Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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WHY DO I NEED CHURCH? You Need Frequent Celebrations of God

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist   Gainesville, FL   02-19-17
 
“Why Do I Need to Go to Church?
You Need Frequent Celebrations of God”
Habakkuk 3
 
INTRODUCTION:  Why do I need to go to church? What difference does it make? The prophet Habakkuk discovered that we need a fresh word from God in the middle of everyday problems and national crises. Regular worship provides us with new insights into who God is and puts life’s problems into perspective. Habakkuk learned that we may not get all the answers but “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (Hab. 2:4). Habakkuk ended his book with a prayer (Hab. 3:1). Chapter 3 has several musical notations (Hab. 3:1, 3, 9, 13), was written to be played on stringed instruments, and was given to the music director for the choir to sing (Hab. 3:19). The prayer is a hymn of worship and praise to God. Habakkuk encouraged his people to worship. Why do I need to go to church? You need frequent celebrations of God.
 
WORSHIP PROVIDES A PLACE OF PRAYER.
 
*The prayer of petition asks God for something. In this case the prophet asks God to intervene in the present day like he did in the past. He asks for a fresh manifestation of God’s power and deliverance. He asks for mercy in a time of judgment. A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:1-2).
 
It is okay to ask God for help. Church is a place to pray.
 
WORSHIP PROVIDES AFFIRMATION OF GOD’S TRUTH.
 
*We gain answers to our prayers and new insights into who God is when we enter his presence in worship. God answered Habakkuk’s prayer with a vision of a future intervention by God to deliver his people (Hab. 3:3-15).
God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth (Hab. 3:3).
*Worship leads us to change our attitude and will to align with God’s truth and promises. Habakkuk learned submission to God’s will. He accepted God’s verdict and timing. Faith requires patience as well as obedience.
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay
crept into my bones,  and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us (Hab. 3:16).
 
God reveals himself to us and gives us insights into his purposes when we take time to wait for him in worship.
 
WORSHIP PROVIDES A SETTING FOR PRAISE & TRUST.
 
*The worship experience leads to confession of faith, repentance, commitment and renewal. Habakkuk moves from complaint in chapters 1 and 2 to an unconditional trust in God in chapter 3. He is willing to trust in God no matter what the circumstances.
 
Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior (Hab. 3:17-18).
 
*Joy and strength for living are found in God alone. Worship gives us the opportunity to express our thanks and praise to God for his goodness and blessings. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights (Hab. 3:18-19).
 
We can express our thanks to God for his blessings and commit ourselves to his service as we celebrate in worship.
 

WHY DO I NEED CHURCH? You Need a Fresh Word from God

Gregory Magruder    Parkview Baptist   Gainesville, FL   02-12-17
 
“Why Do I Need to Go to Church?
You Need a Fresh Word from God”
Habakkuk 1-2
 
INTRODUCTION:  Scripture says, Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing” (Hebrews 10:25, GNT). Many people today are asking why. Why do I need to go to church? The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk provides a good example of why we need church. The Book of Habakkuk struggles with theological issues, examines God’s character, and reveals a fresh word from God. A good church provides the opportunity to do all of those things. Church is the one place today where we can ask the tough questions and expect to hear some solid answers. Life is complex. Problems are real. God seems absent. We need a fresh word from God. Church is where we hear it.
 
“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him”
                                                                        -Habakkuk 2:20
Habakkuk addresses the issues of his time in the context of a holy God in a heavenly temple overseeing earthly events. Recognition of God’s presence and power prepares us to face earth’s struggles and despair. The place of worship provides the setting for a fresh word from God and the celebration of God’s presence.
 
Habakkuk was a temple priest. He waited for a word from God. He interpreted current events through a theological lens. He responded by proclaiming the revelation from God (1-2) and by praising God in prayer and song (3). Let’s see how his circumstances relate to our times today.
 
WHY DO WE NEED CHURCH?
 
