISHES IMMORALITY AND ADULTERY.
*There are many threats against marriage in today’s world: society’s redefinition of marriage; presumption in the relationship; physical neglect; abuse; lack of basic care and respect. We must keep our marriages strong. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
*Infidelity and immorality destroy the marriage bond. Jesus said of a man and wife: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6). That is why, ”God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex” (Hebrews 13:4 MSG).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 11, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 09/11/16
INTRODUCTION: The writer of Hebrews says we are to run the race set before us fixing our eyes upon Jesus. We need to endure hardship and persevere. We must be strong but we must also help others finish the race. A spiritual lifestyle demands some practical obligations. We could call these spiritual disciplines or practical spirituality. The Christian life must be lived with integrity, purity, and love. So what are these obligations of the Christian life? The writer discusses our responsibilities in Hebrews 13:1-6.
CHRISTIANS HAVE SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS.
- Practice brotherly love: “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters” (Heb. 13:1).
- Practice hospitality: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).
- Support those in prison: “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison…” (Heb. 13:3).
- Care for the mistreated: “Continue to remember…those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Heb.13:3).
CHRISTIANS HAVE HOME OBLIGATIONS.
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb. 13:4).
- Respect marriage and keep your intimacy pure.
- Do not commit adultery and abstain from immorality.
CHRISTIANS HAVE PERSONAL OBLIGATIONS.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5-6).
- Avoid greed.
- Be satisfied with what you have.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 4, 2016
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 09-04-16
Seeds That Grow
INTRODUCTION: Jesus told the parable of the Farmer and the Seed to explain why some soil produces abundant growth and other soils do not. By any definition, growth is a miracle. A single dormant seed mysteriously springs to life and with proper nurture produces a bountiful harvest. You can experience the miracle of growth in your own life as well. There are three ways you can GROW in your Christian life. The Lord causes these seeds to GROW.
GOD REWARDS OUR WORSHIP.
-God deserves our PRAISE. Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD. Praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6 NIV).
And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples (Romans 15:11 NIV).
-God chooses to DWELL where He is praised. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3 KJV).
-The Lord rewards those who earnestly desire to KNOW Him. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
-You can GROW through worship.
GOD REWARDS OUR WITNESS.
-Jesus said every one of His FOLLOWERS would be a witness.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NIV).
-A witness gives a personal TESTIMONY about what he
or she has seen or heard or experienced. “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our
fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ”
(1 John 1:2-3 NIV).
-The Lord gives SUCCESS to those who tell others about Him.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:10-11 NIV).
-You can GROW through your witness.
GOD REWARDS OUR WORK.
-Labor is necessary for success and GROWTH. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed”
(Matthew 13:3 NIV).
“Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering”
(Proverbs 13:4 TLB).
“Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically”
(Romans 12:11 TLB).
-God’s work requires WORKERS. Jesus said to his disciples:
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”
(Matthew. 9:37-38 NIV).
-God honors our EFFORTS for Him. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
-The best work is TEAMWORK. Paul wrote: “God is important because he is the one who makes things grow. Apollos and I are working as a team with the same aim, though each of us will be rewarded for his own hard work. We are only God’s coworkers”
(1 Corinthians 3:7-9 TLB).
-You can GROW through your work for the Lord.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | August 28, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/28/16
Warnings and Worship
INTRODUCTION: The writer of Hebrews says we are to run the race set before us fixing our eyes upon Jesus. We need to endure hardship and persevere. We must be strong but we must also help others finish the race. We must cheer others on and clear the obstacles in their way. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed (12:12-13). How do we do run the race in this way? Our author shows us in Hebrews 12:12-28.
RUN IN PERSONAL HOLINESS.
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done” (Hebrews 12:14-17).
*The writer gives six admonitions and instructions to run the race straight and strong:
- Live in peace with all people.
- Live a holy life that pleases God.
- Make sure everyone lives in the grace of God.
- Root out all bitterness and discontent.
- Abstain from sexual immorality.
- Don’t reject God’s blessings for carnal appetites.
RUN IN GODLY FEAR.
*The Old Covenant was given on Mt. Sinai with frightening fire and thunder and shaking. The voice of God was so alarming that people were afraid to approach God (12:18-20). The sight was so terrifying
that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear” (12:21).
*We must not reject God’s voice today. The people of Israel failed to obey the Old Covenant. We must be on guard to not reject the New Covenant. We must develop a godly awe and respect of God’s word to us. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”(12:25-26).
RUN IN GOD’S BLESSINGS.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
*In contrast to Mt. Sinai, we have come to Mt. Zion, the city of God, the New Jerusalem. The New Covenant established by Jesus brings us many benefits and blessings:
- We have an eternal home where God lives.
- We have angels rejoicing with us in our new home.
- We will join fellow citizens of Heaven who entered before us.
- We come before the God of Justice who makes all things right.
- We join the redeemed that have been made whole.
- We meet Jesus our mediator who made a new covenant for us.
- We come to the shed blood of Jesus which brings forgiveness.
RUN IN PRAISE AND WORSHIP.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (12:28).
*The only response to the unshakable kingdom we are receiving is gratitude, reverence and worshipful obedience. Keep on keeping on.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | August 21, 2016
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/21/16
The Discipline of Perseverance
INTRODUCTION: We have been captivated by the Olympics in Rio this summer. We have seen amazing victories and achievements and we have seen some heartbreaking defeats. But in every event the athletes aim to excel, cross the finish line and finish the race. What we don’t often see are the hours and hours of training and practice and pain that go into competing in the Olympics. The writer of Hebrews switches metaphors from being on a journey to running a race in chapter 12. Christians are running a race that requires the discipline of perseverance. We must persevere and overcome the obstacles that would keep us from finishing the race God has called us to run. How do we do that?
YOU PERSEVERE WHEN YOU RUN THE RACE WELL.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).
- Others are watching and cheering us on (Heb. 11). We do not want to disappoint them.
- We are in a relay race. The baton has been passed on to us. We must run our leg of the race well. Prepare to finish the race.
YOU PERSEVERE WHEN YOU FOCUS ON JESUS.
*Jesus is our example and motivator. He has run well and pushes us to run well. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus at all times. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:1-2).
*Jesus is our goal and his “well done” is our reward. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Heb. 12:2-3).
YOU PERSEVERE WHEN YOU ENDURE HARDSHIP.
*God’s discipline proves you are God’s child.
- The biblical evidence from Proverbs 3:11-12. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (12:4-5).
- The human analogy. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all (12:5-6).
*Discipline has its benefits and rewards.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (12:7-11).
YOU PERSEVERE WHEN YOU ENCOURAGE OTHERS.
* We must be strong but we must also help others finish the race. We must cheer others and clear the obstacles in their way.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed (12:12-13).
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