WE CAN ENCOUNTER GOD AT CHURCH (LAMENTATION).
 
*Church is one place we can lament. Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, complaint or grief. Habakkuk cried out to God about evil and evildoers. Church provides us with a place to cry out to God and ask the tough questions about life. “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?” (1:2).
 
*Church is the place we can listen to God. The worship setting allows us to commune with God and experience his presence. “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians…(1:5-6).
 
*Church is where we learn about God and gain new insights into who God is and how he operates. “Lord, are you not from everlasting?  My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” (1:12-13).
 
WE CAN HEAR GOD’S WORD AT CHURCH (PROCLAMATION).
 
*We should come to church expecting to hear a message from God. Habakkuk waited on the watchtower anticipating a reply from God. “I will stand at my watch… I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint” (2:1).
 
*Church is the place where a fresh word from God is preached. Proclamation is a declaration of truth that is expected to be carried out. The picture here in Habakkuk is of a messenger announcing news to the public as he runs along. God’s word provides life and hope and a strategy for living.  Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it” (2:2).
 
WE CAN EQUIP FOR SERVICE AT CHURCH (REVELATION).
 
*Church is the place where we can discover God’s revelation. A revelation is a new truth or fact that is made known in a surprising way. Divine revelation discloses new understanding about how humans are to live in this world. God revealed to Habakkuk that evil will self-destruct but integrity and faithfulness will lead to abundant and eternal life. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness”(2:4).
 
*The righteous that live out their faith can rest in the knowledge that evildoers will be punished and that God’s kingdom will prevail. Habakkuk includes 5 taunts that expose and ridicule the sins of the nations (2:6-19). Justice will be restored one day across the earth. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:14).
 

OVERCOME UNHEALTHY FEARS AND FEELINGS IN 2017: Overcome the Feeling of Shame

Gregory Magruder    Parkview Baptist   Gainesville, FL   02-05-17
 
“Overcome Feelings of Shame”
2 Corinthians 5:17
 
INTRODUCTION:  We conclude the series today on how to “Overcome Unhealthy Fears and Feelings.” The fear of failure and the fear of rejection often govern our relationships with God and others. Feelings of guilt lead us to blame others or condemn ourselves for our mistakes. Another feeling that often grips us emotionally is the feeling of Shame. Fortunately, the Cross of Jesus Christ provides the remedy for unhealthy fears and feelings. Let’s see how the Cross helps us overcome feelings of shame.
 
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND SHAME?
 
*Guilt has to do with behavior. Guilt comes when we know we have done something wrong or failed to do something right. We have violated a God-given standard. Guilt is a positive emotion that leads us to change our behavior. Paul experienced guilt: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).
 
*Shame has to do with being. Shame is more than remorse for bad behavior. Shame is an internal sense of self-worthlessness, a sense of being a failure as a human being. It is self-torment for being an awful person. Paul said it this way: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24). Shame leads to a cycle of wretched (hopeless and joyless ) living.
 
WHAT IS SHAMEBASED LIVING?
 
*The Shame Cycle is an “I give up” syndrome.  “Shame is a painful emotion caused by an awareness of guilt, shortcomings, or improper behavior” (McGee). 
 
*Shame says “I am what I am.  I can’t change.  I am hopeless.”
 
*Some common results of shame-based living are inferiority, habitual destructive behavior, self-pity, passivity and co-dependency.  Shame often leads to chronic depression.
 
*Adam and Eve experienced shame after they sinnedThe man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame...When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good…she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband…and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves... and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 2:25 – 3:8). 
 
*The cycle of shame goes like this: Guilt breeds shame which feeds bad behavior which produces guilt which creates shame.  
 
HOW DOES THE NEW BIRTH REMOVE MY SHAME?
 
*The Cross of Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of sin – guilt – shame.
“So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.  For the power of the life-giving Spirit – and this power is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.  We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us.  He sent his own Son in a human body like ours – except that ours are sinful – and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins.  So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:1-4 TLB).
 
*What God did through the Cross:
 
  • No condemnation in Christ (1)
  • Freedom through the Holy Spirit (2)
  • Completion of the Law (3-4)
  • Destruction of sin’s control (3)
  • Power to change and obey (4)
 
*The Holy Spirit brings regeneration through the Cross. “When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside.  He is not the same any more.  A new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17 LB). Regeneration is a spiritual rebirth.  
 
Because of regeneration I have been made brand-new, complete in Christ. Because of Christ’s redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth. I no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
 
CONCLUSION:  You must personally accept what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross!  You must believe Jesus can save you and you must personally receive him as your savior.
“But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God.  All they needed to do was to trust him to save them.  All those who believe this are reborn! – not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan – but from the will of God” (John 1:12-13 TLB).
 

OVERCOME UNHEALTHY FEARS AND FEELINGS IN 2017: Overcome Feelings of Guilt

Gregory Magruder    Parkview Baptist  Gainesville, FL  01-29-17
 
“How to Overcome Guilt Feelings”
1 John 2:1-2
 
INTRODUCTION:  Guilt feelings come when our thoughts or behavior fall short of our ideals.  We all have thoughts or specific acts that we have done that do not measure up to the standards we, others and God have set.  The Bible calls this sin and all of us are guilty (Rom. 3:23).  We try to deny our guilt by playing games with others and ourselves.  We try to achieve success to prove our worth.  We seek the approval of others or we blame others for our problems.  Sometimes we hide in shame and refuse to try at all.  The Cross of Jesus Christ shows us how to deal with guilt feelings in a healthy way.
 
WHY DO I FEEL THE NEED TO BLAME?
 
*The person who constantly blames says, “Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.”  The person who blames is plagued with feelings of guilt and self-condemnation.  Their guilt is fueled by the fear of punishment.
 
*To escape punishment, we deny our guilt feelings, we rationalize our failures and sins, and we blame others.  Luke 18:10-11 says, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.’”
 
GOD’S MERCY TAKES AWAY FEAR OF PUNISHMENT.
 
*The Cross of Jesus Christ provides propitiation for our sin. Propitiation means that a sacrifice has been made to remove our sins and to make us favorable to God. “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).  God’s wrath is satisfied, sin is punished, and mercy is granted at the Cross.
 
*There is no more need for punishment. We do not have to beat up ourselves or others. “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
*God loves you.  He proved it at the Cross! God’s forgiveness enables us to forgive others.  “This is love: not that we loved God,
 but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice
(propitiation) for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).
 
HOW CAN I BE SET FREE FROM GUILT AND BLAME?
 
*Godly Sorrow"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).
 
            Paul adds in 2 Corinthians 7:10, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
 
*Gratitude:  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4,  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
 
*GraceBe kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
 
Have you accepted the forgiveness and mercy God has given you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross?

OVERCOME UNHEALTHY FEARS AND FEELINGS IN 2017: The Fear of Rejection

Gregory Magruder    Parkview Baptist   Gainesville, FL  01-22-17
 
“Overcome the Fear of Rejection”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
 
INTRODUCTION:  We have studied before about the ten basic intimacy needs of human beings. When these emotional needs are met we have healthy thinking, positive emotions, productive behaviors and positive outcomes. When these needs are not met we experience the opposite of healthy thinking and positive emotions. We display manipulative and erratic behaviors that lead to a poor self-image, dysfunctional families, and personality disturbances. We have legitimate needs that we try to satisfy in illegitimate ways. We seek approval and appreciation in all sorts of ways: risky behavior, drugs, alcohol, addictions, and so on. Even the best of us want the approval of others and when we do not get it we attempt to win the attention and favor of others. Sometimes our desire for approval is so strong that we question our self-worth and value when we do not get it. This leads to a fear of rejection and that puts us on the spinning wheel of the approval cycle.
 
WHAT IS THE APPROVAL CYCLE?
 
    -The Approval Cycle says I must have the approval of certain others to feel good about myself.  My worth depends upon what others say and see about me.  My motto:  I am what others say I am.  This kind of unhealthy thinking undermines our relationship with Christ and others. 
 
Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
 
APPROVAL ADDICTS FEAR REJECTION.
 
*There are two common responses to the fear of rejection.
 
  • The first response:  I will do anything for approval.
 
  • The second response: I will do nothing for approval.
 
*Approval addicts run with the crowd or from the crowd as they run from their guilt and sense of rejection.
 
GOD PROVIDES THE CROSS FOR RECONCILIATION.
 
*The remedy for the Approval Cycle is reconciliation. Reconciliation
means former enemies become friends.
 
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer holding men’s misdeeds against them” (2 Cor. 5:19 NEB).
 
*You are God’s friends.  You are accepted and forgiven
 
Robert McGee states it well: “The only way we can overcome the fear of rejection is to value the constant approval of God over the conditional approval of people” (The Search for Significance, 75).
 
“And since, when we were his enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of his Son, what blessings he must have for us now that we are his friends and he is living with us!” (Rom. 5:10 TLB).
 
*Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, nothing can make us unacceptable to God. We have God’s complete seal of approval.
 
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
 
We no longer have to fear rejection because in Christ we are…
 
Pleasing to God   
 
Accepted by God   
 
Loved by God   
 
Secure in Christ.
 
 
 

OVERCOME UNHEALTHY FEARS AND FEELINGS IN 2017: Overcome the Fear of Failure

Gregory Magruder    Parkview Baptist  Gainesville, FL     01/15/17
 
“Overcome the Fear of Failure”
Romans 5:1-11
 
INTRODUCTION:  As we begin 2017, we need to look into ourselves and see if our motivations are based on God’s Word and opinion of us or if our feelings and identity are based on the world’s expectations and lies. We start a new series today on “How to Overcome Unhealthy Fears and Feelings.” We are taught from an early age to perform.  We learn that success brings good feelings and that achievement leads to status.  So we try to please our parents, our teachers, our friends, our bosses and anyone else who will give us strokes and make us feel good about ourselves.  When we fail to perform or reach the expectations of others, we begin to fear failure. We try to perform to win God’s favor too.  We try to please him only to fall short.  Then we feel guilty and try to cover our sins and shortcomings.  The cross of Jesus Christ provides God’s answer to our guilt and fears.
 
WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH SIN AND GUILT FEELINGS.
 
*Sin causes separation from God, other people, and me. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
 
*Guilt feelings come when our thoughts and behavior fall short of our ideals.  “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
 
            *We try to cover our guilt feelings with deceptive excuses and lies.  “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
 
HOW DO WE OVERCOME OUR FEAR OF FAILURE?
 
*The Performance cycle says I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself. 
 
Mark 10:17-22 says a young man asked Jesus, “Good teacher…what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
            *The Performance cycle puts us on the treadmill to achieve or on the roller coaster of rebellion.  It is motivated by the fear of failure and produces emotional and spiritual separation. We overcome the fear of failure by accepting God’s truth about who we are in Christ.
 
THE CROSS PROVIDES THE REMEDY FOR THIS FEAR.
 
*The cross of Jesus Christ provides justification which leads to peace.  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
 
*The Law says perform so you will be acceptedGod says you are accepted; now you can perform. Justification is more than forgiveness. It means that God erases my sin and credits to me the righteousness of Jesus. I am now fully pleasing to God and have peace with him.
 
*God’s truth: “Because of justification I am completely forgiven by and fully pleasing to God.  I no longer need to fear failure.”
 
*You must ACT upon God’s truth and receive it for yourself.
 
 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
 
Admit your need.
 
Confess your sin.
 
Thank God for forgiveness and acceptance.
 

MISSION 2017

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      01/08/16
 
“Mission 2017”
Luke 4:14-21
 
INTRODUCTION: “Frustration is a function of our expectations.”  This applies to our work, family, church, government, individual relationships and personal self.  Jesus operated without a sense of frustration.  He knew who he was, where he was going, and what he had to accomplish.  Jesus had core values that nurtured his vision for life. He had a mission, a purpose in life, to accomplish his vision.  A sense of purpose or mission will serve as a compass to keep you headed in the right direction.  Today we will explore Jesus’ mission and we will envision our mission as a church in 2017. We find Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:14-21.
 
GOD HAS A VISION AND MISSION FOR YOUR LIFE.
 
*Vision is the overriding purpose or objective you wish to achieve over time. Vision inspires and guides every decision you make as a person or organization.  Parkview’s Vision Statement is “to lift up Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to obey His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).”
 
What was Jesus’ overall Vision? Possible answers are:
  • “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
  • "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
  • “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
 
*Jesus had a sense of purpose or mission that fulfilled his vision and guided his ministry. Jesus read from Isaiah in the synagogue:  "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).
 
*Individuals  need a sense of mission in life.  Jesus said, “I am the
 way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me”
(John 14:6).
*Organizations need a sense of mission too. Parkview builds its mission around the five basic purposes of the church found in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment to love God and to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:35-40). These purposes are Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, and Ministry.
 
THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS  YOU FOR SERVICE.
 
*Jesus was led and empowered by the Spirit in his baptism, his temptation, and his service. “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him…"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…”  (4:14-18).
 
*You serve best when guided by the Spirit and use your spiritual gifts in ministry. Romans 8:14: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” 1 Corinthians 12:7: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good”
 
JESUS INVITES  YOU TO COMPLETE HIS MISSION.
 
*Jesus proclaimed the year of Jubilee as his mission statement.
He came to set the people free. Jubilee announced deliverance from debt, liberty from slavery, and rest for the land.  It was a time of restoration, holiness and total dependence on God. “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).
 
*We also must proclaim liberty to people in need, preach the Good News, and make disciples. “As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you."  I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:1-2).
 
*Mission 2017 will guide us to complete God’s purposes for his church at Parkview Baptist Church (see handout).
 
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ― Frederick Buechner
 

NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE

Gregory C. Magruder     Parkview Baptist       Gainesville, FL      1/01/17
 
Fighting for the Soul of the Church
Ephesians 6:10-20
 
INTRODUCTION:  As a result of recent encounters, I am convinced that spiritual forces are at play and our vision and ministries as a church are being challenged like I have never experienced before. As we enter 2017, we as a church have to reaffirm our vision, reassess our ministries, and renew our commitment to tell others about Jesus and his saving grace. We will need the power and protection of God to stand against the devil and fulfill God’s purposes for us.
 
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:10-11).
 
  • We need the power of God and the armor of God to fight the devil.
  • The devil has crafty methods and strategies he uses to attack.
 
THE BATTLE IS SPIRITUAL.
 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12).
 
  • It is easy to be tricked into thinking our battle is against other people. This mistake leads to judgment, anger and hatred toward people we encounter. People do bad things but what is the source of their evil?
  • There are invisible forces at work in the world around us. Satan and his demons are actively trying to destroy God’s people and disrupt God’s plans.
  • The battle has to be fought spiritually not just physically.
 
GOD’S POWER AND PROTECTION DEFEND FROM EVIL.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Eph. 6:13).
 
  • We need to put on the armor of God constantly and consistently.
  • Evil will come. Be ready to stand up to it and to keep on standing no matter how fierce the battle becomes.
 
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17).
 
  • Stand against the enemy wearing the full armor of God:
  1. Truth exposes the devil’s lies and deceptions.
  2. Righteousness confirms the Christian’s witness.
  3. The peace of God makes us ready to share the gospel.
  4. Faith shields us from the attacks and fears of the devil.
  5. Salvation assures us of God’s love and presence.
  6. The word of God brings salvation to those who hear it and are given new life by the Holy Spirit.
 
OUR PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYER DEFEAT THE ENEMY.
 
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Eph. 6:18-20).
 
  • Pray all kinds of prayers in all kinds of places for all people.
  • Pray for boldness to proclaim the good news of salvation.
  • The best offense against the devil is winning souls for Jesus.
  • Join us for Parkview Dreams and Mission 2017.

THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS: Christ - the Word

Gregory C. Magruder       Parkview Baptist       Gainesville, FL      12/25/16
 
Christ – The Word
John 1:1-14
 
INTRODUCTION:  We conclude our series, “The Christ of Christmas” today. We have tried over this Advent season to put Christ back into Christmas. So Merry Christmas! Today we look at Christ –the Word. The term logos, translated Word, is used by the Apostle John to introduce Jesus.  John was using a word from Greek philosophy that described “the spiritual principle” that filled the universe.  The Jews used the word to describe God. John took the idea to describe Jesus, the Son of God or the Word of God. Jesus is the final Word from God. No philosophy or person compares to him.
 
JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF GOD.
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it...The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world (John 1:1-5, 9).
 
*The Word (the Mind, Logic or Intelligence of God) is
  • Pre-existing and Eternal
  • Co-existing with God
  • God
  • Creator
  • Revelation (Light)
  • Redeemer (Life)
 
“The Logos is God active in creation, revelation, and redemption”
 – Frank Stagg.
 
JESUS IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HUMANITY.
 
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:10-14).
 
*The Logos became a little babyThe Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14, The Message).
 
*Jesus lived a normal human life yet revealed the fullness of the love and true nature of God.
 
But in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:2-3).
 
*The miracle of Christmas is that Almighty God would give up his glory to become like you and me so we could become part of his family.
 
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 
 Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
 but made himself nothing,
   taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
                                                - Philippians 2:5-8
 
*Have you believed in Jesus Christ and received him as your Savior?
 
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:11-12).
 

THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS: Christ Our Peace

Gregory C. Magruder     Parkview Baptist       Gainesville, FL      12/18/16
 
Christ – Our Peace
Matthew 2:1-12
 
INTRODUCTION:  We continue our series “The Christ of Christmas” on this Fourth Sunday of Advent. We need to put Christ back into Christmas. The word peace has always been associated with Christmas. Someone asked me what I want for Christmas this year.  I said, “World peace.” We may joke about that stock answer but deep within all of us we desire peace on earth.  We want the wars and conflicts, the hunger and oppression, the racial clashes and political repression to cease.  We just want a world where peace reigns and everyone just gets along. Matthew shares a story of a visit of the Wise Men after the birth of Jesus. The Magi came to see the King of the Jews. The message of Christmas tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
 
CHRISTMAS BRINGS US THE GIFT OF PEACE.
 
*The angels announced to the shepherds that the birth of Jesus was a sign of God’s grace and a blessing of peace. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord... This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:10-12).
 
God wants to bring you peace this Christmas.
 
PEACE CO-EXISTS WITH CONFLICT.
 
*Wise people seek the source of peace.  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-3)
 
*Evil always tries to destroy what is good.  When King Herod heard
this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him...Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  (Matthew 2:3-7).
 
No matter how bad it seems, God is always working around us for the good.
 
GOD’S PEACE OVERCOMES THE WORLD’S CRUELTY.
 
*Jesus was born to rule as the Prince of Peace. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
 
*Wise people bow to the Prince of Peace.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route (Matthew 2:10-12).
 
*Jesus conquers the world and its evil system and rulers. Jesus told his disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
 
*You can experience the peace of Jesus in your life no matter what your circumstances
 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
 
Do you have this kind of inner peace? 
 
Do you know the Prince of Peace?
 
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